Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Microsoft EPM - Managing Programs/Master Projects, Part3 - External Project Dependency Management

In Part 3 and 4, we will review the options for managing external project dependencies; Fixed and Soft Dependencies.

Fixed Cross-project Dependencies

Fixed dependencies can be created across projects using the following approach;

· Master Project/Program

· Consolidation of Projects

The key difference between the two is that Master Projects/Programs will be saved and published to the server, whereas consolidation of Projects is a means of viewing multiple projects (say for department, teams) 'on-the-fly' for the purpose of reporting/analysis or creating cross-project dependencies.

Consolidation of Projects

Users can create dependencies across independent and separate departmental projects that may belong to multiple Programs/Master Projects. This is done by creating a consolidated view of projects in a 'blank container’. The concept is illustrated in the figure below.


It is recommended that appropriate Project Centre views are created as necessary by reporting entity i.e. departments/divisions/core teams.

The steps for viewing consolidated project schedules and creating dependencies are as follows;

· Select multiple projects in PWA Project Centre view, as required, either by using the CTRL key or selecting the Project Centre view group header

· Click ‘EDIT’ on the view toolbar to open the selected projects in Project Professional 2007.

· View multiple project performance within Project Professional

· Create cross-project dependencies, if required. Note: The procedure for creation of dependencies on Tasks/Milestones across projects is very similar to that on the single project.

· Close and Checkin projects. Choose NOT to save the ‘container’ project. You may wish to save changes on other projects if you have made changes i.e. created dependencies across projects.

Refer to example in the figure below. Once the selected group projects are opened in Project Professional, they can then be re-arranged by simply moving them in the same way you would move a summary task.


You may have other reasons to consolidate project files. For example, you may want to combine them temporarily for a quick review or for printing.

Master Projects/Programs

Master Projects are primarily created for the purpose managing very large Projects or Programs. Large Projects and Programs are broken down into individual 'smaller' entities/projects.

For large projects, these are sometimes referred to as work packages managed by Team Managers. For Programs, these individual entities are Projects managed by other Project Owners/Managers. See example below:


Master Projects/Programs can be saved and published to the server. A common sub-project can exist in only one separately published Master Project/Program.

Note: Nested Master Project structure is supported in EPM2007. An example of a nested Master Project is as follows: 'Trials – UK Project' > 'Trials – EU Master Project' > 'Trials – General Master Project'

We will later review best practices and Management of Master Projects/Programs.

In the following post, we will look at ‘Soft Dependency Management’ i.e. ‘Deliverables’.

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