PowerHub's Plans feature was built to help you plan and visualize progress toward specific projects. It takes the core functionality of Tasks and gives you the ability to categorize and arrange them in a hierarchy of dependencies as you track overall progress through a project.
You can create multiple plans at the portfolio and project levels, and assign members of your organization responsibility for the tasks associated with each plan.
A key benefit is the visualization of your tasks and their interactions as part of a larger goal; quickly identify critical paths and dependencies between tasks or groups of tasks. These relationships can be displayed in several different ways, and exported in numerous formats (including gantt charts) for effective presentation.
This article will also discuss:
Adding a New Plan
Begin by heading to the Plans section of the portfolio or project you want to add a new plan to.
Use the Add New button to start a new plan.
Your first step is to give the plan a basic structure. Choose a name, key, date range, and whether to calculate your plan in calendar or business days to get the plan going. If you want, you can also give it a description, add security tags, and assign it to yourself, or a member of your organization.
You also have the option to choose from a list of templates already created by an administrator. Just click the Template drop down list and choose from the options available.
Plan templates can only be created by administrators in your organization's Workspace. They're then installed to projects and portfolios where you can access them in the Add New Plan menu.
Note: when using a Template for a new Plan, the Duration of the Tasks will remain intact in relation to one another. However, should you have any Tasks without a Parent Task determining it’s Projected Start or End Date, it will produce an Error Alert once the new Plan is loaded. You will need to rectify the Error by selecting a New Projected Start or End Date or by selecting another Parent Task to create a new dependency.
When your happy with your selections, click Save & Build to move to the next step.
Building a Plan
To begin building to your plan, click the Edit button.
You may have noticed a Groups button showing up after clicking Edit, and this is a good place to start before adding new tasks.
Think of groups as a way to categorize tasks. For example, a development plan could have tasks categorized into different phases of construction:
Use the Add New Group button to add a group to your plan. From there you can name it and assign it a color by clicking on the circle next to the group name. When your happy with your groups, click Done to save them and return to the planner.
Tip: you can add a maximum of 20 groups, or one for each color code available.
Task blocks are displayed in several colours which indicate their status. Blue blocks have a due date that occurs in the future; red blocks indicate the task is overdue; dark grey blocks indicate a task that's been completed; and light grey blocks indicate a task that's been closed.
Each block also shows a strip of color to the left of the block title, corresponding to a Group assigned to the task.
Clicking on the name of the task itself allows you to make adjustments to the task name, group assignment and duration.
Increases or decreases in the duration are reflected in changes to the projected end date. You have the ability to lock the duration of a Task, so if changes are made to the Projected Start or End Date, they will adjust accordingly in relation to each other, while maintaining the duration you've locked.
Tip: you'll be unable to change the Projected Start and End Date of a task if it's already dependent on another.
Once a task's due date has been reached, you can make adjustments to the status of the task by clicking on the button at the bottom of the menu.
You can also make finer adjustments to the task's scheduling from this menu. For more information on how to adjust these settings, see our article here.
Tip: make sure you've selected the edit button we mentioned before to make changes in this menu.
Creating and Connecting Tasks
New tasks are added to the plan by defining a relationship of dependency between your first task or key date (more on that below) and the new one. Use the Task Connect button at the top-right of the task menu (see image above) to define this relationship. You can also Delete the task using the button directly below.
Here you're given 2 box icons: on the left is your current task, on the right is your new task. The arrow points towards the dependent task. This window allows you to select how the projected start and end dates of each task relate to each other.
By default, new tasks' Projected Start Date will depend on the selected task’s Projected End Date. This is symbolized by the arrow pointing to the right, with the dark date bar at the bottom of the selected task box and the white date bar at the top of the new task box.
You can click the boxes to individually change the relation of the date dependencies between the two tasks.
You can also click the arrow to flip the dependency between the two tasks. By pointing the arrow to the left, your current task’s dates will now become dependent on the new task’s dates.
Once you've decided on the relationship between your new and current tasks, click the Create button (see image above) to add details to the new task.
When you're happy with these details, click Done to finalize the new task.
