In the previous article we covered the various ways to enrich your project activities with information, files, etc. In Part II we’ll cover every Attachment in detail. We’ll start with Checklists, Events, Files and Information. In Part III we’ll delve deeper into Issues and Risks.
Checklists can be just what the term says, but can be more like an outliner as well. Attaching a checklist to a Project or an Activity is easy: you just select the Activity and select Insert > Attachment > Checklist from the context menu. At that point, you will have created a very basic, default checklist with a title, status and creation date, and the Project or Activity it is attached to.
From here, you can expand your Checklist with custom fields of different types, e.g. checkbox, date, number, text, etc. To create those, select your checklist in either the main or Detail View and enter the data in the Inspector. Besides the listed items, checklists can have related costs and notes, but their most powerful feature are tags and fields. In order to create a custom field, you enter the desired parameters in the Inspector. To make it visible in a View, you click on the column headers bar. From the context menu select “Add Column” and choose your newly created field.
Events are the Merlin Project equivalent of OS X Calendar events. Just as in the Calendar app, you can add start and end times, but in addition you can add a status as well, eg. Whether it’s a major or minor event. You can add attendees to the event in the Attendee field and confirm their invitation status. As with Checklists, you can customise Events in the Inspector and even add tags and fields.
In order to set a status, you’ll first need to create statuses in the project’s value lists. Select “Project Settings” from the File menu or click the Settings icon in the toolbar. Select the Value Lists tab in the Inspector and from the drop-down menu select “Events”. You can now populate the list. Now when you switch back to the Events in Detail View, you can set your status as required.
When you’re publishing a project to Calendar and including Events as published items, any event within the project’s timeframe will be published with it.
Just as with the previous Attachments, you can customise fields and tags for files, but more importantly you can manage file revisions. You don’t have to do anything else but edit the file in its native editor, e.g. Microsoft Word for a Word document. When you save that document and switch to Merlin Project, the app will ask you if you want to “Incorporate (your changes) into last version”.
If you click that option, the file in Merlin Project will be updated with your edits and in the Inspector a new entry will automatically be created in the File > Info > Revision History list. This list also allows you to open, show and even replace the file if you want to.
Information acts as a CRM system for your project. For example, when you receive a comment by email, you can enter details such as who sent the comment (Author), how did you receive it (Type), was it a comment, a complaint (Status), when was it created. You can even add a live URL.
If you thought Information was just information with no opportunity to customise value lists — in this Attachment, there are two: Type and the Status sub-value — you were wrong. By going into the Project Settings Inspector > Value Lists, you can enter parameters that make sense to your project environment.