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a few basic questions from a new user Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Hello,

I'm just starting to use OmniPlan (as my first foray into project management tools). Could someone please clue me in on the following:

1) is it possible to have more space vertically, in both the Task list and the associated Gantt chart - I just want more empty vertical space between the lines. Can that be done?

2) how does the inheritance of dependence work - I've got a task and a bunch of indented sub-tasks below it. The indented subtasks don't seem to know that they depend on the same thing their parent task depends on.

3) does the order of the tasks (automatic numbering for the lines in the Task list) mean anything?

4) is there any way to import from Omnifocus to Omnioutliner? Or store information with a task or at least a link to an Omnifocus description of that task? Where do you put the info (say, you have a paragraph of details about that task) for a given task - can you associate data/text/attachments with tasks?

5) how do I link tasks that have subtasks? I can't seem to drag one task (group) into the pre-requisite/dependency fields in the inspector of another. When I click one, I can't drag the other (it treats that as a click and changes focus). Is that normal - should I not be able to link tasks that are groups?

6) is it possible to set a date for a milestone (as in, we need this milestone to be accomplished by a certain date)?

thank you!

Mike Levin

Last edited by mlevin777; 2010-11-18 at 08:28 AM..
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mlevin777 View Post
Hello,

I'm just starting to use OmniPlan (as my first foray into project management tools). Could someone please clue me in on the following:

1) is it possible to have more space vertically, in both the Task list and the associated Gantt chart - I just want more empty vertical space between the lines. Can that be done?
I've never seen anything like that for OmniPlan, although certainly some of the other Omni apps do have it. Use Help->Send Feedback to send in a request for it.
Quote:

2) how does the inheritance of dependence work - I've got a task and a bunch of indented sub-tasks below it. The indented subtasks don't seem to know that they depend on the same thing their parent task depends on.
The group is dependent on the prerequisite(s) for the group, but individual tasks aren't directly dependent on the prerequisites for the group unless you put in such a dependency. It won't try to schedule any of the tasks in a group before the prerequisite is complete, if you've got the default Finish->Start dependency between them. Note that this means you may have resources sitting idle if you aren't careful about how you define your groups. A task in the dependent group may not really need everything in the prerequisite group to complete, but rather just some individual task in the prerequisite group.
Quote:
3) does the order of the tasks (automatic numbering for the lines in the Task list) mean anything?
Yes, all else being equal, OmniPlan tries to schedule tasks with lower ID numbers earlier. See "How scheduling and leveling work" in the Help facility.
Quote:
4) is there any way to import from Omnifocus to Omnioutliner? Or store information with a task or at least a link to an Omnifocus description of that task? Where do you put the info (say, you have a paragraph of details about that task) for a given task - can you associate data/text/attachments with tasks?
Yes, there are ways of linking and storing such information. If you select an action (or row) in any of the three apps, and Edit->Copy, you'll get a link which can be pasted into another app. Clicking on that link should open the proper app and display that row.

Tasks and projects can have data associated. One form is the note field, which can be accessed by Edit->Edit Note (cmd-') and accepts rich text. You can collapse and expand the notes by clicking on the icon in the note column, and there are commands for controlling whether or not each line is fully expanded or not, see the View menu.

You can also attach documents to tasks and the project as a whole using the Inspector. The Task: Attachments inspector (cmd-1, click on Paperclip icon) is used for attaching documents to a task, and similarly there is a Project: Attachments inspector (cmd-4, click on Paperclip icon).

Quote:
5) how do I link tasks that have subtasks? I can't seem to drag one task (group) into the pre-requisite/dependency fields in the inspector of another. When I click one, I can't drag the other (it treats that as a click and changes focus). Is that normal - should I not be able to link tasks that are groups?
There are a number of ways to add dependencies. One is to add the dependency column to the view (see View->View Options, cmd-J), and type in ID numbers. Another is to use the Connection button in the toolbar. Yet another is to type them in via the Task: Dependencies inspector. Or you can drag from the left or right side of the graphic in the Gantt chart to connect them up graphically. See "Connecting tasks with dependencies" in the Help facility.

Quote:
6) is it possible to set a date for a milestone (as in, we need this milestone to be accomplished by a certain date)?
Sure! Select the milestone, open the Task inspector (cmd-1), set the date for the milestone. If you connect up the rest of the dependency graph to the milestone, you'll get a violation if the prerequisites aren't going to finish before the milestone starts. You can also put a constraint on the milestone via the same mechanism if there is some flexibility.

I highly recommend watching the ScreenCasts Online video tutorials at http://www.omnigroup.com/products/omniplan/videos/ and also going through the getting started tutorial in the Help facility (see "tutorial"). I found that I benefited from reading and watching them several times, with my experience using the program allowing me to pick up on things I'd missed during earlier passes.

Last edited by whpalmer4; 2010-11-18 at 12:03 PM.. Reason: Improve discussion of inheritance
 
Thanks!!!
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by whpalmer4 View Post
Sure! Select the milestone, open the Task inspector (cmd-1), set the date for the milestone. If you connect up the rest of the dependency graph to the milestone, you'll get a violation if the prerequisites aren't going to finish before the milestone starts. You can also put a constraint on the milestone via the same mechanism if there is some flexibility.
so for a milestone that has to be done "1 year from the start of the project", where do I put the date in the inspector - do I set the start date as the start of the project, or just the 1 year-in date as the end date, or make them identical?

thanks,

Mike
 
Milestones have no duration, so they have the same end and start date. So just enter the date you need the milestone to be completed by in either the actual start or actual end text field in the Task: Information inspector.

If you really literally mean "one year after the project start date" and expect it to update if the project start date changes, you'd have to get a little more advanced. Add a "Project start date" milestone and don't add constraints of any kind to it so that it will start "As early as constraints allow". Then add a "Project end date" milestone. Drag a dependency from the start milestone the end milestone, inspect the end milestone in the Task: Dependencies inspector and add 52w lead time. Now if you change the project start date, the start milestone will float to the new date and the end milestone will be 52 weeks later. That's not exactly one calendar year, but the only way I can think of to get that is to mess with your effort conversion factors, and that still won't handle leap years.

-Tom
 
Couldn't you use 365d for the lead time for a slightly better approximation?

Tom's suggestion also works if you need to set up a milestone that needs a date relative to some other point in the plan, not just the start of the project. Put a milestone in the spot where the timer starts, linked in by a finish->start dependency from any prerequisites, then link it to your other milestone as Tom describes.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by whpalmer4 View Post
Couldn't you use 365d for the lead time for a slightly better approximation?
In OmniPlan, by default, 5 days = 1 week. So 365 days would be much too long.
 
Duh, of course, that's what I get for answering OmniPlan questions when on my iPad. Well, then +2088h should do the trick. Or even the more readable +52w 1d. Both assume the default effort conversion factors.

That brings up a good point, which is that if you have expectations about counting time periods, you do need to make sure that you're on the same page with OmniPlan as to which time periods will be counted! Saying +30d isn't going to get you 30 calendar days later, it's going to get you 30 working days later, and with the default calendar and effort conversion factors, that's going to be 6 weeks on the calendar, or possibly more. My advice is that you make a note of any such finicky dependencies in your plan (you could style them differently, for example) and check to make sure that they still represent what you expect after you do any tinkering with settings, the start date of the project, etc. It'd be a real drag to manage your way through a lengthy plan successfully, then come in on Monday morning and discover that you were now a day past some crucial deadline which actually fell on the weekend, for example.
 
 


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