External Links - MSP adding them at random and other queries...


B

BusyBee

I am working with a number of very detailed schedules that have cross
dependencies (represented as external dependencies) as well as a high level
milestone schedule that brings all the other workstreams togther to provide a
single view of the program. The milestone schedule is entirely driven by
external dependencies from the respective schedules, however, I am
experiencing some difficulties with MSP behaviour.

1. MSP adds or removes external links without given instructions.
2. I sometimes get told there is a circular reference when I open one of the
schedules and the milestone schedule. There seems to be no pattern to when
this occurs though (ie it happens sometimes and not others)
3. Sometimes dates are not showing as they should in the milestone plan
(even when I do not get a message about a circular reference between the
respective 2 schedules)

Also, what would be the best way about keeping archived versions of the
schedules? At the moment people are taking copies and storing them in an
archive folder and remaining to include the date. How does this affect the
external links?

Thanks so much for any assistance. I have been going a bit grey(er)
struggling with the above :(
 
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J

John

BusyBee said:
I am working with a number of very detailed schedules that have cross
dependencies (represented as external dependencies) as well as a high level
milestone schedule that brings all the other workstreams togther to provide a
single view of the program. The milestone schedule is entirely driven by
external dependencies from the respective schedules, however, I am
experiencing some difficulties with MSP behaviour.

1. MSP adds or removes external links without given instructions.
2. I sometimes get told there is a circular reference when I open one of the
schedules and the milestone schedule. There seems to be no pattern to when
this occurs though (ie it happens sometimes and not others)
3. Sometimes dates are not showing as they should in the milestone plan
(even when I do not get a message about a circular reference between the
respective 2 schedules)

Also, what would be the best way about keeping archived versions of the
schedules? At the moment people are taking copies and storing them in an
archive folder and remaining to include the date. How does this affect the
external links?

Thanks so much for any assistance. I have been going a bit grey(er)
struggling with the above :(

BusyBee,
From what you describe it sounds like you have a massive case of file
corruption, especially since "people" are taking copies and storing them
wherever. Too many cooks in the kitchen.

First of all when you have group of files, large or small, all linked
together, there needs to be one person, (the project manager or his/her
designee), who has exclusive control of maintaining the overall file
structure. It is okay to have individual cost account managers
responsible for their particular project file but they should NOT be
archiving anything. Doing so increases the complexity of the link
structure which invariably leads to file corruption.

Second, if you have a top level milestone schedule that consists
exclusively of links to other files my guess is that some of those links
are forward pass type and some are backward pass type. The backward pass
type of link is a good way to create circular references. When opening
an individual file in a linked structure you may not "trip" the
calculation that would create a circular reference. However opening
several of the files will attempt to calculate a circular reference and
hence you get the error message.

Third, instead of having a separate milestone schedule I suggest you
create a dynamic master of all the subprojects. You can then filter that
master to show just the milestones of interest.

As far as keeping archived versions, which by the way is a good idea, I
believe there are some tricks you can use with Sharepoint but I don't
know the details. I'd tell you to try a search in this newsgroup with
the keyword "sharepoint" but it so happens that this newsgroup is being
shut down on June 1st, (yes, that's two days from now), so you need to
act fast. You can also use VBA to convert your dynamic structure with
external links into a static structure, (complete new separate file),
and maintain the links. I do have a VBA macro to do this but it is not
freeware

I mentioned above this newsgroup is being shut down. It is replaced by a
forum which you can find at,
http://social.answers.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/addbuz/threads.

I wouldn't worry too much about going grey struggling with Project, it's
one of the benefits of using the application :)

John
Project MVP
 

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