This article helps you to get started with Lynx for Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM). The following topics will be addressed:
- Download Lynx, Register and Login
- Basic configuration
- Create your first project
- Executing the project
- Tips and tricks
This manual address the basic configuration to get going and helps you to add and release your first project. We also refer to the article: Lynx Overview: Setting the Scene. Here you will find some background information on the underlying theories of Lynx and CCPM.
In order to use LYNX, you can download Lynx here. Lynx is supported on Windows and can be run on a Mac by installing a cross platform tool, like Parallels. We are currently developing a cross app, which should become available for Android (released!), iOS and MacOS.
Registration and Login
If you have no account or if have been invited, you can find more information in the article: Registration and Login.
Start with Lynx
First user of Lynx
If you are new to LYNX you will automatically get your own demo space: "firstname.lastname space". This demo space can help you to explore some of the LYNX features. See the article Your personal demo space in LYNX for further explanation. If you are invited to an existing space, we will start by providing you a quick tour through Lynx.
The first page that opens when you start Lynx is My Activities. The My activities task list is role based and shows the relevant tasks for a user given his role. For example as a Task Manager or Resource. By default it focuses on the tasks that are started and are ready to start (RTS), which determine the progress of the corresponding projects, see figure:
The Project Portfolio shows all projects that are available for you as a user. Within this view, you can filter on Templates, All Projects, Not Started Projects and (standard) Released Projects. Besides, you are able to Search for specific projects, Add a project, Delete a project. Or have a look at the Progress Chart, Notes, Resource Load, Tameflow, the Debuffered View or the Scenario Wizard.
The Active Task list show all tasks from all projects within this space. The Active Task screen is not role based and shows all tasks across all roles. The task manager has the possibility to filter and select the tasks or projects of his interest. A benefit for the task manager is for example that he is able to see all tasks for the project, including tasks owned by other tasks managers. He can review his tasks list in the context of all other tasks in the project.
Lynx supports the export of data in multiple ways within the application. As a standard method, we have developed reports that are available within the Reporting-tab. Opening the reporting tab and pressing the '+'-sign in front of Lynx will show you multiple preprogrammed reports that are available for all of our customers, see figure:
For more information about reporting, see article: Dashboard: Reporting (HTML)
Create your First Project
To get started on your first project select Project Portfolio and select add
Step 1: In the General tab enter the unique Project ID and the Name (Description) of the new project;
Step 2: In the Project Dates tab, add the initial desired or requested end-date of the project;
Step 3: In the Scheduling tab, make sure the CCPM Engine is selected. Select your preference, for CCPM Just in Time (JIT) is considered as best practice.
You increase the size of this figure if you left-mouse click the figure and press: Open image in a new tab.
Project Portfolio Window
You will now find your first project listed in the project portfolio tab. It is listed with status “not started”. Here you can filter projects on show all/ not started/ released. You can find this project under show all or not started initially.
Useful features you can use in the project portfolio window are illustrated below:
After double clicking on the listed project in the portfolio window you will now be in the project window. A new tab will open at the top bar with the name of your project.
Create the Project Plan
In this step the following steps are covered in order to create a complete project plan:
- Add Tasks (and initial Prj. duration)
- Add Task Dependencies
- Add Skills and Resources
- Add Task Managers
- Convert the plan into a Critical Chain Plan
The below image shows the target plan that should be achieved after following the next steps in Add Tasks and Add Dependencies.
You can add tasks via the add task button in the task grid.
- Upon giving the task a name the default task duration is set to 1 day. You can change the duration the the duration column.
- To confirm updates in the task duration you can click enter of click in the Gantt Chart to confirm the update.
- * Background of this process is the optimization of the performance and prevents that any (small) change triggers a re-calculation of the complete (large) project plan.
Add and edit more tasks
You can also add tasks via the plus button.
Note: This image illustrates the 'just in time' scheduling features, whereby tasks are not (yet) part of the "Critical Chain". The Critical Chain implementation will be illustrated in later steps.
Save your progress
Once adding all the tasks be sure to click Save. By clicking Save each task gets its own ID. By clicking on the Auto Scale time bar all the tasks will be automatically scaled to fit your window.
Note: update also the initial Prj.duration, you can also decide to this later
Add Task Dependencies
Task dependencies determine the relationships between tasks and identify which tasks need to be completed in order for other tasks to be performed. There are different ways to add dependencies between tasks in LYNX.
Add dependencies via the task grid
Add dependencies via the Gantt Chart
Note: The dependency is added in the direction of first select tasks to second
Add dependencies via the Edit Boxes
This method is especially useful for projects with many tasks
Delete Task Dependencies
In order to delete dependencies, select the task → go to task properties at the bottom of the screen → select the dependencies tab → delete the desired dependency in either the predecessor or successor box.
Add/Update Task Dependencies
Select view → select data entry view (Alt+F6) → you now have a visual of the number of predecessors and successors per task.
Review Results and Statistics
This should look similar to the Target Plan presented earlier.
