Viewing the Critical Path across Projects

When you consolidate projects, by default Project calculates inserted projects like summary tasks, effectively showing you the overall critical path across all the projects by using the late finish date of the master project to make calculations. This behavior can make subprojects within the master project look like they don't have critical paths of their own, as shown in Figure 15-18.

Figure 15-18: By default, Project treats inserted projects like summary tasks, and you don't see critical paths for individual inserted projects.

Suppose that you want to see each subproject's critical path while viewing the master project. To do so, you think, "I'll turn on multiple critical paths in the master project." That's the right idea, but because multiple critical paths apply only to tasks that are owned by the project, nothing will change. In this example, the tasks (Task 1 and Task 2) in Figure 15-18 are owned by subprojects, so turning on multiple critical paths in the master project won't have any effect.

You can, however, tell Project to stop treating subprojects as summary tasks. If you do, Project uses the late finish dates that the subprojects pass along to the master project to determine the critical path — and you're likely to see each subproject's critical path, as shown in Figure 15-19. When you turn off this setting, you see critical paths in the master project as they appear in each subproject.

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Figure 15-19: When Project doesn't treat inserted projects like summary tasks, you're likely to see multiple critical paths in a master project.

To change Project's behavior in the master project, choose ToolsOOptions and click the Calculation tab. Then, deselect the Inserted projects are calculated like summary tasks check box, as shown in Figure 15-20.

Options

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Figure 15-20: The Inserted projects are calculated like summary tasks check box controls whether Project uses the subprojects' late finish dates or the master project's late finish date for calculations.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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