Connecting 2-plan Desktop and 2-plan Team

2-plan Team works in tandem with 2-plan Desktop application in order to facilitate collaboration among team members and at the same time help the project manager track the project more effectively. The work packages for a project can be defined in the 2-plan Desktop version and the tasks for each work package can be defined by the team members in 2-plan Team.

A work package can be divided into tasks by various team members and allocated to each other (or a team lead could do this job). This reduces the complexity because you avoid unmanageable time schedules that have several hundred line items or tasks. Yes, you do have methods like SCRUM but these work the best when you are developing your own product. When you have a client to report to, you have to create a traditional schedule with the deliverables and timelines. So, as a project manager, you can create the work packages and the team can split it to tasks. It also helps you do away with micro-management of your projects.

Further, the team members can close the tasks, create new tasks, mention the time spent on a task and specify the time-to-complete for the tasks...thereby helping the project manager deduce the exact status of the project at any point in time.

Typically a workpackage is defined as a "deliverable" and not a "ToDo". The project manager will plan workpackages which have typically an effort of 5 days and this will be split into tasks. Each task should have an effort of 8 hours.

Installing 2-plan Team Connector Feature in 2-plan Desktop

For connecting to team server, you have to install an additional feature called the "2-plan Team connector feature" (this is a commercial plug-in for 2-plan Desktop).

To install 2-plan Team connector feature:

  • Go to the 2-plan Desktop application.
  • Click "Install new 2-plan features" under the "Help" menu. The "Available Software" dialog box is shown to you.
  • Choose the "2-plan Team connector" feature.
  • Click "Finish" to install the feature

To access 2-plan Team connector feature:

Access the workspace context menu in the 2-plan Desktop application. You will see "Team connect" in the list of functions. When you further drill into the "Team connect" feature, you will see 4 menu options:

  • Connect Project
  • Disconnect Project
  • Submit workpackage
  • Submit milestone.

OR

Access the team server features through "Team Server" menu item that is now available in the top menu of 2-plan Desktop application after the installation of the 2-plan Team connector features.

There is also a new view for the synchronization available. When you have not activated the plug-in you will see a dialog where you can activate a 30 days trial or where you can enter your license key. You can purchase a license here

Transferring 2-plan Desktop Project to 2-plan Team Project

There is no way to directly transfer the complete 2-plan Desktop project to the team server; you have to first setup an empty project on the 2-plan Team server (or you can also connect to an existing project ... but setting up an empty project is preferred).

To get the key for connecting 2-plan Team and 2-plan Desktop:

  • First ensure that you have the rights to edit the project in 2-plan Team (generally, the project manager will have the rights)
  • Go to the project in 2-plan Team to which you want to connect the 2-plan Desktop project
  • Click the edit button for the project. The project details, including the access key, are visible to you.
  • Copy the access key for the project. You will need it for connecting 2-plan Desktop and 2-plan Team.

To connect 2-plan Team and 2-plan Desktop:

  • Go to the 2-plan Desktop application
  • Click "Team Server" (in top menu or in project context menu in 2-plan desktop) and click "Connect project". An application login dialog box is displayed.
  • Enter the login details for your 2-plan team application:
    Login to server
    • URL for the application
    • Username. Note: The user should have the API permissions (read/write).
    • Password
  • You will be displayed a message that read/write access has been granted.
  • Click ok for the displayed message and proceed. You will now be displayed the access key dialog box.
  • Paste the access key in the dialog box (see the section "To get the key for connecting 2-plan Team and 2-plan Desktop") and press the OK button.

You are now connected to the web application and this is also denoted by a small icon (the remote project label decorator) on the active project.

We also use the same label decorator (as for remote project) for remote workpackages too.

Transferring Current Time Schedule (Workpackages, Milestones) to Team Server

This involves transferring all the workpackages and milestones from the client (2-plan Desktop) to the server so that team has all the information and they can start working on it.

To transfer a workpackage /milestone to team server:

  • Select a workpackage/milestone in the project explorer window in 2-plan Desktop application.
  • Go to team server menu and click "Submit Workpackage" / "Submit milestone". The workpackage/ milestone is submitted to the team server.

