TPG ProjectLink: Additional Options in Complex Program Management and Multi-Project Environments

In program management, the exchange of information on deadlines, work, costs etc. across projects is very important. TPG ProjectLink is a product for Microsoft Project Server and Project Online. It enables this important transparency very easily. The chart below shows one of 4 important use cases: links between tasks in different projects and multi-project overviews with status information for steering committees. More business cases can be found here.

YOUR BENEFITS

Extended Program Management with Microsoft Project Server / Project Online

  • Multi-project overviews detailing the program’s current status
  • Transparency of links between tasks across multiple projects
  • Ability to create project links between different companies
  • Clear, graphical comparison of your tasks with external tasks
  • Time saving due to visibility of changes in external projects
  • Enhanced performance of Microsoft Project Server

Find answers to frequently asked questions in the FAQ section.

Good Overview of Important External Tasks

Project managers use TPG ProjectLink to link external tasks to their own planning in Microsoft Project Server. Users can mirror tasks or link data about existing tasks to their own schedule. This enables them to see at a glance which external tasks have changed and whether they need to make any adjustments to their schedule.

Find a description of all possible use cases here.

Create Multi-Project Overviews – Quickly and Easily

Multi-project overviews – containing information relevant to the management of the project, such as milestones and traffic light status indicators – can be created and updated automatically (bottom-up). With TPG ProjectLink, tasks can be automatically transferred from these overarching framework projects back into the sub-projects (top-down). This information flow forms the basis of consistent and convenient program management.

Project Managers can easily view other details about linked tasks, which is important for multi-project overviews. Project status information can be displayed by means of traffic light indicators, giving the members of the steering committee important pointers about the state of the project. You can also transfer notes and any user-defined fields in Microsoft Project Server.

Find a description of all possible use cases here.

What Can This Product Do for You?

Drivers Benefits
Multi-Project TransparencyTPG ProjectLink creates transparency of links between tasks across all projects.
Roll-up ReportingTPG ProjectLink allows multi-project overviews of the project portfolio’s current status, including resource utilization, scheduled tasks and individual health checks.
External Project AlignmentTPG ProjectLink enables simple creation of project links across different companies, vendors and departments.
Intuitive DashboardsTPG ProjectLink provides a clear, graphical comparison of your tasks with external tasks from other parallel projects.
Up-to-Date InformationTPG ProjectLink saves critical time during projects by providing access to key information about changes in both internal and external projects.
Ease of UseTPG ProjectLink offers complete information on other projects’ tasks and status information without requiring the user to open each project.

TPG ProjectLink Key Features

  • You can use Windows SharePoint lists and SQL databases as data sources as well as Microsoft Project Server sites
  • Configurable field mapping for multiple types of use case
  • Innovative task picker function enables you to set up the links (via Microsoft Project Server access permissions)
  • You can mirror external tasks in your own schedule and view a preview or update linked information on demand
  • TPG ProjectLink also supports resource management between project and line

Compatibility:

  • Microsoft Project Online
  • Microsoft Project 2016
  • Microsoft Project 2013
  • Microsoft Project 2010

CUSTOMER FEEDBACK

“TPG ProjectLink makes it easier to work with links between projects, while increasing transparency and giving us a good basis for decision-making. I particularly like the fact that we can choose between different types of link.”

Jaap Van der Meulen, Program Manager, Elster Instromet

Use Case 5: Ad-Hoc Queries at the Task Level

As a project manager, you can run any queries you choose, e.g. display all tasks from all your projects within a specific timeframe. To do this, it is not necessary to open the individual projects.

“We have much more visibility into what’s happening where and the situation with our resources. That gives us the transparency we need to see how changes in one project will affect other projects.”
Christian Nawrath, PMO Leader
Liebherr Components

> Read Liebherr Case Study


“It’s the detail that makes the difference. The system gives us a very deep level of insight that improves project management efficiency throughout the company. It supports our modular product development approach, where the product is a master project that is comprised of a number of sub-projects. This multi-project management solution, which is based on TPG ProjectLink, gives us the required transparency, pinpoints the dependencies between projects and illustrates the impact that a delay in one module will have on the master project.”
Jörn Fritsche, Project Manager
Vaillant Group

> Read Vaillant Case Study


“TPG ProjectLink makes it easier to work with links between projects, while increasing transparency and giving us a good basis for decision-making. I particularly like the fact that we can choose between different types of link.”
Jaap Van der Meulen, Program Manager
Elster Instromet

