Returning to the MOUS Prep project scenario, before starting the MOUS study sessions, project managers in the MIS department decided that there was enough material about Microsoft Project to hold 12 sessions instead of the original 8. As a result, they also changed the Register for Exam task to follow Session 10, instead of Session 7. The Set a Date task in MOUS Celebration is linked to the Register for Exam task in MOUSPrep. Consequently, the Set a Date task is delayed from the original plan.
When projects contain external links, you generally want to know whether changes have been made to the external project that affect your project. Project gives you three alternatives for how to handle changes to externally linked files..These three options are discussed as follows
Show the Links between Projejs Dialog Box on Open
If you choose to show the Links Between Projects dialog box whenever you open a linked file, you can instantly see whether changes have been made that affect the linked tasks. If there are changes, you can review each change that was made to the’ external project and decide whether you want that change applied to your project. Manually updating changes gives you the most control over the impact of external changes on your project’s schedule. If you want to have the Links Between Projects dialog box open automatically when you open a linked project, select the Show Links Between Projects Dialog On Open checkbox on the Viewtab of the Options dialog box (Tool>Options).
With this option selected, every time’ you open a linked project, the Links Between Projects dialog box, shown in Figure 14.17, opens.
The dialog box has two tabs-External Predecessors and External Successors-and opens automatically to the link in question. The first line shows the task that is linked from the active project-s-In this case, the Set a Date task from the MOUS Celebration project. When you click the external task, shown in the second line of the dialog box, the path to the external file appears in the Path field at the bottom, and the action buttons on the dialog box become active.
The second line of the External Predecessors tab displays. the following information about the conflict
Task Displays the externally linked task, e.g. Register for Exam.
Type, Represents the type of dependency between the tasks: (FS:,Finish-to-
Start, SS:Start-to.-S~art,Sl’.Start-to-Finfsh. or FF:.Finish-to-Finish).
Date The current schedule date of the successor. In this case, the successor, Set a Date, is scheduled to start on 2/23/00.
To resolve the conflicts, you can choose to do the following:
Accept the selected changes.
Accept All the changes between the active project and external projects.
Delete Link between the projects.
Browse to locate the external file if the link was broken because the file was moved.
Close the dialog box without making changes. If you close the dialog box without making all the changes, the active project is no longer synchronized with the external project. This may be acceptable as long as you are aware of the differences.
Manually Review and Update Changes to External Links without Notification
:\n~time you are working with a project that has external links,you can manually review and update changes to the external links. With this option, the Links Between Projects dialog box does not open when you open a linked project. However, you can re\~ew the links by choosing Tools >- Links Between Projects from either the predecessor or successor project. To use this option. make sure that the Automatically Accept :\ew External Data checkbox on the View tab of the Options dialog box (Tool >- Options) is cleared.
Automatically Process Change without Notifying You
With this last option for handling changes to external links, you can direct Project to automatically process any changes to your project as a result of external links without . notifying you when you open the file. Project handles all the updates behind the scenes.
You only become aware if you see an unexpected shift in your project’s schedule. choose this option, click Tool >- Options and on the View tab, clear the Show Links . Between Projects Dialog On Open checkbox, and click the Automatically Accept-New :
External Data checkbox.
Deleting Links between Projects
If you want to delete a link between tasks in separate projects, you can choose Remove Link from the Link Between Projects dialog box, shown in Figure 14.17 earlier in this section. You can also select the row that contains the linked task and press the delete key. The task is deleted from the active project but only the link is removed from the external project-the task still remains in the original project file.
Using Resources from Another Project or Resource Pool
many organizations, it may be’ unusual for an individual resource to be assigned to only one project from now until eternity. Even if a resource is assigned full-time to a long-term project, you can save time and work by including that resource in a resource pool, Aresource pool is a project file that contains nothing but resource information. This file may be maintained by the Human Resource Department, by your specific department, or by a senior project leader who is overseeing multiple projects. The purpose of a resource pool is to centralize information about resources and to manage resource assignments. In a resource pool, you can monitor availability of each resource and make sure they are not stretched too thinly across multiple projects.
Although you can designate an existing project as a resource pool, we recommend that yo~ create a resource pool in a separate Project file. To create a resource pool, follow these steps:
1. Start , a new project fil~ by clicking the New button on the Standard toolbar.
2. Click OK to close the Project Information dialog box.
3. Click the Save button and save the project with a name that describes its resource pool function, such as MIS Resource Pool or Resource Pool 1.
4. Open the Resource Sheet by choosing View >- Resource Sheet.
5. Enter all the resources arid basic information about the resources that are available for any project that will be sharing the pool.
6. Save the Project again ..
Accessing a Resource Pool from Your Project
After a resource pool is created, you can any open project. A project that uses a resource pool is called a sharer file. To access the resource-pool from the sharer file, follow these steps
1. Open the Resource Pool file.
2. Open the project you want to share the resource pool.
3. Choose Tools >- Resources and click Share Resources.
4. In the Share Resources dialog box-shown in Figure 14.18, choose Use Resources and ‘select the resource pool file from the list of open projects.
5. Choose whether you want the resource pool to take precedence or whether the sharer should take precedence when conflicts arise. If you choose Pool Take Precedence, changes made to the resource pool overwrite changes made to resources in the shared file. If you choose Sharer Takes Precedence, changes you make to the resource information overwrite the resource pool data and other sharer files. Pool Take Precedence is the recommended method.
6. Click OK to share the resources.
Working with a Resource Pool
After you hare a resource pool, the resources from the resource pool are available to you in the sharer file project just as if they were part of the project. You can view the resources Sheet (View >- Resource Sheet), and you can make assignments using the Assign Resources button on the Standard toolbar or’ using another resource assignment method you are familiar with from Chapter 10, “Assigning and Scheduling Resources and Costs.” However, if you choose to give the resource pool precedence in the Share Resources dialog box, any changes you make to the resource information itself, such as resource name or rate, in the sharer file will not be saved when you close the resource pool
Closing a Project with a Shared Resource Pool
When you close a project with a shared resource pool, you must close the sharer file and the resource pool separately. If you have made resource assignments in the sharer file, the Planning Wizard brings you a message that asks you if ~ou want to update the resource pool to reflect changes for all the open sharer projects.
If you want the resource pool to include the new assignment information for the resources you used, click OK. if you want to update the resource pool to reflect changes in the sharer file, click Cancel to the message and cl<;>se the sharer file. Make changes to
the resource pool and choose Tools > Resource > Update Resource Pool to update changes to the resource pool.