Home > Blog

Calling the same data into many Summaries in a complex programme

 When producing many reports from the same project or programme data it is often useful to have the some items which are of interest to many audiences repeated in each of the reports.  An example of this is when producing summaries for each work-steam on a programme it was useful to have some of the high level programme activities displayed on each of the Summary Plans to provide context.

This can be done by having a series of different references for each report (as detailed in this blog post) however when dealing with many work-streams and other reports required the number of reference fields can get significant.  Another way is to have a single field for all work-stream level references and another field to denote which work-stream report each reference belongs to.  In this latter field you can enter each of the work-streams which is using that reference in the report.

Now it is possible for filter on "work-stream" to only show items relevant to that work-stream.

The same reference / item can be used in many work-stream reports and the filter will pick up on it.  The only complication with this method is ensuring that shared items complicate the application of references to non shared rows; you have to make sure there is no duplication.

Item number Work-stream WS Summary



2 Test,Launch 2
3 Launch 3
4 Test 3
5 Test. Launch, Dev 4

In the example above the work-stream filter for different streams will produce different results however all will contain item 5:

  • Dev: item 5 only
  • Test: items 1,2,4 and 5
  • Launch: items 2,3 and 5

Thus we can us the same reference field to drive a number of reports and have the benefit of common data between them.

In MS Project the filter would be 

Field test Criteria
WS Summary does not equal ""
Work-Stream contains "chose work -stream:"?

The criteria for the Work-Stream element of the above filter will present a dialogue asking for the name of the work-stream to filter on (Dev, Test or Launch).   

Which method you use (this or the many fields method) will depend on your personal preferences, how many fields you have available and the level of complexity that you have in terms of shared items..

Miles Goodchild

Miles Goodchild has been a Program and Programme Planner, PMO lead and Project Manger since 1998.  He enjoys using MS Office, especially Project, Excel and Visio to make life easier and simpler.  In the course of this he created SummaryPro.  In this blog he shares some of the tips and techniques he has learnt over the years in the hope that they will be useful to you.