 

“Lonza’s Microsoft Project Server solution with TPG PSLink® for SAP integration and TPG ProjectLink for multi-project management enhancements has also made collaboration easier – especially between teams and across different projects.”
Peter Zenk, Project Leader Global EPM Implementation
Lonza AG
 

“The TPG solution currently automates some of our manual tasks. TPG ProjectLink aggregates all our detailed Microsoft Project plans into one overall project plan. TPG PSLink® then transfers its structure and deadlines to SAP. The cost and work planning data from the detailed plans are directly integrated with SAP via TPG PSLink®. This combination of products has made everything easier for us.”
Reiner Schwarz, Project Manager
Airbus Defense & Space

 

“TPG ProjectLink is enabling our project managers to establish cross-project links very easily. Organizing those links in a hierarchical way across sub-project plans within a program gives a quick overview of the program status. Target dates are being propagated down to the sub-project level and status information is being aggregated back to the top level. The flexible configuration allows us to define customized link types matching exactly our needs. TPG ProjectLink is also used for our interfaces to other systems based on SQL databases. All in all, TPG ProjectLink is a really powerful Microsoft Project Server add-in product which we heavily rely on in our project organization.”
Dr. Günther Burget, Project Office
Intel Mobile Communications GmbH

Airbus (DE, FR)
Continental (DE)
DESY (DE)
ELM Information Security (SA)
Elster Instromet (BE)
Fischer Clinical Services (CH)
GE Inspection Tech. (DE)

GSI (DE)
Harman International (DE, US)
Intel Mobile Communicat. (DE)
Liebherr Components (DE)
Migros (CH)
Orange (UK)
Paul Scherrer Institut (CH)

Rheinmetall (CH, DE, AT, CA)
SEW Eurodrive (DE)
Siemens (DE)
Vaillant Group (DE)
Volkswagen (DE)
etc.

1. Who needs TPG ProjectLink?

TPG ProjectLink is aimed at all users of Microsoft Project Server or Project Online who recognize that the “out-of-the-box” Microsoft tools (= basic functions) have limitations in a complex multi-project / program environment. The TPG ProjectLink add-on overcomes these limitations and enables important applications in multi-project / program management which could not be implemented with Microsoft’s basic functions or only very uncomfortably.

2. How does TPG ProjectLink work in technical terms?

TPG ProjectLink uses MS Project Server or Project Online as a basis and extends their potentials in multi-project / program management. As an add-on in the MS Project Client, TPG ProjectLink reads the data directly from the Project Server / Online. The source projects are not linked or changed, which is an important difference as compared to the Microsoft basic function. This way, every project manager remains in control of his / her own plan and does not need to fear that his / her plan is changed from the outside in an uncontrolled manner.
 

3. Can TPG ProjectLink be adapted to the processes in the company?

Yes, TPG ProjectLink can be adapted very well to your processes. It is not necessary to change your processes according to the new multi-project / program solution. This increases the acceptance of the solution.
 

4. Why do we need an add-on for Project Server / Project Online for program management?

In their basic function, Microsoft Project Server and Project Online have the following important technological restrictions:

  • You need write access to both projects concerned to set up a cross-project link.
  • Links can only be realized through dependency (= predecessor / successor relationship) between 2 tasks.
  • You do not have a clearly represented preview function enabling you to see how applying temporal changes in the source project will affect your target project. This is inconvenient.
  • Complex program management is very difficult with the basic functions.
  • Project Server / Project Online may exhibit performance problems in case of many linked projects.
     

    5. What does TPG Project Link do better when linking tasks between projects?

    The following reasons speak in favor of TPG ProjectLink in multi-project / program management:

    • You do not need write access to external projects to set up links.
    • The tool only reads the data of the external projects from Project Server / Project Online but never changes the source projects themselves.
    • You do not need to open source projects in order to create new links or receive up-to-date information in the target project. This has a positive effect on system performance.
    • As information is available faster, this will save your project managers and decision-making bodies time.
    • TPG ProjectLink offers several types of links that you can use depending on your requirements:
      • 1:1 links such as external task information in user-defined fields (Softlink)
      • a copy of an external task as a separate row (Mirrorlink)
      • a list of tasks from various external projects (milestone rollups)
    • You will find the necessary source tasks for your project quickly through the selection using the user-friendly TaskPicker. This is a dialog for viewing an external project directly without requiring you to open and insert it in your project plan (which would be complicated).
    • In the Microsoft basic function, deliverables only work in the Project Web Access (PWA). You can also transmit deadline information only. With TPG ProjectLink, you work beyond PWA limitations.
    • Depending on the configuration, you can add any additional information related to the source task to your project.
       

