Omniplan Progress Tracking Tip

OmniplanDuring one of my Omniplan sessions at work, I discovered that the resource leveling was acting a bit funny, where people were not planned to do any work for days. I played around with a fake planning and soon discovered the problem and several solutions to it.

Imagine you have a 1-man project, with a couple of tasks. You want to keep track of the planning in Omniplan. So you set up a project as follows (sorry for the spelling error, discoverd it after taking all the screenshots):

(over)constrained planning

Everything looks fine and you set out to do your job. While putting the dishes on the sink, you decide to run hot water into the sink and place the dishes directly in the water. That will gain you some time. To reflect that, you slide the progress bar of “wash dishes”. Now your planning looks as follows:

(over)constrained planning with progress

At first sight that might not look so strange. But when you look into your resource availability, you see that you are not 100% assigned to the project:

Gap in resources due to completion

How did this happen? Well, Omniplan says (or rather: you toold Omniplan) that the “wash dishes” task can only start after the “Put dishes on Sink” task was finished. It will hold you to that, wether or not you reported progress on that.

Solution 1
The first solution is also a golden rule. Only put constraints in your planning if you are absolutely 100% positive that they need to be there. Removing the constraints from this planning (because you can start washing before everything is in the sync) will result in correct progress and an earlier finish, like so:

unconstrained planning progress

And you will notice that the resource occupation is now also back at 100%:

100% filled, leveled resources (yay!)

Solution 2
A collegue of mine has another phylosophy: only have work on your planning that you are going to do in the future. Completed tasks are removed, and existing tasks are shortened as you work on them. Don’t use the progress sliders, and measure gain or loss against the baseline planning. This is what I used to do with MSProject until now.

Solution 3
Buy a dishwasher.


4 Responses to Omniplan Progress Tracking Tip

  1. Solution 4
    Stop fiddling with the new company Mac and get to work, dammit! 🙂

  2. rolfje says:

    I had plenty of time, I was waiting for you to fix the bug in your brilliant piece of code. 🙂

  3. Hugo says:

    Another funny side effect of dependencies is the following:
    – Create a milestone and set a fixed deadline for this milestone.
    – Create a dependency from a group of tasks to this milestone.
    – Level your resources

    This will result in Omniplan scheduling tasks at the same time in order to make it fit before the milestone deadline.

  4. Hugo says:

    I would like to add a little nuance to the comment about my philosophy about completed tasks. Only if tasks are completed and have no influence on current tasks I remove them from my planning. I am not that worried about the past, I use the planning tool to get a view of the future. I do use the progress slider, because that gives more information about a task. I think it is valuable information that you are at 25% of a 40 hour task. Instead the sole information that a task will take 30 more hours.

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