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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 Manage 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 as 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. 

On the timeline view, you can track task progress and task group progress. 

The progress for the task groups is calculated by taking into account the tasks Effort and tasks Progress by this formula: 

If the Effort is not provided for the task, task Duration is taken into account instead. In this case, 5 working days per week are taken into account, 8 hours per day. 

If the task progress is set to 100%, if it is completed, then its status will be automatically set to Done, and the task will be crossed out. 

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 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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