Meisterplan PPM
Meisterplan PPM

13 Tips and Tricks to Becoming a Professional Meisterplanner

8 min read

When I look over the shoulder of my colleague working with PowerPoint, I am pretty impressed. Using shortcuts and lots of experience, he handles the slides so skillfully that I don’t even have time to ask him how he did it. Picking up a few tips from him is one of those little pleasures in (office) life. In this article, I invite you to look over my virtual shoulde, so I can share with you my insider knowledge of Meisterplan. Here is my list of 13 tips and shortcuts in Meisterplan.

1. Irritated by the Hint? Turn Hint on and off with “Alt + H”.

Let’s start with a classic annoyance. When you hover over a project, a detailed information window opens showing the main project data. In other areas, hovering the mouse activates a hint. If you want to present your recommended portfolio in Meisterplan to the Portfolio Board without the hints popping up, you can just turn them off. Use “Alt+H” to activate or deactivate the hints.

A note: You must choose the section where you wish to turn the hint on or off. If “Alt + H” does not work, you must first click on the Gantt chart or histogram.

2. Want to display more projects? Press F11 for fullscreen browser mode.

Typically, you have more projects in your portfolio than your screen can display at once. The list is simply too long. The same is true for resources and financials. Since we can’t enlarge the screen size, we must optimize the available space. A simple shortcut is to press “F11” to switch to full-screen mode in your browser and thus create a little more space to view your plans in Meisterplan.

3. Significantly reduce mouse clicks on extensive reports: Expand or collapse all fields.

If you use reports in Meisterplan, you will especially appreciate this next tip. The Pivot & Diagrams reports let you quickly create tables that represent your data in different aggregation levels. Opening the lowest aggregation level manually for each field would be very cumbersome, so luckily there are the options to open or collapse all. These options can be found by right-clicking on a field in the first column or row of the table.

4. React flexibly to changes in resource planning with the “replace resource” function.

Talking about right-click, using it reveals even more time-saving features. For example, in resource management, Meisterplan provides support in the (re-) planning of allocations at the role and resource level. Have you tried out this practical feature? If not try it ASAP! First, click on the arrow on a project to see the roles and resources allocated to it. After right-clicking on a role/resource from this list you have various options:

  • Assignment of task planned by role level to a specific employee: Staff Role
  • Reschedule an allocation from one role to another: Replace Role
  • Return the scheduled task of a team member to his role: Unstaff to Role
  • Redeploy the project work of one employee to another: Replace Resource

5. Not interested in seeing the financial data? Hide it.

With Meisterplan, you can keep an eye on budgets and finances across your entire project portfolio. In practice, however, the entry and publication of an employee’s hourly rates in some organizations needs to be kept confidential. Also, extensive financial planning sometimes hampers a quick start to project portfolio management. Don’t want to use the financial section in Portfolio Designer yet? No problem. Just hide it. If no financial details have been entered for any project (the Finance tab is empty for all projects, and no costs per hour for roles or resources nor any cost or benefit budgets are entered for any project) Meisterplan will automatically hide the financial section.

By the way, you can hide Project Scores in the same way. If you don’t use the function removing all stored project score data will automatically hide this feature.

6. Confused by Excel import IDs? Press “Ctrl+I to display the information field.

Many users swear by the Excel import when initially entering data into Meisterplan. The file uses internal IDs when referencing data from other worksheets. This does not correspond to data created in Meisterplan records and working with the unfamiliar names can be tricky. Press “Ctrl + I” to display an information field in Excel, to match the names to the IDs.

7. Your projects don’t always start on Mondays? Move projects by holding down the shift key.

One of Meisterplan’s core functionalities is optimizing your project portfolio planning by moving projects around until each part fits into the overall puzzle. Usually to move projects on the timeline you would use drag and drop. Next time hold down the Shift key when moving a project in the Gantt chart. The start date of the project will then jump to the beginning of a week or a month (depending on the zoom level).

8. Focus on the projects: Hide the red project lines in the Gantt Chart.

This Meisterplan tip is so well hidden that even I did not know it until recently. The red lines on over-allocated projects in the Gantt chart are handy to quickly identify resource bottlenecks. Yet, you may want to hide this feature for presentation purposes. In your profile settings, you can increase the threshold to display the red lines in the Gantt chart. By changing the value to 200% the red lines should disappear…

9. Afraid of losing your data? Use Scenarios.

The main purpose of a scenario is to simulate and estimate the effects of changes to the project portfolio. When you create a new scenario, Meisterplan copies your project and resource data from the plan of record to that scenario. Now you can “play” in this scenario without upsetting the previously entered data. You may or may not already know this, but the scenario also has other uses. If you create scenarios on a regular basis, they can serve as a backup for your data at a certain point in time. If a scenario is not edited after the creation, it is saved as a copy of the data at that exact time. At the same time, by comparing the “old” scenario with the current stats, you have an instant overview of the changes to your portfolio.

The only restriction is that some changes are applied across all scenarios – learn more here.

10. Want to choose when to divide a project? Split it at the milestone.

A key resource is unavailable, so you need to temporarily pause a project. No problem. In Meisterplan, right-click on a project in the Gantt chart and select the “Split Here” option to divide the project into two segments with a break in the middle. There is a small, but great tip for this feature. If you first create a milestone (right-click on the project in the Gantt chart, then click add milestone), you can split the project exactly at that milestone and on a specific date. You can safely remove the redundant milestone by right-clicking again and selecting Delete.

11. Move two projects at the same by holding the “Ctrl” key.

The life of a PMI would be easier if no projects were ever dependent on each other. However, since dependencies can’t be prevented, we should at least be able to represent and handle them. The following Meisterplan tip helps: You can select multiple projects at the same time by holding the “Ctrl” key down while selecting. They can then be moved on the timeline simultaneously. In addition, the resource view then focuses on resources that are active in at least one of these projects. You can cancel the selection by clicking on the project again while holding down the “Ctrl” key.

12. Quickly find a project using a combination of the project ID and project name.

The Project Search function is not difficult to find. You will find the magnifying glass prominently displayed in the toolbar of the Portfolio Designer (i.e., directly above your project list). However, this function is only useful if you know what the project is called. Since many companies use project IDs, you can include the project ID in the project name in Meisterplan, making it easier to find the project you are looking for.

13. Still have questions? Go to our Help Center.

I saved the best for last. With just two clicks, you have access to all the information you need to work with Meisterplan. Have you ever clicked Help in the top right corner of the app and then chosen Help Center? There you will find an extensive knowledge base and tutorials to help you quickly and easily find information on all topics having to do with Meisterplan and Lean PPM.

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