This release - now SOC 2 Type II compliant - provides important new features for defining dependency types between tasks and then auto-scheduling new projects given those dependencies.
Additional usability enhancements provide improved template and project editing for changing dependencies or phase sequencing and viewing dependencies in the timeline display.
An important change in this release is the introduction of dependency types; these allow the relative sequencing of Tasks or the conditions that control sequencing, to be built into Templates. In addition, Project Managers can now organize the Phases in Templates to be either sequential or follow after each other or to be concurrent or non-sequential.
With these new features, PMs can now auto-schedule (the Tasks in) a new Project from a chosen Start Date.
To improve clarity and facilitate auto-scheduling, dependencies have been renamed as Inputs, so that Tasks now have Inputs and/or Outputs. Also, Milestones have been adjusted to always have zero Duration.
Effective management of project schedules is provided by modelling the timing constraints for Tasks using (optional) Dependency Types:
Finish-to-Start (F2S): This Task cannot Start until the depended-on Output is Completed. This is the default type.
using this Type will “daisy-chain” the Tasks sequentially
Finish-to-Finish (F2F): This Task cannot Complete until the depended-on Output is Completed.
using this Type will make the Tasks complete together (co-terminate)
Optional: This Task’s scheduling is not impacted by the depended-on Output.
using this type won’t impact the relative timing of the dependent Task
this is useful when a Task has multiple dependencies (and one or more others are being used as the main controls for the timing of the dependent Task)
Dependency types apply to the inputs or Dependencies of) a Task, (rather than on the Task itself), which is often how other project management tools work). Accordingly, dependency types can be defined on each “input” (or Dependency) to a Task independently, i.e a Task may not be able to Start until Dependency 1 is Completed (“available”) and not able to Finish until Dependency 2 is Completed.
Dependency types are optional, if a Type is not defined for a Dependency of a Task (i.e left as Type = Optional) , the scheduling of that Task is not impacted by the status of that Dependency.
Dependency types can be built into Templates and/or edited for in-progress Projects. Dependencies are F2S by default.
This Task has multiple dependencies each of a different Type.
Dependency “links” are displayed in the Timeline view of a Project.
In this example:
Using the Dependency types, users can configure the Phases in a workflow Template to run sequentially, or in other arrangements.
Users can configure the dependencies of the Entry Gate of the Phase to control when that Phase beings relative to other Phases (or Outputs from Tasks in other Phases)
For example, in a Template:
Phase 7 can have an Entry Gate depend on (the output of) the Exit gate of the prior Phase 6 so that they run sequentially - this is the default
Phase 8 can also depend on the Exit Gate of Phase 6, so that Phase 7 and Phase 8 will start in parallel.
Phase 9’s Entry Gate could depend on the Output of a Task (ex. “Design Review”) in Phase 3, so that the Phase would not start until that Phase 3 Design Review Task had Completed.
As Entry Gates do not have a Duration (ie. Start and Finish “instantaneously”), choosing an F2F versus an F2S dependency type does not impact the scheduling or completion of the Entry Gate.
Using F2S is recommended to best communicate purpose and readability.
Entry gate dependencies can be changed in Templates, (not in a Project).
Exit Gate dependencies are not modifiable.
Creating and Auto-Scheduling a New Project
A new Draft state and auto-scheduling algorithm enables managers to quicky create a new Project with all its Task’s Target dates set from an initial Project start date.
The Create Project feature on the Program Dashboard names and instantiates a new Project, using a user-provided Name, from a selected Template, adding it to the current Program.
The workflow, Phases/Tasks and their Dependency and Duration settings in the Template are applied to the new Project.
Create Project automatically schedules the Phases and Tasks in the Project from a Start Date provided by the user, applying the Dependency types and Durations to set Target Start and Target Finish dates for each Task.
This new Project is set in a (new) Draft state.
The Start Project feature on the Project Dashboard set the (Draft) Project into an Active state, making it available to the Project team so that work can begin,
An Active project cannot be reverted to a Draft state; Archive, Cancel, Hold, Complete are the alternate states available for an Active Project.
Milestones are treated as having zero duration (which is not-editable) so that they Start and Finish the same day. Users can set the Target Finish date (only) for a Milestone.
The default Duration for a (non-Milestone) Task is 1 day.
Existing Milestone migration:
Please note that any existing Milestones in any Projects that have different Start/End Target dates and/or non-zero Duration, will be updated to have Target Start the same as Target Finish, with zero Duration.
Timing View Improvements
Dependency links are drawn as arrows between tasks, either to the start of the Task bar (for F2S types) or as arrows into end of the Task bar (F2F case)
Note: Links into a Task are not shown if coming from “hidden” Tasks - Use Explode All to see all the dependency link lines.
The Timing view has infinite vertical scroll, with a fixed-position horizontal scroll bar at the bottom
Panning is enabled with Previous/Next Timespan button to move the screen over by the current number of days displayed
The current date is highlighted with a Today flag and vertical line when in (the timespan) view
See example: figure: Timeline Dependency Lines
Dependency Editing in Templates & Projects
A Task’s dependencies can be added to or deleted and their dependency types edited in a Template or in a project (in Project Setup).
To change the Output to which an existing dependency is linked, delete it and add a new one.
Menu & Breadcrumbs
“Program Management” now appears as “Accelerate” in the menu.
The breadcrumb layout has been improved and is now prefixed with a blue “Accelerate” token
Key Fixes in this release are below. A detailed list is available on request.
Key Fixes in this release
Autoloader: Files could be uploaded (and were ignored) after processing had been started. (Uploading after processing has started is now disabled)
Redirect errors occurred when clicking Setup from Task panes.
Key Known Issues with this release are below. A detailed list is available on request.
Note: A screen refresh or repeating the action after a refresh is often a successful workaround for apparent issues.
Key Known Issues in this release
Create Project: Editing a Tasks Target dates for a Draft Project (after it has been auto scheduled) can result in Task’s dates overriding a dependency type condition.
Adjust Task Timings (Timeline View): May incorrectly set impacted Tasks 1 day later for users operating in a different time zone to the base time zone of the system (EST)
The Template Editor does not always ensure that there are not conflicting dependencies when one task depends on more than one output from a single source Task