Over the next several weeks, we’re going to provide an overview of everything that is new in OnePager 6.1. This week, we’ll start with something that our users have been requesting for quite a while: Data-Driven Task Links.
OnePager has always supported the ability to show relationships between tasks, but we had always shied away from importing a whole pile of links from the project plan, because there was no good way to filter which links to show, and showing all links looks so cluttered.
With OnePager 6.1, we’ve designed a powerful filtering tool so that you can import your tasks directly from the project plan, but so that you also have control over which links should show, and which links shouldn’t.
Importing Links from Project or Excel
To get started with data-driven links, you want to go to Home > Project View Properties > Task Links. For users of Microsoft Project, Project Server, and Project Online, all you need to do is check the Import and Show Links box. After clicking OK, OnePager will go back to your project plan and pull in all of the links it can find.
If you are a OnePager Express user, there are two more steps:
- You need to tell OnePager which field from Excel contains your predecessor information, since Excel doesn’t have a standard place to store this information like Project does; AND
- You need to tell OnePager whether to import predecessors in the Microsoft Project format or in the Primavera P6 format. Users have different ways of representing predecessor information, so OnePager gives you a few different options on the syntax.
Once you’ve clicked OK, OnePager will go back to Project or Excel and import your predecessor data. Now, it’s just a matter of deciding which links you want to show.
Filtering Links Using Rules
The fastest and most accurate way to selectively show and hide links is by creating link filtering rules. These rules are data-driven and dynamic, so once you’ve honed the rules you need, you don’t have to give it much thought as you continue to update your report.
To define link filtering rules, go to Home > Project View Properties > Task Links. Change the Filter Links setting from Show All to Use Rules, and then click the Manage Rules button:
A rules editor will pop up. If you’ve used OnePager’s conditional formatting or custom import tools in the past, this will already be familiar:
The most important setting to pay attention to here is the logic at the top. Rules can be combined with an “AND” or with an “OR”, depending on how you need to filter your dependencies. So, pay attention to the ANY vs. ALL setting.
You can also define whether you want the rule to apply to:
- Either the predecessor task or the successor task (recommended)
- Only the predecessor task
- Only the successor task
- Both the predecessor task and the successor task
Most of the time, you should leave this set to “Predecessor or Successor”, which is the default setting.
In my example, I am showing dependencies where predecessor or successor tasks are assigned to Harrison and are scheduled to finish before the end of 2018. Once you apply these rules, OnePager will apply the filter and will add/remove links as appropriate.
Friendly reassurance: When OnePager removes links, all it’s really doing is hiding them from display in your report. The links aren’t being deleted from OnePager, and nothing at all is being changed in your actual project plan.
Hand-Selecting Which Links to Show
If you prefer to turn links on and off from a list of available dependencies instead of writing rules, or if the rules you’ve written aren’t giving you exactly what you’ve expected, you can further refine your link population manually.
Under Home > Project View Properties > Task Links there is a button called Where Are My Links?. If you’ve ever used OnePager’s “Where’s My Stuff” button to find missing tasks or milestones, it’s a similar concept:
In this screen, you’ll see a list of every dependency in your chart–whether it’s showing or not. By default, the Show box will be turned on or off based on your rules, or based on your decision to show everything.
From here, you can show or hide links simply by toggling the associated checkbox. If you have tons of links and need to narrow them down to something more manageable, there is a search field at the top of the form to help you filter the list before you start checking boxes.
If you ever make a mistake or find that you’ve checked or unchecked too many boxes, you can always click the Use Show/Hide Defaults button, which will revert your link population back to whatever your rules originally included by default.
That’s it for the overview of data-driven links. Our next post will cover a related topic: how to format your links once you’ve brought them in.