Please find a transcription of the audio portion of Tim Runcie’s Best Practices in Using Master and Sub Projects with Project and Project Online webinar being provided by MPUG for the convenience of our members. You may wish to use this transcript for the purposes of self-paced learning, searching for specific information, and/or performing a quick review of webinar content. There may be exclusions such as those steps included in product demonstrations. Watch the complete webinar at your convenience.

 

Best Practices in Using Master and Sub Projects with Project and Project Online
Posted: 10/10/18
Presenter: Tim Runcie
Moderator: Kyle

 

So today, we’re going to cover some of the key concepts with Master Projects and get a little bit more into the options. What does it look like from the desktop, what does it look like from PO (Project Online). This of course is a growing topic, you could spend a lot more time and I know I’ve got an hour to work with and we want to leave some time for Q&A but again, if you want to put questions in the chat window, we’ll definitely be taking those in the end and feel free to reach out at anytime. You’re going to find that MS continues to move forward and evolve their technology. I’m going to talk about some of that today that supports the concepts of what we refer to as a MP (Master Project). We’ll get into a little bit of the on premise and of course we’ll talk about best practices on that, when to leverage and use them. And of course, I just love demoing so I won’t be doing a death by Powerpoint. I want to get us into looking at some of the live approaches and things to work with and as I mentioned, we’ll wrap up with some Q&A.

 

So first off, as we get going, one of the elements we want to think about is what really is a master project? I have had a lot of organizations where people talk about the content of what they need, what they want to look at and so first off if we talk about Project professionals, say in the desktop environment or if you’re publishing to PS (Project Server) or PO, you’ve got this container. The idea of a MP is it’s a central place that houses that information. Now, when we look at building it in a PD (Project Desktop), we’ve got this empty file and we basically sweep in the files or the other entities we want to look at so these projects we want to see, manage, edit, view or report again, it’s kind of getting pulled together. The concept I really want you to zero in on is a MP doesn’t have to be saved, it can just be an empty container. We call it “[?] grocery bag”. The idea is that, ‘Hey, listen, I just quickly want to pull this together, here’s what I want to do”, and then I don’t need this container anymore. Could be temporary, could be permanent and the idea is that it’s up to you in what you’re trying to set up and how you want to work with the different files or project schedules that you have in front of you. And so a lot of PM will have their MPs and say, “Hey, look, I’m managing 10, 15 projects, I’ve got a couple slices of the world, I don’t want to have 10 or 15 files that are open”. One of the elements, and I’m going to be careful not to reveal too much, we all know in Excel you can have multiple windows open and you can actually pull it from one monitor to another. The idea is that, a lot of times you can do that today, at least in project but the idea is if I want to bring it together in a single view, this is the tool to do that.

 

So as we look at PO…for those of you that are in PS on premise, using Azure, you’re in the online environment, the PC (Project Center) itself is the MP. The whole idea is that, when I take a schedule and save it there, it is a view that has everything contained in one area. And so you can create views, filters and grouping and I’ll pop in there and I’ll show you what it looks like if you haven’t seen that before. But the idea is that we already have a MP when you’re using the Enterprise edition. All the information is all in one place, we use one common resource pool and so it’s very powerful. In fact, it supports a lot of what most organizations kind of maturing through that process or creating a standard PMO or looking at just centralized reporting and common demand management and resource capacity planning is that PS or PO really is that MP. Now when you’re in an online or enterprise environment, you still can have MPs. You can build them and I’ll show a little bit of that today, both some do’s and don’ts and things to pay attention to but the idea is sometimes with a MP, remember, when you a build a schedule though PO and you hit publish, it gives you the option to have separate Sharepoints. We call these Project Workspaces or Team Sites, but the idea here is that this Sharepoint site is dedicated to your project and you can connect issues and risks. Think about that for a moment. If all of your projects have a central collaboration portal for documents, issues, risks, you know, basically communications, you have calendaring there, you can have the change order list or log…whatever it may be that’s helpful, what if you’re working in a program? Or what if you’re part of a portfolio with multiple initiatives and the issues and risks or the information that you want to put there is not just on a single project, it may be across all of those. And so a MP in an enterprise environment, when you publish, you also have that opportunity to say, “Yeah, all of these individual projects that might have multiple PMs, you might be on part of some of those or you might oversee the entire program itself, I need a separate place to put that”. This is a good way to say, look, if I build a MP, I certainly can sweep into other projects but inherently I still get my own container sharepoint site and I can work with that. And so that whole idea in what we’re managing is helpful. Now for those of you that did not make it to the Ignite session this year, there was a lot of great information shared about Project, where Project is going, things that the Project MVPs worldwide, many people on the partner advisor council and folks that are working with the engineering team have been kind of under wraps not to talk about it. I was very pleased to have Howard Crow really presenting some of the newest information. We talked about the Home Page for PMs and a new product called Roadmap and I’ll pull up a picture of it here really quickly as I’m not going to have time to get into a full online demo. But the concept of saying, “Hey look, it’s not just MPs that I want to have a high level Gantt chart view of information. I may want to drill into things that are coming from external to Project”. Thinking in terms of that MP as a container vehicle, bring information together so that people are able to plan, view and basically have an understanding or possibly cross-link or pollinate them together is helpful.

