PowerSteeringPowerSteering User GuidesEnd User Guide Working with Microsoft ProjectWhat do I need to know about using MS Project with PowerSteering?

What do I need to know about using MS Project with PowerSteering?

PowerSteering has the capability to let you import and export MS Project data using an XML file exchange. Before you can begin these activities it is important that you understand the rules for how the two programs work together. It is also necessary for an administrator to enable the MS Project functionality on your PowerSteering site else the option shown in the Help documentation will not be visible. This article describes several pieces of information that you should know and understand prior to using PowerSteering and MS Project together.  

1. MS Project Container

Before you can utilize the MS Project option you must ensure that the "Is MSP container" property has been selected for your desired object type. Once this option is selected you will see a new section on the Summary page called MSP Import Document. Files imported into PowerSteering must be in XML format.

Note: Contact your PowerSteering Administrator if the MS Project option is not shown on the Summary page.

2. MS Project Export

MS Project Export

You are able to export any project schedule from PowerSteering to MS Project as an XML file format. You do not need to have the "Is MSP container" property selected to use this feature.

3. XML File Format

PowerSteering uses the XML file format to exchange data with MS Project. When working in MS Project it is required that you use the Save As function to save your MS Project files in the XML format before attempting to upload them into PowerSteering.

4. Identifying PowerSteering IDs

Every object in PowerSteering has a PowerSteering ID. As shown in the images above, the series of numbers that represent the PowerSteering ID is displayed in the URL of the PowerSteering window. In MS Project, the PowerSteering ID is displayed on the Custom Fields tab of the Task Information dialog box. When a new task is added in MS Project and imported into PowerSteering, a PowerSteering ID is created and assigned to that task which must be maintained and synchronized as files are exchanged to and from the two products.

When an MS Project file is imported into PowerSteering we are looking for the PowerSteering ID as a way to compare what was in the previous file to determine what changes have been made to items with the same PowerSteering ID, what PowerSteering IDs are missing which indicates a task was deleted in MS Project, and what items do not have PowerSteering IDs indicating that a task was added in MS Project.

It is a best practice that EACH time you import into PowerSteering you export out of PowerSteering back to MS Project, even if you did not make any changes. This will help ensure the projects and PowerSteering IDs are verified each time data is exchanged between PowerSteering and MS Project.

5. PowerSteering Custom Fields

PowerSteering Custom Fields

There are four custom fields that are created automatically in MS Project when a project is exported from PowerSteering:

ps-id: This value matches the PowerSteering ID of the object that was exported and is used to match when that object is imported back into PowerSteering. You cannot create the ps-id value, it is generated by PowerSteering and used to synchronize the information between PowerSteering and MS Project. You are not able to edit this field in MS Project.

ps-required: This value matches the Required Deliverables field in PowerSteering. This yes or no value is only applicable to objects with phase deliverables (i.e. Gated Projects). You are able to edit this field in MS Project.

ps-status: This value represents the current status of the object in PowerSteering. If there is no value in ps-status items without an actual start date are imported as Not Started. Items with an actual start date are imported as On Track. Items with both an actual start and actual end date are imported as Completed. You are able to edit this field in MS Project.

ps-work-type: This value represents the name of the object type that has been exported from PowerSteering. You are not able to edit this field in MS Project.

Note: Users are able to create their own custom fields in MSP and import that data into PowerSteering IF they have a matching PowerSteering custom field to map to. However, users should be cautioned that PowerSteering custom field information is NOT included in the export file to MSP. For this reason custom field data will be lost during the import / export between the two programs.

6. Parenting Rules

Each Object Type in PowerSteering has a set of parenting rules that control how it can be positioned in relationship to other Object Types. This type of parenting provides control over where items can be placed in the Work Tree and where objects can be added in Project Central. MS Project does not have the same concept of parenting so you might be able to configure items differently than you would in PowerSteering. For example, in many PowerSteering configurations a milestone cannot parent any object type but in MS Project this type of behavior is allowed. So you could potentially create a milestone and add project tasks under that milestone as descendants or children. When you attempt to import that project into PowerSteering the process will fail because you are trying to create a parent child relationship between objects that is not allowed.

Note: The Object Type from PowerSteering is created as an MS Project custom field by default the first time the project is exported from PowerSteering and imported into MS Project.

7. Importing Existing MS Projects

Prior to your PowerSteering implementation there may have been projects that were already being managed in MS Project. For the purpose of creating visibility to all projects in your organization, you may need to import that MS Project plan into PowerSteering. In this case you will use a blank project as a container to import your MS Project files.To work properly this object type should have the "Is project" and "MSP Container" properties selected. Once created the project should not have any descendants or tasks.

