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Creating and managing project tasks

In this article, we will review how to create and manage project tasks in PPM Express. 

Please note: To be able to create and manage project tasks, it is required to have the permission to edit the project. Please visit the People management page for information about PPM Express permissions. 

Creating project tasks

To create project tasks perform the following:

1. Open the project where you would like to add tasks => click on the Task Management icon in the left upper part of the Project Dashboard

Also, you can access the Project tasks page by clicking the View PPM Express Tasks option on the Schedules section of the Project Dashboard

2. Navigate to the PPM Express Tasks section and click the New Task button.

3. On the Create tasks page provide the following information, some fields are required:

  • Task name
  • Description
  • Group (groups can be created in advance or after the tasks are created. They are used to sort and organize your tasks. All newly created tasks will be added to a default 'Backlog' group)
  • Start date
  • Due date
  • Duration
    Please note: Start Date, Due Date, and Duration fields are interconnected, if there are any changes to one field, the values for other fields will be recalculated accordingly. 
    By default Start and Due date values are filled in automatically on tasks creation taking into account the Project Start date (if there is no Project Start date or it is in the past the current date will be used) and the Duration is set to one day (if you do not set your own values). 
    Please note: Tenant-wide Calendar settings and exceptions are taken into account when the Duration is calculated (only workdays are taken into account, weekends, holidays, and exceptions are not taken into account when duration value is calculated). 
  • Progress %
  • Assigned to (all active PPM Express resources will be available in the 'assigned to' list, inactive resources do not appear in this list)
  • Is Milestone (if this setting is on, a key date will be created out of this task on the Project Dashboard automatically) 
  • Priority
  • Status
    Please note: Tasks status is calculated and set right after task creation or when the task information is updated. If the task is not updated for some time, the task status will be recalculated according to the Daily Summary Notification settings (Data Synchronization settings => Summary Notification => Daily Notification Schedule).
    Please note: Tasks statuses are calculated automatically by default. To disable the auto-calculation of the Key dates statuses, visit the Insights settings page. The statuses will be set according to the Tasks finish date, taking into account the current date.
    • On Track – Finish Date is greater or equals Today / if there is no Due Date, but the Progress is greater than 0 and is less than 100%.     
    • At Risk – The task is late for less than 10 days (from Today);
    • Critical – The task is late for more than 10 days (from Today).  
    • Done - the task is marked as Complete.
  • Completed
  • Effort
  • Story points

Click Create Task button. 

The task will appear on the project tasks page. 

Creating task groups

All newly created tasks will be automatically added to a default 'Backlog' group. This group exists in the PPM Express Tasks section by default. 

After adding tasks, you can organize them into your groups to help break things up into phases, types of work, departments, etc. 

If you do not have any tasks yet, then to create project tasks groups, perform the following:

1. Open the project where you want to add tasks => click on the Task Management icon in the upper left part of the Project Dashboard

2. Navigate to the PPM Express Tasks section and open the Manage Groups menu by clicking on the corresponding button.  

3. On the Configure groups page that will be opened click the New Task Group button. 

4. On the Create Group page enter a name for the group, select the group color and click Create Task Group button. 

To edit or delete the existing groups navigate to the PPM Express Tasks section and open the Manage Groups menu.  

On the Configure Tasks Groups page navigate to the required group and select to edit or delete it. 

Please note: Groups can be open and hidden. If you hide the group by toggling its switch to off, the group will become hidden and the tasks included in this group will not be visible on the PPM Express Tasks section. 

Moving tasks into groups

When the tasks and groups are created, it is possible to sort them by groups to start getting organized. 

The easiest way to add tasks to the groups is to drag the task and drop it to the necessary group, selecting the position for the task within the group. 

This option is available for the tasks table view only. 

Please note: It is also possible to rearrange the order of the tasks within the group using the drag-and-drop option. 

Another way to add a task to a group is the following:

1. Open the task menu by clicking on the ellipsis button that is available for each task on the right from the table view. 

2. Navigate to the Move to group option. 

3. Select the required group, and the task will be moved there at once. 

Also, if you click on any tasks, it will be opened for editing, and you will be able to select the required group there.  