 

So as part of the announcements at Ignite, you’re hearing about the connection and the growth of planner. We see the interconnection with Teams and other elements that MP team are not only working with but connecting to. And as we want to bring the opportunity of having more information accessible and not necessarily needing to open up a Project desktop to see that, it’s very helpful.

 

So here’s a picture right now of the Roadmap tool and, again, I’m sure MPUG is going to have some very deep dive sessions on this because this is a very hot topic. The overall idea here is that if we’re putting together an environment, we can create a timeline with sub-programs and add them. We can them from [?], we can add them from MP, pull them in from planner. The idea is that I get this overall, sort of master picture of what’s happening and it isn’t something we necessarily have to force into Project. So if you think about this concept of all data, in one place and whether it is Project or isn’t Project, it’s one of those elements you’re going to be able to take advantage of as you begin to move to the PO experience. So you can have Roadmaps, you can have a Roadmap within a Roadmap so the idea is you can drill down and see some of this information. I won’t steal too much of anyone else’s thunder who is going to be coming after me for the presentation but I think it’s really exciting to know that, in the past, this kind of what we’ve done. Taken a single MP file and a made a row for every single project or people have deployed the Enterprise environment where they would build and publish those and have those projects into one area to visualize that. So as the project team and Microsoft continues to improve that environment, it’s very powerful to understand that, “Hey look, this is a hot element, we really want to see information”, executives don’t necessarily want to go to a MP schedule to drill into three layers to find MP schedules within project schedules but what we have is the ability to take that value and share that. So of course when you’re using a MP, one of those key concepts or things that you definitely want to take advantage of is that, if you are going to need to link between one file and another, this is the vehicle. Now, you certainly can type in the URL, you can put the path in, create a link to the task but it’s so easy to open up a MP and basically cross connect between two files. The idea is that you can dynamically create that interdependency, especially if you want to do resource reporting. For example, if I’m doing resource reporting and I want to see multiple sets of resource in the environment and maybe I don’t have the Enterprise version of Project as I’m just using the desktop. Hey, I want to bring it all into one view and I want to look at what are those work and work assignments. Now, some of us “old school” MP users, we remember building the old local global resource pool. So we take a single file, a MP file and all it would have in it was our resources and what we would do with it, we would share those resources with any other file and the idea is that when we would open this up, we always had that one source of truth that the resources, no matter what Project file you’re in, was coming from a single file. Hence, that’s kind of what you get with the Enterprise environment is that consolidated single resource pool across all projects. The local version is a little bit more fragile. There’s things you need to do to be careful about that but when you would want to open it up and look at all the work resources were doing, it would spin up a MP and show you that information, saying hey look, I can actually show you assignments across all the files that I’m connected to.

