Endpoints: How to not lose track of dates on a timeline

Endpoints are a little-known feature of OnePager that allow you to assign special symbols to different dates in your schedule and have those symbols appear near your main task bar. Endpoints are especially useful if you have several tasks left-to-right in a timeline layout and are worried that the overlap between those tasks will mask the true start and finish dates.

Let’s start with this simple project, which is initially in a Gantt chart layout. You can see that some of the tasks are scheduled back-to-back, but that other tasks are at least partially concurrent:

Gantt chart layouts are ideal for projects like these, because it’s very easy to see exactly when one task starts and another begins.

Let’s suppose that you really want to align all five tasks into a timeline, which is a layout that OnePager also supports. Here, the boundaries of each task become a little less clear. In the example below, I’ve highlighted Task 2 to show that it’s partially obscured by Task 3:

Endpoints will let you show the start and finish dates of each task in the space above or below the bars themselves. To turn on endpoints, go to Home > Project View Properties > Task Bars, and then click on the Endpoint Properties button. Here, you can configure up to four endpoints, mapped to any date field from Microsoft Project:

In the screenshot above, I’ve mapped Endpoint1 to the Start field in Microsoft Project. We’ve chosen a circle as the endpoint shape and have positioned it above the task bar at 50% height. I’ll also map Endpoint2 to the Finish field, but will place it below the bar. This way, all of my start dates are above and my finish dates are below, like this:

If you want, you could even map one symbol to your start dates and a different symbol to your finish dates, but in this case, the above/below distinction is sufficient.

The end result is still a compact timeline layout, but with the start and finish dates staggered above and below the tasks themselves, it’s easy to see where one ends and the other begins.

This entry was posted in OnePager Pro Tips, Project Reporting by Safford. Bookmark the permalink.

About Safford

Safford is a versatile technology professional with a solid history of empowering emerging growth companies in a broad array of industries. His employment history includes energy industry consulting at Quorum Business Solutions, Senior Manager of Business Development and Technical Sales at telecom service aggregator GetConnected, and Vice President of Strategic Partner Management at electronic payment processor IP Commerce. Prior to his tenure as OnePager's COO, Safford was the company's Vice President of Marketing and Alliances. Safford holds a BA in Psychology and management from Rice University.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *