Are the iPad and Mac apps separate purchases?
Yes, the Mac and iPad apps are separate purchases. Historically there hasn't been any way to bundle apps across those stores, so that is true for most apps. Apple is starting to provide ways to bundle across platforms but SG does not yet support that.
Are the iPad and iPhone apps separate purchases?
Yes. We decided to separate the iPad and iPhone apps to let you purchase only what you need, rather than one higher-priced combined app.
Is there a trial version available?
SG Project Unity on the Mac has a free 10-day trial, and we hope to offer more of that in the future, but the generation 5 apps do not have a free trial. We are certainly happy to answer any questions that might help you understand if an app is right for you.
Can the SG apps import Microsoft Project files?
The SG apps don't import/export in Microsoft Project's native "mpp" format. But they do import/export in the Microsoft Project XML format. So from the Save As… dialog in Microsoft Project you select Format = XML, and SG can import the resulting file. You can go the other direction too.
There are some limits because SG does not handle all the features of Microsoft Project (and vice versa).
Also note that SG is typically not able to import XML files from non-Microsoft apps, even though they too support Microsoft Project XML. This is due to different interpretations of the format standard.
My Critical Path looks strange, how is it calculated?
The critical path in SG is the longest chain of tasks and a near-critical path is any chain that is 80% or more of the critical path. SG only considers predecessor links between child tasks and not parent tasks. So avoiding task links to/from parent tasks may result in a more understandable critical path. It also only considers To Start links, most commonly Finish-To-Start (FS) links, but it also considers SS. Assuming that all your task links are Finish-To-Start, the critical path chain of tasks will have the longest calendar span of any chain. If you want to know more about SG’s critical path calculation feel free to email us and we can discuss.
It is also important to understand that when calculating the critical path, SG only takes into account the part of each task that is not Done. This means that you are always being shown the critical path for the work yet to be completed. So the critical path does change as you adjust the % Done on tasks.
Note: SG does not have true CPM analysis tools that some technical project managers need, it simply highlights the paths.
I don’t understand the Net Line - how is it calculated?
There is no obviously “right” computation for the Net Completion Date, so SG's computation is unique to SG. It starts with the tasks currently being viewed in the chart (whether collapsed or not), so if filters have been applied, the filtered-out tasks are not included. It considers work scheduled in the past that is not yet completed, and work scheduled in the future that is already completed. It then factors in the average number of people on the tasks in your plan. The result is a date that clearly tells you whether the plan is ahead or behind, and also a sense of "by how much". In a typical plan if you have one person assigned to each task and the Net Line is showing one week in the past, then it is saying that the plan is running behind by one person-week.
Help me understand the Person Analysis feature.
The person analysis feature in SG Project Pro 5 and Unity can be confusing at first. On the Task Plan view, click the person icon to turn the feature on or off. SG auto-selects the initial person for analysis. It will be the owner of the currently-selected task (if there is one), otherwise the first task owner in the project. You can then select a different person if you want.
The filter button lets you switch between 3 different modes. In all cases the “Assigned / Over Assigned / Very Over Assigned” chart area shows the assignments for the selected person only. You can quickly see if the person is over/under allocated either in the current project, or across all projects. This tool is only for on-screen analysis and is not included in reporting.
The colors in the chart area show whether a person is assigned to a task or not. Black means that the work is already done (based on the task % Done). Red means the work is in the past (prior to “now”) but not yet done. Green means the work is in the future but not yet done.
There are 3 horizontal segments to the chart. The first whole segment represents 100% assigned. The “Over Assigned” segment represents 200% assigned. The top of the chart is 300% or more assigned. So if at a given point a person is assigned to one task at 100% and another task at 50%, the chart will show halfway through the Over Assigned segement.
How can I make tasks run in parallel?
By default when you create new tasks, SG links them together with "predecessor links". Those links enforce that one task can't start until the one before it ends. However it does not have to be that way. If you want tasks to run at the same time, you just need to delete the "predecessor link" and then you will be able to move the second task to be earlier.
On the Mac, one quick way to do that is in the chart view: click on the dashed arrow and it will highlight in yellow, then just hit your Delete key. Then you will be able to move the second task earlier.
Also note that in the Preferences menu (“Options” on the iPad) you have an option to turn off auto-linking of tasks. So if you typically don't want tasks to run in sequence like that, you can turn off auto-linking.
When I move a task, the successors push out, but when I move the task back the successors don't move. Why?
There are two types of Finish-To-Start dependency links between tasks: locked and unlocked. The ones you typically see, which are created by default, are unlocked. You can tell because they draw as dashed lines. Unlocked links behave as follows: the predecessor can be pushed out into the future, but won't be pulled back if the successor ends earlier. The only constraint is that the predecessor can't start before the end of the successor.
What you may want are "locked" links. Those force the successor to start immediately after the predecessor no matter what (unless a lag time is specified). Locked links draw as solid lines.