Managing project tasks

When the tasks are added you can edit them, delete, copy, set up tasks dependencies, apply filters to filter out the tasks on the page, select the default views and create your own filters and views. For detailed information about this functionality, please refer to the Project tasks page article.  

Also, it is possible to export/import tasks from one project to another, you are welcome to find the detailed information in the How to export/import project tasks to/from .csv file article. 

When the tasks are added the task statuses section will become available on the Project Dashboard in the Schedule section.

If you click on the task number here, you will be redirected to the tasks page. Also, the tasks list on the project tasks page will be filtered according to the selected value (for example, if you click on the number of Late tasks, the tasks list will be filtered by late tasks). 

Also, when the users are assigned for tasks, the list of these users and the information for their tasks assignments will appear in the Team Project section. 

On the project tasks page, two views are available for the PPM Express Tasks section: table and timeline. 

Please note: It is possible to report the time spent on your tasks to PPM Express Time automatically. 

For details on connecting the projects from PPM Express and PPM Express Time, refer to this article

Please note: Only 'In Progress' tasks from PPM Express will appear in PPM Express Time as suggested time entries. The tasks should have the following fields filled in within PPM Express: 

  • start date and due date 
  • progress %
  • assigned to 

The ‘Report My Time’ option allows users to report their time spent on PPM Express tasks during the current day to PPM Express Time. 

Please note: It is required to establish a connection between PPM Express and PPM Express Time to use this option and link the required projects within these two systems.  

You can set the baseline for your tasks using the 'Set Baseline' option. 

It allows taking a snapshot of your schedule that includes information about the Start Date, Due Date, Duration, Effort, and Original Estimate. If the information for these fields is changed, the baseline won't be changed and will remain the same, as it was set initially. If the task dates are changed, and you need to change the baseline, you can use the 'Set Baseline' option again, and it will be changed. 

It is impossible to delete a baseline, but you can hide the Baseline from the timeline using the 'Style' menu. 

Also, you can review the current information for these fields and compare it to the baseline in the Baseline section, when the task is opened for editing. 

Also, you can add these fields to the List/Timeline view and review the information for all tasks there. 

Tasks hierarchy 

The tasks hierarchy is available for PPM Express tasks and includes the sub-tasks functionality and the manual roll-up (by clicking the Calculate Progress button) of the specific summary task fields (see the list of fields below). 

The following options of the task menu can be used: 

  • 'Add subtasks' adds a subtask below the chosen task, the hierarchy tree will be expanded automatically upon adding a new subtask.
  • 'Outdent' moves tasks a level up in the hierarchy level.
  • 'Indent' moves tasks a level down in the hierarchy level.
  • 'Insert task above' adds tasks above a chosen task. The task will be added to the same hierarchy level as the selected one.
  • 'Calculate progress' performs the recalculation process and roll-up data to the selected task (option is available only for summary tasks). 'Calculate Progress' becomes enabled if one or several tasks are selected.

If the parent task is moved to another group, all related child subtasks will be moved too. When users select to delete a task that has subtasks, these subtasks will also be deleted together with the task.

This functionality has the following limitations:

  • 10 hierarchy levels are supported.
  • Drag&Drop functionality is available only for collapsed hierarchy tree.
  • Tasks hierarchy is not supported for editing in .csv files and API.
  • If the hierarchy tree is collapsed the child tasks are not exported to the .csv file (only tasks that are selected and visible on UI will be exported to .csv).
  • If a predecessor is defined for a summary task, and this predecessor does not allow to set the summary task’s Start or Due Date as the earliest/latest Start/Due Date of non-summary tasks, then the summary task’s Start/Due Date should remain as defined by predecessor even when “Calculate Summary Task” is clicked.

Calculation for task groups and Calculation of Progress (summary and sub-tasks)

1. The calculation of Progress for the task groups corresponds to the formulas used for summary tasks and project rollup calculation.

The Project Settings -> Progress calculation for PPM Express tasks settings define which calculation type is used.

