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Presenting Multiple Project Timelines in a PPM Environment

How to use OnePager Pro to present multiple project timelines within the project and portfolio management (PPM) discipline

Project Portfolio Management is about aligning multiple projects for better execution, management and success. Schedule representation and presentation is essential if the portfolio of projects is to retain its alignment, properly share resources, and deliver on-time and on-budget successfully.

Presenting multiple project timelines at the same time aids project managers and decision makers throughout the management process and assures that schedules remain coordinated and results delivered. OnePager Pro, an add-in to Microsoft Project, can provide clear, concise, and powerful Gantt chart graphics to assist project managers, team members, stakeholders, and customers understand the schedule relationships and schedule related issues. After reading this article, you can take a free trial of OnePager Pro to try it in your own PPM environment.

This article shows how OnePager can present multiple project timelines in the PPM environment quickly, effectively, and consistently.

Suppose we have three sample projects (shown below) detailed in a Microsoft Project schedule:
Multiple projects linked together in an MS Project integrated master schedule (IMS)

The Microsoft Project integrated master schedule (IMS) above shows some detail in terms of the relationships between projects, but project managers may need to work a little harder to see any specific issues that might be raised to executives.

Let’s bring OnePager Pro in by first selecting the Multi-Project Ribbon Chart template from OnePager Pro's easy import wizard that launches directly from Microsoft Project. Simply hit New from the Start screen, find the Starting Template section, hit the Change... button, then BROWSE..., and find that template in your file system (it comes preloaded with all installations of OnePager Pro). You can specify a snapshot (status date) of the project as well.
OnePager's easy import wizard quickly imports multiple projects from your portfolio.

After quickly finishing the wizard, the following Gantt chart is automatically created by OnePager Pro:
PPM report showing multiple projects on the same page.

OnePager Pro automatically groups the project plan into swimlanes based on the subproject, and then collects sets of tasks into a single row based on the phase of each subproject. Progress of individual tasks is represented by the yellow bars along the bottom of each task. All of this formatting is done automatically based on the data already in Microsoft Project.

As an important addition, color is used to represent the various resource categories (e.g., Team 1, Team 2, etc.) which add a critical information dimension to the chart. The chart can be customized to color-code by another piece of Microsoft Project data if a resource-specific view is not required.

The snapshot, taken on 5/1/2012, shows all project portfolio information on one page, with clear organization, labeling, and status information as of the snapshot date. It's very easy to conduct a focused project meeting when the information is this easy to understand.

If we update any projects in the portfolio in the future, OnePager will retain the report's look and feel from one period to the next. As an example, see the snapshot below taken on 7/1/2012:
Multi-Project Management: Create a PPM report based on data in Microsoft Project, using the OnePager Pro add-in.

Note that the snapshot date and the position of the red time cursor has been updated. The chart’s look and feel has not changed, but several tasks now show a delay, while other tasks have made progress (indicated by the yellow progress bars).

OnePager Pro offers an excellent way to present project portfolio schedules in a multi-project environment without consuming enormous amounts of resources building charts by hand in Visio or PowerPoint. OnePager does it for you in seconds, always showing the schedule accurately, and provides consistency from version to version. It is easy to share a OnePager Pro report in PowerPoint, SharePoint or e-mail with other members of the PMO.

Try it for yourself today by downloading a free trial or attending one of our demonstration webinars.

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