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How to Consolidate Projects and Share Resources in Microsoft Project 2016

How to Consolidate Projects and Share Resources in Microsoft Project 2016


Hello again and welcome back to our course
on Project 2016 Advanced. In this and the next few sections we’re
going to look at a couple of related topics in Project 2016. And we’re going to look at these two topics
together because you very often need to use them perhaps for the first time on one large
program of work or one very large project. Now what quite often happens when you’re
working on a large project is that the project gets larger and larger and maybe becomes a
set of projects or perhaps you’re working on a program that needs to be split into a
set of projects. And not only do you need to split the work
up but different people are going to manage different parts of that body of work. And what often happens is that the different
projects although they need to be managed separately share resources. So what we’re going to look at in the ne
xt few sections are combining multiple projects into one, or if you like splitting a large
project into several projects, and sharing resources between projects. So it’s project consolidation and resource
sharing that we’re covering here. Now in order to demonstrate these two techniques
I’m going to use an example of a charity event. And the idea is that we’re going to run
a charity event and it’s going to comprise actually three events within one. There will be a gala dinner, there will be
a fashion show and buffet lunch and there will be a sports day and barbeque. So the gala dinner will be a fundraising dinner
where we’ll charge the participants a pretty heavy admission price but for that they’ll
get a good dinner, there’ll probably be a prize draw, some entertainment and so on,
probably some dancing. And then the fashion show and buffet lunch
we’ll invite local fashion houses to put on a show. And as part of that we’ll provide a good
buffet lunch. And again we’ll charge a suitable admission
charge for all of the people that want to see the fashion show and enjoy the buffet
lunch. And we’re also going to run a sports day,
pretty much a family focused event and that will include a barbeque. Now I need to point out to you that as we’re
dealing with an event where the planning and execution could become very complex indeed
and with very large numbers of participants involved and where in reality it will probably
cover a very considerable period of time I’ve actually compressed the detail and compressed
the timescales here in order to cover this in a reasonable amount of time on the course. Having said that, all of the key features
that you need to be aware of are covered in what I’m going to do here. As far as this stage in the course is concerned
assume that we’ve done some of the early planning. I’ve put in place a provisional schedule
for the major aspects of the event. And in the Gantt Chart here, let me just expand
that planning section, you can see I’ve got maybe 20 tasks in the planning section. And I’m assuming that at this point we realize
that this really is going to be quite a big undertaking and we need to split the charity
event into separate parts. And we’ve now got to the point that we realize
we’re going to need people to manage each aspect of the event. So we’re going to have one person managing
the overall plan. We’re going to have another person managing
the gala dinner, another person managing the fashion show and buffet lunch and then finally
a sports day project manager. Now the key point here is that although the
individual projects are not really very complicated at this stage, maybe about a dozen tasks in
each, we need each of the project managers to be able to manage their project independently
and separately. So why do we need to be able to do this? Well as you’ll know from your current knowledge
of Microsoft Project when you’re dealing with editing a single MPP file if our four
project managers each want to work on it at the same time that becomes very, very complicated,
particularly if say they all want to work on it at home, they don’t have some kind
of shared access, and they’re going to need to be phoning each other up and saying, “If
I send you the plan I want to change that bit. You want to change this bit. Have you changed that? I need to change the link from my task to
your task” and so on. So what the project managers need to be able
to do here is to manage each of their projects separately. And effectively the way that we do this is
to split this project into four separate project files. So that’s part of what we need to do to
to create four separate files. Now that in itself is a pretty straightforward
thing to do. But the problem then is how do we share the
resources? Some of the people, for instance, the group
of volunteers that we’re going to take on to do a lot of the work here, people dealing
with, for example, publicity, people dealing with the legal side, getting insurances, licenses
and so on. There are many people involved in an event
like this who will be shared between the four projects. How do we make sure that those people are
not over allocated? And the way that we do this is to set up our
four separate projects so that they share resources. And this is a typical scenario, i.e., one
where we need to share resources between a number of projects. Now the added complication here, and again
this is typical, is that the four projects although we want to separate them out from
a file management, an MPP file management point of view, they are not independent. These projects have various links between
them and we need to make sure that these links set up correctly, understood and respected
by all of the projects. Now let me point out a couple of things about
this before we start. First of all, if you are going to split a