On SG on the Mac you can toggle between locked and unlocked by double-clicking on a link in the chart view. On the iPad, open the Task Detail view and click on Links. You will see the linked task highlighted in bright blue, with a term along the right like "FS". Tap on that term to view the details of the link. You can Lock the link there. If you do that, you will see your predecessors snap back in time and from that point on they will follow the successor forward or backward.
Does SG People support dotted-line managers? Can I assign one person to multiple positions?
Dotted-line managers are not yet supported, but that is something we are considering for the future. If that is a feature you would like to see, let us know!
YES you can assign one person to multiple positions. That is a strength of the SG People design, which separates People, Positions, and Organizations. You can assign one person to multiple positions in one org chart, and also to positions in multiple org charts. If you then update the person (for example a new picture or phone number) the changes will appear in all those positions.
Tasks, Action Items, and Issues - which one should I use?
The question of Tasks versus Action Items or Issues is a very good one. There isn't a clear simple answer. SG can be viewed as a toolbox that contains these tools but it is up to you to decide how to best use them on your project. Still, we are happy to share a few thoughts.
Tasks have a start date and duration and are used to define the schedule or timeline for a project. Most often at a medium level of detail. The task schedule is used to determine the project timeline and track progress. It is also where SG tracks costs. So if it is important to track the start and end of your item and it affects the start/end of other tasks in the project, then consider adding it to your task plan.
Action Items are finer grained issues that come up during the course of a project, including during team meetings. They are items that need to be tracked and completed but don't really drive the project timeline.
Deciding which to use is part art and part science, and experience is the best teacher. Typically the project timeline of tasks solidifies during the early stages and you don't want to keep adjusting it with new tasks, so Action Items are created more often during execution of the project.
Note that a situation could be documented in SG as a Risk initially and then changed to an Issue if the Risk is "triggered". For example "It Might Rain" is a Risk, but if/when it starts raining, it becomes an Issue. Action Items are sometimes used to document steps to be taken for Risks or Issues. For example if a Risk is important enough and complex enough, you may want to create and assign some Action Items to mitigate the Risk. Or if the Risk becomes an Issue and is complex, you might create some Action Items to deal with the Issue.
One last thought: don't get too bogged down trying to decide which is right. The most important thing is to capture the item, and the second most important is to assign an Owner so that someone has accountability for it.
I am trying to set the start date of a task, but the date will not stick. Why?
The most likely reason is that you are trying to set the start date of a task earlier, and there is a Predecessor link that is preventing that from being valid. So if you are trying to move a task earlier than the task before it, you first need to remove the Predecessor link to the prior task. To do that, tap the gear icon then More, find the Predecessor Link, and tap to remove it.
Another possibility is that you are trying to set the start or end of a parent task (a task with other tasks indented underneath it). You can't do that because the start and end of a parent task are defined by its earliest and latest descendent task. So you must edit the child tasks, or add special milestone (zero duration) tasks as children and move those to the desired start and end for the parent.
If it isn't either of those two issues feel free to email and we will be happy to work through it with you.
The duration of my task does not match the work. Why?
It is important to understand that the start and end dates for a task are affected by the amount of Work, but also by the Work Schedule and the number of people assigned to the Task and their percent assignment. If no one is assigned then SG assumes that you will assign one person. But if you assign two people at 100% then the task can be completed twice as fast. So in that case if you want to maintain the same duration, you need to double the Work.
What are some expert tips for using the SG apps?
In the SG Project and SG Project Pro on the iPad, use the arrow buttons along the bottom to switch between different view configurations, showing more or less of the chart view. And be sure to keep tapping and try all the configurations because the "all task name" option is very helpful for longer task names or deeply indented plans.
In SG Project Pro on the iPad you can quickly indent or outdent a task by swiping your finger horizontally over the task name.
In SG Project Pro on the iPad you can quickly open the task editor by double-tapping on a row in the chart area.
In the SG apps on iPad, tap-and-hold briefly on the ID Color Block along the left to quickly set the color of the item.
In SG Project Pro on the iPad you can quickly add or remove a link in the chart view by tapping-and-holding on one task, then tapping on another row within one second. That gesture removes the current link between the tasks, or adds an unlocked Finish-To-Start link.
In many views of the fifth-generation SG apps on iPad, you can compress or expand the row height by using pinch in/out gestures vertically on the view. This lets you choose between seeing more on the screen, or having the rows be easier to tap.
In SG Project Pro on the iPad you can zoom the chart by pinching in/out horizontally on the chart. For some people it is just as quick to use the Zoom button in the upper right.
A quick and reliable way to pan the chart view from side-to-side in any SG app is to click or tap on the timeline header along the top and drag it horizontally. Use the Zoom plus this drag gesture to quickly focus the chart where you want.
In the Mac versions, use Command-N to quickly add a new item.