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Adding, Editing, and Scheduling Projects

This article highlights the basic initial functions for adding and editing projects.

Add Projects 

Select Projects>Data and click the + sign

Select a Project Organization Breakdown Structure (OBS) from the drop-down list, e.g. “Portfolio 1\Products” and enter/add a Project Name, e.g. “Puerto Rico,” as in the diagram below.

Note: For information on adding and/or maintaining a project OBS, please note that this is currently only able to be performed in our ResourceFirst Portfolio Desktop solution, and is outlined in the article, Maintaining the Project and Resource Organizational Breakdown Structures. For more on the Portfolio Desktop application, visit the Portfolio Desktop section on this site from the home page. 

Select + Add to add the new project.

Note, if you're not authorized to add projects directly, you would select Initiate to submit it as a project initiation request

(which will appear in the Initiation tab under the Projects center). For more on this, see "Initiate Project and Add to the Initiation Form" below.

Once the project is added to the Data tab, select/click the Save icon (to the right) to save the update.

Edit the project and add additional information to the project 

To edit project information in the Project Data tab, select the project record, and click on the cell you want to edit. The grid will automatically change the input control to match the data required for the field (text, list, and date).

Note: You can also click on a project and update information via the Project Info tab. For more information on the Project Workspace (which is the page that opens when you click on a project), or on editing project information, see the article Managing Projects in ResourceFirst.

You can edit multiple records, before saving your changes to the database (using the Save button). Each edited field will have a small red marker on it to indicate a change.

 

Note: Unit Priority is an important field. It sets the project's priority, which the system uses in Effort Forecasting when determining which projects a resource should be allocated to in sequence. Once a resource's capacity is consumed, the remainder of their assignment is declared "shortfall."

For example, if a resource is assigned to two projects at the same time, but only has capacity for one, the higher priority project assignment (i.e., lower priority number) will be designated as "allocated" and the lower priority project assignment will be considered "shortfall" (and color-coded based on the degree of shortage).

Select/click the Save icon to save the update

For information on adding and/or maintaining Project Managers, please refer to the Resource Management section on this site.

For information on adding and/or maintaining a Customer/Sponsor, please refer to the Administration section on this site.

Initiate project and add to the Project Initiation form 

Initiation refers to the act of submitting a project initiation request, as opposed to adding the project directly. Depending on your organization's policies and thus your configuration, only certain users may be authorized to add projects directly, while other users may only be able to Initiate project requests. Initiated projects end up on the Initiation tab rather than the Data tab. Projects in the Initiation stage do not appear on effort forecasts or other project-related functions, and thus no resource effort can be allocated or tracked at this stage.

Some organizations use Initiation to represent the full Initiate phase of a project (referencing Project Management Institute standards). In addition to the basic request information, this includes defining the project charter, the scope, and the business case. For larger projects, if significant resources are spent in this stage and you wish to allocate them and/or track their time, you would need to approve the Initiation and treat it as a project in the Proposal stage.

Tip: A best practice is to have a separate Project OBS node for Proposed Projects vs. Active Projects, either at the top level, or within each node area. This enables you to easily set your node filters accordingly.

To initiate a project:

Follow the instructions for Add Projects (above), clicking the + sign on the Project Data tab to add a new project, except once you select the OBS and give the project a name, do NOT choose + Add to add the project. Instead, select Initiate.

This will open the project in its own tab.

Go to the Project Info sub-tab.

Select Project Initiation from the list of available forms (the dropdown to the right, as in the diagram below).

Note:  New forms can be created, and existing forms can easily be customized.

Select/click the Save icon to save the update

Note:  If you don’t have rights to Save, select Submit to submit to the queue for approval from another manager.

Please note that Initiated project will not appear on the Data tab until they are approved. Until then, they appear on the Initiation tab, where they can be approved or rejected by an authorized party.

Schedule the project and add tasks 

An approved project can be scheduled, with tasks added as required.

After selecting a project, e.g. Bahamas, on the Data tab, select/click on the Scheduler sub-tab

Select/click on the + sign (on the left) to add a new task.

Projects_Scheduler_Controls.JPG

Enter the New Task name, e.g. Planning in the new task row

Double-click on the cells to update additional task values, e.g. Start or Finish

Select/click the Save icon to save the update

Adjust the window/scale to view complete schedule 

Select/click on the Zoom to fit icon (to the left of "View Histogram") to adjust the time scale and view the total project. 

Projects_Scheduler_Controls.JPG

The full project's Gantt view will now appear in the main window.

 

Projects_Scheduler.JPG

Understand the Project Scheduler Controls

The Project Schedule's main control panel is very powerful and easy to use. 

The upper left and main panel is as follows:

 

Projects_Scheduler_Left_Controls.JPG

Moving from left to right:

  • The + sign is to add tasks, and the X is to delete tasks.
  • The Indent/Outdent buttons are used to indent or outdent a task or phase.
  • The Undo and Redo buttons are extremely useful if you've made changes or ran the auto scheduler or compression and want to undo its effects.
  • The Add External Dependency button can be used to add predecessor tasks from external projects
  • The right and left arrows can be used to move through time phases of the project
  • The up and down arrows can be used to expand or contract the task detail (i.e., to show all tasks or just show phases)
  • The +/- magnifying glasses are to zoom in or out,
  • The box with the crossed arrows in the center is the "Zoom to Fit" button, which will show the whole Gantt chart on one screen.
  • The flame button is to show the Critical Path. This can be toggled off or on.
  • The View Histogram and Request Resources button were addressed in the sections above.

