Filtering your Task Links (1/3): Critical Path

We will be doing a three-part blog series that explores smart ways to filter your task links in a OnePager chart. This first article will discuss how to display dependencies for only the tasks that are on the critical path. We will use the Microsoft Project example below, where Site 1 and all of its subtasks are on the critical path, and all of the tasks underneath Site 2 are non-critical:

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Multiple Values in Conditional Formatting

In my view, among the many great features of OnePager, none beat Conditional Formatting. With Conditional Formatting, you can create rules to change the color, shape, fill, and other properties of tasks and milestones based on specific rules that you set. However, what happens when you have multiple values to which you need the same rule to apply? You could create a bunch of separate rules, but that’s a lot of work. In this article, we will go over how you can create a conditional formatting rule that tests for multiple conditions at once.

Imagine with me, if you will, that you have a schedule with individual resources assigned to different tasks. Each resource is part of a specific team in your organization, and you would like to be able to color tasks based on the team that the people belong to, not based on their individual names.

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Color-Coding by a Custom Status field in Microsoft Project

Many of you already use OnePager’s conditional formatting to automatically assign colors to your charts based on Microsoft Project’s Status field. But what if you need status calculated differently than how Microsoft Project does it out of the box?

In this article, I’ll show you how to create your own custom status field in Microsoft Project, and then bring that into OnePager to drive the color-coding of your timeline.

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Removing Inactive Tasks from your OnePager Gantt Chart

Did you know that OnePager can automatically remove inactive tasks from your report, even if you still have them flagged for import in Microsoft Project?

Let’s start with a simple Microsoft Project schedule. Notice that all five tasks are active, and all five tasks have “Flag 20” set to “Yes”:

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Displaying Risk in OnePager – Heatmaps

It’s not very often that you might need to look at your entire plan to pick out some sort of pattern. Analyzing our project data is usually not as simple as that.

However, when you’re looking to evaluate the timing of your risk and exposure to outside forces, it becomes important to step back and view the entire project.

In Stephen Few’s book Now You See It: Simple Visualization Techniques for Quantitative Analysis, the chapter on Time-Series Analysis and Heatmaps is very relevant to this specific data visualization in OnePager.

Heatmaps, according to Few, are “any display that uses color to encode quantitative values.” Below is an example of a traditional heatmap.

Election Results

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MPUG: Consider Bringing a Portfolio to Your Next PM Job Interview

Our friends at MPUG have published my article on why project managers should create a portfolio of past projects when applying for a new PM job, instead of just the traditional resume:

Consider Bringing a Portfolio to Your Next PM Job Interview

Create a portfolio of past projects when applying for your next PM job.

In the article, I cover how to select which projects to include, and how to go about the mechanics of creating a portfolio of projects that will resonate with prospective employers. The article also includes a sample portfolio of projects to provide an illustration of what employers might be looking for.

If you’re not already an MPUG member or don’t receive their newsletter, it’s worth signing up. MPUG provides great content for the project management community, especially for those of us who spend a lot of time working with Microsoft Project.

Animated Gantt Charts

In last week’s post on project cost tracking, we happened to use an animated GIF of a OnePager Gantt chart to illustrate how project costs changed over time. Since then, several customers have reached out asking how to do the same thing.

These animated .gif files can be inserted into a SharePoint Image Web Part, PowerPoint documents, and other office documents, to be included in your reporting.

This week’s post will show you step-by-step instructions on how to animate your OnePager Gantt chart, like this:

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Exploratory vs. Explanatory Visuals in Planning

I love this topic because it elicits a higher level of thought around designing the data visualizations we need in planning, in a way that my simple mind can consume.

In her book “Storytelling with Data,” Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic points out very early on that there are really two kinds of data visualizations: exploratory and explanatory. Exploratory visuals are created to help us figure out what the important things are within the data…they have an analytical purpose. Explanatory visuals are meant only to show us the important things…there should be little to no intended analytical value. Continue reading