How to Build Your Project

If you’re new to project planning, the whole process can seem very intimidating. But, if you take it one step at a time, you’ll find you can build an effective project schedule with ease.

Step 1 - Set the project workdays schedule

Begin by opening your project and clicking on the “Workdays” tab. Set your normal workday schedule. For example, if you are planning a Production Line that runs 12 hour shifts Monday-Saturday, highlight the cells representing these hours.

12-15-11 Holidays

Set your Holidays or any non-work days (e.g. a Friday that is set for a company retreat), by clicking on the + icon above “Holidays.”

Note: Viewpath allows you to schedule individual tasks to take place on non-work days and times with the use of elapsed time. Set the duration to edays or ehrs and the system will ignore the default Workday settings for that task.

Step 2 - Configure the Columns You Need

Click in the Column header and add any columns you will need (e.g. “Work”) or remove columns you don’t need (e.g. “Status”).

6-26-11 Menu Access

Step 3 - Define the Project Parameters

Start with the information you have at hand. If you know what your first and last steps are in the project, create tasks for each of them first and set the appropriate Start and Finish dates. From this point forward, simply add new tasks in between these two parameters.

Note: If you know the Finish date and want to backwards-plan your project, check out this handy video that discusses Must Finish On constraints.

Step 4 - List the Tasks in the Project

Build a list of tasks that must be completed in the project. The simplest way to do this is to select the checkbox next to your first task then click the + icon in the lower left to add as many rows of tasks as you need. Then, simply click in the cells and begin typing in the Name of the task and other details such as Duration, Work. Start and Finish.

New Task

Note: As a rule of thumb, a project plan should not include incidental activities (e.g. “Email updates to the boss”). Only include those tasks that are critical to the project schedule. When in doubt, it’s better to have too much detail than not enough. You’ll soon discover which tasks can be removed.

Step 5 - Group Related Tasks

You will often find that tasks belong together as part of a larger task concept. For example, the first tasks in the project might include:

  • Requirements Outline

  • Requirements Approval

  • Create Project Charter

  • Project Charter - Client Sign-off

Each of these could be grouped under the heading “Project Initiation.” So, create the task “Project Initiation” and use the blue up/down arrows to position it above these other four tasks. Then, select the four tasks and use the blue right arrow to indent them. You project will now look like this:

  • Project Initiation

  • Requirements Outline

  • Requirements Approval

  • Create Project Charter

  • Project Charter - Client Sign-off

All the details of the four tasks (e.g. Duration, % Complete, etc) will be summarized at the “Project Initiation” level.

These nested levels are referred to as having a Parent-Child Relationship. The Parent is always bold faced and contains a summary of all Child tasks.

Parent Tasks Not Editable

Step 6 - Link Tasks Together

There are times when tasks depend on one another. For example, the “Requirements Approval” task cannot happen until the “Requirements Outline” task is completed. In that case, select both tasks then click on the {} Link icon. If there is a delay in completing the first (or “Predecessor”) task, the second (or “Successor”) task is moved automatically.

You can also select the Link menu and link tasks Start-to-Start (must start at the same time) or Finish-to-Finish (must finish at the same time).

Task Linking

Special Note: When a Parent task (or a task that is bold faced) is the Successor of another task, all its Child tasks will be constrained. Said another way, you will not be able to change the Start or Finish dates on the Child tasks in this case. It is usually best to make sure that only Child tasks (tasks that are not bold faced) are linked to a Predecessor.

In Summary

By following these six simple steps, you will be able to quickly build out a project schedule that fits your needs. You will make adjustments as the project progresses but this will set a good basis for the project plan.

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