Master Projects and External Dependencies with Subprojects


J

Jaime Swanson

Hello,
I have a few problems that I am encountering with MS Project 2003, and I was wondering if you can provide any insight for me? I have not had to do an Master Project yet with dependencies across subprojects, and I am trying to figure out how to do it because I can see this occurring really soon. Is the best way to do this to add the external predecessors/successors in the individual subprojects first and then insert the individual subprojects into the master project? The problem that I am encountering when I do this is once I insert the subprojects into the master project (by going to "Insert" --> "Project"), the external links still appear in the predecessors/successors columns, but then when I go to "Tools" --> "Links Between Projects" nothing appears in the dialog box as the external successor/predecessor.

Another problem that I am having, when I insert the subprojects in the master project, is the task number seems to go away for the tasks that it is linked to. I have tried to insert the individual subprojects by clearing the "Link to Project" box but then this adds the linked task twice to the individual subproject.

The last problem that I am having is once I have added in the external predecessors/successors in the individual subprojects and I save and close the files, the next time I open the file, the dialog box with the external predecessors/successors does not appear. The only way that I can see the dialog box is by going to "Tools" --> "Links Between Projects". I also went to "Tools" --> "Options" --> "View" and made sure that "Show Links Between Projects Dialog on open" is checked, and it is.

Any help that you can provide would be much appreciated!

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G

Gérard Ducouret

Jaime,
Group all your subprojects in a new window (Window / New Window...) or
insert them in a blank new project : Insert / Project...
Then, create inter-project dependencies (FS links) by the following:
Select the predecessor task
Press the Ctrl key
Select the successor task
Click the Link Tasks button (small chain symbol in the tool bar)
That creates a Finis-Start link that you can edit to any other kind of link
You just have to save the project which receive the link, which contains the
successor

Gérard Ducouret
 
J

John

Hello,
I have a few problems that I am encountering with MS Project 2003, and I was
wondering if you can provide any insight for me? I have not had to do an
Master Project yet with dependencies across subprojects, and I am trying to
figure out how to do it because I can see this occurring really soon. Is the
best way to do this to add the external predecessors/successors in the
individual subprojects first and then insert the individual subprojects into
the master project? The problem that I am encountering when I do this is once
I insert the subprojects into the master project (by going to "Insert" -->
"Project"), the external links still appear in the predecessors/successors
columns, but then when I go to "Tools" --> "Links Between Projects" nothing
appears in the dialog box as the external successor/predecessor.

Another problem that I am having, when I insert the subprojects in the master
project, is the task number seems to go away for the tasks that it is linked
to. I have tried to insert the individual subprojects by clearing the "Link
to Project" box but then this adds the linked task twice to the individual
subproject.

The last problem that I am having is once I have added in the external
predecessors/successors in the individual subprojects and I save and close
the files, the next time I open the file, the dialog box with the external
predecessors/successors does not appear. The only way that I can see the
dialog box is by going to "Tools" --> "Links Between Projects". I also went
to "Tools" --> "Options" --> "View" and made sure that "Show Links Between
Projects Dialog on open" is checked, and it is.

Any help that you can provide would be much appreciated!

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3e/custom-cached-serverside.aspx

Jamie,
Let's see if I can give you some insight.

First, it doesn't really matter if you set up the external dependencies
before the subproject are inserted into the master or after. In many
cases it is easier to set up the inter-project links at the master level
because you can select both tasks and then use the "link" icon. You can
also use a "drag and drop" from the center of the Gantt bar for a task
in one subproject to the center of the Gantt bar for a task in another
subproject. An easier way to accomplish this is to isolate the two tasks
to be linked with a simple filter on a spare flag field so they both
appear on the screen without the need to scroll.

The reason you don't see anything at the master level when you go to
Tools/Links between projects is because the links are not at the master
level, they are at the subproject level. If a task in a subproject is
externally linked to a task that in fact belongs to the master, then you
will see an entry in the link table.

When you say the task number seems to go away I assume you are referring
to the presence of ghost tasks showing up in the master like they do in
the subprojects (Tools/Options/View tab "show exernal..."). For some
reason ghost tasks may or may not show up in a master file regardless if
the option is check or not. Why? I have no idea. The important thing to
remember is that the Predecessor and Successor fields will show external
links with the full file path.

If you de-select the "link to Project" box either while you are creating
the master or after the master is created, you are effectively switching
from a dynamic master to a static master. A dynamic master will retain
external links between subprojects, a static master will not. A static
master WITH external links in tact can be created but it required a
special macro to do so. This is handy for archiving a snapshot of a
master with external links. I wrote such a macro several years ago but
it is not freeware.

