About Tasks

The Tasks tool allows you to enter information and comments about your progress on the tasks your Project owner has assigned to you. This tool offers an efficient and comprehensive method of reporting status and communicating your efforts and needs within the project.

Your Project owner has defined reporting periods for the project. The Tasks tool saves all values entered for each task and creates reports that can be viewed throughout the Project dashboard tool. These reports give a real-time view of the project's status.

You can view your tasks for future and past reporting periods, but you can enter data only if the task is active in the current reporting period.

Navigating tasks

My current tasks:

You can view a list of all of your current tasks across all projects by clicking the My current tasks link in My pages section of the navigation bar. This page provides a list of all of your assigned tasks in all projects for the current reporting period. The project name, task ID, task name, effort, and planned end date are displayed for each task. From the task list, you can mark individual tasks as complete, access the task's detail page, or access the project home page. The tasks listed are sorted by their planned end date. The effort remaining column gives a visual representation of the ration of effort spent to the total effort planned for the task.

Tasks landing page:

Clicking the Tasks link in the navigation bar will take you to the Landing page for the current project. This page provides a list of your current tasks in the project, a visual indication of the project status, and summary of the project. This page is broken into three sections:

Filtering task lists:

Throughout Tasks, you can use the Filter this list drop down box to limit the tasks shown in task lists such as the Current tasks table. You can filter the list to include all tasks for the current reporting period, only incomplete tasks for the current reporting period, or only incomplete tasks that are due today. Once you have selected the desired filter option, click the Filter button to refresh the list.

Activity detail:

Clicking on a task name or ID from a task list will take you to the Activity detail page for that task. This page provides detailed information about the task and allows you to report your progress, mark the task completed, added comments, and if the project administrator has configured to project to allow them, enter personal tasks for the current task.

You can view data pertaining to past or future reporting periods, but you can only make changes to data for tasks that are active in the current reporting period. Each page within Tasks that allows you to navigate through reporting periods will have a Reporting period selection box followed by a calendar icon and Display button. When moving to future or past reporting periods, the Reporting period selection box offers options that move you to one reporting period forward or backward from the period currently displayed. This can be useful in helping you to review the progression of tasks between the current reporting period and another point in the project. However, if you want to move quickly to a specific date, you can click on the calendar icon to open an interactive calendar from which to select the date you wish to view.

You can add comments and change the status of a task for each reporting period. If you enter comments and change the status of a task multiple times within a single reporting period, only the last change will be reported for that reporting period. For example, if you belong to a project in which the project owner has designated that the reporting period is one week long starting each Monday, and you enter a comment in the Comments field of one task that you are assigned every day from Monday through Friday, only the comment you entered on Friday will be reported for the reporting period. Using the Comments field in this fashion can be useful in helping you to keep track of where you are in your task; however, it is important to remember that only the last entry reported for the reporting period.

Clicking the Update task button will hold any values and comments you have entered on this screen so that when you return the Task details screen, the values you entered remain. You can change these values throughout the reporting period; however, at the end of the reporting period, the last updated values become the reported values for that reporting period.

Personal tasks

If your Project owner has configured the project to allow Personal tasks, you can use Self planning to break your assigned tasks into smaller, more trackable tasks. For example, if you are assigned a task that will require you to code a new feature, write test plans for that feature, and integrate it into an existing code-base, you could create personal tasks for each of those steps.

Once personal tasks are entered against a task, the task becomes a "roll-up" task and is no longer directly trackable. The status information of this 'roll-up' task is an aggregate of all the personal tasks that constitute the rolled up task.

If you create a personal task for a task that already has tracking information entered against it, the parent task is duplicated as a new personal task along with the personal tasks you create. The task name is prefixed with 'Old' and all tracking data including comments are carried over. For example, if you have a task named "make omelet" assigned to you which you have marked as 50% complete, you could create a new personal task called "break eggs". The system creates two personal tasks, "Old make omelet" and "break eggs," both of which are trackable child tasks of "make omelet." The personal task "Old make omelet" is a duplicate of the original "make omelet" task which is no longer directly trackable.

Note: You cannot enter Personal tasks against other personal tasks; However, if your Project owner adds your Personal task to the project plan and reimports the project plan to the Project dashboard, your Personal task will become a planned task and will act accordingly.

Creating personal tasks:

To create a personal task:

  1. From the Activity detail page, click the Add personal task link.
  2. Enter a name in the Name field.
  3. Enter your effort levels by Progress percent and days/hours of Planned, Current, and Remaining effort in the Effort (wd-h) column.
  4. Enter planned and actual dates in the Schedule (YYYY-MM-DD) column.
  5. Enter any notes about the task in the Initial comments field.
  6. Click the Add button to save your personal task.

