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Project Task Scheduling – Gantt

This article provides instructions for creating and managing detailed project schedules in ResourceFirst.


This article highlights the basic functions for scheduling task level project detail in the ResourceFirst Project Scheduler. An approved project can be scheduled, with tasks added as required.

How To

Accessing the Project Scheduler

Click on the Scheduler tab on the Project Workspace of the desired project. [Note: See Project Workspace Overview for how to drill down from a project or assignment page to the Project Workspace.]

Understand the Project Scheduler Controls

The Project Schedule’s page toolbar is very powerful and easy to use.

The upper left and main panel is as follows:

Moving from left to right:

  • The Add icon (+ sign) is to add tasks
  • The Trash Can icon is to delete tasks.
  • The Indent/Outdent icons are used to indent or outdent a task or phase.
  • The Undo and Redo icons are extremely useful if you’ve made changes or ran the auto scheduler or compression and want to undo its effects.
  • The Previous Timespan/Next Timespan icons (right and left arrows) can be used to move through time phases of the project
  • The Collapse All/Expand All icons (up and down arrows) can be used to expand or contract the task detail (i.e., to show all tasks or just show phases)
  • The Zoom In/Out icons (+/- magnifying glasses) are to zoom in or out on the Gantt schedule.
  • The Zoom to Fit icon (crossed arrows) will show the whole Gantt chart on one screen.
  • The Critical Path icon (flame button) is to show the Critical Path of the project on the Gantt view. This can be toggled off or on. The Critical Path represents all the tasks that have zero float (or slack). A delay on any critical path task will delay the project.
  • The View Histogram icon (bar chart) shows the resource utilization on this project.
  • The Show Baseline icon (the rectangle to the far right), will show a line representing the baseline on each task on the Gantt view.

The upper right panel offers additional features.

  • The Compress icon condenses the schedule to remove all slack or float. you can use the UNDO button to undo the results.
  • The Auto Schedule (wand) icon will automatically adjust the schedule to respect the current dates and dependencies, recalculating the critical path accordingly. This may change the project’s end date, if appropriate. If you’re not satisfied with the results, you can use the UNDO button to undo it.
  • The Set Baseline icon allows you to set a new baseline. You will be asked if you want to set the schedule baseline, financial baseline, or both.
  • The Request Resources icon will submit resource requests for all resource assignments to tasks that vary from the existing effort forecast. It will request additional assignments or request removal of assignments accordingly, for the entire project. Thus, BEFORE clicking this button, be sure you’ve finished assigning resources to all tasks.
  • The Post to Status icon updates the phase and milestone status information to the respective phases and milestones on project forms (it links to the correct phases by way of the phase or milestone code in the Task Abbreviation column), and to the Project Status dashboard as well.
  • The Import MPP icon allows for the import of Microsoft Project schedules.

Create Project Tasks

Step 1: To add a new task, select/click on the Add icon (+ sign on the left).


Step 2: The task will appear at the bottom of any existing tasks, with the title “New Task”. Click on the task to rename it and assign a start date (such as in the highlighted task “Legal Closure” in the screenshot below).


Step 3: If you need to drag the task up or down, you can click on the “page” icon on the task and drag up or down.

Step 4: Double-click on the cells to update additional task values, e.g., Start or Finish (a date dialog will appear, as in the screenshot below).

Your changes will be saved automatically.

Adjust the window/scale to view complete schedule

Step 1: Click the Zoom to fit icon on the left set of icons of the page toolbar (the cross-arrows icon, to the right of the Zoom in/out icons) to adjust the time scale and view the total project.


Step 2: The full project’s Gantt view will now appear in the main window, as in the image below.



Edit Task Information, Predecessors, and Resource Assignments

Step 1: Right click on a task and select Task Information on the dialog that appears:

This will open the Task Information dialog, with sub-tabs for updating General, Predecessor and Resource information.

Step 2: On the General tab, notice you can update the percent complete, and you can update the Duration and/or Dates. When you update the Duration or the Dates, the system will automatically keep both in sync. For instance, if you increase the duration, the dates will spread out accordingly. If you change the dates, the duration will change accordingly.

[Note: The effort hours are determined in the task assignments and effort forecast, not on the task definition.]

