As a project manager working in Microsoft Project, you use Gantt and PERT charts, Network Diagrams, Task and Resource Usage tables, resource histograms, etc. to analyse and manage your projects. But when you want to share information with the stakeholders and sponsors or the client, you need a simpler or focused report. The timeline pane in Project allows high-level snapshots of key activities.
Microsoft introduced the timeline view in version 2010 but 2016 allows more control than ever before.
Initially, Project shows one empty timeline bar. The key concept is that you pick the tasks to be shown in the timeline. This is easily done by [dragging] a task from a Gantt Chart or Task Sheet. As you work in the timeline panel, the Ribbon shows a contextual tab with many useful buttons.
Timelines can be formatted. Milestone text can be moved by [dragging] the text box. Bar colors can be changed by [clicking] the task and using the Background Color and Font Color buttons.
It’s easy to share the timeline. [Click] the COPY TIMELINE menu button. Three choices are presented: FOR EMAIL, FOR PRESENTATION, and FULL SIZE. This controls the size of the image produced: small for email, a medium size for a PowerPoint slide, or at the same size as in the Project application. The timeline image is copied to the Windows clipboard. Complete the process by pasting in the appropriate program.
If you haven’t tried timelines in Project, give it a shot. They are very effectively when you need to show a high-level snapshot of key activities from a complex project plan.
Be sure to check out our Quick Reference Guide for Project 2016 due out soon.