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There are 2 main ways I see this done. The first is to have a tier 0 program schedule showing the major milestones for each project and the dependencies in a Gantt or milestone format. The 2nd is a high level network diagram showing the same thing. It is of course possible to link all the detail level schedules, but that creates its own set of problems when things move and constraints generate errors (e.g. finish now occurs before start due to schedule logic.)
The other reason the views are often kept separate is it is easier to see the information you need (dependencies) without all the other stuff to clutter up the view.
I appreciate the help! That is a great idea. It is way easier to manage at the milestones level.
The common approach is if the schedules are all hosted in a shared location, you'd use a master schedule to keep an eye on shifting dependencies and dates as the Program Manager and have the individual PMs manage their own schedules. You'd insert their schedules into yours and every time you open your master schedule, it would update based on the changes made to the individual project schedules.
This scales up to a certain point, but file-based MPP files do suffer from corruption issues so at some point moving to Microsoft's cloud solution might make more sense.
Thanks for all of the help! I think I will do a master schedule that shows just the milestones.
Using Microsoft Project, you can set dependencies between tasks of sub-projects and you still view links between tasks on Gantt Chart. This type of link is an external link. Follow steps below to do that:
- Open master project with all sub-projects
- Open Task Information dialog of the task that you want to set dependence
- Select "Predecessor tab"
- Input "ProjectName\TaskID" in the ID cell where ProjectName is the name of the sub-project and TaskID is the ID of the Task belong to sub-project that you want this task depends on.
- Click OK
Does this approach answer your question?
Microsoft Project is a good tool for this. however, managing the project requires your PM expertise and generally has nothing to do with your software.
Thank you for the instructions! I was trying this, but I must have been doing something wrong. I appreciate your help!
Maybe you type the wrong value in the ID cell. For more detail, I will show you a quick way to do that.
Assuming that you have a Master project with two sub-projects "Project 1" and "Project 2". When you open Master project you will see the table as bellow (You may need to add ID column to show ID of task):
ID TaskName Predecessors
1 Project 1
1 Project 1 Task 1
2 Project 1 Task 2
2 Project 2
1 Project 2 Task 1
2 Project 2 Task 2
In the Predecessor cell of the task "Project 2 Task 1" you can type "Project 1\1" without quotation marks to link "Project 2 Task 1" and "Project 1 Task 1"
regardless of the tool used, I think it requires a teaming approach too.
A program setup with roles of a program manager and multiple project leads is required. It should include rules about how to handle interdependencies, which might include technicalities but also capacities, schedule, budget, opportunity for synergies (e.g. using the same quality management approach for all projects) etc.
In one of my engagements, a weekly all-project-manager meeting working on a matrix pinned to a big wall monitored all interdependencies. It took 15 minutes to 2 hours. Longterm dependencies were monitored/refined and short term needs exchanged.
That is a great idea. I am going to encourage the team leads to have more interaction to identify the technicalities you mentioned.
Thanks again for the advice!
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