I have been brought on to a large program and we are trying to mature our scheduling and reporting processes. The current proposal is to track everything in a single “Integrated Project Plan”, the catch is what this really means is it is really just a giant (~10,000 line) that is tracked at a very high level. What I want to set up (and I have seen in demos) is an ability to drill down into projects and sub-projects from that high program level to individual project plans that can be managed at a more reasonable level. This is fairly straight-forward for projects that are fairly independent and/or have a few external-dependencies, but how do you track the completion of cross-functional deliverables? I can’t think of any way aside from maintaining a very extensive set of metadata, and the deliverable feature has always seemed pretty useless to me.
If anyone has any recommendations it would be much appreciated.
Unfortunately I’m not going to give you a lot of helpful information. There are a select few tools out there that can help report on external dependencies. ProjectPro and Matan both have products (probably more) but I haven’t used either one of them. I’ve found that deliverables work but it is a culture change. Other than that I agree too many dependencies can make a project too difficult to manage and can get corrupted.
Hmm well bummmer… Do you have any recommendations generally for setting up these kinds of programs? I just know that this giant plan is never going to be maintained. There has to be a way to roll-up multiple projects into some kind of reporting vehicle like PowerBI, but I don’t know what fields I would aggregate on.
Sorry, nothing that I would be confident would help. You have a large program with several sub-projects and lots of external dependencies. Organize and simplify. Maybe have an integration plan that uses custom fields to refer to program project tasks without the dependencies? Best I can do…
The best [free] solution we have is to set up an External Dependency schedule (EDS). My program has 10 individual teams, each with their own schedule. For external dependencies, they connect to the EDS. The predecessor task is duplicated in the EDS with the actual task a predecessor (typically set as FF). The successor task is then linked to that EDS task. This way, if anyone makes changes to predecessor tasks, I see it first in the EDS and must approve/accept it before the impact will show in the successor task file. This helps prevent rogue, unapproved changes. It’s not the perfect solution, but it works for us.
I am working on a program with 8 projects and I use a single sheet. The way we do it is to have it deliverable oriented where we only track the deliverables for each project and there dependencies. The low level tasks to create the deliverables is up to the project managers to track. I would recommend to check out Eric Uyttewall´s book Forecasting Programs which provides some real good hands-on advice on how to set up programs.