Understanding Project Views and Snapshots for OnePager Express

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About Project Views and Snapshots

OnePager project views and snapshots let you create schedule graphs for specific audiences and show them how the project is changing over time. Each project view is a subset of the tasks in a Microsoft Excel plan that you have specified with a Flag field. For each project view, you can import different versions of its schedule to keep track of how those tasks and milestones change over time. You store each version of the schedule as a separate snapshot and give it a unique snapshot date in the past, present, or future. Each project view 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 plan (Project A), project views created from that Microsoft Excel plan using different Flag settings, and snapshots is shown in the figure below:

X52-4 2-(1)-06082015.png

Using a Single Microsoft Excel Plan throughout a Project Period

The discussion which follows, based on the figure above, assumes that you have one Microsoft Excel plan, with a single plan name (Project A), that is used to manage the project. This one Microsoft Excel plan is updated periodically, say, from week to week, but saved using the same Microsoft Excel 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 plan from which three project views were created using different flag fields, ShowIT1 for executive views, ShowIT2 for project team view, and ShowIT3 for customer views. Further, for the ShowIT1 project view there exist three snapshots taken from the Microsoft Excel plan on 6/1/15, 7/1/15, and 8/2/15, respectively. Each snapshot represents the project view (under the control of ShowIT1 in this case) at each of these three dates during the course of the project. The same dates were used to create snapshots, in the example, for all three project views 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 will retain them,make them available for subsequent viewing, and allow updates as needed

The following statements summarize project views and snapshots and are provided to assist you in understanding how OnePager supports this project management scheduling, control, and reporting scenario:

1) A project view is a set of tasks and milestones for an intended audience.

2) Usually a project view is associated with a specific Flag field in a specifically named Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.

3) The project view 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.

4) Making and updating project views is the main thing that you want OnePager to do!

5) A snapshot is a how the tasks and milestones in a project view looked on a specific snapshot date (a.k.a. status date or version date).

6) When you import updated schedules from a Microsoft Excel plan, you must specify a unique snapshot date for the imported data unless you want to replace the data for an existing snapshot.

7) What changes snapshot to snapshot depends on what changed in the Microsoft Excel 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 Plans throughout a Project Period

Another typical project schedule file management scenario with Microsoft Excel is to create a Microsoft Excel plan at the beginning of a project and save the updated plan with a unique file name after each update/status recording period. Under this scenario project views 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 plan Project A-6/1/2015 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 project views. In the first launch on 6/1/2015 the snapshot dates will be set to 6/1/2015.

3) On the next update of the Microsoft Excel plan, save the updated plan as Project A-7/1/2015.

4) Launch OnePager in UPDATE existing Project View mode selecting the appropriate project view name. Set the snapshot date for the date of the snapshot (e.g., 7/1/2015) and create the snapshot. OnePager will store the snapshot for 7/1/2015 with the named project view. Repeat this process for each of the two remaining Flag field instances.

5) After three iterations, there will be three project views and nine synchronized snapshots available for use in presentations. There will be three corresponding Microsoft Excel plans for the status dates, 6/1/2015 through 8/2/2015.

X52-4 2-(2)-06082015.png

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 project view from multiple Microsoft Excel plans OPX relies on these unique Task ID columns that you provide. Task ID column contents must be unique across the multiple Microsoft Excel plans you expect to incorporate into a single project view. If the multiple Microsoft Excel plans do not contain a Task ID column 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 plans involved.

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