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How many cross-project links are too many for dynamic Master-Subproject plan? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hello

    We currently have a dynamic master-subproject plan and resource pool, with 8 workstream plans and approximately 150 program milestones in the master.  We are considering creating cross-project links to the 150 program milestones - from the master into the sub-projects.  I have read that it is best practice to keep cross-project links to a minimum.  Is what we are considering too much?  Will 150 links from master to sub-projects risk a corrupted plan?

    Thanks in advance...

    Art

    Thursday, April 16, 2015 6:35 PM

Answers

  • Yes the cross-project links also use old DDE technology which is where the file corruption risk is. Move, rename, overwrite or store on a WAN and the file corruption dice roll. Its when not if, but you can be lucky and survive many months.

    What do I do? If Project Online/Server and its deliverables feature is not available then being a bit of a VBA whiz:

    1. I copy all milestones weekly to SQL Server using a VBA macro.
    2. In other projects I have a macro to select one of those milestones and record teh project number, title and task unique id into a text field.
    3. I then have a macro that finds all tasks with data from step 2 and reads the latest date from SQL Server and updates the task start date.

    This works perfectly and has zero corruption risk as the only thing I store is text data in a custom field. I've supported some large SAP programmes with 10 files and many thousands of tasks using this technique. Oh, yet another macro creates static (so no links) masters each week for reporting purposes from all sub-projects.

    Art, with the number of files and links it might be time to experiment with Project Online.


    Rod Gill
    Author of the one and only Project VBA Book
    www.project-systems.co.nz

    • Marked as answer by Art-PMO Wednesday, June 17, 2015 12:06 PM
    Friday, April 17, 2015 1:24 AM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Art - PMO --

    There is no right or wrong answer to your question.  I can tell you that 150 cross-project links will slow down the process of opening each subproject of this master project.  And with 150 cross-project links, yes, I believe you are increasing the likelihood of one or more of the subprojects becoming corrupted.

    I would make a couple of recommendations to you.  First, make sure that the copy of Microsoft Project for every PM is updated with the latest Service Packs and Cumulative Updates.  Second, I would recommend you keep all of the projects and the shared resource pool file in the same network folder, and DO NOT MOVE THEM anywhere else.  Third, tell your PMs to NEVER do a File > Save As operation with any of the subprojects.  And finally, if you do opt for the 150 cross-project links, gauge the amount of time needed to open each subproject.  If the delay is acceptable, go with it, but know the risks of corruption before you do this.

    Just an opinion.  Hope the others will share their ideas for you as well.


    Dale A. Howard [MVP]

    Thursday, April 16, 2015 7:05 PM
    Moderator
  • Thanks Dale - I appreciate your feedback!

    What do other PM's do?  I have a set of program milestones, they are related to different projects (workstreams) and they are inter-related as well.  Is there another, better way?

    Regards,
    Art

    Thursday, April 16, 2015 7:26 PM
  • Sorry for another post to the same question - but how about this scenario?

    If I have a separate project plan (not master or sub, completely independent) and create external links to the other project plans (but not as subprojects), will that have the same risk or corruption and performance when opening the plans?

    So I will have a Master/Sub-project plan (I need for measuring resources) and then another separate plan for tracking program milestones.

    Do that make sense?

    Thanks again...
    Art

    Thursday, April 16, 2015 8:25 PM
  • Yes the cross-project links also use old DDE technology which is where the file corruption risk is. Move, rename, overwrite or store on a WAN and the file corruption dice roll. Its when not if, but you can be lucky and survive many months.

    What do I do? If Project Online/Server and its deliverables feature is not available then being a bit of a VBA whiz:

    1. I copy all milestones weekly to SQL Server using a VBA macro.
    2. In other projects I have a macro to select one of those milestones and record teh project number, title and task unique id into a text field.
    3. I then have a macro that finds all tasks with data from step 2 and reads the latest date from SQL Server and updates the task start date.

    This works perfectly and has zero corruption risk as the only thing I store is text data in a custom field. I've supported some large SAP programmes with 10 files and many thousands of tasks using this technique. Oh, yet another macro creates static (so no links) masters each week for reporting purposes from all sub-projects.

    Art, with the number of files and links it might be time to experiment with Project Online.


    Rod Gill
    Author of the one and only Project VBA Book
    www.project-systems.co.nz

    • Marked as answer by Art-PMO Wednesday, June 17, 2015 12:06 PM
    Friday, April 17, 2015 1:24 AM
    Moderator
  • Thanks Rod - you are right.  We are migrating to project online but it could take 1-2 months.  Until then I will have to maintain the milestones manually.

    Regards,
    Art


    • Edited by Art-PMO Friday, April 17, 2015 5:39 PM
    Friday, April 17, 2015 5:39 PM