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

You can set this up in either Microsoft Project or Excel, but we’ll use Project in this example. Each task in our simple project plan is scheduled on the same day, but at different times, and each for pretty short duration:

hourly-gantt-chart1

When we first build a OnePager chart, the five items come in, but we’re showing too much duration overall, so they’re very compressed:

too-long

To change this, we’ll first go to Home > Project View Properties > Advanced, check the Format with Times box, and click Apply. This will tell OnePager to operate in time mode instead of date mode. Then, we can flip over to Project View Properties > Main and reduce the overall duration of the Gantt chart to just a few hours–all on the same day:

start-finish-times

Next, we can right-click on the time axis and change it to show hours instead of days:

time-axis-hours

This gets us closer to an hourly Gantt chart, but we still have to contend with Project and OnePager treating the tasks as milestones because they are less than a day:

hourly-milestones

If you want OnePager to show the entire duration of each task instead of rounding things off to a milestone, go to Home > Project View Properties > Advanced and set the Task/Milestone Threshold to zero days:

task-milestone-threshold

This means that any task, no matter how short, will always show up as a task in OnePager:

hourly-tasks

We’re almost there. For added precision, our next step is to show the exact start/finish times as text. To do this, go to Home > Project View Properties > Task Bars and check the Date Label Properties button. We’ll put the start time on the left and the finish time on the right. We’ll format with times only, since showing the same date on each task is overkill:

time-labels

Click OK one final time, and you’ll get hourly Gantt chart that you need:

hourly-gantt-final

If this setup works for you, why don’t you create a template so that you can have a starting point for your hourly Gantt charts going forward? To do this, go to Home > Copy to Template and save your OnePager template file somewhere safe. You might even call it “Hourly Gantt Chart Template” so that you can find it later. This template will then work with ANY future project plan where you need to show details down to the hour or to the minute.

This entry was posted in OnePager Express Tips, OnePager Pro Tips, Plan Communications, Project Reporting, Project Visualization by Safford Black. Bookmark the permalink.

About Safford Black

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 *