Hopefully this clarifies some of your concerns. Let us know if you have
more.

John
Project MVP
 
J

Jaime Swanson

Thank you very much for your responses. John, in your first paragraph you mention just doing the inter-project links at the master level. But what if the project leads for the individual projects want to see the external links in only their project? The way that I would see doing this is doing an external link and providing the updated schedule to the lead, and then deleting the external link before inserting the subproject into the master project? And once I have inserted the subprojects, then I can re-link them? Would you recommend this as the best way? This seems like a lot of extra work and may be a cause for error, but I need to maintain the subprojects separately as well as maintain a master project.

Also, the other question that I wrote was once I have added in the external predecessors/successors in the individual projects and I save and close the files, the next time I open the file, the dialog box with the external predecessors/successors does not appear. The only way that I can see the dialog box is by going to "Tools" --> "Links Between Projects". I also went to "Tools" --> "Options" --> "View" and made sure that "Show Links Between Projects Dialog on open" is checked, and it is.


Thanks again!!





John wrote:

Jamie,Let's see if I can give you some insight.
09-Nov-09

Jamie
Let's see if I can give you some insight

First, it does not really matter if you set up the external dependencie
before the subproject are inserted into the master or after. In man
cases it is easier to set up the inter-project links at the master leve
because you can select both tasks and then use the "link" icon. You ca
also use a "drag and drop" from the center of the Gantt bar for a tas
in one subproject to the center of the Gantt bar for a task in anothe
subproject. An easier way to accomplish this is to isolate the two task
to be linked with a simple filter on a spare flag field so they bot
appear on the screen without the need to scroll

The reason you do not see anything at the master level when you go t
Tools/Links between projects is because the links are not at the maste
level, they are at the subproject level. If a task in a subproject i
externally linked to a task that in fact belongs to the master, then yo
will see an entry in the link table

When you say the task number seems to go away I assume you are referrin
to the presence of ghost tasks showing up in the master like they do i
the subprojects (Tools/Options/View tab "show exernal..."). For som
reason ghost tasks may or may not show up in a master file regardless i
the option is check or not. Why? I have no idea. The important thing t
remember is that the Predecessor and Successor fields will show externa
links with the full file path

If you de-select the "link to Project" box either while you are creatin
the master or after the master is created, you are effectively switchin
from a dynamic master to a static master. A dynamic master will retai
external links between subprojects, a static master will not. A stati
master WITH external links in tact can be created but it required
special macro to do so. This is handy for archiving a snapshot of
master with external links. I wrote such a macro several years ago bu
it is not freeware

Hopefully this clarifies some of your concerns. Let us know if you hav
more

Joh
Project MVP

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J

John

Thank you very much for your responses. John, in your first paragraph you
mention just doing the inter-project links at the master level. But what if
the project leads for the individual projects want to see the external links
in only their project? The way that I would see doing this is doing an
external link and providing the updated schedule to the lead, and then
deleting the external link before inserting the subproject into the master
project? And once I have inserted the subprojects, then I can re-link them?
Would you recommend this as the best way? This seems like a lot of extra work
and may be a cause for error, but I need to maintain the subprojects
separately as well as maintain a master project.

Also, the other question that I wrote was once I have added in the external
predecessors/successors in the individual projects and I save and close the
files, the next time I open the file, the dialog box with the external
predecessors/successors does not appear. The only way that I can see the
dialog box is by going to "Tools" --> "Links Between Projects". I also went
to "Tools" --> "Options" --> "View" and made sure that "Show Links Between
Projects Dialog on open" is checked, and it is.


Thanks again!!
Jamie,
You're welcome.

Do not continually make and break links - it is unnecessary and doing so
will surely lead to file corruption. If you make the project to project
links at the master level, I recommend you do the following to avoid
file bloat and keep the link structure free from corruption. Once all
the inter-project linking is complete, open each subproject in addition
to the master (if they're not already open). Then use Save As to the
same file name for each of the subprojects and the master. When the
project leads open their individual file they will see all external
links to their file and, you will see the whole linked structure when
you open the master.

With regard to your other question. Again, the dialogue box will not
appear when you open the master because the links are between
subprojects, the master does not have links (except to the files
themselves).

A little clarification on master files. Master files do NOT actually
contain the subproject files, rather, the master only contains pointers
to each individual subproject. The master can have tasks of its own and
if any of those tasks are linked to tasks in one or more subprojects,
then the dialogue on open should appear.

John
Project MVP
 

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