Column Splitting for Complex Resourcing
Our previous post covered conditional formatting, a very powerful feature, a time saver, and a way to make your project reports really sizzle. Our final post covers a new way to manage reporting on projects that have complicated resource assignments.
In OnePager Pro 5.0, we’ve created a feature called column splitting. Recall that Microsoft Project can associate multiple resources to an individual task. Typically, in your Microsoft Project plan these are represented as Resource Names separated by commas. In the Gantt view we typically see this “string” of Resource Names associated with the single task. This may make it difficult to see how individual resources are scheduled and what their activities are across a number of other tasks where they may be assigned.
OnePager Pro 5.0’s column splitting allows you to represent each resource as a unique task in the view. So, a task with two resource assigned can be automatically duplicated so that one task appears for each resource. From there, you can group, sort, and color-code by resources very easily.
Let’s look at a simple example. Suppose we have a portion of a Microsoft Project plan that looks like the one shown below. There are several resources represented among these tasks with one task having three resources assigned.
When column splitting is not turned on, OnePager Pro will produce a Project View that resembles the graphic shown below:
If you look in the legend, each combination of resources generates a unique color, which can be confusion, since Team 1 is now assigned three different colors.
With column splitting turned on, OnePager will give each resource a copy of its assigned task, making for a much cleaner assignment of colors:
Note what happened in the project view above:
- There are now several more task markers on the screen than there were before. The task “Centrifugal barrier” has now been split into three separate task markers: one for each of the three resources that was assigned to this task.
- Each of the resources has a unique color assigned, instead of the confusing multi-resource color assignment that we saw earlier.
- Each of the resources appears by itself in the legend, instead of a part of a larger
conglomeration of resources.
- The square brackets enclosing the percentage figures [%] are removed from the legend.
Once you have column splitting turned on, it’s really easy to see potential resource conflicts. Just group your swimlanes by the split resource column, to get a resource-by-resource view like the one below:
Even in this simple case, you can see with tasks close together, now in the same swimlane, that there is no apparent schedule conflict for Team 1.
While most people will use column splitting for resource assignments, it’s important to understand that column splitting will work for any Microsoft Project column!
In this blog series, we’ve seen most of the new features in OnePager Pro 5.0. Please feel free to contact us with questions or comments. We are committed to responding directly and sharing your interesting comments and thoughts with other readers, where appropriate.