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Project 2007: sub-project not updated in a master plan RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hello everyone,

    I am facing an issue in Project 2007. Imagine the following scenario:

    1. you have 2 master plans (Master A and Master B)
    2. in Master A, you have sub-projects A1 and A2 inserted in read/write mode, same for Master B with B1 and B2
    3. you link one task from A1 (let's say T1) to another from B1 (let's say T2)
    4. in Master A, you move T1 and save
    5. you open Master B...

    - Expected result: T2 should have been moved

    - My result: the task hasn't moved

    Here are some comments:

    • I don't see the dialog box asking me to accept the external links (this dialog box appears only if I open the sub-project alone but this is not what we want to do: we want to manage sub-projects only in masters) even if the option is checked in Tools / Options / View
    • The fact that the sub-project is extended in the master plan doesn't change anything
    • The Calculate button doesn't help neither
    • We do not use deliverables
    • I have not tried it with Project 2010 yet and my Project Pro version is 12.0.6557.5000 (SP2 and CU April 2011)

    Is this behaviour correct in your opinion? Can you reproduct it? How could I solve my problem?

    Thanks for your contribution!


    • Edited by SoA Monday, November 21, 2011 11:34 PM
    Monday, November 21, 2011 11:30 PM

Answers

  • SoA,

    Oftentimes a software application does not do what a user wants or expects. Sometimes it's due to a bug in the software but other times it is simply the way the application works. In your case it is the latter. With that in mind I offered a solution to get the performance you desire. Just for reference, finding an alternate solution isn't always possible to meet user desires. However, if implementing the suggested solution is counter to your organizational structure and your management is not willing to support you in the changes necessary to implement the solution then I guess you're stuck. I have no other suggestions.

    Sorry,

    John

    Thursday, December 15, 2011 3:55 PM

All replies

  • SoA,

    Question, in step 4 you say you save the master. Do you then also say "Yes to all" for saving changes to the subprojects? If not, you need to. However, task T2 may not move if it is constrained or has another predecessor in the A2 file that drives it. Are you absolutely sure you have calculation set to "automatic"? If none of those is the case, it is possible you have file corruption.

    I simulated the scenario you outlined in Project 2007 Pro with SP2. As soon as I make the external link from task T1 in file A1 to task T2 in file A2, the Gantt display is immediately updated. However, as noted above the link won't "stick" if the files are all saved.

    With regard to seeing the link update dialogue box, you won't see it at master level because there are not links to update at the master. Links between subprojects only exist between those subprojects.

    So, is what you are seeing, (or not seeing), correct behavior? No. Can I reproduce it? No, not with the scenario you gave.

    John

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011 3:16 AM
  • Thank you John for your answer but I think you did not correctly understand the scenario:
    SoA, Question, in step 4 you say you save the master. Do you then also say "Yes to all" for saving changes to the subprojects?
    Yes, of course.
    Are you absolutely sure you have calculation set to "automatic"? If none of those is the case, it is possible you have file corruption.
    Yes, it is by default.
    I simulated the scenario you outlined in Project 2007 Pro with SP2. As soon as I make the external link from task T1 in file A1 to task T2 in file A2, the Gantt display is immediately updated. However, as noted above the link won't "stick" if the files are all saved.
    You mean "if the files are NOT saved", correct? But they are saved. And it seems that you moved T1 before creating the link.

    In my case, of course, when you create the link you are obliged to create a 'fake' master (fake because it will not be saved, only the modifications on sub-projects) and in this case, T2 is moved (normal beacause both projects are in read/write mode in the same 'fake' master). But then, if you move T1 again in Master A, it has no effects on T2, opening Master B

    I hope this is more precise, now, or tell me where I am wrong...



    • Edited by SoA Tuesday, November 22, 2011 7:04 AM
    Tuesday, November 22, 2011 6:59 AM
  • Hello SoA,

    Just tried your recreation steps, and have been able to recreate the behaviour you describe, although had to make an addition to step 4 to make it work

    1. you have 2 master plans (Master A and Master B)
    2. in Master A, you have sub-projects A1 and A2 inserted in read/write mode, same for Master B with B1 and B2
    3. you link one task from A1 (let's say T1) to another from B1 (let's say T2)
    4. in Master A, you move T1 and save (and close Master A)
    5. you open Master B...

    I've found if you leave A open, B is updated when you open it, but if you close A down, you get the behaviour you describe.

    I'm using Project 2007 Standard (12.0.6423.1000) SP2 MSO (12.0.6562.5003).

    I too can't see the logic behind this behaviour.

    Thanks,

    Andrew

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011 10:34 AM
  • SoA,

    I confess my simulation wasn't exactly what you did. I used an existing master/subproject structure with multiple levels of inserted masters, figuring it was similar to what you have. Now that I re-read your original post and follow-up I need a little more explanation. You have two master files A and B, each with two subprojects. Then you link a task in a subproject in one master file (A) to a task in a subproject in the other master (B). Exactly how do you make that link? Do you manually enter the path in the Predecessor field? Do you create yet another temporary master that has both masters A & B and use the link icon?

