Building your first plan

Building Your First Plan


Building your first plan is simple. The following four steps will get you going with Swiftlight and help you develop a high level or “big picture” plan:


Step One: Enter the Project Name and its Objectives in the top section of the Timeline view

When you open Swiftlight you will start with the Timeline view. The project title "New Project" will be highlighted ready to be replaced with your own project name. Type your project name in this space.


Next click where it says "Click here to add text" under each of the Objectives, Deliverables and Success Metrics headings and type to add the purpose and the expected outputs of your project.

Defining and getting agreement to specific objectives, deliverables and measures of success is an important driver of project success. The top section of the Timeline view is intended to help you capture and communicate this information at a high level.

To control the amount of space in this top section, you can expand (or shrink) it by grabbing (clicking and dragging) the splitter bar just on top of the blue label row and moving it up or down as required.


Step Two: Set the Date Range for the Plan in the Timeline view

When you open Swiftlight you will start with the Timeline view showing 8 weeks from the current date as shown below:


You can expand or contract the time period displayed to the required length by either 1) using the buttons on the blue Timeline label row above the main body of the page


Or 2) Opening the Page Body Format dialogue by clicking on the white arrow icon (2), selecting the date range tab (3), and directly selecting the start and end dates (4).

Select the right time range for your new project using one of these controls.


Step Three: Add Key Meetings, Milestones and Activity Groups to the Timeline

Drag and drop Meetings, Milestones and Activity Groups from the toolbox (5) to the relevant section of the page (6).

Once you have the Meetings, Milestones and Activity Groups at the correct dates add text to give them an appropriate name.

The length of Activity Groups can be changed by grabbing the ends of the arrows and dragging them to the required length. You can tell that you are able to grab the end of an Activity Group arrow when the mouse cursor turns into a line with an small arrow pointing away from the Activity Group.


If Swiftlight sees that items will be overlapping in the Timeline view, the program automatically formats the content to optimise its display (within certain constraints). For example you will find:

  • That when you position a meeting, milestone or Activity Group in a way that overlaps with another one, the application will insert a new row;
  • That the application tries to keep the content on one page if possible, by, for example, shrinking row heights when new rows are inserted.

If you decide you need more (or fewer) rows for Activity Groups than the six that are there as the default, then you can use the right click menu (7) to add or delete rows at the point you right click. Alternatively, you can use the Page Body Format dialogue (8), select the Activity Group Rows tab (9), and set the number of rows for page 1 and the Timeline overall (10).


Step Four: Tidy it up and you are done!

Now you can step back, look and your plan and make edits.

You can colour Activity Groups differently by selecting an Activity Group and then clicking on the colour you want in the legend at the bottom of the page.

Making other formatting changes can be done using the Timeline Page Body Format dialogue.


Now you are done! You now have a good "high level" or "big picture" project plan which you can use as the starting point for your project.


Where to Go Next

From this starting point you can, if appropriate, go on to develop a more detailed project plan using the Timeline and the other views in Swiftlight. For example, the next step might be to add more detail behind each of the Activity Groups so that you get to grips with the nitty-gritty of "who needs to do what by when".

For more information on the Activity Group Detail and all the other views why not check out the following help topics to help you to get started using Swiftlight and become comfortable with the interface:

If you can’t see what you are looking for here, please see the Help Menu topics for more ways to get help with Swiftlight.