By default, a formula based on Completed Work and Effort will be used, but project managers can switch the Progress, % formula for their project to a different one as needed. These settings are applied per project.  

Please note: If you are using Story Points or manually input the Progress,% of tasks, the setting needs to be changed to display the Progress value accurately. 

To open the Project Settings, click on the ellipsis button on the Project Dashboard -> Project Settings -> Progress calculation for PPM Expres tasks.

  • Effort: Progress is calculated by the formula: (Completed Work / Effort) * 100%  
  • Story Points: Progress is calculated by the formula: (Completed Story Points / Story Points) * 100%  
  • Average Progress: Progress is calculated as an average of Progress, % from “leaf” tasks 

If the calculation type is changed, then the new rule will be saved and applied at once: 

  • Progress for task groups and Project Progress roll-up will be automatically re-calculated based on the logic of the selected option.
  • Progress for the summary tasks will be re-calculated based on the logic of the selected option when Calculate Progress is triggered.
  • Progress for non-summary tasks will be re-calculated based on the new logic when the Calculated Progress is triggered or will remain unchanged if the manual input for non-summary tasks is supposed to be used according to the new rule.

Effort for task groups is calculated taking into account the sum of all non-summary values underneath the summary tasks and regular (non-child) tasks values from this task group – i.e., the sum of Effort values from all “leaf” tasks in the task group.

Duration is calculated taking into account the total amount of working days between the task group Start Date and the task group Due Date (calendar settings are applied when calculating the total amount of working days). 

2. Calculate Progress feature includes on-demand rollup calculation of the summary tasks and horizontal calculation for non-summary tasks.

The “Calculate Progress” option becomes active when one or several tasks of any type are selected – summary or non-summary. If the selection of tasks includes summary and non-summary tasks, then for each task type its own calculation will be performed – rollup or horizontal.

A roll-up calculation of the summary task fields is available for the following existing fields for any calculation type that is available: by Effort, by Story Points, and by Average Progress. 

  • Effort
  • Completed Work
  • Remaining Work
  • Original Estimate
  • Story Points
  • Completed Story Points

For the fields below data is also recalculated for the summary task (not as a roll-up, but based on the sub-task field values): 

  • Start Date – the earliest start of the sub-task is taken into account
  • Due Date – the latest finish of the sub-task is taken into account
  • Duration – the number of working dates for the sub-tasks is taken into account
  • Progress, % – for summary tasks Progress,% will be calculated based on the formula that is used for the selected Progress Calculation rule on the Project Settings page. 

The roll-up calculation is performed on demand after the user explicitly selects a summary task(s) and clicks the 'Calculate Progress' button.

The on-demand calculation triggered by Calculate Progress feature also includes the horizontal calculation of progress-related fields for non-summary tasks if the calculation by Effort is selected. 

For calculation by Story Points and Average Progress, there is no horizontal calculation available. The Progress %, Effort, Completed Work, and Remaining Work fields can be filled in only manually for tasks and sub-tasks. 

The horizontal calculation includes on-demand calculation of the following for progress-related fields by the formulas:

  • Progress %
  • Effort
  • Completed Work
  • Remaining Work 

If all these four progress-related fields have values, and the user triggers on-demand calculation for the non-summary task, the values will be recalculated for Effort and Progress,% by the following formula:

  • Effort – re-calculated by the formula: Effort = Completed Work + Remaining Work
  • Progress, % - re-calculated by the formula: (Completed Work / Effort) * 100%

In this case, Effort and Progress,% will always be overwritten by re-calculation, and Completed Work and Remaining Work will remain unchanged.

If a task’s Progress is set to 100% and on-demand re-calculation is triggered, then the Remaining Work will be set to 0, and Completed Work will become equal to Effort.

