As many of us would agree, a project manager is responsible for a realistic project schedule. And Gantt chart is the tool that allows the PM to manage schedule in addition to coordinating a team's work.
However, here's the challenge I encountered in my work: only PMs are the ones who use special software for managing Gantt bars. Like MS Project, or OmniPlan in my case. Therefore, to keep the team and other stakeholders updated, the PM needs regularly to export it in a commonly readable format and broadcast it.
Of course, that's not convenient. So I've found a better approach. Instead of sending a schedule snapshot manually on a regular basis, I can publish the schedule seamlessly on a Confluence wiki page. There, everyone concerned can be added to a watch list to receive a recent version each time it's updated. Sounds good?
All that can be done through integration between OmniPlan, Google Drive, and Atlassian Confluence. Here's 5-step instruction on how you can can do that too.
Step 1. First, you need to install Google Drive application, and set up a folder that's synced to the cloud.
Step 2. In OmniPlan, which is my Gantt chart software, there is a feature called auto-publishing (go to menu Project -> Configure Publishing & Subscriptions...), depicted on the screenshot below.
Below is what you should do on it:
- Press "+" to add Export item.
- Choose a format (e.g. PNG) in "Export As" dropdown.
- Choose a file location (it should be the Google Drive folder).
- Enable the checkbox "Perform publishing actions automatically when saving".
Step 3. Once the exported image is synced to the cloud, you then share it for public access (locate the image on the web Google Drive -> Right click -> Share (advanced) -> Choose "On - Public on the web")
Step 4. To form a direct download URL ready for Confluence, you need to do this trick: on the web Google Drive, right click the image and select "Get shareable link", then copy a value that follows "id" parameter, and paste it into the following template:
This way, you'll get a direct link to the image that you can view in a browser.
Step 5. Finally, you just need to insert this link into a Confluence wiki page, to which you want to give access for the stakeholders.
That's all! Now, share the Confluence page with everyone who should be aware of the schedule, or add them to watch list of the page. From now on, they can always get the latest version of the schedule from you even without asking. Just keep it up to date.
If you're using Dropbox instead of Google Drive, you could find this article useful.