How To Use MinuteMan Project Management Software

 

3.0 Creating Project Schedules With the Timeline View                              

 

A schedule consists of a list of tasks, describes their duration and start/end dates, and the start/end relationship between serial or parallel tasks.  A high-level schedule for building a house, for example, might contain such steps as;

 

- Prepare lot

- Dig Basement

- Pour foundation

- Framing

- Roofing

- Close Up Exterior Walls

- Interior Plumbing and Electrical

- Interior Finish Work

- Landscaping

 

( Of course a real construction project would include many more detailed steps than the list above.)

 

To create a project schedule you enter the tasks in a table, enter some basic information about how long each task will take (the 'duration') and start dates, and then draw or list 'links' between tasks that have a 'this comes after that' relationship. The software will then recalculate the dates of all the related tasks.

 

The Timeline is the easiest way to create and manage a schedule.  It provides a table for listing tasks and their dates, and also shows the tasks against a calendar. 

 

If you run the program and use FILE and OPEN to load the supplied SAMPLE1 you will see;

  

 

When you initially launch the Timeline view, only the data columns for Task Number, Description, and Duration are displayed. Right-click the gray bar with “Duration”, “Description” etc at the top to show more columns or to select columns to hide.

 

By dragging the Separator bar between this area and the actual timeline, you can also show the start/end dates and times.

 

3.1 Navigation

By using the    Zoom In and    Zoom Out buttons, you can select the timeframe shown as being a Day, Week, Month, Quarter, Year, or  2 Years.

 

3.2 Creating and Managing Tasks

 

When you launch the program, or use FILE and NEW, you see a default project with a single task named “First Task” with duration 1Day;

 

 

 

To add more tasks,

- click any empty box below “First Task” and type a task name, and use the Enter button on your keyboard

- or, Use the mouse and left mouse button to ‘drag’ a box anywhere in the ‘calendar’ (right) area from the approximate desired Start to End date

- or right-click anywhere in the column under “Item Number” and select “Insert Task”

 

To edit the description, duration or start or end date or time

- Click the appropriate box in the row of the task

-  or, Right-Click the task Description and select the desired item.

 

 

 

 

 

Dates and Times – are edited with a mini-calendar or menu. Note that if you edit the End Date or time for a Task, the duration field (further below) will be automatically re-calculated.

 

 

Duration: Enter duration for a task in the indicated field. The “d” or “h” next to the field indicates the units in use; days or hours. To change units just include an H or D at the end of the field. I.E. if the Units are (d)ays,  enter 3h to enter a 3-hour duration. For days or hours fractions may be entered; the program operates with a resolution of 15-minute intervals. I.E. 2.5 H is an acceptable entry.

 

When the duration of a task is edited, the End Date and Time are automatically recalculated .


To create a link between tasks;

- Use the left mouse button to drag a line between task task boxes in the ‘calendar’(right) area

- Or Click the Links button on the toolbar 

 

 

Link Editor -  A menu will be provided where you can select existing links and delete them, or select any tasks to add as predecessor or successor links.

 

 

 

  

 

To delete a task, right-click in the Task ID column for the row of the Task, and then select “Delete Task”

 

You can “hide” many of the columns in the display by right-clicking the title at the head of the column (i.e. “End Date”) and then selecting “Hide Column” from the drop-down menu. There is also a  “Show All Columns” choice.

 

Other features on the toolbar, described later,  are;

 

 

 

Important Hint; when the completion of one task, a 'predecessor' leads to the start of another task, a 'successor, the start date and time of the successor is calculated as the equaling the end date/time of the predecessor. By default, Project Management software calculates the start of the successor - it is not necessary, nor possible, for you to declare the start of the successor. If the successor date must be delayed some amount after the predecessor's end, or must not start before some other fixed date, there are other ways to schedule that, which will be shown later.

 

3.3 Recording Progress with the %Complete Feature

 

The %Complete feature may be used if you wish to record progress on your schedule. In each of the Planning, Timeline, and PERT Charts the data for the currently selected task contains a %Complete field that you fill out. The Timeline view provides a graphical indication of the %Complete as well as an indication of tasks running  ‘late’.

 

In the default Timeline diagram tasks on the Critical Path are displayed in Red, while those not on the Critical Path are Blue. The timeline can also show the %Complete for each task, and whether it is on time or running late.

 

The %Complete for a task can be set using the menu in the data area; . You can select a value from the drop-down menu, or type a value in.

 

To display %Complete on the Timeline, use the menu entries for ‘Options’ and ‘Timeline’ and ‘Mark Completion’.

 

 

The above partial timeline for a single task illustrates how %Complete and Lateness are displayed. The task has duration of 4 days and starts on 12-May. The %Complete has been entered as being 25%.

 

The green bar shows that 25% of the work has been done.

 

This report was run on 14-May. If the task were following its schedule, it should have been 50% complete by the end of 13-May. The yellow bar shows the difference between the amount of work completed, and how much work should have been completed by now; i.e. how late the task is running.


 

 

 

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