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MS Project seems to be overwhelmed... RRS feed

  • Question

  • We have a schedule that is approaching 13,000 line items and we are experiencing frequent hangs -many in excess of 90 seconds - that make working in the schedule extremely cumbersome.  

    When we save the file, the size can range from 40MB to 69MB in size.  We can do the Bloat reduction efforts outlined in other articles and regularly get the file down in the low 40MB realm, but the file still hangs regularly.

    This is the only file we are having this problem with.

    We are at a loss.  Have we just exceeding MS Projects practical capabilities?  Is there something we can do to overcome this short of changing scheduling software or breaking the project into multiple subprojects...

    Any suggestions?

    Tuesday, April 24, 2018 1:18 PM

All replies

  • Noah --

    For a project with the size you indicate, I would recommend disabling the automatic calculation feature in Microsoft Project.  To do this, click File > Options > Schedule, and then scroll to the bottom of the dialog.  Select the Off value in the Calculation section and then click the OK button.

    Disabling the automatic calculation feature would allow you to work with this project and make adjustments without the long delay in recalculating the schedule after each edit.  After you have completed work on the project, you can manually recalculate the schedule by pressing the F9 function key.

    Just a thought.  Hope this helps.


    Dale A. Howard [MVP]

    Tuesday, April 24, 2018 1:55 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks, that definitely does limit the "hangs" to when the team is ready for them...

    We had discussed that as an option before (when the schedule was just 7500 items and 30MB) and the project team was hoping to avoid that, but I have recommended they at least do that until we can see if there is another solution.

    We are no where near the stated 400,000 activity limit stated by Microsoft, we are not cost or resource loaded, and we have less that 10 custom fields set up to assign to activities.

    Tuesday, April 24, 2018 2:36 PM
  • Noah,

    Perhaps your schedule is to detailed. Take a good hard look at what you have and at what you really need, and then scale back if possible.

    Another option is to change the format such that you are only looking at a limited time frame. For example, let's say your schedule describes a plan that spans a year or two in total duration. Show detail for the near term, say 3 months worth, and only show planning packages that generally describe later effort. As the plan approaches a planning package, expand it to show the necessary detail. You could also then scale back on completed tasks by deleting the detail and retaining only a summary line with perhaps a single subtask.

    Yet another option is to break one large plan into multiple smaller plans. Look for areas where there might be a natural break. If necessary you can combine all individual plans into a static master for top level reporting.

    Just some thoughts.

    John


    Tuesday, April 24, 2018 2:56 PM
  • Noah,

    As a minor addition to previous remarks, I would suggest turning off word-wrapping in any task tables that you use regularly.  This is a front-end process that can definitely bog things down.

    Good luck, tom

    Tuesday, April 24, 2018 7:12 PM
  • 13000 lines of tasks is nothing. I routinely work with MSP2010 files (construction projects, BTW) that have many more than that, and do not encounter any "hang". The number of lines of tasks is not what is causing the large file size. Maybe there is something else in it such as large images in the headers and footers, or very complicated custom fields. What happens if you strip the data and formulas out of the custom fields?

    If you can arrange to show it to me (don't email it), I will fix it.

    Wednesday, April 25, 2018 11:16 PM
  • You can check for resources that don't have any work and delete if there are any.
    Friday, May 25, 2018 4:49 PM
  • Thanks for you suggestion, however the schedule actually has absolutely NO resource or cost loading.  It is strictly a CPM network of activities.  Logic is actually even a little light.  There are only about 1.5 logic ties average per activity where I would typically like to see around 2.5 on average.

    It does have what I would call adequate, but not heavy, coding, but none of the codes have any formulas, they are all text, outline, or flag codes for sorting and filtering purposes.

    As the current scope allows for a reasonably logical division into 3 different scopes (2 buildings and a site/parking/infrastructure package) our project team is about to break the project into multiple projects where it makes sense to do so.

    This is not the ideal solution and is a work-around, not a resolution to the issue, but it is better that having the file freeze up regularly during routine updating.

    Tuesday, May 29, 2018 2:23 PM
  • Noah,

    In re-reading this thread I see none of us asked what version of Project you are using and if it is fully updated. So, what version and is it fully updated?

    From your more detailed description of your file it is a rather spartan format (i.e. no costs or resources, few links and custom fields). Are you working with the files over a network?

    In your original post you mentioned used bloat reduction methods. What exactly were those? For reference, take a look at the following Wiki article:

    https://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/32054.ms-project-clearing-file-corruption-andor-bloat.aspx

    John

    Tuesday, May 29, 2018 3:06 PM