Display Certainty In Your Plan by Using Conditional Formatting

I often have users ask me how I would display a level of certainty around a particular milestone or task.

The need exists because the initiative spans many years, and therefore, items in the plan set to begin, or complete, in the near future are fairly certain in terms of their target dates.  However, items further out on the timeline need to be interpreted as loose estimates.

This is actually very easily accomplished in OnePager, as long as you have a column with a value that indicates the various levels of certainty you want to communicate.

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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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Using Microsoft Project Flag Fields with OnePager Pro’s Conditional Formatting Rules

Conditional formatting was introduced in OnePager Pro version 5.0. This feature lets you tailor your project views and snapshots based on rules that control the shape, color, borders, fonts, and height of tasks and milestones. OnePager Pro’s conditional formatting rules work with Microsoft Project text, number, and date fields, in addition to flag fields (Yes/No).

As an example, suppose we have the Microsoft Project plan shown below which consists of three phases and four teams.

In the example, Flag1 is “Team Available” and will eventually be used to distinguish tasks in the OnePager Pro chart. For starters, though, we’ll create a view without conditional formatting to produce something like this:

Now, suppose you want to change the color of tasks to green when a team is available. You can create this conditional formatting rule by going to Project View Properties->Task Bars->Manage Rules:

When the conditional formatting rules are in place and the project view is created, it will look like this:

Notice that the legend now shows a green entry, indicating that Flag 1 is true. We’ve adjusted the verbiage to make it more meaningful.

That’s it! No more changing colors by hand to show something that you’re already tracking in Microsoft Project. OnePager Pro’s conditional formatting rules are the most powerful way to build meaningful project reports and timelines without the fuss.