Understanding how to configure Views is, along with understanding the fundamentals of scheduling projects, perhaps the most important step to successfully using Open Workbench.
Views are simply representations of the information in the plan. Open Workbench comes with 17 Views pre-loaded. This document explains each of them. The Views are extremely configurable; you can add or remove information, re-order columns and change what appears in the time-scaled section of the View.
Before we go on, though, the most common question about working with Views is: How do I change the time-scale of the Gantt Chart? Well, like most other features of Open Workbench, there are a number of ways to do this. The easiest is exactly the same as in Microsoft Project: double-click on the dates at the top of the window. This will bring up the Time Scale dialog box:
Select your desired settings and click OK. The most common change, at least for the default Gantt Chart, is simply to change the Scale drop-down to say ‘Monthly’ instead of ‘Daily’. This will show a 6-month Gantt from the start of the project.
Having got that off my chest we now need to move on to demonstrating how to modify a View. The first thing we need to do is bring up the View Definition window.
In this demonstration, I’m going to alter the Gantt Chart View so the fields that appear are the same as in the default Microsoft Project view.
To bring up the View Definition dialog box, you can:
- hit the f3 key on your keyboard;
- right-click on the View in the View Bar and select Edit;
- select View -> Edit View from the pull-down menus
(applies only to Open Workbench 1.1,.6);
- select View -> View Library from the pull-down menus, then select the View and click Edit (applies only to Open Workbench 1.1,6);
- select Manage Library from the Project Ribbon, then select the View and click Edit
(applies only to Open Workbench 2.0)
Once we have the View Definition dialog box available, we need to add the relevant fields. MS Project comes by default with the following columns:
- Task Name
- Resource Names
Of those, Open Workbench only shows the Task Name, Start and Finish, so we will need to add the Duration, Predecessors and Resource Names.
The first column we’ll add is the Duration column, by following these steps:
- Right-click on the Start column and select Insert. This will add a new, blank column between the Task Name and Start Date fields.
- Double-click on Task Information, then on Dates & Duration from the Tree View. Then, find the Duration field, select it and drag & drop it into the blank column. Note, it’s important to drop it into the ‘data’ portion of the View and not the column header (in fact, it won’t let you drop it onto the column header).
It’s really as simple as that. Repeat these steps for the Predecessors and Resource Names columns, and you’re there. You’ll need to mess around a little with the ordering of the columns, but you can do that by clicking on the column selector and dragging & dropping as desired. The columns you’ll need to find are:
- the Predecessors field from the Task Information -> Dependencies branch of the Tree View; and
- the Assignments field from the Task Information -> Usage & Earned Value branch of the Tree View.
It’s important to note that the Task ID and Resource ID fields are vitally important for these fields, as it’s the Task ID of the Predecessor, and the Resource ID(s) of the assigned Resources, that appear in the View.
Using this technique, you can create your own Views or modify existing Views. When you navigate away from your created or modified View, either by closing Open Workbench, or by clicking on another View, Open Workbench will ask if you want to save changes to your View. If you have modified an existing View, you’ll also have an opportunity to choose whether to over-write the default View or create your own version of it.
IT Design has a free Views Package that can be downloaded from their website. To get the IT Design Views, go to the downloads page on their site (see my post on Installing Open Workbench for instructions on how to get there), scroll right to the very bottom and select the link for Open Workbench Views.
Stay tuned for Part II of our Working With Views series: Managing the View Library.