 

So whether it’s task management or I’m looking at those comments, snapshot information that I want to visualize, it’s going to be helpful for using MP. Something I’m going to demo for you today is something people ask all the time: “Hey, I want to make a copy of my file”. So they’ll go out and do a file save us, put a date stamp on it, stick it in a folder. Or if you’ve ever been in Project where you just want to copy maybe fifteen columns of data and paste it into another black schedule and then when you go to paste, it says oh hey, you don’t have the column orders in the right place and it tells you that there’s an error. So anytime you do that, one of the things that you’re going to find out is that MP, this is faster. Just open a blank file, insert a sub-project but what we want to do is disable the linking and I’m going to demonstrate for you. So the idea is that if you want to create quick snapshots in a moment in time, here’s a way to get a hold of that data. Whether it’s what if scenarios…you aren’t trying to save it, work offline, make a copy of it, date stamp it. You really can just pull the information out much faster. And then of course if you’re viewing but you don’t want to edit across multiple files and this is very important. Many times, you do not want to actually allow somebody who’s working and maybe as the desktop version to edit your files. So MP are a great way to say I’ve got a view only, read only visualization of that even if I don’t have the Enterprise edition.

 

So, without talking much more, I’d love to get into building and of course my background being construction in the past. I like to jump in here. No, this is not a picture of me building forts but I tell ‘ya, I’d do this in a heartbeat and my five year old daughter would be right there with me so let’s take a look at some of the options that comes to building our MPs.

 

Let’s talk about PS or PO. Now what I’m going to do here is, I’m just entering into an Enterprise environment and depending on how you set yours up, you’ve got some options there. Remember, the whole idea here is that we can group by owner, we can group, perhaps, maybe by program, perhaps we want to look at strategic initiative. In this case, I’ve got one here called “summary by investment theme. Every one of these rows of course is a Project schedule and we can bring in themes and sub-themes and look at offensive strategies, defensive strategies etc. but the idea is that all the data is one central view in that project center. Now, there’s plenty here to play with and if I just go back to summary by owner, what I want to key you into is what does a MP quickly look like. So as I scroll through this list here, I just want to take a [?] to go to my section, let’s take a look here on the left, towards the bottom and you’ll notice that we have these icons. Now of course if you’re in PO or PS, sometimes when we look at these, we know that we’ve got issues or risks and if we click on them, it’ll take me to their Sharepoint site. But if you’re looking and I’ll kind of zoom this in for everyone here, if you’re looking, a MP icon is different. So remember the whole idea here is that if I actually click on this icon, I’ll launch into the desktop version of the project schedule or in this case, the MP. There’s a visualization difference. Now something that happens quite commonly is that people will start building MPs and they’ll say, “Hey, I’ve got a program, I’ve got multiple initiatives that I’m working on and inherently I do want to make sure that we’ve haven’t missed anything”. And as I’m working in there, suddenly I’ll get like a help support call or someone will say, “I can’t find my project anymore”. So let’s just show you something here and I’m going to scroll up a little bit higher and go into the [?] category. If you scroll through here, I’m going to look for a project called the “Galileo project” and these are sorted alphabetically. I’m going through here, I don’t see anything in here that talks about Galileo. And of course if you’re working in an environment with a master subproject within PS or PO, you’ll notice in here there’s a checkbox in the upper right hand corner on your ribbon. And this is kind of important because if that is turned off, then you’re not going to see all the subproject files that might be imbedded in there. In fact, now as I turn this on and I want to start looking through, where are my project or project schedules, let’s sneak on down to Sarah’s section here and there’s the Galileo app. It wasn’t available because, hey listen, if it’s a subproject, if you’re working in that, you’d simply open it and you’d be able to see or view or manage your project information directly.

