Visualizing Different Project Scenarios or Outcomes in OnePager

I had a customer reach out with a question recently, which is prompting this blog post.

The question was: I have a need to display 3 separate options for us to reach a very particular milestone on our initiative.

In her situation, she had stored each of the 3 options like so, in her Project fields:

  • Option 1 – Baseline Start/Baseline Finish
  • Option 2 – Baseline2 Start/Baseline2 Finish
  • Option 3 – Start/Finish

There are two good ways to solve this. Either a single-page with all 3 options presented, or by using snapshots or multiple project views, with each snapshot or project view having a different option.

Single Page Solution

Before we attempt to design the visual solution let’s look at the ways we can display dates for tasks in OnePager:

Task Bar or Milestone – This is, by default, driven by your Start and Finish dates in your source file, and usually meant to illustrate your “actuals.”

Baseline Markers – This is a marker that goes under your Task Bar or Milestone, usually used to represent whatever your most recent baseline is.

Endpoints and Deadlines – These are milestone shapes only that allow you to display up to 5 dates associated with your task or milestone (must be in the same row in your source file).

All of these shapes are within your control, in terms of what dates in your source files are used to drive their location in the timeline.

To change the mapping of which field from your source file is driving what shape, you can open the Project-View Properties, and navigate to either the Task Bars/Milestones tabs, or the Field Mappings tab, as shown in the below screenshots.

Here is an example of a visual that has all 3 options on a single page:

Snapshots, or Multi-Project View Solution

If you’re not sure what a snapshot is, please watch this video.

Each scenario will occupy a snapshot in your project view, or visual. If you already have the three separate sets of dates, like the customer did, then it will be easier to create a new visual using a new date field, and using copy/paste to get each scenario into that field for each snapshot.

Step 1: I’m going to copy and paste my scenario 1 dates into my Date1 and Date2 fields in Project (or any other column in Excel)

Step 2: I’m going to create a new project view using Date1 for my Start, and Date2 for my Finish. When you get to the OnePager choices form, check the Show field mappings box, and then click Next, which will allow you to change the mapping prior to the visual being drawn. If you forget this step, don’t worry, you can always change the mapping after the chart has been created.

Step 3: Repeat the copy/paste for scenario 2 into Date1 and Date2 fields, then perform an Update -> Create New Snapshot.

Step 4: Repeat again for scenario 3.

What you should end up with are 3 snapshots in your visual each representing one of the scenarios, like the animated gif you see below.

You could just as easily create a New project view for each scenario, using the different fields where you dates reside, and then puts those visuals on different slides.

We’d love to hear what your preferred way would be to handle this situation. Have you solved it using a different method?

This entry was posted in Audiences, Plan Communications, PMO by Jay Leslie. Bookmark the permalink.

About Jay Leslie

Devoted father of two, lover of mountains, entrepreneurism, and beer. Jay carries with him fourteen years of project management experience within the cable, telecom, construction, software development, and energy industries. The spectrum of projects and programs that Jay has managed throughout his career is broad and deep, enabling him to help clients implement Chronicle Graphics software in a multitude of applications. His employment history includes positions at Narvaes Construction, Leslie Brothers Construction, CSG Systems, Echostar Satellite Services, Comcast, and Level 3 Communications.

2 thoughts on “Visualizing Different Project Scenarios or Outcomes in OnePager

  1. Jay, Thanks for sharing several ways to present the scenarios. This will come in handy for our presentation. Keep the tips and tricks coming.

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