Home > Blog

Produce many summary plans from the same project data

It is often useful, indeed necessary, to produce different views of the same project plan, for instance summaries for the main board, programme board, project managers etc.  It is important that the data across all reports produced around the same time is consistent to avoid confusion and noise.  Producing many reports without a tool like SummaryPro can be a time consuming and error prone process, especially if multiple people are producing them.

Illustration of many reports from the same project plan


SummaryPro has several advantages in this situation

  • Because the reports are inherently based on templates the same look and feel can easily be applied across the reports/
  • As updating each Plan on a Page is faster than doing so manually more reports can be produced with less effort and time.
  • The Summary Plans are driven by the same data set so they have to be consistent.

So how is it done?  Simply add a new set of references for each report that you need to produce to the source plan(s).  Then for each report simply filter on the appropriate set of references and copy this new data.  Each report is produced by its own pair of Excel and Visio files.

So if you have 4 Summary Plans to produce you will have 4 sets of files and the source plan(s) will contain 4 sets of references applied to different rows in your plan.

Whilst it sounds like hard work to set up a new output table for each of the 4 sets of references in reality it isn't.  Using the example of a project file held in MS Project with one existing Summary Plan the steps would be:

1) Decide on the new number field which will contain your new set of references (for instance "main board" and set that up in custom fields.

2) Copy the existing report table and rename it as "main board output", change the reference field from the original the the new "main board" field

3) Copy the existing filter, rename it and change the filter field to your new one.

4) Copy the existing view, rename it and change the filter and table details to the new ones.

5) Add the new field to your "SummaryPro entry" table and populate the column with your new references

You are now ready to set up the new Plan on a Page focused at your new audience.  Repeat this process for each of the new reports.

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.