    To attempt a better understanding I created your exact structure, at least as I understand it. I used a third temporary master to make the link. I then saved all changes, closed everything and delete the temporary master. When I reopened master A and B and use Arrange All, so I can see everything on one screen, the two externally linked tasks move in sync as they should when I make changes to the source task. What am I missing? But more importantly, what is your end goal?

    John

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011 5:08 PM
  • Hello Andrew and thank you for your feedback.

    You are perfectly right: I save and close Master A before opening Master B. Actually, in my case, the owners of the master projects are different and they can not be opened simultaneously.

     

    John, sorry if I was unprecise in my description. When I spoke about 'fake' master, I meant:

    1. I start a temporary master project
    2. insert sub-projects A1 and B1
    3. create the link with the link button (this moves T2 in this case)
    4. don't save the new master but save the modifications on the sub-projects
    5. close everything

    But after that, like Andrew said before, both 'real' masters can not be opened simultaneously (due to may organization).

    • First reason: the owners of each master are different (as they represent the projects dedicated to each department)
    • Second reason: due to too many sub-projects inserted, it would be too long to open all the masters in order to just 'refresh' the links.

    So, the sub-projects must be managed and updated only within their master and there can be only one master opened in the same time.

     

    In this case, it appears that any modification made in one master is not reflected in the other   :(

    • Edited by SoA Tuesday, November 22, 2011 8:23 PM
    Tuesday, November 22, 2011 8:16 PM
  • SoA,

    Okay, I guess Andrew was quicker on the uptake than I. I finally replicated your scenario. Why does the update not "stick"?  I don't have a good answer. I would think the "save all" would fully update the link structure and I think it does but when master B is opened, the subprojects are only open in the background. It isn't until the user specifically opens one or more of the subprojects or double clicks on the link that the updated information is actually viewable at the master level. It's updated, you just don't see it yet.

    You also mentioned that in your organizational structure both master cannot be opened at the same time. I also assume you do not want to double click on each link to update it. However, I believe there is a fairly simple solution. The same way you created a temporary master opens up a method for updating all links. That is, create a temporary master with master A and master B inserted. Close and don't save the temporary master but do save all changes. In my test, that updated all links without requiring anyone to open either master A or master B. Does that work for you?

    John

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011 10:12 PM
  •  

    I think this should work but this is not a viable solution:

    • the only person who could do this temporary master of masters is the administrator and he is not supposed to do it
    • the high frequency of updates would compel him to create it every day
    • we lose at minimum one day between each modification (if the master were created every day)

    I will install SP3 on Project 2007 and also check if Project 2010 has the same dysfunction.

     

    But in the mean time, has anyone any idea or tests we could do?


    • Edited by SoA Tuesday, November 22, 2011 11:06 PM
    Tuesday, November 22, 2011 11:06 PM
  • SoA,

    Sorry but I think you'll find Project 2010 works the same way and I wouldn't call it "dysfunction", I'd simply say it does not work the way you'd like it to work.

    As I think about it a bit more I can see why you don't see the update as you expect. As I mentioned, when you open a master file the subprojects (when expanded) are opened in the background and therefore changes made to them at master level will be visible but won't actually "take' until everything is saved. However, a ghost task that belongs to another file not in the master's structure, (in your case master B), is not opened in the background and is therefore not updated even though "all" changes were saved.

    When you create the super master, (as I suggested), it takes all files into its structure and therefore everything gets updated. It's just the way Project's master file structure works.

    You expressed concern that using the method I suggested won't work because the administrator is the only one who can open all files. I'd say that is a big mistake. If you don't currently have a master scheduler who controls the whole structure then you are headed for frustration and corruption disaster. As far as losing a day between updates, I can only fathom that as being an issue if your individual departments are in remote locations (i.e. different cities or continents). Creating a super master for updates is not a big deal, it can easily be automated (e.g. record a macro). The best scenario to lessen the impact is to run the update on off-hours or only during designated times during working hours if required.

    In my opinion, you need one person in control of the whole project.

    Probably not what you wanted to hear, but sometimes you need to rethink the paradigm.

    Hope this helps.

    John

    John

    Wednesday, November 23, 2011 3:35 AM
  • Thank you for your answer, John.

    I respect your opinion and you may be true. But it is not the right place to philosophize about my company's organisation. I have to deal with it so I try to adapt the tool to it.

     

    I made a lot of tests with Project Pro 2007 and 2010 up to date but I face the same issue.

    If I open a project linked to other projects, Project Pro asks me to update the external links. And if I open a master project, the sub-projects inserted are in check-out status, the same way as if I opened all the sub-projects in background. So Project Pro should ask me to update the links the same way he does for a simple project...

    Thursday, December 15, 2011 1:40 PM
  • SoA,

    Oftentimes a software application does not do what a user wants or expects. Sometimes it's due to a bug in the software but other times it is simply the way the application works. In your case it is the latter. With that in mind I offered a solution to get the performance you desire. Just for reference, finding an alternate solution isn't always possible to meet user desires. However, if implementing the suggested solution is counter to your organizational structure and your management is not willing to support you in the changes necessary to implement the solution then I guess you're stuck. I have no other suggestions.

    Sorry,

    John

    Thursday, December 15, 2011 3:55 PM