Project Reporting for Cavemen

This is the best way to think of the psychology of how we like to absorb information as humans…well, sort of.  Our species has been communicating with drawings for 32,000 years (at least), while reading and writing words are much more recently acquired skills (and still not universal).  Why is this important?

fred-flintstone-will-be-replaced-on-the-fruity-pebbles-box-by-a-wrestlerOne might argue that with the information age, we’re actually taking a turn back toward our ancestral, purely visual selves.  After all, what draws your eye in your social feed or in a business meeting?  Is it text or images?  Right.  The more visual the information is, the more quickly we can absorb it and move onto the next thing.  We’re moving away from focused study to retrieve information and more toward the laziness (or genius?) of receiving information in blips.
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The von Restorff Effect – Why Project Managers Should Care

Several years ago I presented 3 options for a plan of attack on a large systems integration initiative using OnePager.  My presentation looked something like the below project view. Guess which option was chosen?

Systems Integration Options

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Keep it Simple, Stupid (3/3): Project Progress

In our third and final installment of our KISS series on project reporting, we’ll turn our attention to progress. Whether you call it percent complete, status, or progress, it’s something that’s top-of-mind for every project manager.

Progress reporting on a project works well at a high-level, but often will go too far into the weeds when PMs try to communicate the status of every single item to every single stakeholder. The answer lies in finding the right balance.

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Keep it Simple, Stupid (2/3): Project Date Labels

In this second installment of our KISS series for project reporting, we’ll continue to look at ways to be smart about what you include in a Gantt chart or timeline and what you don’t. This week, our focus turns to dates, which every project manager agrees are a pretty important part of the profession.

How much is too much when it comes to calling out specific dates in a project schedule? Many PMs incorrectly believe that more detail is better when it comes to understanding dates. It’s not. In fact, throwing too many dates at your team or at an executive does nothing more than muddy the waters. Instead of focusing on a few key dates that actually matter, your colleagues get bogged down, lose focus, and ultimately don’t remember which dates are important anyway.

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Keep it Simple, Stupid (1/3): Project Task Labels

In this three-part series, we’ll cover the KISS principle (Keep it Simple, Stupid) as it applies to project reporting. We’ve looked at thousands of timelines and Gantt charts over the years, and can safely say that the most successful project reports are ones that keep it simple by avoiding unnecessary complexity.

Practically speaking, you can reduce complexity by making good use of graphics and color while keeping text to a minimum. How and where you should use text in a project report is more of an art than a science, and in this series, we’ll share what we’ve seen work. Our first installment covers what to do with the names of tasks and milestones themselves.

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Phase-by-Phase Timelines, One Step at a Time

One of our most common requests from new OnePager Pro users is how to create compact, concise, phase-by-phase timelines like this one:

Phase-by-Phase Portfolio Report

Users like this format because it aligns phases sequentially in the same row, instead of staggering them in a waterfall format like a traditional Gantt chart. We’ll walk you through a step-by-step approach to creating reports in this format, starting with a simple Microsoft Project plan:

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Need the Luck of the Irish to Find the Correct SharePoint Path?

Have you ever tried to create a link to a SharePoint folder but can’t figure it out, or received a link to a SharePoint location that just doesn’t work?  Recently we’ve been getting asked how to set up a SharePoint folder as a shared location for OnePager files. Understanding paths will help you avoid these problems in the future, and use both OnePager and SharePoint more effectively.


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What Gantt Charts Have to Do with the Verdi Requiem

Next Tuesday, in my double life as a semi-professional classical baritone, I will be singing the 90-minute Verdi Requiem from memory. So I have been spending a lot of my downtime studying music that looks like this:

Verdi Requiem choral score, first movement, page 2

Free sample from

Naturally, this has got me thinking about project management. So what does a set of lines and dots like my Verdi Requiem choral score have to do with planning and executing large, complex projects?

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