 

So if I come down here and say I’m going to drill into my strategic initiatives program and I see that very quickly, there’s my MP. I go ahead and select this and again, staying in the browser, I’m able to launch into my environment. You’ll notice here that it says conduct market research, this whole row is an actual project. There’s the Galileo app. Of course if I click on this, it’s going to expand and collapse and I have the visualization of that information. Inherently, we don’t have to say, “Oh, wow, I can’t get access to other project schedules”. If you use MP, you can. Just remember and that’s kind of the important part, is that if that block in the ribbon is unchecked, you’re not going to see that. I think that’s going to be important for people as they start working in their environment or as they start creating reports or or dashboards or leveraging Power BI, is just that you want to make sure you have access to that information. Now remember that in an Enterprise environment, you are in a MP so the concept a lot of times is that the meta-dat fields that go along with the projects, so if you go to a project detail page and you want to update that, this is how you’re going to sort, filter or group information. If you’re building reports, going into old data, yes we can have multiple timelines, we have that schedule but when we come over here, in this upper lefthand corner we’ve what’s called the Project Details. Again, I’m keeping this out of the box without too many customizations but these Enterprise fields at a Project level, we don’t really have access to this if you’re just building with MP desktop.

 

So the idea, if you’re putting an offensive strategy or what program does it belong to, what is the entire budget-planning budget, limitations that we have, what city, what county, all this type of information-we move it into an Enterprise environment, we can use this in our Project center. We can use this for views and reports. That allows you to have that MP concept that the files themselves have the data that we can work with. If I go over to a Project desktop environment, I really won’t be able to do this other than just file properties. That’s where we have a little bit of differentiation between working in the desktop and working directly on the project. Do note that if you are in an Enterprise environment and you do open up a local project or global project, you can always go up to project information and you’ll see that you can have access to the Enterprise fields if you’re working with those. Again, you can see these if this was an Enterprise project and I was connected to an Enterprise environment. But if all I was doing was viewing, trying to group sort this information here locally, I wouldn’t be able to that access that file [?] data in a MP, just locally in this view. So again I think about Project being a relational database and if we’re putting it into PS or PO, again we’re talking about a sequel backend but what we’re really referring to an Enterprise Relational database so we want to access and get to that data.

 

