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Tasks

The steps required to complete a project are logged as Tasks in PPO. Each Task has, among other fields, a Planned Start Date, Planned End Date, Actual Start Date, Actual End Date, Task Type and one responsible person. (For detailed information on why only one responsible person is assigned, see the following FAQ).

The Tasks entity can be renamed, depending on the requirement. For more details on re-naming entities, see the following knowledge base article.

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Task types

 PPO supports different types of Tasks. The types available by default are:

1. Project Task.
The Project Task is also referred to as the line 0 task and encapsulates the whole project, from start to finish. This Task is identified in PPO as the Task where the sort order is 0 and the task type is Project Task.

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If PPO is not set up to calculate the planned and actual progress percentage on project level (as explained earlier in this article), the project task will be used when referring to the overall progress of a project on reports and dashboards.

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2. Summary Task.
Summary tasks
are used to group tasks together and are shown in bold on the project Gantt view.

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Although summary tasks are not normally assigned to a responsible person, PPO does allow for that.

3. Task.
Tasks are the lowest level of activity on the project and will define the actual work to be done.

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4. Milestone.
Milestones are checkpoints within a project that have to be achieved in order for the project to remain on track. Milestones are shown in blue on the project Gantt page.

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Sort order

The Task sort order is an important field that helps create context and indicates the sequence in which tasks need to be completed. The Task sort order can be changed by editing the tasks or by making use of the Tasks Sort Order functionality on the Task >> List page.

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To change the Task sort order for tasks on a project, click on the Task Sort Order icon. The Tasks Sort Order >> Edit page will appear, showing all tasks in the box on the left. Move the tasks to the box on the right in the sequence the tasks should appear, using the green arrows. Once all tasks are in the box on the right in the correct, new sort order, click on submit.

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Task import wizard

PPO allows Tasks to be imported from Microsoft Project (MSP) and Microsoft Excel. Microsoft Project (MSP) is typically used during the planning phase of a project and allows project managers to develop project plans, assign resources to tasks, set up planned progress, define the critical path and analyse workloads.

Importing project plan documents will be explained in detail here, but more detail is required when importing project plans using Excel. For additional information on importing using Excel, see the following FAQ.

To import a project plan, go to the Project >> View page of the project for which you want to import the schedule. Scroll down to the tasks section on the Project >> View page and click on the Import Task Wizard icon.

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The Import Task Wizard >> View page will open. This page allows the user to browse for the project plan they want to import. The MSP to PPO section shows the mapping as it has been set up from the System Configuration (for more information, see the following knowledge base article). PPO imports a standard set of fields from MSP, but additional fields can also be mapped and imported. For more information, see the next section in this article.

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After the project plan has been selected, click on the Next icon. The next page will show the entire project plan with all the information that will be imported.

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PPO allows users the option to import the entire project plan or only a selected number of Tasks. Select the Tasks that have to be imported by placing a tick in the tickbox on the Task line. If the entire project plan has to be imported, click on the Select All button. PPO will remember the Tasks that have been selected and will show them as selected on subsequent imports.

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The Unselect All button can be used to unselect all Tasks and the Back button takes you back to the previous page.

Once all the Tasks that have to be imported are selected, click on the Submit button. The imported project plan will then appear in the Tasks section on the Project >> View page.

Importing additional fields

PPO can be configured to import any additional field from MSP, provided that a relevant target field is created on the Task entity of PPO prior to the import and the field is mapped in PPO’s system configuration. Examples of additional fields that can be imported are responsibility, planned progress percentage, critical path and the stage / phase field.

  • How do I go about setting this up?
The basic steps of mapping a field from MSP to PPO are the same, regardless of which field you want to import.

Step 1: Add the field in MSP
Implement a column in MSP for the field you want to import into PPO. Consult these FAQs for more details to set up the following field types: Step 2: Add the field in PPO
If a suitable field does not already exist, a field has to be created on PPO’s Task entity that will act as a target field for the information stored in MSP. The type of field will depend on the type of information you want to import. For example, a phase field should be a custom list type field, the responsibility field should be an employee list type field and so forth. The FAQs mentioned above will also provide guidance with regards to the type of PPO field required.

It is important at this stage to take note of the field name of the target field. The field key can be found on the Data Fields list page under the Field Name column.
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Step 3: Map the fields in the system configuration
The final step is to map the MSP field to the applicable PPO field in PPO’s system configuration. To do this, go to Administration >> System Configuration and scroll down to the Task Import section.
 
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Add the mapping as follows:
[PPO Field] = task[MSP field];
For example:
Responsibility=taskresourcephonetics;

It is important to add the word “task” before the MSP field name, as well as to ensure the mapping is ended with a semi-colon (not a space or a full stop). Wherever the % (percentage sign) is used in an MSP field name (such as % Complete), it should be replaced with the word percent when used in mapping in PPO’s system configuration (taskpercentcomplete).

You will now notice the newly mapped field on the first page of the Task Import wizard.

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  • Important notes
You will have to determine whether the PPO field has to be a required field. If an imported field is made required, an import will fail if all the tasks in the project plan do not have values in the required field. However, if a field is not required, users may neglect adding the field to their project plans, thereby compromising data quality.

If there are certain fields you require project managers to add to their project plans and import into PPO, it is a good idea to set up an MSP template for project managers to use as a base when starting a new project plan. This template should already have all the necessary fields added and calculations set up, so that project managers only need to populate the plan with data, without the additional concerns of getting their project plans in the correct format for importing into PPO. This template project plan should then be made available on the Life Cycle as a template document.
 

Update from PPO

 PPO allows users to update their MSP plan with information from PPO. This will typically be done to update the Actual Progress Percentage of Summary Tasks and the Project Task.

PPO does not group Tasks into summary tasks like MSP. Although summary tasks are used in PPO, each Task in PPO stands independently (there is no linking or dependency between tasks). This means that the individual Tasks grouped together in a summary task, will not automatically update the summary tasks' progress as the underlying tasks are updated.

For the summary tasks and project task's progress to be updated, the progress of all the underlying tasks (the tasks where the task type is "Task") has to be exported from PPO to MSP. MSP will then update the progress on the summary tasks and project task. After these tasks have been updated, the project plan can be re-imported into PPO.

In order to update an MSP plan from PPO, an MSP add-in needs to be installed. For full details on installing and using the MSP add-in, see the following FAQ.

Gantt chart

The Tasks section on the Project >> View page shows a link to a Gantt Chart page.

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The Project >> Gantt Chart page shows a simplified Gantt Chart.

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The Gantt page allows the user to filter the list of tasks shown by using either List Criteria, or a task filter. This section also allows the user to disable the global filter to show all Tasks.

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The whole Gantt page can be zoomed out to show a more condensed view. The view can be zoomed out from showing one day at a time, to showing a weekly view, monthly view, quarterly view and year view.

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The Gantt page can also be zoomed in to show a more detailed view. The view can be zoomed in from showing a year view, to showing a quarterly view, monthly view, weekly view and daily view.

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