I have three projects which I have placed in a master project. Can you please help me merge or link them?
The resources used in the three project are the same but they are running separately in the master and I want to see how many hours and resources for all three?
Is there anyone that can help on my question?
Open a new project plan to act as the “master” plan and insert your three original plans into this master as sub plans. Now you have all your plans in one place. It is important to understand how the Master plan works; when you open it the sub-plans open up in memory and anything that you do to them will be saved into the sub-plans (rather than the master plan) however anything you do in the master plan (i.e. to the open plan will only impact the master plan, an example of this is setting the project status actually sets it in the master plan only, or adding a new custom field will only be added to the master. To set the status date in the sub-plan you will need to physically open the sub-plan in question. However, the master/sub plan relationship is incredibly useful for combining data or reporting across a group of projects. I would always recommend having the master and sub-plans in the same folder.
To group all your resources into one pot you will need an additional blank plan which you will call “resource pool” (obviously you could call it anything you like, even “Fred” but for the purposes of this discussion I will stick to “resource pool”). This MUST be saved in the same folder as the master and sub plans. Before you move to the next step it is a good idea to ensure that your resources match across all the project plans (i.e. they are exactly the same – same name, initials, calendars etc). Now open each of your sub-plans and click on the “resource pool” button in the Resource / Assignments menu and tell the sub-plan to share resources with the pool. Save the sub-plans and the resource pool. Then go in and resolve any conflicts, for instance, you didn’t realise that you’d spelt one of the resources with a space at the end of their name etc.
You do have to be careful about moving plans around or saving them – for instance, if you save an archive copy of one of your sub-plans and don’t remove the relationship with the resource pool it will continue to be part of the pool and will be double-counting the impact on the resources. I have a blog post on my method of working with a resource pool when the plans are being maintained by others showing the method I have used for years and avoided any drastic issues: here
Thanks for the message, Just one question do I have to link the projects together in the master Project?
Sorry for missing your follow up question Rosanne, I didn’t receive any alert from the forum. You don’t have to link projects together, simply inserting them into the master plan does the job.
It is possible to link tasks from different projects (project A, task 1 -> Project B, Task 7) which you can do by the simple method of selecting the two tasks and clicking the link button. From this, you can see the file path which is added to the link number and use this to build links between things rather than clicking on the button if you prefer.
However, I urge caution when doing this, especially if the plans are distributed to others to maintain and then brought back to the centre to be combined into the master plan as these links persist when you issue them out and the plan will either report that it can’t find the link (which can cause concern) or it may even be able to find a matching link if the person happens to have the same file structure etc.
I personally never link plans, rather I flag such inter plan links as dependencies and manage them manually to ensure that the two PMs are talking to each other. Do help with this I flag each end of the dependency in the two plans with the same reference in a custom field and make sure that the dates match when the plans come back to me. If they don’t I will have a chat with the PMs to ensure that they’re communicating.