      6. Which tasks from other projects can I link in my project as a project manager?

      With TPG ProjectLink, you can, in principle, link each task of projects to which you have read access. If necessary, you can also extend this to projects to which you do not have read access according to Project Server permission.
       

      7. Which different types of links does TPG ProjectLink offer?

      1) Softlinks: Links to the source task are displayed in the target plan for information purposes only in the same row as the target task. There is no actual link, and this does not affect the target tasks with regard to the schedule.
      2) Mirrorlink: This 1:1 link creates an individual task in a new row in the target plan. It is linked with the source like a hard link and can be used for information purposes only if no link with other tasks is created within the target plan.
      3) Rollup: A possibility to create several source tasks as a list of tasks in the target project at once at the click of a mouse. Freely configurable.
      4) Hardlink: This can be used to intervene directly in the schedule. With hard links, no new task is created in the target schedule. Instead, this type of link writes directly into the schedule of the target task and thus enforces deadline shifts.
       

      8. Is it simple to create a link between tasks from different source projects with my target project using TPG ProjectLink?

      Yes, this is very easy because the TaskPicker provides excellent support here. The following image shows the user interface of the TaskPicker and the individual steps:
      1) Select link type
      2) Select the project from the list
      3) Select the task to be linked
      4) Click the button to create the link

      9. It is easy to create multi-project overviews using TPG ProjectLink?

      Yes, this is very easy using the rollup function. The procedure is described in the following image of the TaskPicker:
      1) Select “Rollup” link type
      2) Call up the preview of the tasks
      3) Click on the tasks to be linked
      4) Click the button to create the tasks in the open project

      10. How can I as a program manager display clearly represented important milestones from different projects? What are the advantages?

      With just one click, you create the links to a central program plan using the “Rollup” link type (bottom-up information from sub-projects). As a result, this program plan displays only the information important for the steering committee (milestones and tasks). This reduces complexity and you can focus on what is important thanks to the clear representation.
       

      11. How does TPG ProjectLink support program management through top-down planning?

      Using Softlinks, you as a sub-project manager show the program specifications in your project. Your advantage: program management does not change the sub-projects from the outside; as a sub-project manager, you have complete control over your schedule, but top-down planning by program management is still possible.
       

      12. How can I display project dependencies between projects using TPG ProjectLink?

      You can choose which tasks from the source projects you need using the TaskPicker and connect them using the appropriate link type. The advantage: in contrast to MS Project Server / Project Online, several linking possibilities are available: 1:1 links, e.g., external task information in user-defined fields (Softlink), the copy of an external task as a separate row (Mirrorlink) or a list of tasks from various external projects (milestone rollups). (For further detail, see the description of the link types in question 7.)

      13. How does TPG ProjectLink support planning in line organizations?

      Through the intelligent use of Softlinks, you can exchange information between the project plan and the line plan and thus realize distributed planning (rough / detailed planning). The advantage: project plans remain lean and the line managers have their own plans for resource utilization.
       

      14. Can I realize cross-company links, e.g. for suppliers?

      Yes, this is possible. TPG ProjectLink allows creating links across MS Project Servers. In addition, also data from other data sources can be provided (e.g. SharePoint lists, SQL databases). This can also be realized very easily using Project Online in the Microsoft Cloud.
       

      15. Can TPG ProjectLink access other data sources and provide these in my projects?

      Yes, this is possible. You can access SharePoint lists and SQL databases based on appropriate configurations to link them with the tasks of the target project.
       

      16. Which data can be exchanged via TPG ProjectLink and what is the advantage as compared to Project Server / Project Online?

      The basic function of Microsoft Project Server provides all the information of a task from the source project in the target projects in an unfiltered manner. Using TPG ProjectLink, however, you can configure which information is actually displayed.
       

      17. Does it make a difference in TPG ProjectLink whether I use Microsoft Project Server or Project Online?

      No, there is no difference. All the possibilities and applications of TPG ProjectLink are available both on premises and in the cloud solution.