Quick Start Guide

First steps

This Quick Start Guide helps you learn the basics of PlanIt9 by leading you through the process of creating and tracking your first project . Signing up and creating small projects is free.

First, pick the Sign Up / Sign In button.

If you're new to PlanIt9, enter your name and then you are redirected to your home page.

On your home page, you see the projects that you are working on and the organizations that you belong to. Go to your first project by picking the Project1 link in the Projects table.

Now you are on Project1's home page. There's not much here yet, because it's a new project.

Plan your project

As a simple example, let's plan to build a raised vegetable bed. The first thing to do is to identify all of the work that needs to be done and break that work down into simple manageable tasks . It's often helpful to organize the tasks into an outline format, such as the one shown below.

  • Purchase materials
    • go to hardware store
    • go to nursery
  • Prepare site
    • loosen soil
    • remove grass and weeds
    • rake and level soil
  • Assemble
    • build wooden frame
    • install bottom lining
    • move frame to site
  • Prepare soil
    • mix topsoil, compost, and potting soil
    • rake smooth
    • moisten with gentle spray
  • Plant veggies
    • dig holes
    • place plants in holes
    • place stakes around veggies

In PlanIt9, we call the higher level tasks summary tasks, and the other tasks the subtasks of the summary tasks.

Let's start by creating a couple of summary tasks. To do so, pick the New Summary Task command and on the New Summary Task form, enter "Purchase materials" as its name. Now pick OK. Create another summary task and call it "Prepare site".

Now let's define some of the actual tasks. (Note: If you get ambitious and try to define all of the tasks shown above, you'll run into the task limit for free accounts. See Pricing for more information.) Pick New Task, which brings up the New Task form. For the name, enter "go to hardware store". Because you always take your time browsing at the hardware store, enter 1.5 as the Work Time. That's the total amount of time in hours that you think it will take you to go to the store, buy the lumber and screws and other hardware and return home. Assign this task to yourself by picking your user name from the Assigned To list. Because this is the first thing you plan to do for this project set the priority of this task to 1, the highest. This task is a subtask of "Purchase materials", so pick "Purchase materials" form the Subtask Of list. Now pick OK.

On the Project1 Home page, you should see the beginning's of this projects timeline or Gannt chart. By default, you start work at 8 am, and work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, but these details can be changed later by editing your work calendar.

Now create the "go to nursery" task, and a few others. After creating the first 5 tasks, this is what the time-line looks like.

Notice that tasks are scheduled one after the other, starting with the highest priority.

Select the Tasks command to see a table view of the tasks.

After adding a few more tasks, the time-line looks like this.

It's now clear that the project will take more than one day to complete by yourself. The best solution is to ask someone to help you. To do so, go back to your User Home, and pick Invite Worker.

If you enter someone's email address, then they will be sent an invitation to sign up for PlanIt9. If they accept your invitation, then they will be able to help your with your tasks. In the rest of this quick start guide, we'll assume you have a helper.

Go back to your project home page and pick Workers. Both workers are listed in the Workers table.

Now go to the Tasks table, pick "go to hardware store" and change Assigned To to the name of your helper. If you don't have a helper, you can pretend that your helper's user name is "unassigned". Assign all of the Assemble tasks to your helper and create some more tasks so the time-line looks something like this.

Note that this time-line is not quite right. You can't put the soil in the bed until the frame is completed. In other words, the "mix topsoil..." task depends on the "install bottom lining" task. To fix this, pick the "mix topsoil..." task and in the Depends On list, pick "install bottom lining". To make the time-line correct, you should also have "rake smooth" depend on "mix top soil..." and "moisten..." depend on "rake smooth", so that now the time-line looks like this.

Now you and your helper know who should be doing what when and when the project will be finished.

Track your progress

An important part of managing your project is tracking every worker's progress. PlanIt9 uses simple progress reports to track peoples' work. Suppose you wanted to track your work on a daily basis. Pick New Progress Report, which brings up the New Progress Report form. Progress Reports can be for any time period but for this example, set the end date to be one day later than the start date. For each task enter how long you worked on it and how much work is remaining for each task. In this example enter the following:

The time-line then looks like this:

Note that the completed tasks are shown in one color and the incomplete tasks are shown in another. Also note that the incomplete tasks are now scheduled after the end of the progress report's period.

As the you and the other workers make progress on your tasks, you should periodically create new progress reports so that everyone knows how well the project is progressing.