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Practice Areas: IT Project Management, PMO
Better Gantt charts
Network:65



I'm looking for a piece of software that is better for Gantt charts. The MSP ones are just too complicated/busy for presentations even when I contract down, and just have the header task name, there is often too much information for who I'm presenting to.
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Network:195



What version of MSP are you using? You might be able to adjust some Gantt chart settings to make it easier to read. Also, how would you change your current Gantt chart to reduce its complication? Would you want to remove the link lines between Gantt bars, perhaps?
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1 reply by Alyssa Cooper
May 22, 2017 11:28 AM
Alyssa Cooper
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It's 2013 version - going to look at Chris's suggestion and see if I can make that work - thank you for your contribution.
Network:539



I don't normally share the MSP file with others - they don't want to go through the details. Instead, I prepare a higher level timeline in Visio, using the CFF/Swimlane template.
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1 reply by Wade Harshman
Jun 20, 2017 11:17 AM
Wade Harshman
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I've done this, and the teams seemed to appreciate it, but I could never get over the feeling that I was creating waste by manually producing a timeline from a digitally stored project. It feels a bit like drawing a pie chart in MS Paint to represent data in MS Excel.
Network:118



Hi Alyssa.

Here's what I do in the unending quest for detail versus simple presentation!

Using MSP (any version) I create a template at the start of every year with a 2-character column for every weekday.

A few rows down from the top I put the first letter of each day in each column, so I have a row that looks like this:

M T W T F repeated across the screen.

On the row above I write "Wk" in the M column and I write the week number over the F column:

Wk 16
M T W T F

On the row above that I write the month, left justified, and make sure "Wrap text" is off.

April
Wk 16
M T W T F

In the row below the weekday names I put the dates:

April
Wk 16
M T W T F
18 19 20 21 22

I then group the weekdays. When the groups are collapsed you have just 2 columns, each 2 characters wide, for each month as per below:

April
Wk16
M F
18 22

So with a few clicks, you can get a reasonably sized "snapshot" of your project.
You can show many weeks ahead on one screen, either in Excel, or you can paste to Powerpoint.

I create a row for each milestone and as I add rows with detailed tasks for a specific project, I group them. I always ensure that key milestones are duplicated in the top row of each group so that when you collapse the group you end up with the name of the deliverable and all of it's milestones. In Excel you can easily shade or colour boxes or paste in your own milestone icons, and you can annotate them by typing text in the boxes above or below. Alternatively after pasting to Powerpoint you can add annotations, arrows, whatever you want!

This is a chore intially, and I can hear many cries of "but Project does this automatically". However if you update your plan every week it is not as onerous as it feels, and I find if I do it on Fridays it helps me think back over the week and means I can do status reports easily, and also reminds me sometimes of things I've missed. I also find that when preparing a presentation, you effectively have to read through all of your plan in order to figure out where to group and ungroup, and that helps keep the plan uppermost in your mind. The key to a good presentation is not in the slide design, it is all about how familiar you are with the material you are presenting. And after a few weeks you will know the plan inside-out anyway so you won't take long to update it.

I hope this is of some help, I would post images here it they were supported.
Tom
Network:118



Apologies all, the post didn't accept my tabbing so some of the examples above don't have day/date etc aligned. But I think you get the picture? :-)
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1 reply by Alyssa Cooper
May 22, 2017 11:26 AM
Alyssa Cooper
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Thank you that is very helpful.
Network:65



May 22, 2017 11:23 AM
Replying to Tom Connolly
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Apologies all, the post didn't accept my tabbing so some of the examples above don't have day/date etc aligned. But I think you get the picture? :-)
Thank you that is very helpful.
Network:65



May 22, 2017 10:06 AM
Replying to Eric Simms
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What version of MSP are you using? You might be able to adjust some Gantt chart settings to make it easier to read. Also, how would you change your current Gantt chart to reduce its complication? Would you want to remove the link lines between Gantt bars, perhaps?
It's 2013 version - going to look at Chris's suggestion and see if I can make that work - thank you for your contribution.
Network:8222



Alyssa,

When I started about 10 years ago, working with MSP...take a look at what happened

https://www.projectmanagement.com/blog-pos...adders---Gantt-

I shared the MSP and my stakeholders stared at me as I was an Alien.

After that, I've realized that we should simplify, depending on the meeting, I use Visio or a simple excel Gantt with colors to share the most important information.

Good luck!
Network:1070



We all agree that the goal is to convey a picture of the project as simply as possible - At a Glance. In short, we are trying to encapsulate our beautiful gantt chart, into an abstract depiction of the same for high level presentation.

There is a cool product, which I learned from a member here in another thread - Office Timeline (https://www.officetimeline.com/timeline-template). The price is reasonable, and it will allow import of your MSP file to create the timeline automatically. Also a free version, very restricted though - of course.

There are then various ways to present it. You can then view sample dashboards from Pinterest Project Management boards for ideas/templates to plug you're new beauteous timeline into! (search project management dashboards).

Have Fun!
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1 reply by Darren McCrea
Jun 20, 2017 8:15 PM
Darren McCrea
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Great suggestion Andrew! I had never heard of Timeline before and just downloaded it. Even the free version allowed me to create a high-level timeline of a smaller project I am about to undertake. Thank you (and thank you Alyssa for asking the question)!
Network:64802



Adapting the presentation to the audience is an art!
Agree with Mayte, use other tool to make the right presentation
Network:782



Andrew suggested a good one! Please check.
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