Parent & Child Tasks
Tasks can take on the role of either parent or child and in some instances, they can be both. Referring to the example below, Task 001 is the Parent of Tasks 002, 003, 004. Conversely, we would refer to these 3 Tasks as Child Tasks in relation to Task 001.
Task 006 is a Child Task in relation to Task 001, but it is also an Parent Task in relation to Task 011. These definitions are intended to help users and Customer Success Specialists understand each other when troubleshooting issues.
Connecting to Previously Created Tasks
You can change previously created Task dependencies in two ways.
Starting on the Child Task
Click the child task you wish to connect to a new parent. Click the Task Connect button, set up the date dependencies as described above, then click Create. This time click the Search (*insert icon*) button to find the new parent task you wish to connect with.
Starting on the Parent Task
Click the Parent Task you wish to connect to a new Child Task. Click the Task Connect button, set up the date dependencies as described above, then click Create. Again, click the Search (*insert icon*) button to find the child task you wish to connect with.
Tip: it's possible to create sequences of Tasks that are not connected to the Critical Path. Every Task must have a dependency to another Task or a Key Date and therefore must either be a Parent Task, a Child Task or both.
A second way to add tasks to your plan is by anchoring them to a Key Date. These dates can signify any significant threshold within your plan and are identified by a purple dot and dotted line extending from a bolded date.
You can add a new key date anywhere along the timeline by simply clicking on the date. You can add new dependency-driven tasks based on this date using the same Task Connect button and setup process as before.
Identifying Critical Paths and Immediate Dependencies
You can schedule as many new tasks as you want based on a single task or key date, using equally as many dependency relationships. This allows for lots of flexibility in structuring your plan.
Lines connecting the task blocks depict these relationships:
If you want a bit more clarity on these relationships, you can use the button to identify the Critical Path associated with that task.
The Critical Path then shows the longest chain of dependent tasks from that task back to the beginning of your Plan.
Alternatively, you can use the Immediate Dependencies button to identify the chain of dependent tasks connected to the selected one. These may or may not overlap with the critical path.
Once your happy with your plan, remember to click the Save button at the top right of the planner before exiting to avoid losing our changes.
Once you've saved, use the grey arrow at the top-left of the planner to return to your list of plans.
In order to finalize your plan, you'll need to activate it. This is the first of a few different actions you can use with the Plans feature.
Use the Activate button to make your plan active. Upon activation, you'll find all tasks associated with the plan in the Tasks section of the relevant portfolio or project. Note that this button is only visible before the plan has been activated.
The Build button allows you to make changes to your plan via the editor we've been working in, both before and after plan activation. This icon will be highlighted in blue if the plan is currently active.
The Edit button allows for changes to the plan's name, description, security tags and organization member assignment.
If you want to scrap your plan entirely, just use the Delete button.
The More Actions icon allows you to change the formatting of the plan to align the tasks to the left side of the window, or in the centre. This is simply an alternative way of viewing your plan and doesn't change any dependencies. You can also print and export your plan to numerous file formats. Finally, you can export your plan to a gantt chart format.
You'll see an Alerts button to the left of the More Actions menu. If the icon is coloured red, the button is active, indicating the presence of alerts.
There are 3 types of alerts that you may encounter while building your plan:
These are logic issues, such as start dates occuring after end dates or a task with no dependencies. You cannot activate a plan or save an activated plan if it contains error alerts. These are denoted with a red exclamation on task blocks.
These indicate something's incorrect outside of logical errors impacting other tasks. Examples include task with broken dependencies or start/end dates falling outside your plan’s timeframe. These are denoted with a yellow exclamation on task blocks.
Alerts that occur due to changes made to task by another user. You must review and accept these changes for them to take effect. These are denoted with a blue exclamation on task blocks.
The plan editor can be toggled between two views: Planner and List. Use the buttons at the top-left of the planner to switch between the two.
We've been working in the planner view up to this point, however the list view is useful if you want a more visually condensed version of your plan.
In this view, you can sort columns by ascending/descending to better organize information. Also take note that your Key Dates are highlighted in purple.
If you need further assistance, please contact your organization's Administrator. As an Admin, if you need further assistance, please submit a Ticket or contact your Customer Success Specialist directly.