Let me close and check this backend, let’s take a drill down into building some of our MPs. Let’s step back to the desktop version here. I’ll show you a couple scenarios that come up very commonly working in project. So first off I might be working in my project and I realize, “Oh, hey, listen, I need to actually look at another project”, so I might come out here to a file, pop over to open and I’ll come down here and say, “You know what, I was looking at the commercial construction project, let me just bring this open”. So now I’ve got two files open, file 1 and file 2 and you can sit there, alt-tab between them…you can come down to your view bar and switch back and forth. But if you have several of these, it gets to be a little bit cumbersome. In fact, let me open up a 3rd and we’ll just talk about the viewing options that we have here. So let’s go to view and we’ve got commercial, software development, we’ll just bring that one in as well. Alright, three files open and you can go up here, if you go up to your view tab, you want to change your windows, you can say, I want to switch back and forth between each every one. Or I can get into hiding certain windows or basically I can even come in here and just kind of arrange them themselves. Not a lot of flexibility in here in terms of the view itself so you know what’s nice about this is in a MP, you can do something a little bit different. So the idea of what I call the disposable MP is that instead of trying to arrange everything in a window and make it fit, if you go back up to that view tab and you go over here and select new window, you can actually select the files. So if you want this one but not that one but you want these two or you want to get all three, you can drag and highlight those. If you click on okay, it’s going to ask you what kind of view do you want to open this into. So for those of you that have spent time building views, you can actually pick exactly what type of view you want to launch these three projects into. But watch this. I’m just going to choose the standard Gantt timeline. Let me click on okay. And what this does is it launches a new window. You’ll notice here that I have a little icon here on the left hand side for the project itself and you can see where the files are and if I collapse these, you can see I’ve just inserted all three of our project schedules into a single window. And maybe I want to do some crosslinking or I want to do some sorting filtering or grouping but inherently the idea is that now I can merge them as if I was working in that single window, trying to toggle between different panes. So temporary MPs are very helpful. A lot of people just use these just quickly to bring the information together, work across different files, close them and of course save the updates to the schedules that they have in front versus just trying to alt-tab or work between the different windows. Now something else to notice here and I want to make sure everyone understands that when you build these MPs, you’ll notice that we have a task ID here. And you’ll notice right below it that is says “row 1”. Let’s just collapse the commercial construction real quickly and I look here, I’ve got another row 1 under the current example dashboard file. If I close that one, I have a row 1 also inside the software development. So remember that we have just opened up an entire file inside of this MP file. Now notice that this MP file here is just an empty, blank Project schedule. Right now it’s just project 3. The idea is that, every row, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 inside of a subproject is actually the tasks that are inside of there. So when people start building these, one of things that comes up very commonly is, “Oh, hey, I’m used text 4 for my notes”. Or I’m using number 15 to keep track of maybe planned or estimated hours or perhaps I’ve just got a calculation I want to do. When you begin to use what we call the local desktop, if you’re not necessarily connected to the Enterprise environment…Enterprise projects of course when you build a custom field view, filter, table or group, all of these are available for all projects. But if you’re not connected to Enterprise, remember, text 1 in say commercial construction file is different than the text 1 field in say the software development plan. It’s also different than the text 1 field inside of the MP. In many cases for most of us who have worked with MP for many years back, we kind of remember the evolution of, there were no graphical indicators, then there were graphical indicators and we had buttons, we didn’t have a ribbon. And we kind of had the ability to customize our menus. In building those MPs, we had to approach this like a standardization process. Listen, text 12 is going to be this and we’re going to make sure we distribute that. So if you are using the local global MP, using a local global file or perhaps you have a common resource pool, if you haven’t seen that before you can always go in and say, hey listen if I’m building a filter or a table or a group…if I come in here, I would go in and I would say, “Let’s build a new filter”, or if I want to take a look at my existing filters, you can always see the information that I have access to. There is an option right here called the organizer and this is how we distributed common objects between files. So someone said we’re going to standardize our text fields, standardize our number fields and we would use the organizer to basically distribute anything that was customized. So if I wanted to create a custom filter called “Milestones by week” and perhaps you’re working with state and local government. And they say, “Hey public employment retirement system”. We want to make sure all of the filters are the same or if I go to my fields and I say, “I’ve got a whole lot of custom for cost, work slips, schedule slip”, but what’s happened is someone would build these and then they would distribute them amongst the files or load them into the global template so that we have access to that locally. So again, the idea is that we have to standardize and many times if you’re thinking of going into a view and you want to sort and filter, if text 1 in the MP is different than text 1 in subproject files, you’re never going to have that alignment. So as a best practice, that’s something to think about. What I did here was I just quickly launched a blank file, opened a project, just start with one file at a time, open them up and I used my new window view here to basically pick and choose what I wanted to launch into a single view.

 

