A few months ago, we were designing the course structure for â€œFree Facebook Valuation Modelingâ€. Now, this was a 28 day extensive course with numerous activities scheduled each day. We first created a project timeline in the form of a list in excel. However, this looked too cluttered and messy. There was just too much going on!
We then looked at different ways to depict this so that it would be easy to interpret and give a consolidated view of all the activities in a snap shot. The time line graph was the most aesthetically pleasing.
We were pleasantly surprised when we received a mail from one of our students that he liked our timeline graph and wanted to learn how to make it.
So we made this tutorial so that everyone can use this in their day-to-day activities, especially in project management.
In Project Management project time line provides all the crucial information about a project in a snapshot. It helps telling story of your project to everyone easily. That is it answer questions like
Â· When the project started?
Â· When the first prototypes create? Etc.
For manager it helps in knowing the current status of the project and where the efforts are going.
The project time line can be created in the customized manner considering your needs.
Here I have discussed few simple steps to model (create) project time line in excel.
Step 1: Create the schedule of your project in a excel work sheet
Step 2: Add height to the excel sheet in which you have created the schedule
Height must be given to each activity in your schedule modeled in excel. The reason to give height is that we will use it as values for the â€œYâ€ axis â€¦â€¦â€¦. i.e. it will show each activity parallel to that particular height in the final time line chart.
Step 3: Draw a simple scatter chart without selecting any data
Note: You have to draw the chart without selecting any data
Step 4: Double click on the blank data and press the select data option
In the select data option we will provide â€œAxis Optionâ€ (i.e. â€œXâ€ axis & â€œYâ€ axis value) to the blank chart
Click the Add button to insert the axis option
â€œXâ€ Axis = Select the date column (as shown in the picture above)
â€œYâ€ Axis = Select the height column
After inserting values for both axis press the â€œOKâ€ button
Step 5: Convert the simple Scatter Chart to a Time Line Chart
Take the cursor on the blue line and press the Right Click and select the Format Data Series
In the â€œFormat Data Seriesâ€ go to â€œLine Colorâ€ and select â€œNo Lineâ€ option
After selecting â€œNo Lineâ€ go to â€œMarker Optionâ€ and select â€œBuilt â€“inâ€ option
Selecting the â€œBuilt â€“inâ€ option you are actually changing the marker style
Now again double click on the chart and you can see â€œChart Toolsâ€ option has appeared above the excel sheet. Under â€œChat Toolsâ€ option go to â€œLayoutâ€ â€“ than â€“ â€œError Barsâ€ and select the â€œMore Error Bars Optionsâ€¦â€
Under â€œMore Error Bars Optionâ€ go to â€œVertical Error Barsâ€, select â€œMinusâ€, â€œNO Capâ€ and â€œPercentageâ€. In â€œPercentageâ€ Put value â€œ100â€
After closing the populated window, you can see that the chart has changed from a line graph to a vertical shape graph (i.e. it looks like value are placed on a time line)
In this graph you can see that alphabet â€œHâ€ is appearing to each line. The meaning of â€œHâ€ is that it is representing â€œHorizontal Axisâ€ with value â€œ1â€ to it. This is of no use to us, so we will go to its source and make the value â€œ0â€, so that it does not appear on our chart.
Double click on the chart and you can see â€œChart Toolsâ€ option has appeared above the excel sheet. Under â€œChat Toolsâ€ option go to â€œLayoutâ€ â€“ than â€“ â€œError Barsâ€ and select the â€œMore Error Bars Optionsâ€¦. Then go to â€œvertical Error Barsâ€ and select â€œFixed Valueâ€™ and make it â€œ0â€
Step 6: Add Data Level to the chart
Go to any of the marker and right click and select â€œAdd Data Labelsâ€
Clicking on the â€œAdd Data Labelsâ€ will show â€œYâ€ axis values on the chart.
Step 7: Replace the â€œYâ€ axis values with the project activities
Click on the Data Labels, go to the formula bar and put â€œ=â€ sign and link it to the respective activity
It might be little confusing, so follow the pictorial guideline
Pressing Enter you will see that â€œ500â€ has changed to â€œProject Kickoffâ€
Likewise you have to change all the data labels
Final view of the chart
Note: we have deleted the grid line and â€œYâ€ axis values form the chart
Pankaj Baheti is a CFA Level III Candidate currently working with Pristine. Prior to Pristine, he was working with Achi Group. He has done his Post Graduate Diploma in Management and loves trekking in the hills of Arunachal.
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