How to apply a schedule template to a work, to save you having to set up all the information from scratch

This article explains how to use schedules in complex mode, with Finish to start dependencies between tasks. If you prefer to use them for more straightforward to do checklists, read Create a simple schedule from a template.

This article shows how to create a schedule from a template. If you have not yet created a schedule template, follow these instructions to do that.

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Once your task details and dates are edited, freeze them as ‘baseline dates’, to track progress against the plan.

1. Create your schedule

Go to Work > Overview.

Scroll down to Workflow > All tasks.

Click the Add button.

Fill in the form, then click Save.

2. Edit schedule dates

The schedule template was created with a set of dates which will not be relevant to your actual project. It is the relationship between the tasks that is useful. So when you apply the template to an actual project, you need to amend the dates.

If your schedule template is a complex one, it helps to zoom out. Use the magnifying glass icon with the minus sign in it on the top toolbar.

Use your mouse to grab the long bar on the top row, on the right, then drag it to the correct date range.

Notice all the child tasks stay in the relatively correct place.

Schedules  drag

If you have complex dependencies, dragging like this can extend the parent tasks beyond their children. The Gantt chart editor can not calculate the total time required when there are dependencies outside of a task’s sibling group. This will not affect your dates but can look odd. To avoid this, only have dependencies between tasks at the same level: within a parent group, or between parent tasks, as shown here. Schedules  deps

3. Edit task durations

Some tasks take longer on different projects than others. For example, a formulaic series cover may take 5 days but a lead title from an author who has received a six-figure advance will take longer. Edit start and end dates on the left, or use the graphical side of the Gantt chart editor to drag tasks to the correct start date and duration.

4. Edit task dependencies

Enforce the idea that a task can only start if another is complete.

Either type the row number of the task on which the task is dependent, or drag to link the two tasks.

Schedules  dependencies

5. Edit milestones

Milestones are useful if you have any hard deadlines in your workflow such as a publication date. Once you’ve created a milestone, it will not slip back if the preceding tasks run late. It will only change if you amend it manually. However, notice that any preceding tasks shorten to account for the slippage.

Click the edit icon next to the relevant task. A dialogue box appears.

Tick the checkbox next to either the Start date or the End date, or both.

Click Save.

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6. Make further edits

Insert new tasks

Use the arrow up and arrow down icons to insert either above or below.

Set your tasks to Done

Indicate a task is complete by updating its status to the colour green. Amend a parent task to update all its subtasks.

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Assign team members to your tasks

Click the Edit icon next to the relevant task. A dialogue box appears.

Under Assign a team member’, click the **Add button.

Choose a Consonance username and role from the dropdown.

Click Save to return to the Gantt view.

Schedules  assign team

Save your schedule often

Click the flashing Save button little and often to save your changes, as these aren’t updated in real time.

What if I see an error message?

From time to time, you may see a validation notification, like the image below. This message is caused by trying to modify a task that’s dependent on an open one above. Here, because ‘Layout full cover’ is dependent on ‘Calculate spine width’, it can’t be set to ‘Done’. To resolve it, click OK to return to your Gantt chart.

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7. Set key tasks

Set key tasks to give clarity in reporting, so you can pick out the most important, indicative tasks as a health check. A key date is like a canary in the mine. To retain clarity, limit the number of key tasks to 4 or 5.

Go to Workflow > Tasks.

Scroll to a task you want to make a key task, e.g. ‘Editorial handover to production’.

Click the row dropdown, then click Set as key task. This is undo-able later, if necessary.

8. Freeze baseline dates

Your schedule will very likely change as your project unfolds. Record all your hoped-for dates as a baseline.

Once you are happy with the dates you’ve planned, follow these steps.

Go to Workflow > Schedules.

Click the row dropdown, then click Freeze baseline dates.

To undo the baseline dates, click the row dropdown, then click Unfreeze baseline dates.

9. Delete a schedule

Go to Workflow > Schedules.

Scroll down to your schedule.

Click the row dropdown, then click delete. This deletes the schedule, not the work or its products.

10. Review key dates and progress vs. baseline

The row on the schedules page expands to show key dates. These dates are also on the Work overview page.

Type of date

Consonance contains dates other than task dates, which are nonetheless relevant to the production of a work. The Key dates section shows those dates as well, for context. The Type of date column shows whether a row is to do with a publication date, contract delivery date or a key task’s date.

Baseline date

This column contains the baseline dates that you plan to achieve at the start of the project. They can be frozen if you want to track progress.

  • If the row concerns a publication date, the date in this column is the publication date, which you can find on the metadata page in the Dates section. If the word Frozen appears, however, then this date is the Expected publication date, found in the same metadata page section.
  • If the row concerns a key task, the date in this column is the frozen baseline date on the schedule. If you have not frozen baseline dates, this column contains the same date as the Current date column. The word Frozen appears if you have clicked to freeze baseline dates.
  • If the row concerns a manuscript delivery date, it means the manuscript delivery date that you set in the contract, either in Term and/or in the Delivery dates section if you need more nuanced deliverables.

Current date

This column contains the most current dates known. They should be changed often, to reflect current reality.

  • If the row concerns a publication date, the date in this column means the normal publication date, which you can find on the metadata page.
  • If the row concerns a key task, it means the end date of a task.
  • If it’s the manuscript delivery date, it means the revised manuscript delivery date which you can set in the contract, either in Term and/or in the Delivery dates section.

You cannot edit the dates of tasks that belong to a complex schedule in this table: click the relevant key task name link to go to the Gantt view to do that.

Current vs baseline (days)

This is the number of days difference between what was planned and saved as a baseline, and what is currently the case.

Current vs first publication (days)

This is the number of days difference between the currently known date and the publication date of the first product on the work.

11. Review all tasks

The row on the schedules page expands to show key dates. Click All tasks to see a greater level of detail. This is also on the Work overview page.