PM Tech Corner
Cool Timelines with Microsoft’s O365 Time Reporter App
Welcome to the Technical Corner for PMI Portland chapter. This section is designed to help Project to Portfolio managers leverage tools, technologies and best practices in delivering stellar value in daily work activities.
My name is Tim Runcie and I have spent the last 20+ years working with both technologies and methodologies supporting Project, Program and Portfolio managers globally. You can say it is a passion at our company Advisicon, helping our customers and community practitioners achieve better ROI with the blend of both tools and technologies.
As a Gold PPM partner with Microsoft and a member of the Advisory Council for Project, I welcome hearing requests from you on features to add, and requests for improvements on anything that supports the Project Community of Practice, with Microsoft tools, so definitely feel free communicate those with me or my team anytime! I personally hope you enjoy this and want to encourage people to reach out directly to me at Tim.Runcie@Advisicon.com
In this month’s article, I came across this excellent and very low cost PM tool for timelines. As you know Microsoft has added multiple timelines to Project (where you can add multiple timelines in both the Browser and the Client). You still have to copy and paste and then you start with formatting it manually to add the formatting or branding you need.
You can read Part 1 in a previous Chapter Newsletter.
But what makes a view or report stand out is the ability to make it look good! I call it the Wow Factor.
This tool really jumps out and you can use it in PowerPoint, by pulling MS Project, Excel or other data types in, which really makes it handy for generating a clear picture.
Making professional timelines quickly
The Office Timeline tool can really speed up your use of Creating efficient looking timelines. You can find this on the web at: https://www.officetimeline.com/
The concept is simple. Connect to your data - this can be done in Visio as well - but do it from PowerPoint and have pre-built templates and tools specifically for Timelines.
This next graphic is an example of what you can quickly do with a timeline, lining out phases of key tasks from a MS Project Schedule.
This simple, easy to use application can really transform your reporting for time based activities.
What I found great about this application is that it is seamlessly integrated with PowerPoint and the MS Office Suite and easy to download and utilize.
With a single click I was up and running with a very simple and easy to use interface, right on the ribbon.
Where did Office Timeline come from?
Office Timeline has been around since 2010, but really focused their efforts starting in 2012, with a steady and solid performance of putting out, testing and improving their product. They have grown to over 40 employees supporting this product. That’s great for a start up!
In fact, they now have a Cloud Service to support the growing O365 market base, allowing people to build a timeline with their web service (as seen in this screenshot).
I met with one of the founders (Eddy Malik) to discuss their solution and brain storm ideas for our Project Management Community of Practice. Tim Stumbles and Eddy Malik, the founders, came with a solid knowledge of Microsoft reporting solutions. Eddy, who is a former Microsoft employee, stated that while Microsoft has great tools, even tools that are not released to the public, there was a huge gap in the marketplace for such a simple concept.
They began to focus their efforts since 2012 to solving this gap and the product is a great addition to the timeline reporting family.
Whether you want key milestones or duration based bars, you can easily create a powerful visual.
What are the costs?
While I’m not a sales person and am not authorized to quote prices, I’m always asking and looking for good free or low costs tools for our PM community. In this case you can use a trial version for free just click: https://www.officetimeline.com/download and you can try it yourself.
You can purchase the product from between $49 (Student) or $59 Business, and there are better discounts if you purchase a corporate license or purchase more than one.
I found that the time spent formatting existing timelines paid for the product in just one sitting, even creating layers of bars with % complete was extremely helpful for communicating in a powerful picture.
Uses and approaches
I quickly ran the product through the paces I go through with different customers, including bars, milestones, overlapping tasks and % complete. All were very direct and easy to use.
In fact, there are free templates for you to utilize that will even speed that process up.
So if you have to produce timelines or struggle with Excel or just need more than what MS Project (even the latest version) has, this is an excellent solution that is both costs effective, easy to use and also rich in look, feel and output.
You can find more on our YouTube Channel covering PM tools, methodologies and best practices, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzcAEnYWfm14KhSv4Y6H3bA, or check out our live webinars on Wednesday (called Webinar Wednesday at www.Advisicon.com/webinars ), where on Wednesdays we are presenting training, free PDU’s on technology supporting Project, Program and Portfolio management.
Again, our goal for the PMI Tech Corner is to supercharge your ability in to produce results with tools, processes or a combination of both for optimization of your project management experience.
Warmest wishes for your work and do reach out to me at Tim.Runcie@Advisicon.com for questions or other techniques/tools and blended methodology approaches. Happy PM’ing!
About the Author
Tim Runcie is the president of Advisicon (a Gold PPM Company), a 20+ year project, program and portfolio expert and member of the Microsoft Advisory council. Tim is also the author of over 36 books on technology and project management and a 12+ year nominated and awarded MVP at Microsoft. Tim and Advisicon offer webinars, classes and customized training for all your project management needs.