Now, let’s run this a different way and this is where we get into a more detailed scenario. The concept of course is, if we’re digging in here and we’re building a MP and it’s just a temp container, very easy to do that by opening the files and working with them. Let’s do this. I’m going to go ahead and I’m going to close…here we go, I’ll just discard—actually, we’re not going to save changes to our project 3 which is an empty shell here. I still have my files and tell you what, let me just close all of these subprojects up. Do this again a little bit differently. I’m going to just start with a blank schedule. I’ve opened it up. For those of you that are enjoying the new experience of Project, the whole Agile features are great and there’s some great webinars that MPUG has done on that. Let me just open up a blank schedule here and again, this is going to be my MP. And what I want to do, I want to grab and pull files in here. I perhaps want to keep this as a constant that I can always work with so when I open this file in the future, I want to always have those files accessible. So let’s go through that process of actually building that MP. So first off, let’s just go over to, you guessed it, the Project tab. So if I want to work with projects or I want project level information or I want to deal with artifacts between projects, here it is. You’re going to go to that project tab here. And of course, in the upper left hand corner, we’ve got a subproject. So let me click on that real quickly and the nice thing is you can pull this from Enterprise environment, you can pull it from a local environment so in many cases I might [?] out there. In this case, I’m just going to go locally here and I’ll pop down into my MPUG demo environment. Let me just grab this commercial construction. Now I’m in no hurry to rush through this process because I want to show you the moving parts that are here. There’s really not that many. When you do this, they are very important. So first off, you’re going to select a file and of course as you’re looking to it, there are several areas that I want you to pay attention to. First off is this left hand side here that says link to project. Very, very subtle. And of course second is, when you look at [?], actually a little drop down arrow on the button here that if I click on you see that there’s an option for insert or insert read only. Now what we’re going to do is look at the difference and we’ll talk about that. I’ll tell you some pain stories I have personally. First, I’m going to drop this in as a read-write file, not read only, just read-write. It’s linked to that file and there it is. You can see the icon in the upper left hand corner in terms of the indicators column and there it is. Now let’s do that again. Just click on subproject and I’ll come back here. This time I’m going to grab one that is read only. So this time we’ll just go down locally and pop in…there we go. Let’s grab these [?]. Maybe somebody else owns this and I don’t want to override it so I’m going to insert that as read-only. Now the latest versions of project, you’re going to hear me kind of complain here, you can see that the icon for the read-only project has a little red exclamation point. Of course they put a little shadow behind it and in some of the latest versions of project, that used to be crips and clean. You could see the red exclamation point. This one is a little fuzzy so you can see a shadow behind what’s there. I just tell people, if you’re looking at it, just recognize that if it’s got a red indicator or red line there, that’s letting you know you’re in a read-only mode. Now that doesn’t mean you can’t open it. In fact, when I drop these files in here, technically I haven’t opened them. I just kind of scooped them up and dropped them in here. When I go to expand or collapse the information, so if I go in to click on this, it’s going to run out and physically open this file. So if I try to go open this separately or I try to go to PS or PO and open it, it’s going to say it’s checked out and checked out by me. So in this case, I really have opened that file where software development isn’t open. Now, if I click on it and open it, there it is. There’s the scope, schedule, design, testing, training, development, etc. but the difference is that if I make any changes here, it’s not going to allow me to override the original file. So the idea is you’ve got some flexibility to work from here in terms of viewing and managing. Now, let me tell you a quick story and we’ll go back a way, this is during the Y2K era. I was helping an energy organization plan out a lot of their Y2K projects. So we had many, many subprojects, basically all the projects the PMs were working on and each project belonged to a functional group. The functional group had a MP and so the idea was the MP manager could come in and say let me see what my PMs are working on. In that [?], there are three functional managers and they reported up to a higher level of management so they had a director level. So that director had a MP where they had overlapping MPs imbedded inside of there which of course had all the subprojects. And finally there was a vice president who wanted to see the big picture snapshot and he was pretty technically adept. So he would create a MP and so what he would do is sweep in all of the subprojects or MPs that he wanted to look at. Well once a day, this person, late at night opened up their master-master which had subprojects and MPs imbedded inside of there and he started doing some “what if” scenarios. And they went to close and save. He thought he was saving just the changes he had in his MP but really what had happened was he was clicking on “yes to all”. So as I decide to close and open these, do you want to save your changes (pops up) and when he did yes to all, it went back and it updated everybody’s schedule with some of the scenarios he was playing around with. So of course the next morning when the PMs came in and began to work and they opened up their project schedule, you could hear this kind of dull roll building of, “What happened to my Project schedule?!”. And pretty soon other PMs were jumping in to find out what had happened and all of his what if scenarios had basically rolled back down and modified that. If this process had simply used a read-only version, none of this would’ve happened. But the idea is, in terms of just playing, doing what if scenarios, they had inserted and created MPs in the read-write mode.

 

