Yes, You Can Do That: 5 Shortcuts In NetPoint And Other Tools To Maximize Efficiency
NetPoint is a terrific tool for collaboration and communication for every team that uses it, ensuring rapid comprehension of the information conveyed.
Here are a few of the effective shortcuts you may not be aware of:
Shortcut #1: Interpreting P6 Schedules Through NetPoint
Admittedly, the quality of some schedules in P6 have not always been superb. So let’s interpret the very same schedule in NetPoint. When we do, what happens? A simple summary accompanies the software, providing an easier view of not only all the problems within the schedule but also how to correct those problems. So if the original schedule is of a less-than-ideal quality, NetPoint’s high level summary can supply some needed clarity. The high level summary feature of NetPoint is an integral part of the software that deserves to be more widely known.
Shortcut #2: Importing P6 Information Into NetPoint
Let’s say that you’re meeting with some licensing and permitting people. You want to bring just a portion of the schedule into focus for their benefit. You can select that portion and import it into NetPoint with just the touch of a button. Now you’re giving the people you’re meeting with to the information most relevant to their interests.
Think about the effectiveness of this in a planning session, where you can export only the part of the schedule you need to for further discussion or move sets of information around, making for a more collaborative environment overall.
A schedule means very little if it is just a theoretical item in a scheduler’s line. All stakeholders must buy into it. When they feel that they have a tool that allows them to modify and customize a schedule on their terms, the chance for buy-in is greater.
Shortcut #3: Automating Excel Reports
One of the most powerful features of NetPoint is the ability to export a schedule to Excel – whether to build custom charts based on resources, compare variances between two targets/updates, or modify data – such as codes, resources, and activity descriptions. What many people don’t know is that these reports can be automated – for example, they can be triggered when you log into Windows, or when a certain event happens, or every two weeks on Monday mornings, all without manually opening NetPoint or the file itself.
All you have to do is create a new task in the Windows Task Scheduler and specify as arguments the path of the file and the name of the report. NetPoint will then do the rest!
Shortcut #4: Using Templates to Share Resources Across Schedules
Frequently in a portfolio environment, an organization will have a standard library of resources to use on all their projects. Rather than creating each resource from scratch and entering the name, category, cost, etc., resources can be set up once in a master file, which can become the starting point for any project thereafter.
To create the master file, first add all the resources to a new NetPoint file. Then save the file including the word “template” in the filename. Finally, when creating a new schedule, open the template and do a “save as,” so as to not overwrite the template.
Shortcut #5: Creating Swimlanes from Codes
A popular layout when presenting a schedule in NetPoint makes use of what are called swimlanes – colored rows spanning the width of the page, each lane containing activities with a common denominator. For example, activities could be grouped together by code, resource, or WBS, making it easy to visualize relationships.
Just open the “Layout Manager”, choose whether to derive swimlanes based on codes or WBS, and click “Run”. Activities will be organized and lanes will be labeled all automatically for you.
What are your favorite shortcuts?