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Multiple Views into the Same Project File

Different views into the same MS Project file enables us to see a schedule from multiple perspectives. Using the split view feature is one way to do this. The Project window is split into two panes, with selections in the top pane controlling what is seen in the bottom pane view. However, there are occasions where the views we wish to combine are not compatible. To circumvent this, we can open multiple windows into the same file.

Let’s explore these two techniques in the context of resource management. Split views are helpful in identifying where resource overallocations occur in a Project schedule. A Resource Graph subordinate to a Gantt Chart or a Gantt Chart subordinate to a Resource Sheet are typical split view examples.

A split view is created on the View tab by checking the Details box in the Split View command group. A subordinate view to the current view can be selected from the pull-down menu. In the first split view example, a Resource Graph subordinate to a Gantt Chart, we see that resource R with a capacity of two units is overallocated when two concurrent tasks, Y and Z, require more resources than are available on the third and fourth day of the schedule. All the tasks are selected in the top pane, which allows us to see resource R’s loading across all tasks in the bottom pane.

Figure 1. Split view: Resource Graph Subordinate to a Gantt Chart

In the second split view example, we select resource R in the Resource Sheet and are shown only the tasks that R is working on in the subordinate Gantt Chart, exposing the two conflicting concurrent tasks.

Figure 2. Split view: Gantt Chart Subordinate to a Resource Sheet

The Team Planner view can be used to find overallocated resources, as well. Whereas Project’s Gantt Chart view is task-oriented, the Team Planner view represents a resource-oriented Gantt chart, one in which resources, not tasks, are unique. Managers often create spreadsheets by arranging unique resources in rows, time periods in columns, and tasks in the intersecting cells. These spreadsheets help them to see which task resources are assigned, to whom, and when. Team Planner offers this perspective in Project. As you can see below in Figure 3, the resource overallocation is identified with red brackets.

Figure 3. Team Planner View: Highlighting Overallocated Resources

We can resolve the resource overallocation by using the Leveling Options dialog on the Resource tab. After resource leveling, the result is below.

Figure 4. Team Planner View: After Resource Leveling

Other than the obvious shifting of one of the two conflicting tasks to the right, it would be nice to see the details of how this was scheduled. When we try to add a Leveling Gantt Chart subordinate to Team Planner in a split view, we are presented with an error.

Figure 5: Error when attempting to create a split view with a Gantt Chart subordinate to a Team Planner view

To circumvent this, I suggest opening a second window in the same Project file using the New Window dialog on the View tab. Then, display both windows using the Arrange All command.

Figure 6: Opening a second window into a Project file

In the lower window, the Leveling Gantt Chart shows that Leveling Delay was inserted prior to task Z, and that is what created the shift. Unlike the split view panes, the two windows are independent of each other.

Figure 7. Two windows into the same Project file, one showing a Team Planner view and the other showing a Leveling Gantt Chart view

Have you had to create multiple windows in the same Project file?  If so, please share your examples in the comment section.

Written by Robin Nicklas

Robin Nicklas is a project management consultant and educator. Since 2001, he has trained project managers in the aerospace, financial, telecommunications, government, and software sectors. Prior to teaching, he spent twenty years in information systems and technology, twelve of which he managed software development at large information service companies.

Since 2003, he has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in project management at the University of Washington in Seattle, as well as MS Project courses at Bellevue College Continuing Education since 2011.

Robin is a former president of the PMI Puget Sound Chapter in Seattle and a certified PMP. He can be contacted through his website, robinnicklas.com.

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