Working with Waterfall Project Plans

This how to article will help users to use waterfall plans on a project in the Projects application. The user must have the Add Plans and Edit Plans security role permission for the Projects application in TDNext.


Waterfall project plans entail mapping out projects into distinct, sequential phases. The waterfall model is the most traditional method for managing a project, with team members working in a linear fashion towards a set end goal.

Each row in the waterfall plan represents a step that needs to be completed for a project, the steps are listed in the plan in sequential order.

Creating a Waterfall Plan

To create a project plan:

  1. Navigate to TDNext > Applications Menu > Projects.
  2. Click on the Project Name in the left navigation.
  3. Click Plans.
  4. Click the +New button.
  5. Enter a Name for the new plan.
  6. Enter a Description if desired.
  7. For Type, select Waterfall.
  8. Under Do you want to create this plan from anything, select a plan source or create an empty plan.
  9. For Do you want to check this plan out now, select Yes or No.
  10. Click Save.
  11. If you chose to create this plan from a template or file, the next step will be to choose the plan source:
    • To Use a plan from an existing Project Template:
      • On the New Waterfall from Project Template page, select the desired Project Template from the dropdown.
      • Click the Create button.
    • To use a TeamDynamix .TDPlan File:
      • TeamDynamix .tdplan file: The user will need to select a TeamDynamix .tdplan file to import from their computer.
    • To use Microsoft Project XML:
      • Select a Microsoft Project XML file to import from your computer.

Building Your Waterfall Plan

To start building your waterfall plan:

  1. Navigate to TDNext > Applications > Projects.
  2. Click on the Project Name in the left navigation.
  3. Click Plans.
  4. Click the Title of the waterfall plan.
  5. On the right side of the plan toolbar, click Check Out.
  1. In the Title column, click in a cell and add a title for the step.
  2. Enter a Start Date if you know when you will begin the task. Or enter an End Date if you know when you need to finish by.
  3. Enter the Duration as an estimated number of days or weeks the step will take.
  4. In the Predecessor column, enter the Row Number for any step that must be completed before this one can begin.

    You can establish dependencies between tasks which would require step A to be finished before step B can start. Altering the start or end date on the predecessor will automatically adjust the dates of the dependent. These relationships are visually represented on the Gantt chart by a connecting line.

  1. Set a Priority and enter Estimated Hours.
  2. Double click the empty Resources field to open a dropdown list of the project’s resources.
  3. Select one or more resources to be assigned to the step.
  4. Click Check In to stop editing and make the plan available to others.

Creating Parent and Child Steps

You can create a hierarchy on your sheet by indenting rows. When you indent a row, it becomes a child of the row above it- the parent row. Parent rows reflect a summary of the start date, end date, duration, and % complete values entered for the indented child rows.

To add child steps to a parent:

  1. Create the parent task first.
  2. Enter the child steps below the parent.
  3. Select all of the child rows, then click the Indent button in the toolbar.

When you click and drag a row that has items indented below it, the child rows will move with the selected item. You can’t delete a parent row without also deleting its indented child rows. To delete the row without deleting the child rows, remove the parent-child relationship first.

To learn more about parent and child steps, see the Adding Task Dependencies section of the Working with Waterfall Plan Tasks article.


To mark an important event like the end of a project phase or an important delivery date you can create a milestone. Milestones are indicated by a black diamond in both the step list and the Gantt chart.

To create a milestone:

  1. Create the step in the plan.
  2. Click the step Title field or the entire step row so that it is highlighted.
  3. Click the Milestone button in the toolbar.

Changing Columns and Custom Field Names

TeamDynamix provides extra fields on the project plan which can be renamed to suit your needs.  The custom fields are used for all plans within the same project. Any changes made to field names here will apply to all plans on the project.

To change the name of a custom field and add it to your plan:

  1. On the open waterfall plan, click Check Out on the right side of the toolbar. 
  2. Click the Views button in the toolbar, then select Configure Columns.
  3. In the Show/Hide Columns popup, click the Manage Custom Columns button.
  4. On the Edit Custom Columns page rename the desired fields to be used in your plan.
  5. Click Save and close the window.
  6. In the Show/Hide Columns popup, click the checkboxes to add the custom fields.
  7. Click Save.
  8. To see the updated column names, Check In the plan. 

Shifting the Dates of a Waterfall Plan

The dates of the entire plan can be shifted by changing the start date.

To shift the plan dates:

  1. On the open waterfall plan, click Check Out on the right side of the toolbar. 
  2. Click the Shift button in the toolbar.
  3. In the Shift Plan popup, enter a New Start Date.
  4. If you want already completed tasks to shift with the rest of the plan, uncheck the Do not shift tasks that are completed checkbox. 
  5. Click Save.

The dates in the plan will all be updated based on the new start date.

Viewing the Project Gantt Chart

Viewing the Gantt Chart

To view a project plan in a Gantt chart:

  1. In TDNext, navigate to Applications > Projects and select the Project from the left navigation.
  2. Click Plans.
  3. Click the Title of the waterfall plan.
  4. In the toolbar, click the Gantt button. The Gantt chart will appear to the right of the steps, you may need to scroll to see it all.
  5. Click the down arrow next to the Gantt button in the toolbar. Make any desired changes to the timeline and details displayed on the chart.

Understanding the Color Scheme on the Gantt Chart

Each color used on the Gantt chart signifies a different element of the project plan:

  • Gray bar = Parent task
  • Blue bar = Non-parent task
  • Red/burgundy bar = Critical Path
  • Black bar = Progress bar (at 50% completion, the black bar will stretch halfway across the task bar)
  • Thin gray bar under task = Baseline of task

Plan Views

There are several built-in views that highlight different aspects of your plan.