program of work into a number of separate projects it’s a good idea to make that decision
as early on as possible because if you’ve already set the program up as a single MPP
file there will be quite a bit of work to do in splitting it up again. I’m going to show you one or two options
for splitting as we go through the next few sections. And as you’ll see there’s very often quite
a bit of work to do. Usually a very good proportion of that work
relates to the relationships between the tasks in, in this case the initial program before
we split it up and maintaining those links when we split the program of work up. At the moment with my four summary tasks I’ve
only got the fourth one open, Sports Day and Barbeque. And although you can see links within that
task because the other three summary tasks are currently collapsed you can’t see links
to tasks within those from Sports Day and Barbeque. But if for instance I were to expand the planning
summary tasks, look carefully at Sports Day and Barbeque tasks now. Now you can see that there are in fact several
links to the planning summary task or should I say the tasks within the planning summary
task. When one of the summary tasks is collapsed
you don’t see those links. They’re still there but you can’t see
them. If you expand the planning task you can see
the links again. And of course the same is true of the other
summary tasks that are currently collapsed. And it’s the setting up and maintenance
of those links that very often creates the most work. Now before I get started on splitting this
program of work into four separate projects what I’m going to do is to take a quick
look at the Resource Sheet. Now I’ve got here eight resources at the
moment, although note the last one, Volunteer, we’re counting on getting ten or possibly
even more volunteers to help on this charity event. Note that also that we’re not looking at
costs here. I’ve left the standard rates at zero. And for the purposes of this first few sections
of the course I’m really going to ignore cost. We’re going to come to cost in relation
to other projects a little bit later on. So we’ve got eight resources in the Resource
Sheet. Let’s go back to the Gantt Chart itself. And what I’m going to do first is to separate
Sports Day and Barbeque to make it a separate project. Now I’m going to set up Sports Day and Barbeque
as a separate project in a particular way. And this way is not necessarily the best way
of doing this. The best way will always depend on the particular
circumstances that you’re in. But some of the tools and techniques that
you’ll see here will be useful to you. And then as we go through the next few sections
hopefully you’ll see some improvements that you can make to the way that you do this. But as I said earlier on in the section, one
of the key things here is that the earlier in the process you can do this the better. You’re more likely to save yourself time
and effort if you split a program into separate projects as early on as possible. So first of all let me create an empty, blank
project using the keyboard shortcut Control-N. There is my project. Now let me switch back to my original project. And what I’m going to do is to expand out
Sports Day and Barbeque and I’m going to select all of those tasks, copy them to the
clipboard, switch back to my empty project, and I’m going to paste those tasks into
that project. Now having pasted those in note that within
what was a summary task in the original project, the dependencies still exist. Of course there are no dependencies to the
other tasks in the other summary tasks in the original project. So all of that has effectively been lost. Now what I’m going to do is to save this
particular project as a separate MPP file. So I’ve saved it in the Project course files
folder and I’ve called it CharityEvent_Sports_Day.mpp. Now there are a couple of important points
to make here. One of them is that when I copied that block
of tasks I copied the summary tasks, Sports Day and Barbeque itself as well. And I want to return to that point a little
bit later on. But in addition if I look at the Resource
Sheet for my newly created project you may be surprised to see that there are only two
resources on it. We have Volunteer, and note that the max number
is one, and we have Sports Day PM. So our new project has sort of had a Resource
Sheet created for it but it doesn’t get the same Resource Sheet as the total project
that we started with. And what happens when you do what we’ve
just done is that Project 2016 creates a Resource Sheet based on the resources that are already
specified in the copied and pasted tasks. And so you can see, for example, here one
consequence of that is that the volunteer resource already seems to be over allocated
because when it creates the Resource Sheet it defaults to creating a max of one resource. And if we looked at the resources already
allocated in the original project we would see that within the Sports Day and Barbeque
summary task we already have more than one volunteer assigned to tasks. But in fact there’s an even bigger problem
here with the resources because although I now have two projects and they each have,
for instance, a sports day PM resource these sports day PM resources are completely different
resources. Each of the projects is using its own resources. And even though each of them has a resource
called Sports Day PM, obviously that resource name is the same on both resource sheets. As far as Project 2016 is concerned those
are completely different resources. Those two resources are unrelated to each
other because these two projects do not share resources. So before we go any farther with splitting
our program of work into four separate projects what I really want to do is to show you how
to share resources. And that’s what we’re going to cover in
the next section. I’ll see you then.

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