The environment is a MS Project Server 2010. We have a Master project schedule with several sub-projects tiered underneath. We have been running this way for about a year with not issues (well we had a few other
server setup challenges!!), but now when we Calculate the Project we get this nice cryptic message:
Any thoughts on how to find the actual task or links in the circular reference, without endangering
the project schedules? I can't find any documentation on it on an Microsoft site, MS Project 2010 books or through any internet search. The help link is generic and useless.
Some background on the environment and practices:
- There is only one top level master project and it only has predecessor links.
- In total there are 16 project files, structured in three tiers. Link are only upward/downward within
a group of projects (e.g. Tier 2 to 3) - same functional family. Links across disciplines are only at the same tier level.
- All links between projects on the same Tier (only at Tier 2 level) are done from a set of Dependencies and Deliverable tasks at the top of each project. No cross-function links between Tier
3 of a function to Tier 3 of another function, it must go to its parent (Tier 2). Think of a family tree. You can't
marry your cousin!!
- No blank lines in the project files.
- There are no links, dependencies or resources on Summary tasks
- Clear cache before any creation of a dummy "project" with all the project files loaded to the project. All inter-project links are then contained within this temporary project, with nothing going external. All cross project updates are done at this level. A full Calculate Project is done at this level. This is where the error above occurs.
- With 16 project lines, the total line count is . Using visual or outline methods are impractical. Looked at "recent changes". Followed a number of inter-project links. All to no avail. There has to be a better way to debug this.
Did you ever find a solution to this problem? I am having the exact same problem right now with a Master Project on Project Server 2010. It's very frustrating because I have about 5000 line items among 6 different sub-schedules and can't find the problem. The circular link is making my entire total slack column go to Zero.
As far as I know these circular links only appear when they include summary tasks or links between projects.
To debug it, I'd do the following:
1. First check whether thiscircular link is not WITHIN one of the projects. Open each prohject (without the master links) on its own and hit F9.
2. If you find the culprit this way, in that project, undo all links to and from summary tasks. The problem will be gone. Reconnect the summary tasks one by one until the problem reappears. There you are.
3. If all projects are "clean" on their own right, in the master, disconnect all links between projects. The problem will have gone away. Reconnect one by one until the problem reappears. Then you know.