Using OnePager Pro Snapshots in a “What If” Analysis

In a previous post, we showed how to use multiple MS Project files to visualize three different project scenarios for analysis. In this post, we’ll use the same example, but show you how to represent this “What If” analysis using OnePager Pro’s snapshot capabilities. In this way, you can use just one basic MS Project file, yet create snapshots for easy presentation in one project view.

Again, our project manager has different options to analyze where different sequences of actions could prolong a project’s duration and increase cost.

We’ll use the same example as in the previous post by supposing we want to schedule a drilling rig to drill at three different sites for specified durations. The three destination sites are different distances from the home base where it must return for maintenance after the three drilling operations are completed. Below is the MS Project file for the first option.

Option 1: Visit Site A -> Site B -> Site C -> Home Base:

option1_msp

Now we’ll create our first snapshot with OnePager Pro from the MS Project file above. It will look like this:

option1_pv

Now let’s make the changes necessary to represent the second option. This is done in the same MS Project file by manipulating the predecessor links and making appropriate changes to the task durations to reflect the different routing of the drilling rig between locations. It is important in this process to maintain the SAME task ID numbers assigned by MS Project since OnePager Pro uses these to coordinate tasks from snapshot to snapshot. After making the necessary changes, here is what the next option looks like.

Option 2: Visit Site C -> Site A -> Site B -> Home Base:

option2_msp

Using this MS Project file, launch OnePager Pro in the UPDATE mode with a different snapshot date and you’ll get this project view:

option2_pv

We’ve not moved any of the rows so as to keep the correspondence with the order in the MS Project file. One can see that this option has a longer total project duration than Option 1.

Now using the same process, let’s modify our MS Project file again to reflect Option 3. This is shown below:

Option 3: Visit Site A -> Site C -> Site B -> Home Base:

option3_msp

Again, launching OnePager Pro from this MS Project file and using a third snapshot date we create the snapshot for Option 3 that looks like this:

option3_pv

Once more we’ve preserved the order of rows from the MS Project file and can see that this option is also longer than Option 1 so the first option is the most appropriate option for this project given the three options considered.

Using snapshots to perform this “What If” analysis with Microsoft Project has a couple of advantages. First, you need only keep one MS Project file and, second, there is only one OnePager project view in which the three options are represented. Each snapshot can be individually copied into a MS PowerPoint presentation or e-mailed to your team.

Within OnePager, each snapshot can be seen by using the “View” tab’s forward and back arrows as shown in the illustration below for Option 2:

ribbon

This rather simple example does show that using OnePager Pro’s snapshot feature is effective and efficient way to show different project options and portray various scheduling “What If” scenarios.

This entry was posted in Best Practices, Gantt Art, Project Reporting, Project Visualization by Bob Feingold. Bookmark the permalink.

About Bob Feingold

Bob is a seasoned technology and project management executive. As an Air Force Officer (Colonel) from 1965 through 1991, he served in a number of executive leadership, computer system development, and program management roles. After retirement, he joined Robbins-Gioia, Inc. as a Regional Vice President and Program Management Consultant. He then moved to state government, where he held numerous influential positions, culminating in his service as Chief Information Officer for the State of Colorado under Governor Bill Owens. Bob has a doctorate degree in Operations Research and an MBA from Indiana University, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami.

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