Merging the Wrong Tasks into a Chart for Version 7.1 - OnePager Express
- 1 About Merging the Wrong Tasks into a Chart
- 2 Warn of merging tasks
- 2.1 About Merging Tasks
- 2.2 Warning Message Form
- 2.3 Continuing to Import Regardless of Extra or Missing Tasks
- 2.4 Using the See Extra and Missing Tasks Form
- 2.5 Notes
- 3 Related Links
- 4 OnePager Blog Posts
About Merging the Wrong Tasks into a Chart
OnePager Express (OPX) can consistently create snapshots from period to period with updated information from a Microsoft Excel source plan. The tasks that are imported to OnePager in UPDATE mode should be the same set of tasks with, perhaps, some added or removed as the project moves toward completion.
This article is applicable where Microsoft Excel source plans are access using OnePager Bundle Add-in or Standalone features.
Adding a Task ID Field to Your Microsoft Excel Source Plan
OnePager Express tracks tasks from snapshot to snapshot though the Microsoft Excel Task ID field in the source plan. There is no such field intrinsically provided by Microsoft Excel so we strongly recommend that you add a column to your Microsoft Excel source plans that fulfills this purpose typically as the first source plan column as shown below:
In the illustration above, a Task ID column is added to the Microsoft Excel source plan and becomes included in the .xls file. The Task ID field and its associated values are:
- Automatically imported by OnePager Express with other task related data.
- Used by OnePager Express to match tasks from one snapshot with Updated source plan data imported to either replace the snapshot or to add a snapshot consistent with previous snapshots.
- Recognized by OnePager Express as the Unique id that is displayed in the second page of the OnePager choices (OPC) form for the source plan as shown below:
- The imported Unique id is also displayed in the Chart Properties form's Field Mappings tab for your convenience but disabled as shown here:
Finally, OnePager Express distributed Templates assume that your Unique id is going to be specified in your Microsoft Excel source plan as Task ID and the Template form's Field Mappings tab is set up with Task ID as the default setting. You have to option to change the setting of the Unique id field as shown below:
For more information pertaining to Unique id, its significance in Microsoft Project and Microsoft Excel source plans, and their role within OnePager Express, please see the article at: OnePager Blog Posts provided in the related links section at the end of this article.
Setting Your Warning Thresholds
Sometimes you can make the mistake of accidentally updating a chart with tasks from the wrong Microsoft Excel source plan. Or with the wrong set of tasks from the right Microsoft Excel source plan if you are making several charts from the same Microsoft Excel source plan using several different Flag fields. When any of these situations arise, OnePager detects them by using the Unique id field from the source plan to determine if additional tasks are being imported or if tasks are missing from the imported source plan supporting the update. Additional or missing tasks can cause the chart to suddenly appear messed up because it now displays many added new tasks that reside in many new rows and swimlanes. Even the earlier snapshots are affected by these new rows and swimlanes.
A similar messed up chart can result from missing tasks as well. When this happens, the best idea is to immediately press the Undo button above the OnePager ribbon. This action immediately restores the chart to how it was before all the unfamiliar tasks were merged. Or you can simply close the messed up chart without saving it. When you reopen it, the erroneous update is gone.
To avoid this problem in the first place, OnePager can warn you before the wrong tasks are imported into the chart. To receive this warning, there is a checkbox in the Chart Properties form's Advanced tab that when checked On assures that the Warning message shown below is displayed. The Chart Properties form's Advanced tab with the Set warning thresholds form is shown here:
The settings in the Set warning thresholds form are expressed in terms of percentage of extra tasks added and tasks that are missing. If, during a merge operation these thresholds are exceeded, the warning message is displayed. You also have the option to set the warning thresholds in the Template form's Advanced tab. The article links below provide more information on these topics:
|Template Properties Form's Advanced Template Tab|
|Advanced Tab for OnePager - Warn Of Merging Tasks|
Warn of merging tasks
About Merging Tasks
Setting Warning Thresholds
The Advanced tab of the Chart Properties form has a checkbox titled Warn of merging tasks as shown in the previous section. This checkbox is accompanied by the Warning options button to the right. When this checkbox is checked On, the button is active and when the Warning options button is clicked it accesses the Set warning thresholds form where you can set the percentage of extra and missing tasks necessary to provide you with the warning message discussed below.
Extra tasks are tasks that are present in the imported source plan but are not present in the current chart. Missing tasks are tasks that are present in the current chart but are not present in the imported source plan. Setting these percentages to 100% has the impact of turning the fixes and warnings off. Setting the percentages to 0% provides an assurance that any extra or missing tasks triggers the fixes and warnings feature.
When Merging Tasks Exceed the Thresholds
When the Warn on merging tasks checkbox is checked On and your workflow involves merging tasks, OnePager looks to see if extra tasks are being imported or if missing tasks are not being imported when updating a snapshot. After making the calculation, OnePager shows a Warning form asking if you want to proceed with the update, cancel the update, or try to fix tasks that have been misidentified.
Warning Message Form
The Warning message also gives you access to the See Extra and Missing Tasks form, shown below, so you can actually see the extra and missing tasks and make a fix, if possible. OnePager is configured to issue the warning shown below if either of the thresholds in the Set warning thresholds form are exceeded. In this example, the threshold is exceeded because either 67% of the imported tasks are extra or 67% of the existing tasks are missing:
At this point you have three (3) options:
Click the Continue import button to proceed with the import. By doing so you are accepting the differences between the current chart and the imported data that are about to update the chart. This can lead to both new rows and blank rows in the snapshot.
