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Project Post-Mortems: Comparing Baseline with Actuals using OnePager Pro

How to show baseline vs. actual dates in a Microsoft Project Gantt chart

At the completion of a project, it is important to conduct a post mortem, a lessons learned exercise, or a review. Comparing your baseline schedule to actual start and finish dates is an important part of this analysis.

Project post mortem: OnePager Pro project chart imported from MS Project showing baseline and actual completion dates for each task.

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Microsoft Project allows users to define baseline start and finish dates for task/milestone. OnePager Pro, an add-in for MS Project, imports these dates for display on a Gantt chart alongside the current dates in your project schedule. This allows you to compare your original project schedule to how it was actually delivered, during or at the completion of your initiative.

You can download a 15-day free trial to see how it works. To visually compare your baseline project plan to your actual dates, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure your Microsoft Project file has baseline start and finish dates established for the tasks you want to present. You can show your baseline start and finish dates in Microsoft Project in addition to your current start and finish dates:
    Baseline and actual dates in Microsoft Project.
  2. Insert a Microsoft Project Flag column to indicate which tasks and milestones you would like to present in your OnePager chart with a 'Yes' value. You can add a Flag column by right clicking into any current column heading and then selecting "Insert Column":
    Flag fields allow you to filter which elements of your MS Project schedule to present in OnePager Pro.
  3. With that accomplished, click on the OnePager Pro button on the Microsoft Project Add-Ins tab or toolbar. From the Start screen that appears, choose New to launch the import wizard. Once the import wizard is up, you'll need to do a few things:
    • First, you need to type in the desired chart name.
    • Set an appropriate snapshot (status) date as this will be the first snapshot for this chart.
    • Make sure that the correct MS Project flag field is selected from the list and corresponds to the flag field you populated in your Microsoft Project file.

    OnePager Pro builds dynamic Gantt charts from MS Project.
  4. Now click on Create new chart and OnePager Pro will create a chart that looks like this:
    Project post mortem: OnePager Pro project chart imported from MS Project showing baseline and actual completion dates for each task. In the OnePager chart above, you can see the baseline markers as small rectangles below the task markers.
  5. OnePager Pro allows you to customize the way your baselines are formatted. Just click on the Chart Properties button from the Home ribbon, then go to the Task Bars tab, and click the Baseline Properties button. From here, you can specify the color and height of your baseline markers, whether you want baseline dates to display, and whether you want the baseline task connected to the actual task. The Baseline Properties menu is shown below:
    Customize the look and feel of the baseline markers on your Gantt chart.

OnePager Pro provides charts that accurately, clearly, and concisely summarize your Microsoft Project schedule. These Gantt charts are easily inserted into Microsoft PowerPoint presentation, Microsoft Word documents, or email messages so that others can share schedule conversations with focused graphics that highlight issues and accomplishments. OnePager also allows you to show different versions of your project schedule over time - another great tool for post-mortems.

OnePager Pro is extremely useful in conducting schedule conversations during a project’s post mortem or lessons learned exercise. Using OnePager Pro will allow you to create dynamic, informative project presentations with the click of a button, and it eliminates the need to rebuild your presentation by hand every time your project schedule changes.

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

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