These fields are used to understand which projects in the system belong to a parent project/ programme and those that are independent/stand-alone.
Below is an illustration of how these ECFs could help group and filter data in the Project Centre views as well as reports:
In the following example, the view has been grouped by ‘Programme’ and the filter Programme = Marketing Programme has been applied:
In this example, an additional filter has been applied whereby Classification <> Programme:
In the second example, you avoid duplicating the aggregated values (i.e. cost) in the summary line.
Programmes have defined stage gate or key milestones that the programme manager has committed to the organisation. Individual projects must complete work in time to achieve these defined stage gate milestone dates.
One of the key concerns for a Programme Manager is to monitor projects to ensure they will enable the programme to achieve the stated deadlines. It is therefore important for the Programme Manager to have control over a separate programme schedule as well as visibility of the related child/sub-project schedules.
This provides the framework for individual projects and enables logical linking of key milestones from the programme plan to each individual project schedule (therefore eliminating any duplication of milestones and possible miscommunication of deadline dates).
Projects within programmes are also very likely to have inter-dependencies – logical links between tasks in separate project schedules across the programme – as well as logical links to the parent/programme. Project Online offers different approaches to managing these relationships:
- Master project with sub-projects: helpful for reporting and to gain a helicopter view
- Hard-links (predecessors): hard-linking between tasks of different projects using predecessors
- Soft links (deliverables and dependencies): a flexible approach to linking projects, where the gives and gets are moulded by the Programme/Project Manager
I’ve discussed managing cross-project dependencies using both the “Hard Links” and “Soft Links” approach in a previous blog post. Therefore, I’m going to focus on the Master Project with sub-projects approach.
Overview of Master Projects
Think of a master project as a collection of consolidated projects that show a hierarchy among multiple related projects. Projects inserted into a master project are called sub-projects.
The first step is to open the existing Programme schedule in Microsoft Project for Editing, this is going to be our Master Project. In this example, the Programme plan is populated with a series of key milestones.
Select the row where you wish to insert the first sub-project. Note, this will be an existing project entity within Project Web App. Click on the subproject icon on the Project ribbon and the insert project box will open. Select the relevant sub-project from the list.