OmniPlan for iPad is touted as one of the more comprehensive project management apps available. With such a complex and robust app, it can be helpful to spend a little time with it and learn some of the best ways to use such a system.
First up, let’s look at creating a timeline for your project. In project management circles, such a chart is called a Gantt Chart. It basically places your tasks, goals, and project milestones on a timeline chart, to help project team members know what to do first, second, third, etc. This visual system helps managers know when things are getting behind.
When you launch OmniPlan for iPad, you start in the Document browser, where you can edit any older projects or create a new one. The default OmniPlan projects are for a Concert, Moving House, New Product Development, and Project Trilobite, whatever that is. To start your own project, tap the plus button, located in the upper left of the OmniPlan screen.
You’ll be given a new, unpopulated project file, cleverly named “My Project,” and your first task: Task 1. Double tap the project name, and you can type in a new one. Like, “Your Project,” or, “Vacation.”
Tap on the plus button in the upper right, this time, and a new task will show up. Type in a name for this new task, as it has been highlighted for you. Then tap on the Done button on the keyboard. You can adjust the duration of your new task by dragging the sliders on the left or right of the blue duration bar. As you slide, the display above the tasks will dynamically adjust, showing you how long you are allotting a specific task.
Next, tap once on your newly created task to toggle the connection bars. The handles will now look like arrows. Drag an arrow from the front of your new task to the end of Task 1 to see how they work. The second task should end up connected to the end of your first task. Tasks defined as dependent will automatically change when the items they are depended on change.
Tap and hold on the plus button in the upper right to add a milestone. This is a flag to help project managers know when things are working well (milestones are being reached in a timely manner) or when they are not (milestones are being utterly ignored). Name your milestone something interesting, then tap Done to lose the keyboard on screen.
While projects are typically more complicated, including resources and asset allocation, making a timeline of things you want to do in a given project is a great way to start projects both large and small.