- Task properties are displayed at the bottom when selecting individual tasks. Select the different tabs to edit task properties such as dependencies, resources etc. In the example the task properties of task #6 are detailed.
- On the right side of the screen you can view and review the project statistics.
Select Critical Chain View
Changing the view will only display tasks that are part of the critical chain.
Add Skills and Resources
Upon starting your first project, the next step is adding the required skills and resources in order for the tasks to be performed. One way to get started is by adding skills via drag & drop.
Add skills via drag and drop
Select the skills/resources window on the right side of your screen and drag and drop the desired skills to the selected task(s).
Another option is to Drag & Drop the skill into the Resource Requirements of the Task Properties (at the bottom).
Add skills via the resource requirements column
Review the Resource Load
Once you have assigned diverse skills and resources you can review the total resource load of the project. This allows you to compare the resource availability versus resource scheduling. In the below example the red shaded area illustrates that there is not enough resource availability.
Modify Task Estimated Time and Units
One way to resolve overload in resource availability is to modify the time required for each skill/resource. You can also easily edit resource requirements in this way.
Note: once skills or resources are assigned to a task, you can not update the task duration via the column Prj.duration anymore, and the duration is shown in  brackets. The possibility to update durations has "moved" to the resource requirements box, as indicated below
Scenario Virtual Skills: Review Resource Load
In the case of scheduling “Virtual Skills” LYNX does not make a pre-selection and soft-allocates a resource name. Please refer to the manual on resource and skill assignment for an in-depth explanation.
Add Task Managers
The next step is adding who is responsible for which task, also referred to as task managers. In a CCPM implementation typically a Task Manager is responsible for (daily) task updates.
Add Task Managers through invitation
Invite Multiple Task Managers involved to the TM list. Task Managers are typically responsible for providing tasks updates, often on a daily basis.
Inviting a Task Manager via the Task Property tab at the bottom will only invite a TM for that specific task.
Inviting a TM through the Task Manager list will invite them for the project, after which you can assign them individually per task.
Add Tasks Managers via the Task Manager column or via Drag & Drop
Apply Critical Chain Behavior
There are three steps involved in applying Critical Chain Behavior to the project:
- The first step implements the Critical Chain Project parameters. In this example tasks are automatically shortened by 50%.
- The second step allows us to determine the type of buffers you wish to insert.
- Finally, the buffers are implemented. Buffers have been added to the project and the length of the critical chain has been shortened by 50%.
Video Explainer: How to Create your First Project
See this video demonstrating how to create your first project. (This is a HD Video you can watch fullscreen on Youtube. Select settings in Youtube and set quality to 720P or 1080P)
Start a Project from a Template
You can find new templates under the project portfolio → templates
Next, select Add to create a new project from an existing template.
You can now find your new project under not started.
Releasing your Project
Releasing the Project and its Tasks
Once you have completed the project planning it is time to release the project. This can be done by selecting Properties → Select status: Released.
- The release of the project has extended the statistics window. You can now find additional statistics key to controlling your project.
- After the release, LYNX has now created two buffer controls. The project buffer column and feeding buffer column can now be found next to each task.
My Activities Window
You can now select the My Activities window in the desktop window. This screen adds several features and allows Task Managers to:
- Assign and confirm resources for a task
- Start a task by changing the status
- Enter the Estimated Time to Complete (Ettc).
The below visual illustrates how:
Tips and Tricks
Search and Replace (CTRL+F)
To quickly find projects or items you are looking for use CTRL+F to open the advanced search tool:
To highlight favorites or often used roles select the skills tab and select roles often used. These roles will now appear on top of the list when opening the skills tab:
Basic Tips & Tricks
Some easy tips and tricks to help you get started:
- Filter or hide columns by right clicking on the column header.
- You can copy a selection of tasks in the task column by using CTRL+C and CTRL+V.
- You can zoom into the Gantt chart by clicking on it and using your scroll button.
- The viewing tab gives you an overview of different viewing options to gain different insights.
- Use the filter to search for specific Resources, Skills, Task Names or Task Managers.
- Right click on a project row to get quick access to the progress chart or to copy a project.
- Right click on the column header to add/remove any filter.
- Windows can be individually moved, making it easy to use two screens side by side.
Resolve Warning Messages
There are several reasons you could receive a warning message such as: plan cannot be calculated due to planning logic violations. See the following example:
- This example illustrates two warning messages. These are listed under the task properties messages tab. Also the project statistics box includes message "there is a problem with this project, see messages tab."
- In this example two designers have been scheduled, but only one is available. The maximum availability has been exceeded.
- The second error is related to task dependencies. A dependency may have been accidentally added in the wrong order and can be deleted to resolve the error.
In the project you can add notes to different tasks as required. Select the notes icon → the notes pop up will open (task details) → click on the plus icon to create a new note → select the type of note you want to add:
Please also refer to the following articles for more in-depth information and quick insights into the following topics:
- LYNX Overview: Setting the Scene
- Skill and Resource Configuration
- Calendar, Time and Durations
- User Roles and Adding Users by Invitation