MS-Project plans on a Google Calendar

Posted: January 9, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

One of the least favourite parts of my job as a software developer is when the project manager comes to me with printout of a project plan done in Microsoft project and asks asks if the plan is okay.

The project plan printout shows a list of tasks, described by a 3-6 word title, along with start and end dates for each task. I am usually asked to look through this and figure out if a) The tasks are taking place in the right order, b) If any tasks are taking place at the same time that shouldn’t be (maybe because they require the same computers, components or people) and if the task estimates sound reasonable.

Making sense of a 100-500 task project plan from this type of list is pretty difficult. It would be much easier to view this as an interactive calendar that lets you view the tasks taking place in a given month, week or day. The other day I found a blog post by Ashish Paliwal on some software to convert a Microsoft Project .MPP file to Google Calendar.

I downloaded the software and spent the morning adding features to it, including

  • Task constraints, dependencies and resources now show up in the event description
  • Events on the calendar run from the start to end date
  • An option to skip tasks that have already completed

The 500+ item project plan I’ve been staring at is now much clearer.
My modified version of the tool is available at github. You can download an executable JAR with my changes from my sourceforge site

To convert a MS-Project .mpp to a Google Calendar just run

java -jar mpp.jar MyProjectPlan.mpp myemail@google.com

Then select one of the calendars from the list and the tool will update it to include the tasks from your project plan.

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Comments
  1. Manu says:

    Thanks for that great work !

    I’ve added automatic deleting of existing calendar events and adding project task to related resources’ calendar
    so that with one mpp I can planned all my team and with a shared Google Agenda, they can consult their todo tasks

  2. nex says:

    AMAZING! Thank you! I used to enter these in individually, just saved me 2 hours per project.

  3. JSN says:

    Epic – Where can I find the source code. I would like to code some enhancements into it like password masking! This is EPIC BTW.

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