Note: Project Dashboard accepts and displays time units in English only, irrespective of browser or site setting.

Reporting Log

From the Self Planning page, you can turn to the Reporting log page to see the reporting periods that are open for updates and the reporting periods that have been completed.

To access this page:

  1. From the Self Planning page, click the link Reporting Log in the left navigation pane.
  2. The page opens with two tabs - Open Reporting Periods and Completed Reporting Periods.
  3. Selecting either one of the tabs will display the link list of the apropriate reporting periods.

Reporting Status

This page helps you see the date and time when a user last updated the tasks in a particular reporting period.

To access this page:

  1. From the Task Status page, click the link Reporting Status in the left navigation pane.
  2. The page opens with a drop down selctoin to help you choose the reporting period for which you wish to see the date and time when it was last updated.
  3. If you were to choose a reporting period other than the Current Reporting Period, the Update Time Stamp of the Selected Reporting Period will not be displayed.

Export User List

When you as a project manager wish to see the list of users with existing roles in your project, you can:

  1. Click the links Tasks > Manage Plans > Export User List.
  2. Select the roles for which you need the User list.
  3. Select the format from the drop-down menu, you wish to see the list in. For example; mpp file, comma separated values.
  4. The User list is displayed in the format of your choice.

This feature gives you the list of users using which, you can reassign tasks, determine hourly rates of payment or simply do the resource costing of a project.

Milestone tasks

Project Dashboard displays all the predeceding tasks that lead to a particular milestone. This is particularly important when a Project Manager wants to be abreast of all the completed tasks and the unfinished ones that could be potential bottlenecks to reaching a milestone.

To view the predecessors tied to a milestone, Project dashboard offers you several ways of access. For example, if you were to:

  1. Log into CollabNet as the Administrator where Project Dashboard has been enabled in your domain.
  2. Create a Microsoft project plan (.mpp file release 2000 or later) with at least one milestone task and with appropriate task dependencies set on predecessor tasks.  
  3. Select a project and import a Microsoft project plan by navigating to Tasks->Setup in the left navigation pane.
  4. Follow the steps till you get the notification that the import was successful.

    You can access the milestones in a project plan through various screens as mentioned below:

    • Click on the link Project Dashboard and the tab Tabular view. Now click on the link Milestone performance to get the list of all the milestones for your project. This page is the current and updated display of Milestone performance by Project Dashboard.
    • Click on the links Project Dashboard > Schedule. This will take you to the Schedule page which shows a Gantt view of the project with all the tasks and milestones of the project listed.
    • Click on the Tasks link in the left navigation pane. This will take you to the Tasks page which lists the milestones due in the next 4 weeks.
  5. When you click on any milestone you will be taken to the Task detail page that displays the list of tasks that are predecessors to this milestone. A table called "Predecessor Tasks" will display the Task name, Planned date of completion, Expected date of completion and Milestone Predecessors.

    Currently the system displays an unordered list of all predecessors traversing through the depth of the predecessor hierarchy in all predecessor paths until we reach another mile stone or end of the predecessor hierarchy.*

  6. Predecessor tasks will be displayed as hyperlinks and clicking on a particular task, will refresh the page to display the task details on the same page.

Tasks that are not milestones, when clicked, display their tracking information and not their predecessors. On the other hand, if a predecessor is another mile stone then the system will display its predecessors. If there are no predecessors defined for a milestone task, then you receive a message "No Predecessors defined for this task."

*Note: A milestone task is a task that depends on several preceding tasks to be completed before it can be be completed. It is imperative that several tasks be completed before the milestone task can be worked upon.

For example, in this scenario:

Milestone tasks
Task 1  
Task 2 Dependent on task 1
Task 3 Dependent on task 2
Task 4 Dependent on task 3
Milestone task1 Dependent on task 4
Task 5  
Task 6 Dependent on task 5
Task 7 Dependent on task 6 and on on milestone task 1
Milestone task 2 Dependent on task 7

Milestone task 1 is dependent on tasks 1, 2, 3 and 4 preceding it in the schedule time frame, in order that it can be worked to closure. Likewise, Milestone 2 is dependent on tasks 5, 6 and 7 before it is worked to closure.

But there is a complexity to this because Task 7 is not only dependent on its preceding task but also on the milestone task 1. With two dependencies, there are two dependency paths this milestone has, to get completed. The first path comprises of tasks 7, 6 and 5. The other one comprises of task 7, milestone task 1, tasks 4, 3, 2 and 1. So the consolidated list of predecessors in completing the milestone task 2 will be 7, 6, milestone task 1, 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1. A combination of 2 sets of dependencies. So typically, the milestone task 2 can be closed only if all these tasks are closed before it.

Screenshot displaying a milestone predecessors hierarchy