Project Center is a great tool for presenting a portfolio in a snapshot. Using the right filters and grouping, you can quickly show health across the portfolio, projects grouped by client, capitalized vs. non-capitalized projects with costs. And all of this without manipulating a report.

By nature, time is not an element we frequently feature in our Project Center views. Why? because the out of the box fields aren’t easily grouped by quarter, month, etc.

The good news is that the tools are available. Here is a view we were able to create:

Steps:

  1. Create a new field.  For our example, we are going to call it StartDateMonth. The field should be a Project field of type Number, and should be a formula field.
  2. Use this formula:  DatePart(“M”, [Start], 1, 1)
  3. Create another new field.  For our example, we are going to call it StartDateQuarter. The field should be a Project field of type Number, and should be a formula field.
  4. Use this formula:  DatePart(“Q”, [Start], 1, 1)
  5. Create another new field.  For our example, we are going to call it StartDateYear. The field should be a Project field of type Text, and should be a formula field. (You might ask, why a text field for the year?  Because, for a number with 4 digits, the number type adds a comma – 2,015.  Which no longer looks like a year.)
  6. Use this formula:  DatePart(“YYYY”, [Start], 1, 1)
  7. Group the view by StartDateYear, StartDateQuarter and/or StartDateMonth as desired.

As you can imagine, the Start column could be replaced with any date column, including custom fields.

These tips will help your view to be attractive and readable:

  1. When using Grouping in views, set the first column to be extra wide.  For this view, we chose 350.
  2. If you have a lot of information in columns and want to see more columns and less Gantt chart, set the Gantt offset to 1200.

Populating formula fields can sometimes be difficult.  Here’s a solid method that works consistently:

  1. Open the project in MS Project Pro.
  2. Under the Project tab, click on Calculate.
  3. Publish.
  4. Check the fields in Project Information (under the Project tab) to see if they’ve populated.  If not, Calculate and Publish again.

How can you use these date fields in your environment?  Have you been asked to display key dates in views?  Finish dates, delivery dates, phase start dates? I challenge you to try this method for your Project Center views!

Want to learn more about our approach to BI?  Take a look at our Business Intelligence page:  https://integent.com/services/microsoft-consulting/business-intelligence.