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Formatting of “Notes” field in views

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  • #5061 Reply
    CommunityCommunity
    Keymaster

    I was very surprised today to find out that the Notes field in Views is formatted in a very unsatisfactorily way. I am trying to reduce the number of tasks in my schedule by moving some information to the Notes field. Instead of listing every little document which needs to be updated by a certain assessment day, and cluttering my schedule with little, albeit important, 30 minute tasks, I listed them in the Notes field, as a bulleted list. I even added the responsible person and the status of the document.

    However, in a view I only see the first line of the Notes field and then “…” to indicate that there’s a line break with more lines to come.

    That’s not very helpful in getting people away from their Excel checklists onto MS Project. Any thoughts on this?

    If anyone from Microsoft is reading this: please fix it with the next service pack. Thanks!

    #6661 Reply
    CommunityCommunity
    Keymaster

    Hi Martin,

    It has ever been thus. The Notes field is limited to 256 characters or a return character whence you will then see the ellipsis … indicating there is more text.  Double clicking on this task will open Task Information and then Notes field for your additional information.  I can’t see Microsoft ever changing this as the Tables which hold the Notes would become extremely unwieldy.

    However, why don’t you list all the legitimate tasks in the normal way, indent them and then close them down so that only the Summary Task is shown?

    FAQs, companion products and other useful Project information can be seen at this web address:  http://project.mvps.org/faqs.htm

    Hope this helps – please let us know how you get on 🙂

    Mike Glen
    MS Project MVP

     

    #6662 Reply
    CommunityCommunity
    Keymaster

    Hi Mike

    Thanks a lot for your competent reply.

    I am still convinced that changing this might be a good idea. You know, I am trying hard to get our pm’s away from abusing MSP as a task list. Schedules become cluttered with details, difficult to manage and that increases the risk that they abandon working with MSP altogether. Even worse: when they assign resources to all these little tasks resource levelling simply becomes impossible. That’s why I am preaching to create larger tasks, even packages” of small tasks in one single large tasks (not to be confused with work packages, e.g. “update all 40 mandatory documents for the next assessment, and then put the details in the notes. However, if they cannot put that information to paper, then my whole strategy fails.

    While I understand your argument, I still hope that someone from MS is reading this and considers my point…

    #6689 Reply
    CommunityCommunity
    Keymaster

    Bob, Mike, thank you for your valuable comments!

    I am now also using a combination of MSP and Excel, even though I am not very happy with it. Let me give you an example: right now we need to ensure that 65 documents delivered by 20 different people will be ready for submission to the project review board by a specific date. Some of these documents will go through a review and be revised afterwards, some are dependent on each other. I want to schedule those in the classic” way, with separate tasks for creating, review, revision, and with milestones and dependencies. But some just take 30 minute to review and update. But all are important for the review, if any of them is not OK then we don’t pass. I don’t want to clutter my schedule with these minor things, if I could put them in the notes I could track both in one tool.

    I agree that people will always track their tasks with Excel, but with _several_ Excel sheets, so the central scheduler does not have an overview of those.

    My solution because I cannot use the Notes field: I have a “slim” schedule, plus a redundant Excel with all the details.

    Btw: I see light at the end of the tunnel: my company will be rolling out a sw development tool called JIRA, which supports the management of action items in a very “democratic” way, which means users can add their own action items, delegate ai, split them, etc. And JIRA can be connected with MSP. This might be the solution: the central scheduler creates a high-level MSP task, sends it to JIRA where it can be broken down to more details. This serves both purposes: central overview, plus decentral action item management.

    #6691 Reply
    CommunityCommunity
    Keymaster

    Hi,

    Can you tell me the difference between a list of these tasks in Excel, and putting the same list in the Task Information/Notes field? As I see it you need two programs to do the former and one program (Project) to do the latter.

    Mike Glen
    Project MVP (97-11)
    See http://tinyurl.com/2xbhc for my free Project Tutorials

     

     

    #6693 Reply
    CommunityCommunity
    Keymaster

    Hi Mike

    The difference is that when I put the information in Excel I can view the information on one screen, print it, and even export it to Excel. When I have it in the Notes fields I only see the information of one field at a time, when I open the task dialog, but never everyting on one page. So no chance to see at a glance if I got everything.

    #6694 Reply
    CommunityCommunity
    Keymaster

    Good answer, Martin,  Good luck with your projects!

    Mike

    #10430 Reply
    CommunityCommunity
    Keymaster

    As hard as I have tried, I cannot get resources away from their spreadsheets for tracking their more minor tasks or for tracking tasks that have a more detailed process to complete than Project can display comfortably.  I have found that reverting to linking their worksheets to a task seems to fit both needs of getting the detail in and allowing a comfort level for the resource.  We will never get away from separate Excell workbooks that I can see.  I know that is not what you want but for now it may help.

    Link separate files in the Information column with a hyperlink.

    Bob k

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