Creating a Gantt Chart History from Microsoft Project using OnePager Pro

How to track the history of your MS Project plan

Microsoft Project is terrific for planning, monitoring, and analyzing a project over its history. However, using one Microsoft Project schedule often makes it difficult to go back and see what has changed. OnePager Pro allows you to create and maintain a history of your project in Gantt chart form using data from the Microsoft Project file you are maintaining for your project.

With OnePager Pro, your project’s Gantt chart history is at your fingertips. If you don’t already have OnePager Pro, you can download a 15-day free trial to see how it works.

  1. Let’s take a look at a simple schedule in Microsoft Project and illustrate how your Gantt chart history can be created, updated, and used during the course of a project. For simplicity, the project we’ll look at is only 15 tasks:
    Microsoft Project plan. Although this is a simple schedule, we’ve added a couple of columns to make it a bit more interesting: “Flag20” used to tell OnePager Pro which tasks to import, “Text30” for the “Phase” column to represent the Phase the task is in and the “Resource Name” column to show the assigned resource. We’ll use these columns to make the OnePager Pro project view more informative.
  2. Next, we’ll create the first OnePager Pro project view by double-clicking the OnePager Pro icon on our desktop. From the Start screen that appears, we’ll choose New. Then, we'll choose our Microsoft Project plan as the source file for our OnePager Gantt chart. We’ll be using a standard OnePager Pro template to create this first project view as of 6/1/2010 which is shown below:
    Gantt chart of a Microsoft Project plan as of 6/1/2010, summarized in OnePager Pro Notice the dotted blue vertical line on the Gantt chart. This is your time cursor, which indicates the current status date of your project. Also, notice that as of 6/1/2010, the baseline dates (in gray) are the same as the actual start and finish dates. This will change as the project progresses.
  3. Now suppose the project proceeds, and we look at it one month later at 7/1/2010. We see what’s progressed by looking at the snapshot of this project at 7/1/2010 below:
    Gantt chart of a Microsoft Project plan as of 7/1/2010, summarized in OnePager Pro In the snapshot taken on 7/1/2011, above, we see that Task 7 has slipped a little. We also see the percent complete markers (yellow bars) for the tasks that either finished in the past or are currently in progress.
  4. Repeat this process each month, updating status into the Microsoft Project file, and taking a snapshot of the project with OnePager Pro. As you do, you are creating a Gantt chart history of the project as you go. And, as we see in the snapshot taken on 8/1/2010, each snapshot has a consistent look and feel from month-to-month, which helps in schedule conversations:
    Gantt chart of a Microsoft Project plan as of 8/1/2010, summarized in OnePager Pro In the snapshot taken 8/1/2010 (above), the project is making progress but is still a little behind.
  5. Now let’s look at a snapshot at the end of the project on 9/15/2010 after the project finished:
    Gantt chart of a Microsoft Project plan as of 9/15/2010, summarized in OnePager Pro

In this project-end snapshot on 9/15/2010, we see that the project has caught up and completed on schedule.

OnePager Pro saves the snapshots taken each month and allows you to refer back to them and include them in your schedule status presentations by simply copying and pasting them into your project’s PowerPoint status presentation. In addition, OnePager Pro allows you to browse back and forth between snapshots for easy comparison between one month and another.

This article discussed how OnePager Pro can help you create and maintain historical Gantt charts from your MS Project plan for a continuous look at how your project schedule has changed throughout the course of your project.

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