Visual Plan Communications for the Pharmaceutical Industry

If you lead a team of project managers or schedulers in the pharmaceutical industry, you know how critical effective plan communications can be. Delivering just the right amount of data to the right stakeholders at the right time is a winning recipe for hitting deadlines and building credibility for your PMO – especially when you’re responsible for the delivery of myriad projects across multiple clinical areas. Continue reading

Thanks for Helping Us #FixProjectServer

Back in April, we asked for your help in lobbying Microsoft to complete the technology that allows OnePager to import data from Project Server and Project Online. We are pleased to say that with your help, we have succeeded in convincing Microsoft to change course.

Our petition has to date received 298 votes, making it the top vote-getter among the petitions posted for all editions of Microsoft Project (Project Server, Project Online, and Project Desktop). A number of OnePager users left comments alongside their signatures, telling Microsoft of the importance of OnePager to their business and the criticality of the needed fix. We can’t thank you enough for your help. There is no doubt that this unprecedented outpouring of support from our user community got Microsoft’s attention and elevated the priority of our request.

We are now pleased to announce that beginning with OnePager Pro version 5.3.11, OnePager will be able use the following custom fields to create timelines in Microsoft Project Server and Online. Previously, these fields were available only if Project was installed on the desktop.

  • Flag1 – Flag20
  • Text1 – Text30
  • Number1 – Number10
  • Date1 – Date20
  • Start1 – Start10 (Start itself was always available)
  • Finish1 – Finish10 (Finish itself was always available)
  • Cost1 – Cost10
  • Outline Code1 – Outline Code10
  • The Project Summary Task (aka Task 0)

We will send a separate notification to everyone as soon as 5.3.11 is available for download, which should be very soon.

If you’re a frequent user of OnePager, many of these fields will look familiar. For instance, many users employ these fields to filter which tasks from their Project plans they want to display in OnePager — it’s how you turn a 1,000-line Project plan into a 25-line OnePager. The Text fields are also crucial, because they allow users to import custom data for use in OnePager’s conditional formatting feature. For instance, if I was collaborating with ABC Pharma and I wanted all tasks in the ABC Pharma workstream called out on my chart, I would put “ABC Pharma” in the Text30 field, then conditionally format all tasks with ABC Pharma in Text30 to be red.

Microsoft’s omission of these fields left a gaping hole in our usability that could only be worked around by installing Project on the user’s desktop — which, of course, defeats the purpose of using a cloud app like Project Server or Online in the first place. We are delighted that Microsoft listened to our customers and closed the gaps, which will make for a better user experience not only in OnePager but also in Project, and in other apps that integrate with Project.

We continue to work with Microsoft on a small number of fields that are still inaccessible to OnePager in Project Server/Online, including Baseline1 – Baseline10 (Baseline Start and Baseline Finish can be read), and Duration1 – Duration10 (likewise, Duration can be read). If you are having difficulty because of an inability to use these fields from Project Server/Online, please reach out to us at support@onepager.com and we will pass your concerns on to the appropriate Microsoft engineers.

Once again, we truly appreciate your support, and we hope you are as inspired as we are about what a few (hundred) good project managers can do! Please keep the feedback coming.

Gantt Charts by the Hour

Most project managers work with medium-to-long-range projects, and use OnePager to manage tasks on a day-by-day basis. But not all projects work this way. In the IT space, many release management projects take less than a day to complete, and have many important details in between.

Microsoft Project–and yes, OnePager–has a tendency to treat shorter-duration tasks as milestones, which can fail to give you the hour-by-hour or minute-by-minute detail that you might need in your project report. However, by changing a few simple settings in OnePager, you can create a very clean Gantt chart displaying times instead of dates:

hourly-gantt-chart4

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Communicating Plans to Global Teams

In today’s connected world, it’s increasingly common for project and portfolio managers to collaborate with teams across multiple countries and cultures.

In some ways, working globally is a great thing. Talent can be acquired and nurtured wherever it’s found, marketplace efficiencies can drive bottom-line benefits, and diverse viewpoints often lead to superior finished products and processes. But there are certainly challenges, too – and few see them more keenly than the project manager.

Keeping individuals and departments on the same page (and the same timeline) when they’re divided by distance, language, and culture can be difficult. As a result, many project and portfolio managers are turning to project visuals, like Gantt charts and “birds on a wire” timelines, to effectively communicate globally. Here’s why.

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