Step 3: On the Predecessors tab, you can select which tasks are predecessors to this one, and a dependency link will be created. You can also specify the type of dependency and whether there should be a lag. To create a predecessor definition, click the + Add New button.

A detail line will appear, where you can specify the predecessor task, the type of dependency, and the lag time, if any.


Step 4: On the Resources tab, you can enter task-level assignments for named resources, along with their allocation percent. To create a task-level resource assignment, click the + Add New button.

A detail line will appear, and you can enter the resource(s) and allocation percent (units) for which they’re assigned to the task. [Note: Only resources who have been assigned to the project via the Assignments page will appear in the dropdown for task-level assignments. This is to restrict the dropdown to a reasonable size.]

Step 5: Click the OK button when done.

View Utilization Via the Resource Histogram

Click the “View Histogram” button on the right of the page toolbar to produce a Resource Utilization tray on the bottom of the screen, which shows the resource utilization on this project (a green bar for acceptable utilization and red for overutilization). In the below example, Martha Washington is booked on multiple tasks on this project and is overloaded. This does not include any assignments she may have on other projects.

IMPORTANT: Note that the histogram bars do not consider the resources’ utilization on other projects. They could be overbooked on their overall effort forecast but show up within acceptable limits on this histogram, since it pertains only to this project.


Request Effort Forecast Updates

Click the “Request Resources” icon in the upper right control panel to request that the respective resource managers adjust the Effort Forecast to reflect your assignments.


WARNING: When you click Request Resources, it will submit Resource Requests to the resource manager (i.e., authorized managers of the OBS nodes in question) to approve Effort Forecast adjustments to reflect the difference (up or down) between resource task assignments on this project and the resources’ effort forecasts.  This submits requests for all resources assigned to tasks on this project. For this reason, do NOT select “Request Resources” until you’re completed entering task assignments for your project.

Review and adjust project phase/milestone dates

Project Phase and milestones on the project schedule can be linked to the phases and milestones on the Status Report via the Task Abbreviation column on the project schedule.

Step 1: To view or add the Task Abbreviation column, drag the vertical divider (between the project tasks and the Gantt chart) to the right until you see “Add New Column” as a column heading (pictured below to the right, in light shading).

Step 2: Click on the column header and view the list of available fields to add as a column. Select the Task Abbreviation field. See the second image below, showing the newly added Task Abbreviation column.



Note that the Task Abbreviation column lists P01, P02, etc. next to the appropriate Phases. This is what links those phases to the Project Status phases. Likewise, use M01, M02, etc. for each milestone that you want to track on the Project Status reports.

Also, note the Post to Status icon in the upper right of the page toolbar. This will post the current task dates and information to the status report, according to whichever phases and milestones correspond to the Task Abbreviation links.

The phases and milestone status can be viewed on any Project form that shows the project status phases and milestones (see example below), where additional status information can also be updated, including the R, G, Y (Red, Green, Yellow) project health indicator.

See Project KPIs for more on the project KPI indicators (which appear at the top right of the Project window for a selected project, as in the image below).

Note that the Phases on the bottom pane in the Status form image below map to the P01, M01, etc. on the project schedule from the Task Abbreviation column. Additional information can be entered in the top pane of the Status form, which is configurable. See the Administration section on this site for information on configuring screens and forms. Also see Project Status Reporting for information on maintaining project status.

Note: If you are not using project task scheduling, you can choose to strictly do phase/milestone tracking and updating via the Project Status form (below) and then the Task Abbreviation linkage is not necessary.


Generate and review Status Dashboard Report

The status information above (on the project form) also feeds the Project Status Dashboard Report. To view the dashboard, select the bar chart icon from the Application Toolbar, then choose “Project Status.”


Choose the Dashboard sub-tab (note: you can also view the Chart, Status or History sub-tabs for additional formats). Below is the Project Status Dashboard. Note that you can select a project on the left, and the information for that project will appear in the main panel.

Key dashboards are shown for Task Status, Financials, and Risks and Issues, and below each chart is the data that supports it. You can right-click on any section (chart) and choose “Send to Excel” to generate an Excel spreadsheet of the data for that chart.



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