Beginning the Process

Every project, whether it involves building a billion dollar power plant or running the PTA's annual fund-raiser, always begins with a charge. Someone has to say "do this". The charge empowers you to do something and defines what that something is. The self-destructing tape is Jim Phelps' charge. Hopefully, yours comes in a less volatile medium.

The first thing that happens in Mission: Impossible is Jim Phelps receives his charge from The Secretary, albeit indirectly. You can show this on your process model as a report process element.

Process elements are aligned in imaginary columns below the team member or members who are working on them. To enter a new process element, click the mouse in the process field below the team member to whom the process element belongs.

Since The Secretary issues the charge to Jim, the report "belongs" to The Secretary. Click the mouse in the process field just below The Secretary's team field entry as shown.

The Process Type menu pops up, showing the types of process elements that may be added to the model at this location.

Click on the New Report item in the popup menu. The new Report icon is added to the worksheet. The Process Element Information window appears automatically to allow you to enter a title and other information about the new process element.

The Process Element Information window is where you enter or change the information pertaining to the individual process elements. The Title is the information that will be printed on the worksheet. The Description field is for more detailed information that may be exported to a report writer. The remainder of the fields are for Cost/Schedule information and are discussed in detail in the TeamFlow Manual.

The text cursor has been placed for you in the Title field. Type the title "Charge to IMF" and click the Apply button.

TeamFlow allows you to enter a process element title that occupies more than one line of text. The title field in the process element information window is two lines tall. If your title requires more than two lines, the contents of the title field will automatically scroll vertically. You may move between lines using the up- and down-arrow keys on your keyboard. The field will scroll vertically to keep the text cursor visible.

The Process Element Information window occupies a good deal of valuable screen space. If you are only entering Title information, a smaller "Brief" version of the window is available. Click the Brief button on the window. You may reposition this smaller version of the window in the usual manner - grab its title bar and drag it to where you want it.

Next, Jim selects the members of the IMF who will comprise his Core Team. This constitutes a Task that Jim works on alone. Since the task "belongs" to Jim, you want it to appear in his column. Since it occurs after the charge is issued, and since there is an implied top-to-bottom flow through the process elements, you want the task to appear lower on the worksheet than the report. To enter this task on the worksheet, click in the process field in Jim Phelps' column below the row containing the report.

Click on the New Task item on the popup menu, and then enter "Select Core Team members" as the title of the new process element. Click the Apply button. Tasks are coded blue by default.

This is a good time to rearrange the worksheet to give us more room to work. From here on in the tutorial we will not show either the Team Member Information window or the Process Element Information window unless they are central to the discussion. You may close them if you wish by clicking the Close button on each.

Since we will not be entering Cost/Schedule information into the model at this time, the Gantt chart pane will not be used. You may close it by turning off the Gantt Chart switch on the View menu.

As a convenience, there are four buttons in the tool bar that allow you to remove either or both of the side panes from the window. Click the button that shows the right-hand pane grayed. This will remove the right-hand (Gantt Chart) pane.


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Last Update: October 24, 2005