Now the final piece to this and hopefully you’ve learned from some of the pain that we’ve experienced in the past, as you start working with this, let me show you another feature about MP. This one I really enjoy taking advantage of. So if I come over here and I click on a subproject, I’ll go grab a project and let’s just go ahead and grab our current example dashboard. In this case, I’m not going to talk about read-only or read-write, I’m going to turn off the link to project. This little checkbox here with the link to project means anytime you go and open this up, it refreshes the information based upon the latest or the last changes in that file. When you turn this off, it says I’m not going to refresh with any information, I’m simply going to bring it over as it is today. In fact, when I click on the dropdown arrow here, you notice there is no read-only. Insert read-only is completely grayed out and of course there’s insert. Watch what happens when I click on insert. I now drop in a schedule. It says current example dashboard. Well that makes sense and I open this up. You notice the numbering system says 3, 4, 5, 6, where 1, 2, 3 are the first project files that are embedded here. What we’ve just done is we literally copied that entire schedule, embedded it right here or just basically moved the data into my empty blank container called project 4. But I actually have a snapshot of the data at the time we actually took this. And so I’m not connected to that file, I can make changes. This is actually now part of that MP file that I’m in right now. I’m going to do a file, I’ll do a quick save as and let’s just drop that in. I’ve got an Enterprise environment that I’m connected to so in this case, I’m not going to need those files since I’m going to save this locally. Let me pull that down and we’ll drop it in the same place all of our other play files are. I’m going to go ahead and call this “MPUG master project example”. When I go ahead and save this, there it is. “Hey, do you want to save changes to all these plans?” Software development plan, that is a read-only plan so if I try and say yes here, it’s going to come back and tell, “Hey, wait a minute, that’s a read-only file”, right? So the idea is you’ve got to save it off of something different. So in this case, no, I don’t want to copy it and yup, I’m going to save changes to my commercial construction. So I really have protected that software development. I’ve created a temporary snapshot for my example dashboard. The whole idea is that, as I bring these artifacts in, if for example I’m on row 54 of my commercial instruction schedule and I scroll down here and say, “Hey, listen, when we get close to being done with the construction, I need to sneak down here and connect with my software development team and I need to validate that the scope of what we’re trying to do is correct. I can hold down the control key and I can link these two schedules together. In fact, if I come over here to the task, I just click on link. Let me bring over the  predecessor’s successor’s column here. I can actually create the dependencies between one file and another. Now, again, as I’m looking for, “What am I connected to, what am I linking to”, I literally can jump between one girl or another. So row 142, we’ll link that to the milestones, scope complete. Maybe there’s a direct feed between there and I’ll click on the linkage here. And you’ll see, once you’re able to connect those, you’ll see it puts the path in here. So it actually puts the entire path as well as any other predecessor successor dependencies. So again the idea is that I have visualization, I know where it’s coming from, I see the path of the local of that and I’m able to manage those directly together. And this file is now something I can open, I can get a snapshot of my software development in read-only of course but maybe I am the PM for my commercial construction. I’m going to make changes as I need to. If I’ve even made snapshot or a temporary object in a point of time here over in the dashboard, I simply move the data over. So with that temporary snapshot, let me just mimic this real quickly so people can catch up on that as project, subproject. When you go to get a file, you’ll just turn off that link. You can basically copy and pull the information out. I’ve had people go and say, “Well, I’m going to save this and work offline and try and make a copy”. I’m like, you know what, just grab what you need. In many cases, don’t even try to worry about trying to align your columns and just trying to highlight, copy and paste from one project schedule to another. This moves it all over, lock, stock, and barrel. You can go through and pull out the things that you don’t want.

 

So again, some of these tips and tricks are helpful in that planning exercise. Another best practice I just want to show you is that when you being to work in larger and larger projects or perhaps you are in a MP environment, we can actually go in and as you know, we have this task ID number. Row ID that we have here. Let me show you something. I’m going to pull in something called the unique ID. And look at this unique ID here. The unique ID allows me to look at what is that unique identifier between any particular task. This is something that doesn’t change. So if you delete rows and you renumber them, the ID or the row number definitely changes. So in some cases, as you work between one file and another file, we get to a place where we need to reference something specific. While yes, we can certainly see a file path where something came from, you can also insert the column called project. It tells me what project this actually comes from. If I open commercial construction, we’ll see the commercial constructions has got the iD, basically the name of the file that it came from but in some cases depending on how many of these that you have, or how big your master projects or your sizes are, we have these customers that really have these massive schedules, so in many cases using the project column to identify what file a task belongs to or its unique ID number is a great way to ensure that you have an accurate number. Remember, those row ID numbers repeat themselves from file to file.

 

Okay, I’ve kind of played around here and made a few changes. Let me just do this right now, I’m going to go ahead and collapse my software development. Thanks everyone.

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