Join Bonnie Biafore for an in-depth discussion in this video Inserting a project schedule provided by a subcontractor, part of Managing Subcontractor Projects with Microsoft Project.
- The project manager for the system installation has given you his Project file. You can insert it into your Project file to see how the sub's work affects the overall project. I have the main Project file for this project open. And we're in the Gantt Chart view so I can see the tasks for the project. I'm going to scroll down near the bottom of this project. I'm going to go to Task 45, "Install medical records system." This task is a placeholder for the sub's work.
What we're going to do is we're going to insert the project that you got from the subcontractor into your main Project file right here. To do that, click the row for Task 45. That's the placeholder. Then, you head to the Project tab. On the left side of the ribbon, there's an Insert section with one button, Subproject. And that's what we're going to do. We're going to insert a subproject. Go ahead, click the button. That opens up the Insert Project dialog box.
Now I'm going to go to the exercise files folder that has the subproject that I got from the subcontractor. You want to go to whatever folder you saved your file in in an earlier movie. So I'm going to go to Chapter 2, and the subfolder is 0201. When I see the Implementation_Sub project file, I click its name, and then click Insert. Let's take a look at what happens when I insert a subproject.
I have a new task. It looks like a summary task. It's got the right-pointing triangle that means it's collapsed, and the name is the name of the file. In this case it's Implementation_Sub. Over in the indicators column, there's this project icon, and if you point at it, it tells you this project was inserted so you know it's an inserted project. Let's expand it. Click the right-pointing triangle, and that expands to show all the tasks within the inserted subproject.
Let's take a look at the Task IDs. You'll notice that the Task IDs in the main Project file, they work the way they normally would. They start at Task ID 1, and they go up to, in this case, 44, for setting up the medical records system. Then we've got 45, which was where we inserted the subproject. But after that, the Task IDs go back to #1. And you see you've got Task ID 1 through 8, and that's for the tasks within the inserted subproject.
And the reason that they're numbered like that is because they're coming from that other Project file. So if you see Task IDs doing this, that is your indication that you have an inserted subproject. Once we get to the end of that inserted project, the Task IDs go back and resume their numbers. Another thing to notice, you don't see the task bars. If I click "Set up server," that's the first task in the inserted subproject. I'm going to go up to the Task tab, and on the right end click Scroll to Task.
The task bars are starting at the project start date, and that's because these tasks aren't linked to anything in the main project. Let's correct that. With both of the projects visible here, it's really easy to link the tasks. It works just like you're linking tasks in the same project. We want to take "Network installation complete" and link it to "Set up server." So I click the first task, "Network installation complete," and control-click in the row for "Set up server." Just like I would with any other tasks, I go to the Task tab, and in the Schedule section, click Link Tasks.
If you caught that, the task bars just went whooshing off the right side of the screen. If I click Scroll to Task, I go over and now I can see that that's because that "Set up server" task is now scheduled where it's supposed to be, in August, instead of in June. The other link that we need is at the end of the inserted subproject. We want to link "Test system" with UAT testing. I'm going to click the task for "Test system," and then control-click in the row for "UAT testing." Back up to Task tab, and click Link Tasks again.
We still have the placeholder task. It's sitting there right in-between those two testing tasks. We don't need it any more, because we have the inserted subproject. Right-click in that row, and on the shortcut menu, choose Delete Task. Now we have our inserted subproject that you got from the subcontractor's project manager, and everything is scheduled the way it should be. The last thing we're going to do is save the file. I'm going to head to the File tab and click Save.
Now I'm saving the main file, but look at this message box. Because the subproject is linked to the main Project file, when I go to save the main Project file, it asks do you want to save your changes to Implementation_sub? Well the great thing is, if I want to save both files, all I have to do is click Yes to All. That's how you insert the subcontractor's project into your overall Project file.
Expert project manager Bonnie Biafore introduces approaches for working with subcontractors, including how to set them up in Project and incorporate their schedules. The course then explains how to set up multiperson team resources, assign subcontractors to tasks, periodically update the project, and review subcontractor performance based on cost, work, and schedule, and in relation to the overall project. Follow along with the sample Project file, featuring before-and-after examples you can use to compare your work to the author's.
Note: This course was designed in collaboration with author John Riopel. The techniques apply to Project 2010, 2013, and 2016.
Lynda.com is a PMI Registered Education Provider. This course qualifies for professional development units (PDUs). To view the activity and PDU details for this course, click here.
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- Explain how to show the type of contract for a new resource.
- Recall how to set up a team resource to track time and cost.
- Recognize the benefits of inserting a subcontractor’s project into a main project file.
- Determine how to add a summary task as a part of a last milestone.
- Identify the steps taken to view all tasks assigned to a specific subcontractor.
- Summarize the type of relationships shown in four kinds of charts in the Resource Cost Overview.