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June 22, 2008 2495 comments so far

Onepoint Project: Traps & Pitfalls

Even though Onepoint Project is known to be really easy to use and quick to learn, there are still some "traps & pitfalls" you can run into. Since it just happened to a potential client of mine, I thought it was time to blog about it... :-)

From my past experience with our existing clients and also from the feedback of some potential new clients, there are about three to four typical traps you might run into if you are getting started with Onepoint Project. Let's take a look:

  1. I have created a project, I have defined a few resources. Why can't I plan my resources in the planning view? The answer is: You most probably did not assign your resources to the project in question. Keep in mind that Onepoint was designed for team-based multi-project management, so you do not always want to have all resources accessible from the planning view, but only a limited, dynamic pool per project.
    You can assign resources either from "Resources/Administration" (select one or more resources and press "Assign to Project") and from the "New..." and "Edit..." dialogs of projects and resources. Please note also that if you are using a Web-based, multi-user version of Onepoint (Open/Network/Enterprise) you will need at least observer permissions for the project and manager permissions for the resource(s).
    Also a small tip: You can directly type into the "Resources" column of the "Activity List" view, just like in Microsoft Project.
  2. OK, I now have planned my activities and resources, but I am not able to set the % complete - why? Onepoint implements two different modes for progress tracking; you probably have enabled progress tracking (which is the default). What does this mean? If project tracking is enabled the project contributors that are linked to the planned resources are responsible for providing so-called "effort-to-complete" estimations when they track their actual time. So, basically they are asked by the system: "How much more time do you need to finish the task?" The system then takes these estimations and calculates the % complete.
    If you disable progress tracking in the "New Project" dialog (only!) you can set the percentage complete yourself which can make perfect sense for smaller projects, or if you are using a single-user version of Onepoint Project and do not want to track your own estimations (Basic or Professional Edition).
  3. Hmm, now I understand the resource planning part, but why do I not see my planned tasks in my task list? Again, please keep in mind that Onepoint Project was designed to be a team-oriented product: Every resource should be "linked" to a user who represents the "physical being" of this resource, or is in some other way responsible for tracking actual time and costs for this resource and allowed to enter comments in the name of this resource. If a resource is linked to a user its linked user will also be automatically being provided with contributor permissions by the system (you can see this in the "Permissions" tab of the "Edit Project" dialog).
    In order to link a resource to a user you simply go to "Resources/Administration" and double-click on the resource. You can now change the "Linked User" if you have at least manager permissions for the resource.
  4. Finally, I want to go on to tracking some actual time or costs, but I cannot create a new work slip. Why is the button grayed-out? If you read this article sequentially you most probably already know the answer ;-). The resources in question are simply not properly linked to the user who is currently logged on.

Please note that we are trying hard regarding further increasing the usability of our products, but it seems that at least for the time being these things are just something you need to "know". Maybe we will find different solutions for the one or other issue in order to make our project leadership tool even more intuitive - or maybe you have the one or other idea or suggestion?