The upper right panel offers additional features.

Projects_Scheduler_Right_Controls.JPG

  • The Auto Schedule button will automatically adjust the schedule to respect the current dates and dependencies, recalculating the critical path accordingly. This may change the project's end date, if appropriate. If you're not satisfied with the results, you can use the UNDO button to undo it.
  • Compress condenses the schedule to remove all slack or float. Again, you can use the UNDO button to undo the results.
  • Show Baseline allows you to toggle on and off whether you want to view the baseline on the Gantt chart. The baseline is visible via a light grey Gantt bar.
  • Set Baseline allows you to set a new baseline. You will be asked if you want to set the schedule baseline, financial baseline, or both.
  • Post to Status update the phase and milestone status information to the respective phases and milestones on the Status tab (via the Task Abbreviation column), and thus the Project Status dashboard as well.
  • Import MPP allows for the import of Microsoft Project schedules.

Edit Task Information, Predecessors, and Resource Assignments 

Right-click on a task (or select a task, e.g. Investigation, and double-click in the Gantt chart to open the task window). This will open the Task Information dialog, with sub-tabs for updating General, Predecessor and Resource information.

On the General tab, notice you can update the percent complete, and you can update the Duration and/or Dates. When you update the Duration or the Dates, the system wil automatically keep both in sync. For instance, if you increase the duration, the dates will spread out accordingly. If you change the dates, the duration will change accordingly.

The effort hours on this screen is purely informational, and does not impact the schedule. The true effort is determined in the task assignments and effort forecast.

On the Predecessors tab, you can select which tasks are predecessors to this one, and a dependency link will be created.

On the Resources tab, you can enter task-level assignments for named resources, along with their allocation percent.

View the Resource Histogram for Task Assignment/Effort Forecast Discrepancies

The "View Histogram" button will show if there are any discrepancies between the assigned resources and the effort forecast. If there are discrepancies (indicated by the color red in the time-phased histogram), you can either adjust your assignments or click the "Request Resources" button to request that the respective resource managers adjust the Effort Forecast to reflect your assignments.

Projects_Histogram_and_Request_Resources_Button.JPG

WARNING: When you click Request Resources, it will request the resource manager to add Effort Forecasts to reflect new assignments that were outside the threshold of the original forecast, OR to delete forecasts that you haven't assigned anyone for. For this reason, do NOT select "Request Resources" until you're completed entering task assignments for your project.

Select/click the Save icon to save the update

Review and adjust project phase/milestone dates 

Project Phase and milestones on the project schedule can be linked to the phases and milestones on the Status Report via the Task Abbreviation column on the project schedule. 

To view or add this column, simply drag the vertical divider (between the project tasks and the Gantt chart) to the right until you see the "Add New Column" as a column heading. Select that and view the list of available fields to add as a column. Select the Task Abbreviation field. See the example below, showing the Task Abbreviation column, as well as the Add New Column feature.

Note that the Task Abbreviation column lists P01, P02, etc. Next to the appropriate Phases. This is what links those phases to the Status Report phases. Likewise, use M01, M02, etc. for each milestone that you want to track on the Status Report. 

Also, note in the upper right of the control panel, there's a Post to Status button. This will post the current task dates and information to the status report, according to the Task Abbreviation links.

Projects_Task_Abbreviation_Column.JPG

 

The phases and milestone status can be viewed on the Status tab (example below), and additional status information can be updated, including the R, G, Y (Red, Green, Yellow) project health indicator. See "Key Performance Indicators" below for more on the project KPIs (which appear at the top right of the Project window for a selected project, as in the image below).

Note that the Phases on the left map to the P01, P02, M01, M02, etc. on the project schedule from the Task Abbreviation column. Additional information can be entered in the right panel, which is configurable. See the Administration section on this site for information on configuring screens and forms.

Projects_Status_Tab.JPG

Generate and review Status Dashboard Report 

The status information above (on the Status tab) also feeds the Project Status Dashboard Report. To view the dashboard, select the bar chart icon from the top-level main icons.

When you click the bar chart, a dropdown menu appears. Select Overview, then Project Status

Choose the Dashboard sub-tab (note: you can also view the Chart, Status or History sub-tabs for additional formats). Below is the Project Status Dashboard. Note that you can select a project on the left, and the information for that project will appear in the main panel. 

Key dashboards are shows for Task Status, Financials, and Risks and Issues, and below each chart is the data that supports it. You can right-click on any section (chart) and choose "Send to Excel" to generate an Excel spreadsheet of the data for that chart.

Reporting_Project_Status.JPG

View the Project Key Performance Indicators

The Project KPIs appear at the top right of the project window, and are, for the most part, updated automatically. The KPIs, with a description of each one, are below:

Projects_KPI_Descriptions.JPG

 

 

 

 

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