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Create Agile Task Boards from Microsoft Project Data

How to create MS Project Agile task boards or roadmaps using OnePager Pro

If your team uses Agile or the Scrum method, you have to keep track of your backlog list. If you keep your backlog list in Microsoft Project, you may have difficulty separating it into different sprints and statuses.

Creating an Agile product roadmap, also known as a task board, is a good way to organize your product backlog list into sprints, and OnePager Pro can create these task boards for you, using the backlog you already have in Microsoft Project. OnePager Pro is a Microsoft Project add-in, so you can launch it directly from Microsoft Project without having to export your data. Here's how to build your Agile product roadmap:

  1. Open your backlog list in Microsoft Project. In the example below, we have organized this list by sprint and then by backlog category (using a text column):

  2. Start by opening your backlog list in Microsoft Project.
  3. Insert a text column into your document (in this example we used the Text 30 column) and rename it "Status", as shown above. Enter the status of each item on your backlog (e.g. locked, funded, prioritized, etc.) into Microsoft Project. Later, we will have OnePager Pro color-code and choose specific shapes for our backlog items based on this column after you've created your OnePager document.
  4. Next we inserted another text column (Text 29) into Microsoft Project and renamed it "Backlog Category". Categorize each backlog item or user story as shown above. This category value will be used to group your backlog into different value streams or areas of ownership, after being pulled into our OnePager document.
  5. If you only want to present a subset of your backlog, you can insert a flag column into Microsoft Project to filter your task board. In this case, we used Flag 20 and placed a "Yes" next to each backlog item, but not next to any of the summary-level Microsoft Project items like the Sprint 1 summary task.
  6. Click the OnePager Pro button, which appears on your Add-Ins tab in Microsoft Project 2010 or 2013, or on your toolbar in Project 2003 or 2007. (If you don't have OnePager Pro, you can download a 15-day free trial.) From the Start screen that pops up, choose New.
    OnePager Pro Start screen.OnePager Pro will give you the opportunity to name your document (we called ours Agile Task Board), which you can do in the Title of New Project View field shown below. Make sure the Flag 20 is chosen as your Task Selection choice if you want to filter a subset of your backlog list. For Snapshot date, you can specify today's date to show that your task board is current as of today:
    OnePager Pro lets you import your backlog list from Microsoft Project and then create an agile roadmap schedule.
  7. Click the Create new project view button. OnePager Pro will import your backlog list from Microsoft Project and begin to create a task board.
  8. After your initial result comes up, we'll want to group and color-code your backlog by the text fields you entered into Microsoft Project. To do this, select the Project-View Properties button and navigate to the Rows/Swimlanes tab:

  9. Color-code your task board by task status, and group your task board by backlog category.
  10. Change the Rows option toward the top of the menu to Collect tasks into rows by to "Text 29" to group your items into a common row, based on the Text 29 values (leave the setting for Collect tasks automatically as this will tell the tool to do its best to avoid overlapping items). Next, in the Swimlanes section select "Text 29" in the dropdown (you'll also see your Show swimlane labels section change to reflect Text 29 as a result...leave that) to have your backlog items visually grouped into fat swimlanes by Text 29 values.
  11. Click on the Task Bars tab and locate the Gantt Bar/Milestone Fill Color section and change the value in "Color-code based on" to "Text 30", as shown below. this will color-code your backlog by the status you gave it in Microsoft Project, and populate the legend in the same way.
    Color-code your task board by task status, and group your task board by backlog category.
  12. In the same tab, click on the Gantt Bar Label Properties button to open the Set Label Properties menu and change the Label position value to Center. This will center the task name over each bar on your task board, as shown below:
    OnePager Pro lets you customize the look and feel of your agile backlog schedule, while staying true to the actual backlog data in Microsoft Project.
  13. Click OK. Now, your task board should look something like this:
    A sample backlog schedule (Agile product roadmap) created in OnePager Pro.
  14. If you'd like to highlight each sprint, go to Insert > Curtain... for each sprint. Give each sprint a name, specify its start and finish dates, and give it a different color if you like. You can also use conditional formatting rules to drive shape, color, border, size, and a few other elements of your Gantt Bars. After doing this, our task board looks like this:
    An Agile task board, grouped by backlog category and color-coded by task status, with each sprint highlighted. Created in OnePager Pro.
  15. That's it! You've now used OnePager Pro to create a task board or agile product roadmap using the backlog list you have in Microsoft Project.

Customizable

If you'd like to customize your OnePager Pro task board before sharing it in a daily standup, it's very easy to do:

  • Use conditional formatting to allow your data to drive coloring, shapes, fills, shape size, and more!
  • Group, sort backlog items by any field in Microsoft Project (resources, phase, etc.).
  • Generate a project legend that makes it easy for your audience to understand your task board.
  • Reposition bars anywhere on the page with a drag and drop interface.
  • Change labels without corrupting your original Microsoft Project file.
  • Customize the time axis to show all or part of a project, and to show any time unit (quarters, fiscal years, etc.)
  • Refresh your project plan with updated dates and backlog item status values or category values any time your Microsoft Project plan changes.

Best of all, OnePager will save you hours of time and frustration every week, and saves you the hassle of updating your roadmap presentation each time your backlog changes.

Get started today by downloading a free trial or attending one of our demonstration webinars.

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