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Tutorials and tips

Our app features many alternative ways users can display data on their Gantt chart. Data can be added, shifted, edited, sorted, aggregated. In this article we will learn how exactly can we display and edit specific chunks of information on our chart.

Task Editing Mode

Probably first and foremost, we'd like to know how we can edit Jira issues on in our Gantt view. There's actually few ways to do so.

One of them is a Detail View feature which we've summarized in our 'View and Data Filtering' section. This way we can access the issue by replacing the Gantt chart with Jira environment view. Nevertheless, this way of editing tasks is not recommended to be our first choice, as to reload the Jira environment for each task on Gantt's WBS may be a bit time consuming and of course we would still need to access the issue edit mode in Jira from this perspective. So that's an additional step. 

Secondly, we can access the Jira environment, completely abandoning the BigGantt / BigPicture view, by clicking on the Issue Project Key on Gantt's WBS. Again, this requires an additional step.

Finally, we can double-click the Task Row on the Work Breakdown Structure (Waterfall) Panel or press 'e' on our keyboard after clicking on it. This is our first choice when it comes to ad-hoc task editing when in Gantt. It will display a separate panel with configurable fields, just like in Jira Task Edit mode. It is good to point out, that whenever we simply click on the text which represents an issue's summary, we will will be ble to alter it on the spot, without accessing the task editing mode.

Task Bar

Each Task on our Gantt chart is displayed in the form of a Task Bar. It can has few forms (either a bar or a double-sided hook when it comes to Parent Tasks). Regular Task may have colour of our choice picked from the Task Context Menu, a colour of status (if we select this option) or be grey-ish plank. Tasks have circles on both sides which can be grabbed to create dependencies with other Tasks. It has a Label which consists of: a 'Issue Key' - 'Issue Summary'. When Smart Labeling is used and Task's Label cannot fully fit into the Task Bar, it will be displayed on the side to the right of it.

Task Progress

Each issue with values for Time Tracking or the Custom Field present will not only have its progress shown in the appropriate column on the left side of the Gantt chart, but also on its issue bar on the chart itself (darker shade of Task's color). 

By dragging the small triangle on the Gantt's Task Bar to the left or to the right, we can quickly change the progress of such Task, much faster than by opening the Task and manually changing that value in Jira. Once we set the 'Progress' as an option, the value updated once we drag the slider/progress bar is our 'Remaining Estimate'. In order for it to get updated, we have to define this value, even if it was to stay at: "0", as the blank field is not allowed. Any Progress logged through the Task Bar will be also logged on the Progress column on the Gantt's WBS, if we have in our current Perspective.

Task Inline Dialog

Whenever we click on the Task Bar located on the Gantt chart, we will see a menu box pop-out and display information on Task's Mode - if it's related tasks will affect it or not, number of Programs it is involved into, Inbound and Outbound links.

Tasks Sorting

Thanks to this functionality one is capable of sorting tasks on the Gantt's WBS and the Gantt chart by ascending or descending order. It is good to keep in mind at this point that sorting is not permanent, and after performing this action (despite of our choice being A to Z or Z to A sorting) we can still move tasks around and freely change between sorting settings. 

This feature can be either selected from the 'Data' Tab on the BigGantt or BigPicture Menu Panel for the global Program setting, as well as from the 'Context' (Ellipsis) Menu located to the right of each Task on the Gantt's WBS for an individual Parent Task, a Child Task or the whole Group.

Task sorting can be performed even within Groups defined in the 'Task Grouping' mode, which follows the 'Sorting' in 'Data' tab.

Tasks Grouping

Application's Task Grouping feature allows us to sort our tasks list on both: Gantt's WBS and the Gantt chart, by a value of an attribute which also happens to be one of each columns pre-defined in our Perspectives tab in Program Configuration. If we feel like something is missing, we can always add a new Perspective with a different set of columns of which attribute we are allow to group by. Once we select Task Grouping menu from Data tab, a menu with selection of attributes (values for the grouping purpose) will appear. We can easily change the order of our attribute bars and populate desired checkboxes in these interactive planks.

It is possible to group tasks using only one attribute, yet as the Task Grouping feature is based on Gantt's WBS Columns mechanism, tasks in this mode can be grouped by multiple criteria at the same time. As we already know, it is possible for these grouping criteria to be arranged using drag and drop mechanism, which sets the group order on our chart. 

Once we use this feature and our Tasks are divided into groups, we will be able to see a number on each groups tab. This number is of course a number of Tasks within each group category.

Expanding and Collapsing Data Display

Self-explanatory, yet very useful feature especially in projects which are flooded with tasks in Parent - Child relation. 

