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I have a challenge whereby I need to create a project from a template but instead of entering a start date, I need to enter the date of one of the tasks and work backwards.
A real life example is I have a "Course Start Date" which is the main focus. The course (Project) will have prep that needs to be completed prior to the course starting. It could look something like this.
Task 1 = Send out invitations
Task 2 = Order Course material
Task 3 = Course Delivery
Task 4 = Send Certificates
When I create the project, I want enter the Course Delivery Date which in this scenario is task 3. In other templates, it could be task 5. I'm not sure how I can take this forward.
Has anyone had a similar experience?
In principle this should work but I have not tried it, so it is definitely worth testing.
1. Create a custom project form for Courses and call it 'Course'. Make project template field mandatory on the form by a business rule.
2. Rename 'Project Start' to 'Start of course preparation date'. It will need to be made non-editable later. You may need to rename the field on other forms to avoid confusion.
3. Create a custom field called 'Course preparation duration', make it mandatory and display it on your 'Course' form and the form used by templates.
4. Create a custom field 'Course start date', make it mandatory and display it on your 'Course' form.
5. Create a real-time workflow that updates 'Start of course preparation date' based on input in 'Course start date' and 'Course preparation duration'. Make 'Start of course preparation date' non-editable.
6. Create one project template. Set value in 'Course preparation duration' to required duration in days. Set up tasks in the template with required duration, dependencies and roles:
Task 1 - Start of course preparation (they will not be happy with this task but I cannot see any other way how it can be done)
Task 2 - Send out invitations
Task 3 - Order Course material
Task 4 - Course Delivery (time in days between start of this task and start of Task 1 should be the same as 'Course preparation duration'.
Task 5 - Send Certificates
7. Create project templates for all other combinations of 'Course preparation duration' and required project tasks. This is probably driven/related to course types.
8. Make sure that the value in 'Course preparation duration' is mapped between templates and projects. I am quite sure that it is possible for custom fields; otherwise use a workflow to update values. Make sure that the workflow logic is applied as necessary on creates and maybe on updates.
9. Teach users to create a brand new project using the 'Course' form, to specify 'Course start date' and to apply the right template (template field should be mandatory).
10. When a user creates a new project using the 'Course' form and the correct template: values in 'Start of course preparation date', 'Course preparation duration', 'Course start date' on the newly created project and dates of tasks related to that project should be as expected.
I hope this helps.
Thanks for the detailed response. I did try using workflow to achieve this but it didn't work. Perhaps in my haste, I missed something out. I will try again following your recommendations.
To get me through my demo, I created a business rule which calculates the project start date based on the course delivery date and a fixed number (60). This works but relies on the course prep always being 60 days. Hopefully your suggestion will offer more flexibility.
I'm going to mark this as 'Answered' even though it rejected by the client and only had limited success. The solution makes sense and I can see it solving a different challenge.
Using the quick create button to create my project, I was able to manipulate the project start date using a business rule and with a realtime workflow. However, when using the "Create project from template" button, I had less success. For some reason, the project start field would not update and would always default to todays date. But to be fair, I did not fully test this so it could be any easy fix.
The reason why it was rejected by the client is because the 'Course Delivery Date' did not sync with the task in WBS. Each Course has different prep time but when they set the duration on the form, WBS still needs to be manually updated.
Glad I could help - if only a bit.
It is worth mentioning that system behaviours may be different, depending on you apply the template (they should be the same really but they may not be - and this may differ between PSA versions too). You can 'Create project from template' or apply a template at project creation using the main form or the quick create form.
You might also try instructing users to specify the 'Course start date' after the template has been applied, record has been saved and after WBS has been copied over (or schedule a workflow that will run 3 minutes after the template has been applied).
I think that there should be a way of achieving what you want to do using a combination of templates with WBS structures, business rules and workflows...
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