The appropriate placement of grid lines can be a big help in viewing information displayed across rows and down columns. Bydefault, the Gantt Chart does not show horizontal gridlines (unless you count the horizontal separator between the Major and Minor timescales at the top of the chart). Adjust grtdlmes for different Gantt Chart components by clicking Format”> Gridlines to open the Gridlines dialog box.
1. Select the line you want to change from the list on the left. Gantt Rows correspond to the numbered rows in the task list. Major Columns correspond to the Major timescale and Minor Columns correspond to the Minor timescale.
2. In the Normal section of th~-.9ialog box, select the type and pattern for the gridline. If you want to get rid ofan existing grtdline. select it horn the Line to Change list and click the blank area in the Type drop-down list.
3. Certain gridlines appear repeatedly, so you can apply contrasting gridllnesat specific intervals if you wish. Select an interval, line type, and line color. If those options are disabled, it’s pecause you have selected a line, type that does not repeat. To skip a gridline at certain intervals, click the blank area on the Type list in the At Interval settings .
Formatting Text in the Task List
It makes sense to spend a few minutes formatting text, even for projects with relatively small task lists ..At minimum, you’ll want some. type of formatting on summary tasks so they stand out from others in the list. For larger prolecrs. you may wish to format milestones, critical tasks, external tasks, or even your . timescale. Click Forrnat > Text Styles to open the Text Styles dialog box
Network Diagram View
Formerly called the PERTChart, Network Diagram view presents tasks in a flowchart format, with each task displayed in its own node. Tasks are arranged vertically to reflect the hierarchy of tasks in the outline, and arranged horizontally to show relationships between tasks. By default, tasks in progress are displayed with one dlagonalline through them, and completed tasks are displayed with crossed diagonal lines. Youcan enter and edit tasks in Network Diagram view and examine their relationships. Use this view to .focus on small groups of tasks while fine-tuning their settings and relationships. Figure 17.4 shows a small portion of Network Diagram view for the XYZ·BOT project.
Unless you have a large screen monitor to view the diagram, it’s quite possible to become utterly lost while scrolling through the task nodes. To keep from becoming too annoyed, Zoom options can help you find your way around the diagram
You can zoom way out to see a larger portion of the project. Click the Zoom Out button on the Standard toolbar (the magnifier with the minus sign), or click View> Zoom and choose a setting from the list of options in the Zoom dialog box. The’problem is that as soon as you zoom out enough to see ·a meaningful piece of the project, the task nodes are too small to see the text in them. Did we mention that navigating this view could be annoying? Actually, you can point to any task node, and hover for a minute to enlarge the node and view task information. When you find the tasks you wish to focus on, click to select one of them and zoom back in using the Zoom In button (with the plus sign) or click View> Zoom and select a higher zoom setting
Working with Tasks in the Network Diagram
Edit the details of an existing task by double-clicking it to bring up the Task Information dialog box, previously discussed in Delete a task by selecting its node(with a single click) and pressing Delete on the keyboard. You can also right-click a task node and choose Task Information or Delete Task from the shortcut menu depending, of course, on which action you wish to take.
As you might expect, you can format the nodes so that certain types of tasks stand out. By default, critical tasks are displayed in nodes bordered in red. Configure the node settings by clicking Format> Box Styles to open the Box Styles dialog box.
1. Enter a name for the template in the Template Name field.
2. Click the Cell Layout buttC?n to choose the number of rows and columns you want in the node. Change the Cell Width setting if you want the cells in the new template to be larger or smaller than the cells of the Standard template. You probably want to keep the Merge Blank Cells With Cells to the Left option. If you didn’t, the Task Name displayed in Figure 17.5 would be rut off for no good reason. As long as the cell to the right is blank, why not let the data spill over
3. After you configure cell layout settings, choose the data fields you want to display in each cell. Click a cell in the Choose Cells area of the dialog box to enable a drop-down list of Project 2000 fields. Select a field from the list.
4. Choose a (ant for each cell of the node. When you click the Font button, the settings you choose are applied to the selected cellts). So it’s easy to bold one field (Percent Complete in Figure 17.5) and leave the rest of the data in the default font (Arial8 pt.). To make all cells the same font, select them all from the Choose Fields area of the’ dialog box, click Font, and choose Settings ..
5. Select a Limit Cell Text To setting for each cell. In Figure 17.5, it makes sense to make the Name cell two lines (or more), but you wouldn’t need that much space for a field such as Resource Initials.
6. Choose a Horizontal and Vertical alignment setting for each cell. Enable the , Show Label in Cell field if you want the field name to precede the data each cell. (You’ll need relatively large cells to do this, or else most of the data winds up out of view.)
7. If the selected cell is a date field, you can choose a date format from the drop down list of the same name.
8. Click OK to return to the Data Templates dialog box. Click Close to return to Box Styles, click OK, and you’re done!
Tracking Gantt View
Tracking Gantt view is similar to the traditional Gantt Chart view, but it compares baseline start-and finished dates to scheduled start and finish dates or the percentage of work that has already been completed. As you might expect, you can use this view to do any of the things you ouldordinarily do in regular Gantt Chart view: enter tasks and their details, assign resources, and link tasks to name a few. In addition, you can track progress on a task by comparing it to the established baseline of the project.
Tracking Gantt view displays two stacked bars for each task. Point to either bar to get a summary of what that bar is showing. The lower bar shows the start and finish dates pulled from the project baseline. The upper bar shows different data, depending on the status of the task. You’ll see the following;
Change the format of Gantt Tracking view just as you would in regular Gantt Chart view: Click Format» Text Styles to change the way tasks are displayed in the task list at the left of the split window. Click Format» Bar Styles to choose a new look for the bars displayed in the graphical portion of the window. Choose Format» Timescale or Format» Gridlines to change those settings in the Gantt Chart
The resource views all relate to assigning and tracking the use of human resources, materials, and equipment ‘:ised to complete the project. Remember that a resource can be an individual, a company, a department within a company, a team, a piece of equipment, a room, or any other resource you need for the project. If you want to see data about resources, choose Resource Graph, Resource Sheet, or Resource Usage and you’ll see that data spun different ways, depending on which view you select (see spedfics as follows).
To see work, allocation, or cost information about a resource represented graphically, click the Resource Graph button on the View Barbar. Like Network Diagram view, one’ can easily become lost in the resource graph. It helps to have spedfic dates in mind when you’re viewing work assigned to a particular resource. If the project timeline is scrolled to a time period where the selected resource has no assigned tasks, you’ll see nothing in the . timeline pane! Figure 17.7 shows assigned work for Amy Orange (on the XYZ-B9T project) during the months of May and June 2000. (Assuming that Amy makes it to June because we’r.e currently planning to abuse her a bit during the week of May 14th.)
By default, the Detail field shown in the time line pane is Peak Units (the combined time required for all tasks assigned to that resource at a given point in time). Change the detail by right-clicking in a blank area ofthe timeline pane and choosing another detail from the shortcut menu. Answer questions such as, “I wonder how much of Karen Black’s time we’re using during the, (choose Work Availability or Remaining Availability) and “What is Kyle Kedge’s time costing us on May IS?” (choose Cost, and then click the Zoom In button to scale the timeline to days).