The trouble with project plans is, they change. And when project plans change, project managers have to communicate those changes to management, their team, and other stakeholders. Chronicle Graphics estimates the average project manager spends about 4 hours a week updating PowerPoint slides that show project status – mostly by sliding task bars around by hand. OnePager knocks that time investment down to about 60 seconds. If you’ve already created a Gantt chart for your project and saved it in OnePager, as soon as you’ve made task-level changes in your MS Project or Excel file, the software’s patented snapshot capability allows you to load those changes into the pre-existing Gantt chart in five mouseclicks. And you can seamlessly toggle between different snapshots, allowing you to see how the Gantt chart changed between time X and time Y.
A pretty Gantt chart means nothing if the underlying data is not accurate. OnePager is designed to ensure that the task bars and milestones visually displayed are synced to your actual data in MS Project or Excel. In OnePager, you can move task bars/milestones up and down, but not from side to side. That means that start and end dates cannot change unless you go back to Project/Excel and change them there (see Snapshots). I’m told that OnePager customers love that they cannot “mess up” their Project/Excel file by making changes to a visualization of their project in an add-in. I, too, found that to be the case for me.
Ease of Editing
Even the smartest automatic chart-making software cannot always get all the little details right. Presenting project charts to stakeholders involves a lot of “feel” as to what the audience needs to see and wants to see. So the OnePager creators have designed the software to look and feel “PowerPoint-like” in its user experience. Visual elements can be dragged and dropped, just like in PowerPoint, and elements can also be right-clicked to change formatting (colors, fonts, etc.). OnePager offers the best of both worlds: a PowerPoint-like user experience, and integrity with your actual task data in Project/Excel.
Many project managers put swimlanes on their Gantt charts to sort their data in a way that makes sense to their audience. For example, you might sort your task bars into swimlanes by phase, department, risk, resources, or (in a multi-project Gantt chart) by project. Unfortunately, creating swimlane diagrams in MS Project or Excel is difficult and time-consuming. OnePager provides a solution: the built-in editor allows you to quickly sort and re-sort your tasks and milestones into swimlanes of your choosing. You can sort by any data field present in your Project/Excel file, and change the sorting rule in five mouseclicks.
Let’s say you want every task that is less than 10% complete to be colored red, to ensure those tasks get extra attention at your meeting. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a faster way to do this than individually coloring each task bar red in PowerPoint? With OnePager, I found that there is! The software offers a conditional formatting tool that lets you set up any logical rule you would like (i.e. “if Percent Complete < 10, color = red”). And you can set up multiple conditional formatting rules within the same OnePager document.
Ready to try it out?
If you like what you’ve read here and you think you’re ready to take my advice and try it out based on these five findings, then I recommend going all three of these routes: