This week we improved the .pdf export and assignment inspection for our Online Gantt Chart. Both of these features are often requested and we finally made the time to hammer them out.
Improved .pdf Export
The requests here were very reasonable. Until recently our .pdf export was what we called WYSIWYG, we took a snapshot of the chart on the screen and included it into a .pdf. This worked ok for smaller schedules, but for more sophisticated schedules, our customers wanted:
To print areas not visible on the screen
Selectable time ranges
Multi-page tiling to allow the construction of a larger schedule than paper size
To be honest, we also had multiple requests for vector output into our .pdfs. We looked into it and for now have deferred that battle to another day.
Improved Assignment Inspection
Another request we had was from one of our more sophisticated users. They had multiple summaries with different names, but the same steps for each group of tasks. On the task chart this looked fine, but under the resource manager it became difficult to tell which summary an assignment belonged to. To facilitate this we created an assignment inspector. Hovering the mouse over any assignment reveals more detailed information, including the group the assignment belongs to (or chain of groups, if the task is deeply nested.)
We Want Feedback!
What do you think about our new features? Did we miss the point entirely? Are you one step closer to happiness? Please let us know: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gantto on Cool Tools and Wikipedia
I got a number of emails in my inbox today telling me that Gantto had been featured on Kevin Kelly’sCool Tools blog. I also noticed recently that Gantto now has its own Wikipedia page, which is pretty cool. Thank you guys for helping to spread the word about Gantto!
Gantto is a Cool Tool
The reviewer used our online gantt chart to manage her time while publishing her book. You can see her review on Cool Tools here: Gantto review on Cool Tools.
At one point I had tried to setup a Gantto page on Wikipedia and the editors politely suggested that as a business owner it was a “Grey Area” at best for me to edit my own page. Now a Gantto customer has taken the time to create a page here: Gantto Wikipedia page. If anyone reading this would like to add something to our Wikipedia page, please do!
Google Single Sign On
Gantto now supports GoogleSingle Sign On for our Online Gantt Chart. I had been putting this off for way too long since Flash makes it somewhat of a pain to implement well, but I got three requests for it, from three different users, on the same day and that put me over the edge. I now login with Google almost exclusively and love it.
All we request from you when logging in with Google is your name and email. We need your email to identify your account and we appreciate having your name so that we may adress you properly.
Existing google accounts should also login seamlessly. Please let me know if you have any problems when signed in via Google.
Google Single Sign On – Login
Logging in is now as simple as clicking a button. It really is amazing that SSO has not been adopted more widely.
Google Single Sign On – Signup
Signing up with your Google account is much more straight forward than with manual data entry. The SSO provider validates your email, so there is no need for a email-validation loop check.
Single Sign On for a Flash Application
Flash applications make SSO difficult by not allowing native windows to display web pages and their redirected parameters. They do this by design, Air applications for instance have no such restriction. It is possible to work around though, it is just a bit more annoying to do so. If you would like me to write more about the implementation, please let me know : email@example.com. I don’t want to get sidetracked writing it up unless I am sure someone is interested
Project Resource Loading Report
Gantto now produces a resource loading report for our Online Gantt Chart.
Project Resource Loading
Resource loading is another great way to think about and describe your project. By understanding your resource loading requirements you can make high level comments like:
* Burn Rate – For a lot of jobs the head count is the primary expense, so how you use your resources drives how you will spend down your budget.
* Under or Over Allocation – Periods of low activity or high activity can show you where you resources may be sitting idle, or where they may be assigned more than they can accomplish.
* Peak Activity Times – Peak activity periods often require more management focus than usual to be on time and successful. This chart shows you were you will need to pay extra close attention to the project to keep it on track.
To show off this new feature, I created a simple schedule for building a Robot. You can see this is a pretty typical schedule for a mechatronic system where electrical integrates with mechanical and then software integrates with electro-mechanical.
This same schedule with a resource view shows what the man power or Full Time Equivalent (FTE) requirements for the project will be.
From this plot we can see that although the peak requirements for the job are 4 FTE, on average the resource loading will be less than that.
For complex projects it may not be clear what all of those FTE are working on. To help you with this insight we have created an inspector which breaks down the summary FTE into its individual parts. To see this summary, just mouse over the point on the chart you are interested in.
How do you think about Resource loading? What insights are you looking for from your project plans? Do you want us to plot project cost? Project value? Do you wish we did a better job highlighting conflicts or are the Sparklines enough? We want to know! Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org to share your thoughts on Gantto, project management, or just to start a conversation.
Resource Management With Sparklines
Gantto now includes resource loading Sparklines for our Online Gantt Chart to help you understand your project’s resource loading at a glance.
Sparklines are a data-visualization invention of Prof. Edward Tufte and are designed to tap into the pattern matching portion of the brain. We find them extremely helpful for identifying at a glance if any one resource is under or over allocated.
Empty means not allocated
Green means 0-100% allocated
Red means allocated > 100%
Here is a simple example of a team gantt chart which is over allocated, but it is difficult to see the over allocation from this view.
However this same project rendered with Gantto’s Resource Manager View clearly shows the over allocation via the red sparklines:
So at a glance we can tell that both Fed and Chris are largely over allocated and that we will have to shift one project in time to account for our resource loading. Here is what the new plan looks like with resource loading taken into consideration, Chris’ sparklines are now all green:
The gantt chart clearly reflects how the project deliverables have changed in time:
It is great to have so many engaged customers helping us build our product. These new visualizations around resource loading are the direct result of some really inspirational conversations with our customers. We have a huge pipeline of ideas we are working on, please help us pick the best things to build first! Just email me: email@example.com with your comments or to simply start a conversation.