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MS Project RRS feed

  • Question

  • Here is the senario.  I am working on project A using MS Project and My friend is working on project B using MS Project.  We both are using separate files but project A depends on project B.  If project B changes then project A get changed as well.  How can I link project A to project B and keep them as separate files?  Basically, I want to upload project B and have the program keep my dependancies in tact while updating any changes my friend made to project B.  Hopefully this is making sense.

    If anybody is familiar with Primavera P6, I am basically looking for the MS Project equivilant of primavera's reflection tool. 

    Wednesday, February 27, 2013 2:49 PM

Answers

  • Brent, External links is the function you're looking for. Both project files need to be accessible (e.g. on a shared drive, not SharePoint).

    1. One of you, typically the owner of the successor project (Project A in your example) opens both projects.
    2. Under the View:Window tab from the ribbon, select New Window - select the two projects (A and B) for inclusion in the new window (the combined project will show up in a project window called something like Project2).
    3. Use the regular link tasks functionality to make the dependency between the two tasks. Close Project2 without saving it.
    4. Save and close Projects A and B
    5. Now when you open Project A you'll get a dialog box informing you about the external predecessor links and if any of the links have a change effect on the successor task. You have a choice what to do - accept the change, delete the link or think about it next time.

    Graham

    • Marked as answer by Brent Moore Wednesday, February 27, 2013 4:17 PM
    • Unmarked as answer by Brent Moore Wednesday, February 27, 2013 4:29 PM
    • Marked as answer by Brent Moore Wednesday, February 27, 2013 8:26 PM
    Wednesday, February 27, 2013 3:14 PM
  • Brent,

    Theoretically, replacing the old "B" file with the new "B" file should work, but, this whole process is asking for trouble. Linked structures in Project are tenuous to begin with. Moving, replacing and other actions on linked files can very quickly develop corruption. Matter of fact I'll guarantee your file will get corrupted by using the process you plan on using and your friend deletes a linked task.

    An option that might work better is to have both files on a common server that you both can access. This isn't ideal either because working with linked structures across a network is also prone to corruption due to potential network instability.

    If your two files are indeed on independent PCs, then a more stable, but more tedious, approach might be to keep a copy of file "B" on your PC and then run the Compare Project utility found under Project/Report group, to identify changes. Use this data to update your "A" file either manually or via some VBA.

    John

    • Marked as answer by Brent Moore Wednesday, February 27, 2013 7:47 PM
    Wednesday, February 27, 2013 4:48 PM

All replies

  • Brent, External links is the function you're looking for. Both project files need to be accessible (e.g. on a shared drive, not SharePoint).

    1. One of you, typically the owner of the successor project (Project A in your example) opens both projects.
    2. Under the View:Window tab from the ribbon, select New Window - select the two projects (A and B) for inclusion in the new window (the combined project will show up in a project window called something like Project2).
    3. Use the regular link tasks functionality to make the dependency between the two tasks. Close Project2 without saving it.
    4. Save and close Projects A and B
    5. Now when you open Project A you'll get a dialog box informing you about the external predecessor links and if any of the links have a change effect on the successor task. You have a choice what to do - accept the change, delete the link or think about it next time.

    Graham

    • Marked as answer by Brent Moore Wednesday, February 27, 2013 4:17 PM
    • Unmarked as answer by Brent Moore Wednesday, February 27, 2013 4:29 PM
    • Marked as answer by Brent Moore Wednesday, February 27, 2013 8:26 PM
    Wednesday, February 27, 2013 3:14 PM
  • Thanks.  I have another question regarding the next step in this process.  I don't have access to the original file of Project B.  My friend just sends me altered versions of Project B.  Can I just replace the old version with the new versions and everything will update on it's own?  What happens if the linked activities between project A and B are still present and what happens if my friend deletes one of the linked activities?  Thank you in advance.

    Wednesday, February 27, 2013 3:59 PM
  • Brent,

    Theoretically, replacing the old "B" file with the new "B" file should work, but, this whole process is asking for trouble. Linked structures in Project are tenuous to begin with. Moving, replacing and other actions on linked files can very quickly develop corruption. Matter of fact I'll guarantee your file will get corrupted by using the process you plan on using and your friend deletes a linked task.

    An option that might work better is to have both files on a common server that you both can access. This isn't ideal either because working with linked structures across a network is also prone to corruption due to potential network instability.

    If your two files are indeed on independent PCs, then a more stable, but more tedious, approach might be to keep a copy of file "B" on your PC and then run the Compare Project utility found under Project/Report group, to identify changes. Use this data to update your "A" file either manually or via some VBA.

    John

    • Marked as answer by Brent Moore Wednesday, February 27, 2013 7:47 PM
    Wednesday, February 27, 2013 4:48 PM