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

This article explains how to use schedules in simple mode, with no restriction on whether a task needs to be finished before another task can begin (Finish to start dependencies ). If you prefer to use them in more complex way, where editing is only possible within the Gantt chart interface, read Create a complex schedule from a complex template.

This article shows how to create a simple schedule template, then apply it to a real work.

1. Generate a new schedule template

  1. Go to Workflow > Schedule templates
  2. Click the Add button
  3. Fill in the name of your new template
  4. Click Save to open your Gantt chart

2. Create tasks on your template

  1. In the Name column, fill in the name of the project to create a parent task e.g. ‘Production plan’ or ‘Critical Path’

Why do I need a parent task?

All of your tasks live under one umbrella task. This enables you to collapse all the tasks down using the minus sign and see the total duration of the project.

  1. On the second row, type the name of your first task or parent task, e.g. ‘Acquisition’

  2. Press enter to create further tasks

  3. Notice that each task automatically has a start and end date of today, and a duration of ‘1’ day.

6508c5a screen shot 2016 11 15 at 09.47.07

3. Do not create subtasks

If you want to be able to nest some tasks under others, you will have to use schedules in complex mode.

4. Do not add dependencies between tasks

If you want to be able to have Finish to start dependencies between tasks, you will have to use schedules in complex mode.

5. Reorder your tasks

  1. Choose a task to move up or down
  2. Click the up arrow to move it up by one row, or the down arrow to move it down
  3. Notice any dependencies are also reordered

181790b screen shot 2016 11 15 at 09.50.37

Optionally, set certain tasks as Key tasks. Three to five is a good number. Any schedules based on this template display these key tasks on the Schedules page, with their dates.

6. Edit your dates and durations

The Gantt chat automatically excludes weekends. When you add a task, notice the start dates, end dates and durations auto-correct to avoid weekends and make use only of weekdays (Monday to Fridays).

Each task is automatically given a start and end date of today, and a duration of ‘1’. Edit either the duration or the dates. (E.g. increasing the duration to ‘2’ days will modify the end date accordingly).

  1. To edit the start date, overwrite the date in the Start column
  2. To edit the end date, overwrite the date in the End column
  3. To edit the duration, overwrite the number in the Duration column
  4. Notice that the tasks elongate in the Gantt view.
  5. Do not create dependencies between tasks. If you want to be able to make some tasks dependent on others, so that if one task’s dates change, their children update too, you will have to use schedules in complex mode.

Schedules  simple durations

7. Do not set any milestone dates

If you want to be able to enforce milestone dates, you will have to use schedules in complex mode.

8. Assign someone to a task

If you know that the same team members do the same kinds of tasks, assign roles to the template.

  1. Click the Edit icon next to the relevant task
  2. On the pop-up window, under Assignments, click the Add icon
  3. Choose a Consonance username and role from the dropdown
  4. Click Save to return to the Gantt chart.

9. Exit the Gantt chart

  1. To exit, first click Save. When there are changes to be saved, this button will flash.
  2. Click the Exit Gantt link
  3. Click the back button on your browser to return to the Gantt chart.

Now read how to apply your template to a real work schedule.

1. Create your schedule

Go to Work > Overview, and scroll 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.

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  simple dates

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. Do not edit task dependencies

If you want to be able to have Finish to start dependencies between tasks, you will have to use schedules in complex mode.

5. Do not edit milestones

If you want to be able to enforce milestone dates, you will have to use schedules in complex mode.

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. On a simple schedule, you can also set the task status from the schedules page on the expanding row, or on the Work overview page.

Schedules  green

Schedules  editable

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 chart.

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.

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. To do this from the schedules page, click one of the links such as in the Incomplete tasks column.

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

Click the row dropdown, then click Set as key task. Undo it later if you need to.

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.

To amend a date, go to the Gantt view and either type or drag task bars to edit the dates.