Understanding Charts and Snapshots for OnePager Express for Version 7.0

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About Charts and Snapshots

OnePager charts and snapshots let you create schedule graphs for specific audiences and show them how the project is changing over time. Each chart is a subset of the tasks in a Microsoft Excel source plan that you specified with a Flag field. For each chart, you can import different versions of its schedule to keep track of how those tasks and milestones change over time. You can store each version of the schedule as a separate snapshot and give it a unique snapshot date in the past, present, or future. Each chart saves your presentation colors, row and swimlane assignments, font sizes, titles, and legends so that you do not have to re-edit the graphics every time the project changes.

A simple relationship between a Microsoft Excel source plan (Project A), charts created from that Microsoft Excel source plan using different Flag settings, and snapshots is shown in the figure below:

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Using a Single Microsoft Excel Plan throughout a Project Period

The following discussion, based on the figure above, assumes that you have one Microsoft Excel source plan, with a single plan name (Project A), that is used to manage the project. This one Microsoft Excel source plan is updated periodically, say, from week to week, but saved using the same Microsoft Excel source plan name (Project A) from the beginning of the project to the end. This being the first example scenario, the figure above shows the single Microsoft Excel source plan from which three charts were created using different Flag fields, ShowIT1 for executive views, ShowIT2 for project team view, and ShowIT3 for customer views.

Further, for the ShowIT1 chart there exist three snapshots taken from the Microsoft Excel source plan on 6/1/18, 7/1/18, and 8/2/18, respectively. Each snapshot represents the chart (under the control of ShowIT1 in this case) at each of these three dates during the course of the project. The same dates or different dates are used to create snapshots, in the example, for all three charts associated with Project A. This doesn’t need to be the case because snapshots can be taken at any time for any Flag field available and OnePager retains them, make them available for subsequent viewing, and allow updates as needed.

A chart is a set of tasks and milestones for an intended audience. Usually a chart is associated with a specific Flag field in a specifically named Microsoft Excel source plan. The chart also saves the colors, text positions, font sizes, and row and swimlane assignments of the tasks/milestones, plus the title, legend, header/footer elements, and background colors. This means you never have to re-enter this graphical information when dates change in the project. Making and updating charts is the primary activity that you want OnePager to do!

A snapshot is a how the tasks and milestones in a chart looked on a specific snapshot date (a.k.a. status date or version date). When you import updated schedules from a Microsoft Excel source plan, you must specify a unique snapshot date for the imported data unless you want to replace the data for an existing snapshot. What changes snapshot to snapshot depends on what changed in the Microsoft Excel source plan. Typically snapshots vary because of changes to start and finish dates, baseline start and finish dates, percent complete and milestone completions.

Using Multiple Microsoft Excel Source Plans throughout a Project Period

Another typical project schedule source plan management scenario with Microsoft Excel is to create a Microsoft Excel source plan at the beginning of a project and save the updated source plan with a unique file name after each update/status recording period. Under this scenario charts and snapshots can still be created and maintained as with the first scenario discussed earlier. The following steps correspond with the example in the figure below:

1) Create Microsoft Excel source plan Project A-6/1/2018 with populated Flag fields ShowIT1, ShowIT2, ShowIT2, and save it.
2) Launch OnePager using each of the Flag fields to control the task selection and save the corresponding charts. In the first launch on 6/1/2018 the snapshot dates is set to 6/1/2018.
3) On the next update of the Microsoft Excel source plan, save the updated plan as Project A-7/20/2018.
4) Launch OnePager in UPDATE existing Chart mode selecting the appropriate chart name.
5) Set the snapshot date for the date of the snapshot (e.g., 7/20/2018) and create the snapshot.
6) OnePager stores the snapshot for 7/20/2018 with the named chart.
7) Repeat this process for each of the two remaining Flag field instances.

After three iterations, there are three charts and nine synchronized snapshots available for use in presentations. There are three corresponding Microsoft Excel source plans for the status dates, 6/1/2018 through 8/2/2018.

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Unlike Microsoft Project, Microsoft Excel does not create unique Task IDs. Rather it is up to you to create a Task ID column and populate it with unique Task ID’s so that OnePager Express (OPX) can uniquely identify these rows in future updates. When creating a chart from multiple Microsoft Excel source plans OPX relies on these unique Task ID fields that you provide. Task ID field contents must be unique across the multiple Microsoft Excel source plans you expect to incorporate into a single chart. If the multiple Microsoft Excel source plans do not contain a Task ID field or the contents are not unique, the update process in OPX can lead to unexpected results when you insert or remove rows from any of the Microsoft Excel source plans involved.

The mechanics for establishing and performing either of these two status maintenance scenarios are included at Basic Workflows (Portal) 7.0.1-70 and Creating Various Multi-Charts with OnePager Pro and Express (Portal). 8.0.1-70