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Gantt Chart History with Change Tracking

How to create versioned Gantt charts of a Microsoft Project plan using OnePager Pro

OnePager Pro provides an excellent tool to use to create and maintain a Gantt chart history. The purpose of this article is to show you how to track changes to your project and how to share those changes with your leadership or other stakeholders.

Updated version of a Gantt chart created in OnePager Pro.

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To start, you need to create a Microsoft Project file representing your project that will be used throughout the project’s lifecycle to maintain an up-to-date status. If you don’t already have OnePager Pro, you can download a 15-day free trial to see how it works.

Just follow these steps and we will show you how to create the initial chart in OnePager Pro and how to create periodic snapshots over the course of your project:

  1. After you’ve created your Microsoft Project file, make sure that you’ve inserted a flag field which will control what OnePager Pro brings in to make your chart and periodic snapshots. The figure below shows the Microsoft Project file with “Flag20” used for this purpose:

    Microsoft Project plan. OnePager Pro is a timeline tool for Microsoft Project.

    The “Flag20” rows with a “Yes” tell OnePager Pro to import the Microsoft Project data and to represent that data in the Gantt chart.

  2. Now just double-click the OnePager Pro icon on your desktop. From the Start screen, choose New. Choose your Microsoft Project plan as the source file for your OnePager Gantt chart. Give your Gantt chart a name, and specify a status/snapshot date as shown below:

    Specify the initial version of your Gantt chart.

  3. Now, click the Create new chart button, and OnePager will create the chart shown below:

    Initial time-sensitive versioned snapshot of a Gantt chart.

    Note the dashed red line on the Gantt chart that corresponds to the snapshot date. This is an easy way to illustrate the current status date of your project plan.

  4. Save your chart by clicking the blue disk icon at the top left of the screen.

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Updating Your Gantt Chart

Down the line, after you’ve updated your Microsoft Project file with the latest status of your project, you can create the next snapshot of the project with OnePager.

  1. Re-launch OnePager from your desktop again. From the Start screen, click on Update, select your previous chart, and choose the New Snapshot to refresh it as of a different date:

    Specify the updated version of your Gantt chart.

  2. Click the New button to add the second snapshot to your chart. Once the chart has been updated, go to Home > Chart Properties > Field Mappings. Map the Baseline start to Previous Snapshot Start, and then map the Baseline finish to Previous Snapshot Finish:

    Map your baselines to the previous version of your project.

    Even though the project is not officially baselined in Microsoft Project itself, OnePager can look back at the previous version of your project and use those dates as the baseline.

  3. Click OK, and OnePager will update your Gantt chart. The current versions of each task are on top, while the original "baselines" of those same tasks are underneath. This makes it easy to see which tasks have changed since your last update:

    Updated version of a Gantt chart created in OnePager Pro.

Note how the project has changed over time. The time cursor has moved, the percent complete (yellow bars) have been updated, and several start and finish dates for the "Testing" and "Launch" tasks from "Project B" have changed as well. These changes have been refreshed on the Gantt chart based on modifications made to the underlying Microsoft Project plan. Assuming that you’ve been making snapshots with OnePager Pro throughout the project periodically, OnePager Pro will store these snapshots so that you will have a complete Gantt chart history of your project from start to finish.

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Tracking Changes to the Project

Another way to easily track changes to your project is to use OnePager's conditional formatting to automatically highlight any tasks that have changed since the last update. To do this:

  1. Go to Home > Chart Properties > Task Bars and click on the Manage Rules button to launch conditional formatting:

    Launch conditional formatting to track changes to your project plan in the Gantt chart.

  2. In conditional formatting, we can set up a rule that finds tasks where the finish date has changed since the last snapshot. For any tasks where that change has taken place, OnePager will change their color from blue to red:

    Turn tasks red in the Gantt chart when the finish date has changed.

  3. Click OK twice, and OnePager will update the Gantt chart, highlighting all tasks with a different finish date in red:

    Gantt chart with red tasks indicating a change to the finish date of certain tasks.

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Navigating Between Snapshots

Now, let’s say that you want to present your project and discuss its changes with your leadership. OnePager lets you easily navigate between the different snapshots in your chart so that you can compare the current version of your project to previous versions. Here's how:

  1. On the View tab of the OnePager toolbar, there are two buttons that allow you to rewind to a previous snapshot or fast-forward to a more current snapshot:

    Navigate between different versions of a Gantt chart, or browse Gantt chart versions.

  2. Click on the Previous button to return to the original version of your Gantt chart:

    Return to the original version of your project Gantt chart.

    In this version, all of the tasks are blue because none of the changes to the project have taken place yet.

  3. Click on the Next button to jump to the latest version of your project:

    Fast forward to the latest version of your project Gantt chart.

    In this version, we see the red color indicating tasks that have changed. We can also see the baseline bars that compare the dates of the original snapshot to the current snapshot.

OnePager Pro lets you create, maintain, and track changes to historical Gantt charts over the life of your project. OnePager Pro’s unique snapshot capability allows you to keep consistently-formatted and useful information for project sponsors, leaders, team members and customers.

Get started today by downloading a free trial.

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