If you go to the 2-plan Team web application, you will find the transferred workpackages there with all the required information i.e. resource assigned, start date, finish date, planned effort and assigned milestones. With all the information available to the team, they can now start working on the workpackages by creating tasks etc for each workpackage.

It is perfectly fine to transfer just the workpackages to the team server and not the milestones because when you assign a milestone to a workpackage, the milestone too is automatically transferred to the server.

Synchronizing the Plan with 2-plan Team Server

Once you have created and transferred the workpackages to team server, your team will create tasks etc and start work. While creating tasks for each workpackage, the team members will specify the "Effort to Complete" value for each task i.e. the actual effort estimated by the team member to complete that task.

Sychronizing with 2-plan Desktop

If you add the estimated effort values for all tasks for a workpackage, you will get the new estimate for the workpackage. This estimate could potentially be different than your plan value but this value will be more realistic since now you have the detailed estimates from the team. This is great information for project manager.

Now, the project manager will need all this information (the new estimate, tasks etc) on the client side (i.e. the 2-plan desktop application).

Synchronizing 2-plan Desktop with the 2-plan Team Server

To synchronize 2-plan Desktop with the 2-plan Team server:

  • Go to the 2-plan Team Synchronizing view (it is under the 2-plan Team views in the list of views in 2-plan Desktop). Note: It would be useful to add the 2-plan Team Synchronizing view to the controlling perspective.
  • Click the refresh icon in the top right corner of the view. You will see all the workpackages and the related information (tasks, actual values, forecast, time to complete etc) as obtained from the team server.
    Toolbar
  • Actual value: The amount of effort that has already been spent on that workpackage.

    Forecast (local): The forecast is the actual forecast based on the estimations done by team...and "local" is the current value of forecast in the local plan i.e. in the plan in 2-plan desktop application. If these 2 values differ then the project manager will have to make adjustments to ensure that both the values are same (either by talking to the team to see how the estimated effort can be adjusted or by adjusting the current forecast value to the new value through synchronizing)

    Time to complete: The effort needed to take the workpackage to completion.

  • Click the synchronizing icon in the top right corner of the Team synchronizing view. Your local plan (i.e. the plan you see in 2-plan Desktop) will be updated/synchronized with the values obtained from the team server. Note: You can also select only those workpackages that you want to synchronize.

So, any differences in forecast and local values are removed by using the values obtained from server...you can see this in your controlling sheet too. You can now use the rescheduling feature to have an updated plan that is realistic.

When you connect to the team server you will get all the information for workpackages in 2-plan Desktop; however, for the tasks you will only get the task names and actual values (effort spent).

Transferring Workpackages Created in 2-plan Team to 2-plan Desktop

Workpackages created by the team directly on 2-plan Team cannot be synchronized with the 2-plan Desktop. When you synchronize 2-plan Desktop, you just get a visual indicator that tells you what workpackages have been created directly on the team server.

To find which workpackages have been created directly on team server:

Click the synchronize button in the 2-plan Team Synchronizing perspective of 2-plan Desktop application. The name of the workpackage created on team server will be shown together with a comment "Team 0.0" in the Forecast (local) column.

The 2-plan Desktop plan is treated as the master copy because you can synchronize the information that you create in 2-plan Desktop but not the other way round. So, always create all workpackages in 2-plan Desktop.

Workpackage Status

The state of a workpackage is automatically calculated by 2-plan Desktop based on actual effort spent vs the forecast e.g. if you have 40 hours of forecast and the actual effort spent is 20 hrs till now then the current state of workpackage will be 50%. You can check the state of the workpackage through the business object editor.

So, status of a workpackage is directly related to the effort spent and effort remaining. This is the best way to gauge the status of a workpackage/ project.

When a workpackage is in one of the following states: assigned, planned, 25%, 50%, 75% or 100%, you can synchronize with team server and get updates for that workpackage in your 2-plan Desktop application. However, once the workpackage state has changed to accepted or released, you will not be able to synchronize this workpackage (and ideally no one should really be working anymore on such a workpackage as it is already accepted/released)