The table below shows the formulas that are applied if not all four fields have values, but only some of them (Progress %, Effort, Completed Work, and Remaining Work fields):

Progress, %
Completed Work
1) Remaining Work = Effort – Completed Work
2) Progress = (Completed Work / Effort) * 100%
Progress, %
Remaining Work
1) Completed Work = Effort - Remaining Work
2) Progress = (Completed Work / Effort) * 100%
Progress, %
Completed Work
Remaining Work
1) Effort = Completed Work + Remaining Work
2) Progress = (Completed Work / Effort) * 100%
Progress, %
Completed Work
1) Effort =  (Completed Work *100) / Progress
2) Remaining Work = Effort – Completed Work
Progress, %
Remaining Work
1) Effort = (Remaining Work /(100 – Progress))*100
2) Completed Work = Effort - Remaining Work
Progress, %
1) Completed Work = (Progress /100 ) * Effort 
2) Remaining Work = Effort – Completed Work
Progress, % Auto-calculation is not performed

All progress-related fields for all tasks remain editable allowing users to update the values as per their needs.

Also, for the Story Points and the Calculated Story Points fields, the summary task values are calculated on demand by clicking the Calculate progress button. The values are calculated based on the sub-tasks field values. The Calculated Story Points field is filled in automatically for the subtasks based on the Story Points and Progress,% fields: when the progress is 100%, all the story points become completed. If the progress is less than 100% the story points are not completed. 

Tasks dependencies (predecessors)

PPM Express allows setting up task predecessors (dependencies). 

For this purpose perform the following: 

1. Open the task you would like to set the predecessors for. 

2. In the Predecessor field select the task that should finish before the current task starts. 

Also, Predecessors can be added and edited on a separate tab in the Edit Task window. There are more options here on how you can set predecessors. Click Add.

Select the type of dependency. There are four types of dependencies: 

  • Finish-to-Start (FS): the predecessor task must finish before the successor can start (but the successor might start at a later date).
  • Start-to-Start (SS): the predecessor task must start before the successor task can start (but the successor might start later, and the predecessor can be incomplete when the successor starts).
  • Finish-to-Finish (FF): the predecessor task must finish before the successor task can finish.
  • Start-to-Finish (SF): the predecessor task must start before the successor task can finish.

The Lag and Gap options are available for predecessors. 

Finish-to-Start dependency with zero lag is used by default (it is also always used if you add predecessors from the Predecessor field on the Edit Task page). The Start date of the successor task will be changed to start when the predecessor task finishes. 

When a new predecessor is added to a task, its Lag is set to 0 by default. The Estimated date is the start date of the task defined according to the predecessor's Due date (for the Finish to Start dependency) and the lag value that is set manually. If the lag value is changed, the Estimated date is changed accordingly (also, if the Estimated date is changed, the lag value is updated accordingly).

The Lag is set manually and is not re-calculated when the task’s or predecessor’s Start/due Dates change. 

Click Apply -> Save Task, and the lag will be applied. 

Predecessor Lag is a constraint. When a lag is set, it is impossible to move the task’s dates so that the gap between the predecessor and the task is less than the lag value.

However, it is possible to move the task’s dates so that the gap between the predecessor and the task is more than the lag value. In this case, lag remains unchanged and does not correspond to the actual gap between the predecessor and the task. The gap here is a temporary manual change of the successor's Due date. If the predecessor's Start/Due date is changed, the gap will be lost and switched according to the predecessor's start date (or due date according to the dependency type) and the lag. 

You can select several predecessors, if needed, one by one.

Dependencies can be edited from the Predecessors panel.

It is possible to set the dependencies between the tasks from the same or different groups. 

One predecessor (parent) task may have several successor (child) tasks, as well as one successor (child) can have several predecessor (parent) tasks. 

You can also include the Predecessor field to a custom view, and all predecessors will be listed next to the successor task showing the information about dependency type and lag (if there are several tasks, you can navigate to each one to see the hint with all the information).

Dependencies can be deleted from the timeline directly. 

When there is only one task Predecessor, and it is removed (from Details, Predecessors, Gantt), the task’s Start/Due Date will remain unchanged. 

When one of several task’s Predecessors is removed (from Details, Predecessors, Gantt), the task’s Start/Due Date is adjusted to correspond to other predecessor’s constraints, i.e. task’s Start/Due Date will be moved back to correspond to remaining constraints, if the Predecessor that was just removed has been stretching the gaps between the task and other predecessors beyond their lag values. 

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