To access the plan views:

  1. Navigate to TDNext > Applications > Projects.
  2. Click on the project name in the left navigation.
  3. Click Plans.
  4. Click the Title of the waterfall plan.
  5. In the toolbar, click Views.

Viewing Resources Allocated to a Plan

The user can view all the resources allocated to a project plan, the month(s) each resource is assigned to the plan, and the hours allocated to each resource.

The table will show all of the project’s steps. Steps that already have resources assigned will be listed list first, with unassigned steps below. The list shows the number of hours each user is assigned for each month or week of the plan.

To view resource allocation for a project plan:

  1. In the toolbar, click Views.
  2. Select Resource Allocation View from the dropdown.

Using the Custom View

The Custom View provides a way to see the plan steps in different ways, showing or hiding columns, grouping by like values, and sorting.

To use the custom plan view:

  1. In the toolbar, click Views.
  2. Select Custom View from the dropdown.
  3. Click the Group By dropdown and select a column.
  4. Click the Columns dropdown (fenceposts icon), then add or remove any columns from the table.
  5. To sort by a column’s values, click the arrow icon in the column header.

Forcing Check In of a Plan

Sometimes it happens that someone has made changes to a plan but forgot to check it in when finished, preventing others from making any changes. Forcing check in of a plan will mark it as  checked in and make it possible for other users to check it out and make changes. The ability to force check in is available to users who have access the Edit Plans security role permission.

Force check in will cause any draft changes made in the checked out state will be lost.

If someone has forgotten to check in a plan when they finished editing, the first course of action should be to look the user up and ask them to check it in, rather than possibly deleting their work.

To find out who has a plan checked out:

  1. Navigate to TDAdmin > Projects > Projects 
  2. Click the desired project name in the Projects list.
  3. In the Project Details window, click Task Plan in the left navigation.
  4. In the Task Plan list, the right most column will show the name of the user who has it checked out.

To force check-in a plan:

  1. Navigate to TDAdmin > Projects > Projects > [Project Name] > Task Plan.
  2. Click the plan Title in the Task Plan list, Plan Name column.
  3. In the Plan Details window, click the Force Check In button.
  4. Click OK in the warning popup to confirm the force check in.
  5. You may need to click the Refresh button to see the updated Checked Out status on the Plan Details page.

Associating an Issue with a Plan Task

Issues can be associated with tasks in a project plan to represent a problem or risk that may prevent the completion of the task.

To associate an issue with a task:

  1. In TDNext, navigate to Applications > Projects and select the Project from the left navigation.
  2. Click Issues in the project sub navigation.
  3. Click the issue Title in the list.
  4. In the Issue Detail window, click the Edit button.
  5. In the Edit Issue window, scroll down to the Task field and click the search button (magnifying glass icon).
  6. In the Plan Selector window, click the Title of the project the task belongs to.
  7. In the Task Selector window, click the Title of the task.
  8. Click the Save button in the Edit Issue window.

Learn more about project issues.

Deleting a Plan

Only users who have permission to delete project plans will to see the Delete button. Deleting a project plan will remove all associated data to the plan and the tasks in the plan.

To delete a project plan:

  1. Navigate to TDNext > Applications > Projects.
  2. Click on the project name in the left navigation.
  3. Click Plans.
  4. On the Task Plan list, click the Delete link in the far right column for the plan you wish to delete.
  5. Click OK on the confirmation popup to confirm and delete the plan.

Gotchas & Pitfalls

  • A parent task is a reflection of the children task below it. For instance, the percent complete of the parent is a result of the combination of percent complete of the children task. The same is true with resources, all resources assigned to any child task will show as a resource on the parent task.
  • When establishing Task Dependencies, you will need to reference the Row Number of the item you want to build the dependency with, not the WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) number.
  • After updating the percent complete of a task it will be represented at the parent task and plan level. However, using the Est Hours column on a task will cause this calculation use the Act Hours column to track percent complete of a plan.
  • When applying project template plans, project plans will not carry over any custom column names (Fields 1-10), column visibility or column ordering from template plans in the Project Templates application. Applying a plan from the Project Templates app simply builds out the task plan itself as specified from the template. This holds true regardless of when a project template plan is applied.
  • The ordering and visibility of column headers in the Projects application is preserved on a per project, per computer basis. Effectively this means that the settings are user-specific (assuming that one user normally uses the same machine) and can be unique for each project that the user is on. They cannot be unique for a user per project and per plan. Nor can these sorts of customizations be applied to all users at the global, project or plan level.
  • When using the Web Plan Manager in the Projects application, Fields 1 - 10 are preserved for plans within the same project. This setting, while project-specific, does apply to all resources on the project. As a final thought, only Fields 1 - 10 can have their names customized. All other column names are not customizable.
  • There are some scenarios where the user will be presented with a read-only version of a plan instead of the regular full plan manager window. This happens because the user has accessed the plan and one of the following scenarios is true:
    • The user does not have the Projects application. They probably only have the Analysis application and cannot edit plans.
    • The user does not belong to the project associated with the plan. Users not on the project cannot edit plans in other projects.
    • The project is inactive. The project is not workable and thus plans cannot be edited.
    • The project is closed or cancelled. The project is not workable and thus plans cannot be edited.
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Article ID: 3324
Thu 1/29/15 10:23 AM
Wed 8/9/23 6:06 PM

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