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Building a PowerPoint Schedule from Microsoft Project using OnePager Pro

How to create a schedule story in PowerPoint for Microsoft Project plans

Christiane McDaniel, Senior Program Manager

Projects encounter changes, get updated, have problems, achieve milestones, succeed, and sometimes fail. I’ve been a project manager for years and all these have happened to me from time to time. I’ve succeeded because I could tell the story of what’s happening effectively, clearly, and convincingly to teammates, executives, and our customers. And, I have to tell you, being a OnePager Pro user, this software has come to my aid numerous times.

Here’s an example: My project has been ongoing for a couple of months when we were given a budget reduction and I needed to show the impact of that change. I used my Microsoft Project schedule and OnePager to tell the story with PowerPoint in two slides. Forgive me but I can’t illustrate this with the actual project so I’ll show the steps with one that isn’t sensitive.

As I mentioned, I’m a Microsoft Project and OnePager Pro user; have been for years. I needed to show the impact of the budget cut on the schedule so I planned to have two slides to illustrate how the project would look with the current budget and what the schedule would become with the budget cut. To show this effectively, it was necessary to focus on just the impacts of the budget cut but still retain the look and feel of the schedule Gantt charts that have been used to show the projects progress timeline from the start. OnePager helped me a bunch with this.

Here’s the Microsoft Project schedule.
Microsoft Project schedule

Yes, three projects with lots of complexity in the details. With the proposed budget cuts, Phases III of Project B and Phase II of Project A would slip. These would impact Phase III of Project C.

To show this adequately, I needed to first show the “baseline” or how the project is currently planned. I did this by creating a view of the project with OnePager Pro that looks like the graphic Gantt chart timeline below:
Comparison of three projects in a presentation-ready view created in OnePager Pro, an MS Project add-in

OnePager Pro let me do a couple of things to draw the proper attention to the issue: (1) place red line links between the important tasks that would be impacted by the budget cut and (2) place comments in strategic places to explain what was happening. Even with a complex project like this one, the Gantt chart timeline view is uncluttered, coordinated with color to show resource allocations, and organized into projects, phases, and tasks in an easy to see fashion.

With this “baseline” view available, I only needed to update my Microsoft Project schedule to show the slip caused by the budget cuts. Once that was done, I only needed to hit the “OnePager Pro” button on the Microsoft Project Ribbon to get a consistent Gantt chart timeline view of the impact of the slip in this “What if” view of the future. And here it is:
What if view of budget cut impacts in OnePager Pro project presentation software

After I completed the budget cut impact analysis with Microsoft Project and used OnePager Pro to produce the resulting schedule Gantt timeline chart, all I needed to do was to copy and paste them into my PowerPoint presentation and shown below:
OnePager project view copied to PowerPoint slide

Now here’s the lesson or the take-a-way from this: OnePager Pro did all the graphics work for me leaving me to use my available time to focus on the impact analysis of the budget cut. I knew that the graphics of the Gantt chart before and after the budget impact would be stunning and convey to management the story I wanted and needed to tell. OnePager Pro made this possible, saved me a lot of time and energy, and produced a result that communicated to my team, my boss, and to the customer.

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