As we've already learnt in the article describing Tasks and task-based actions, our app is capable of displaying multiple PPM components of Jira environment and relations between them in form of tasks and sub-tasks. In widespread Programs an amount of these relations may be uncountable. That's why it may come in handy to 'Expand' or 'Collapse all' data displayed on our Gantt's WBS and Gantt chart. This way we will either see the whole range of Jira issues in form of a Waterfall or only these issues which are the highest in the hierarchy of 'Parents' and their 'Children'.

Baselines

Once we establish a Program schedule it can be set within that Program in form of a Baseline schedule - a phantom view of our Program. Any changes in task's schedule can be measured in a comparison to a baseline throughout the life of our Program. Baseline functionality can be used as one of the earned value project or a performance management tools. 
An enabled Baseline creates a 'shade' in place of the original position of an item, so a user can quickly compare the current position of Start and End dates with the original values of that item.

Once created in 'Data' tab, Baselines can be displayed by enabling in 'View' tab (as described in Features Display [Show])

Our Program's 'phantom' can be easily erased by selecting the 'Delete' option from the same - 'Data' → 'Baselines' drop-down menu, which we've accessed in order to 'Create' one.

It is important to note that our Baselines are based on Custom Fields selected in the Gant Configuration, therefore they are mapped to Jira, which means that at any time we can edit these values from the level of Jira. This allows us to pull, search and compare data by these values.

This feature can be either selected from the 'Data' Tab on the BigGantt or BigPicture Menu Panel (Header) for the global Program setting, as well as from the 'Context' (Ellipsis) 'Menu' located to the right of each Task on the Gantt's WBS for an individual Parent Task, a Child Task or the whole Group.

Milestones

Milestones help us to accurately determine whether a project is on schedule. When we add a Milestone to our project we have a better insight into our Project 's key dates.
When any Task (which is not a parent to another task) is converted into a Milestone, it is placed on the Gantt chart in form of a rectangular - diamond shaped figure, in the position of that Task's End Date (its both custom fields for Start and End Dates will now have its End Date's value).

In order to convert a task into a Milestone we have to highlight our task on the Gantt's WBS and select the 'Ellipsis' (three dots vector icon) menu to the right of our task and select 'Task Type' → 'Milestone'. We can re-convert Milestone to its original form by selecting a 'Regular Task' mode from the same menu.

This feature can be either selected from the 'Data' Tab on the BigGantt Menu Panel (Header) for the global Program setting, as well as from the 'Context' (Ellipsis) 'Menu' located to the right of each Task on the Gantt's WBS for an individual Parent Task, a Child Task or the whole Group.

Markers

Markers are entities which we can add to the Gant chart by clicking on the Date Square located at the top of the diagram's calendar once 'View' - 'Show' - 'Markers' option is enabled (View and Data Filtering). We can Name it, set its Date and Description. They can mark bullet-points of our ongoing projects, events, project related happenings etc. Markers can also be successfully used to create additional "baselines" on our Gantt chart or to mark important events and dates on our chart while using the Export functionality.

Task Modes

Different Task Modes allow users to switch tasks' recalculation methods once dragged and dropped in different positions on the chart.

There are 3 different task modes which can be set for all issues globally and individually:


TASK MODE

FUNCTIONALITY
AUTOThis mode is always set by the default. When enabled, all related (linked) tasks will affect this task.

MANUAL

When enabled all related (linked) tasks will not affect this task. Moreover, in this mode the 'Recalculate Parents' feature of the Synchronization tab in Program Configuration will be disabled. 

LOCK

Once locked, tasks cannot be moved on the chart. This mode can only be enabled by users with Program Administrator's privileges.

This feature can be either selected from the 'Data' Tab on the BigGantt or BigPicture Menu Panel (Header) for the global Program setting, as well as from the 'Context' (Ellipsis) Menu located to the right of each Task on the Gantt's WBS for an individual Parent Task, a Child Task or the whole Group. It can be used in variety of situations. 'Lock' on a Task for example can be used as a 'Read-only' setup on a file. It can prevent other users from moving an important Task around on the Gantt chart or editing it with drag and drop actions. 'Manual' setting on the other hand makes link dependency between tasks not to take power over a Task in this mode which can help us to see how far on the Gantt chart can we move that Task without affecting the dependecy logic between Sibling and Parent tasks. 

Gantt Re-sync

Re-synchronizing BigPicture's or BigGantt's Program will rebuild its structure. It can be accessed from 'Data' drop-down menu or by double-hitting 'r' on a keyboard. This functionality, whenever trigged once again pulls all Tasks to the Gantt chart based on Program's scope and completely rebuilds Gantt's WBS. In large Projects and Programs this may be a bit time and memory consuming therefore should be used once our Program parts do not synchronize correctly or seem to be out of place. Sometimes a simple browser Refresh (F5 or Ctrl+R) should do the trick.

HIGHLIGHTS

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