Note: There is not a merge feature in PowerSteering. You are not able to create a gated project or template with existing tasks and import a populated MS Project against it. You need to either start with a gated project and / or template in PowerSteering and export that into a blank MS Project. Or, start with a blank project in PowerSteering and import a populated MS Project file against it.

8. Using Gated Projects and Templates

In some cases you will be using PowerSteering to manage the gated process of your project and MS Project to control the scheduling and individual tasks. In these cases it is critical that you first create the project in PowerSteering because MS Project does not have the concept of object types like gated projects and gates. Those items must originate in PowerSteering so you can take advantage of the structure surrounding them such as approvals, conditions and advancement. Once the project has been created in PowerSteering with the gate and project task structure outlined in your template, you can export the XML file to MS Project and add more project tasks and milestones to fill out your project schedule. Once completed, you can import that XML file into PowerSteering to share the updated information.

Note: There is not a merge feature in PowerSteering. You are not able to create a gated project or template with existing tasks and import a populated MS Project against it. You need to either start with a gated project and / or template in PowerSteering and export that into a blank MS Project. Or, start with a blank project in PowerSteering and import a populated MS Project file against it.

9. Using Resources

PowerSteering and MS Project are able to exchange resource assignments that are assigned in either program. When a file is imported from MS Project, PowerSteering attempts to match the resource or role data from MS Project against a resource or role in the PowerSteering database. During the resource mapping process you have the option of creating a Staffed Demand match which results in a specific person and role assignment, an Unstaffed Demand match which results in a specific role assignment, or you can ignore the match and not bring that resource or role assignment into PowerSteering. Once a resource or role has been matched it will automatically populate in future imports of this project file.

Note: If you select Ignore during the PowerSteering import process for a resource or role that has been assigned in MS Project, that resource will be removed from the plan going forward. For that reason if you are doing resource and / or role assignments in MS Project, it is critical that you create matching resources and roles in PowerSteering to ensure those assignments are maintained throughout the import and export process.

10. Using Timesheets

Per the current rules in PowerSteering you are unable to delete any object that has approved time (hours) against it. For that reason if you attempt to delete an item in MS Project that has time against it, you will receive an error message that the item cannot be deleted and it will reappear as part of the import process.

11. Scheduling and Project Information

Below is some additional information about the data exchange between PowerSteering and MS Project. Some differences between the programs could impact how schedules are calculated and presented as they are exchanged between PowerSteering and MS Project.

Actual Start / Actual End: This is the terminology used by PowerSteering, MS Project uses Actual Start, Actual Finish.

Allocation: Allocations in MS Project can be variable (with different values for different periods) or non-variable.  PowerSteering does not import the calendar or calendars created in MS Project. Allocations and user availability in PowerSteering will be calculated according to the work and user calendars.

Baseline: Only the Baseline values are imported into PowerSteering, not Baseline 1, Baseline 2, etc..

Calendars: PowerSteering exports the source work item's calendar as the base calendar in MS Project. That calendar controls the work week, the hours per work day, and non-working days. PowerSteering also exports user's calendars, but only additional non-working days, not differences in the work week or hours per day. Additionally, MS Project does not have an equivalent to the PowerSteering % available setting. As a result, allocations displayed as percentages may different in the two applications.

Constraint Start / Constraint End: PowerSteering has both a Constraint Start and End date field, MS Project only has a Constraint Date field. Items that are SNET, SNLT or MSO will have their constraint date imported as their constraint start. Items that are FNET, FNLT or MFO will have their constraint date imported as their constraint end.

Dependency: PowerSteering imports the information in the Predecessor field from MS Project into the Dependency field. PowerSteering imports only the whole number lag, not percentage lag. PowerSteering does not import Successor information from MS Project.

Scheduled Start / Scheduled End: This is the terminology used by PowerSteering, MS Project uses Start and Finish. Scheduled dates are independently calculated in PowerSteering using the scheduling type (automatic or manual), constraint type, constraint dates and actual dates (if any are populated).

Scheduling Types: For most work that is set to automatic scheduling, the result is the same in PowerSteering as it is in MS Project. Manually scheduled and fixed date items in PowerSteering will be exported as MFO and should not have any impact on scheduling. PowerSteering gated projects can follow scheduling rules that do not have equivalents in MS Project such as Enforced Sequential Gates. For this reason it is possible to update the dates and status of items in MS Project that would not be possible in PowerSteering. If a change was made to a project that violated these rules, the PowerSteering rules would be re-applied and the schedule adjusted when the project was imported back into PowerSteering.

Variable Allocation: PowerSteering exports variable allocations as daily values by rounding the number of hours that is received from MS Project. For this reason 100 hours of effort in a month could be displayed as 100 hours in PowerSteering and 99.67 hours in MS Project.

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