See and Fix It
Click the See and fix it button to take a look at the specific extra and missing tasks before deciding to whether to continue or not. You can sometimes also fix the issue if you notice that an extra task is actually a missing task in disguise. In that case, you can tell OnePager to map a missing task to the extra task. These actions are explained in the See Extra and Missing Tasks form discussed below.
As the final option, you can click the Cancel import button to close the OnePager message form above and stop the import process.
Continuing to Import Regardless of Extra or Missing Tasks
Clicking the Continue import button tells OnePager to proceed with the import and disregard any differences between the set of current tasks in the chart and the set of selected tasks in the source plan being imported. At the end of the import operation, you have an updated snapshot that was either added to the snapshot list or replaced. You can expect to see some new rows containing the extra tasks and some empty rows corresponding to the missing tasks. The latter can be automatically hidden if you have chosen the option Hide newly-empty rows on import on the Advanced tab page of the Chart Properties form.
For more information on hiding row, please see section in the article at: Row hiding options
Using the See Extra and Missing Tasks Form
Clicking the See and fix it button in the message form accesses the See Extra and Missing Tasks form that lists the extra and missing tasks in two grids as shown below. Usually a missing task is just an existing task in the chart that is not in the current import set because you decided you did not want to Flag it for import. Likewise, an extra task is usually just a task in the import set that you did not Flag previously but now want to include in the updated chart. In these cases, there’s nothing to worry about, and you can safely ignore the rest of the discussion below.
Wrong Source Plan or Wrong Flag Field
There’s also the case in which you have accidentally started an update using the wrong source plan or the wrong Flag field. To continue can give you a big, unpleasant surprise! There can be lots of tasks that lost all of their formatting. If the See Extra and Missing Tasks form shows lots of extra and missing tasks that don’t seem to belong together in the same chart, you probably need to cancel the update so that you can go back and choose the correct tasks to perform the update correctly.
Mapping Extra Tasks to Missing Tasks
However, there are cases in which an extra task is actually a missing task that is misidentified because its ID has changed in the source plan between when the chart was first created and the current moment when source plan data are being used to make the update. When this happens, you are able to recognize the missing task that is really just the extra task with a different ID. In this situation, you almost always want the extra task to inherit all the properties of the missing task so that it retains the right formatting (i.e., color, shape, row assignment, and so on). You can do this by mapping these two tasks to each other. If you see an extra task and then find a missing task that you recognize to be the same task but with a different ID, use the Map button in the form below to map the extra task to its corresponding missing task.
The form above has two grids (Extra Tasks and Missing Tasks), each of which has four columns. The left-most column contains the row cells for selecting a grid row. The ID column contains the unique identifier for the extra or missing tasks. The Task name column contains the task's name. The right-most column displays check marks for both members of a mapped pair. When the vertical scroll bar is present in the form it means there are more entries in the grid than displayed in the form's Extra or Missing Tasks window. For convenience, clicking the column headers for the ID and Task name columns reverses the sort sequence for the column and it's associated grid rows. To map an extra task to the missing task that goes with it, follow these steps:
- 1) Use your mouse to select one task from the Extra Tasks grid row by clicking the extra task’s selection cell.
- 2) Then go to the Missing Tasks grid row and click the selection cell of the missing task that goes with extra task.
- 3) Once two rows are selected, the Map button is enabled. Click the Map button to map the two tasks to each other.
Notice that check marks now appear in the Mapped column for both grid rows. Also notice that the name of the button changes from Map to Unmap, indicating that you can change your mind and remove the mapping you just created. You can repeat the procedure above as many times as needed provided there are pairs of tasks available in the Extra Tasks grid rows and Missing Tasks grid rows. After matching a pair and clicking the Map button, when you select the second task in the next pair notice that the button labeled Unmap is relabeled to Map thus enabling the mapping function once more. To review all your mappings, select any mapped task in either grid. Notice that its paired task in the other grid is automatically selected and that the Unmap button is now enabled. This lets you see what is mapped to what and to remove mappings that should not be there.
When you are satisfied with all the mappings between extra and missing tasks, associated missing tasks, click the Done button to confirm and go back to the Warning message form where the process started. When you finished this matching process and returned to the Warning message form, click one of the three buttons as described below:
- Clicking the Continue import button tells OnePager to proceed with the remaining import process and use any matched missing and extra tasks/milestones to preserve formatting.
- Clicking the Cancel import button stops the import process and returns you to where you started the update process (i.e. chart or Start form).
- Clicking the See and Fix It button takes you back to the See Extra and Missing Tasks form so that you can review, add, or remove mappings.
During any import and update operation, OnePager can find extra tasks and no missing tasks. Or it can find missing tasks and no extra tasks. In these situations, the Warning message is still displayed and the option to click the See and fix it button is still available. However, there is no way to fix anything because one of grids in the See Extra and Missing Tasks form is empty. When you view the See Extra and Missing Tasks form in such situations, it shows you the extra or missing tasks, but it does not instruct you to map anything. In this case, the form is for informational purposes only.
OnePager Blog Posts