Thursday, June 28, 2012

Creating a Work Breakdown Structure in Microsoft Project 2010 with Visio (WBS Modeler add-in for Visio 2010)

As part of the Initiating phase of a project, a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) should be delivered. I usually prepare a high level planning using Microsoft Project. It’s not really a WBS, but more a milestone and hammock tasks Gantt chart.
I always wanted to present it as a real WBS diagram but never found a good and simple tool to create it. Here is now the solution; the WBS Modeler add-in for Visio 2010 that allows generating the WBS based on a project plan, or the other way, generates a project plan based on a WBS. This add-in has been released end of 2011 by Microsoft (initially developed by David J Parker, Microsoft MVP for Visio).
First, the system requirements:
Windows XP Service Pack 3 or later with Visio Professional 2010; not that there is also a version for 2007 available), Project 2003 SP 1 or later AND Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0.
You can download the add-in from this page. The installation is very simple; it’s a series of “next” buttons.

Create the WBS in Visio from Microsoft Project task list
I have created a simple project plan as follow:

Now let’s create the WBS in Visio based on this project plan. Open Visio, then under Template Category, click on Add-Ins.

Select WBS Modeler and click on Create.

On the WBS Modeler tab, click on the Import button.

Select your project file and click OK

Select the level from which you want to import the data, and click on Draw.

And voila J
Very simple to do, isn’t it?
Quick look on Visio export to Microsoft Project using the WBS Modeler
On the WBS Modeler tab, click on Export button.

Note that on the generated Project file, tasks contain constraints, Finish No Earlier Than for tasks and Start No Earlier Than for milestones which was not the case on my initial Project plan.

Going forward: Is it possible to maintain the link between the 2 files, to be able to update the % complete from Project to Visio?
This is a question I have been asked, and I tried to find a solution that does not involved custom coding. I found some block post with the following good idea: Project can Export data to Excel, and Visio can get updates from Excel as External data.
Here is how you can proceed:
Export your Project plan to Excel using Save As. Choose Selected data and click next, then create a new map.

Select Tasks and Export includes headers.

Select fields you want to map; in this example I will use % Complete and Cost. Unique ID is mandatory to link tasks in Visio (note that for the purpose of this article, I put some costs and % complete on the first tasks).

You can then save the map for future use. You can also create a small macro to execute such task if this is something you want to often use.
Now let’s make the link in Visio. Click on Data tab and select Link Data To Shapes.

Select Excel as Data you want to use (note that SharePoint is also an option you can test). Follow the wizard. On the following screen, we need to define which field will make the link between the data (Excel export) and Visio tasks.

Upon Finish button click, Excel data is embedded into Visio document as External Data.
To match the existing name in Visio (Shape field), we need to rename columns. On the External Data window, right-click and select Column Settings. Click on Rename. You have noticed that you can also change data type and column width.

We have the data; we have the tasks; now we need to make the link. Right click on the External Data window, and select Automatically Link…. Select All shapes on this page and click Next.

The next window defines the link between the Data column and the Shape Field.

Now, the link is created, shape fields are populated with matched external data. The default view is the following:

Let’s configure it to display needed information.
Create new Data Graphics.

Create a new Item for Cost and define it as Thermometer (this is just to show it, Thermometer may be better used for indicators like Schedule Performance Indicator or Cost Performance Indicator).

Create another item for % Complete as a progress bar

If you don’t want to see only 0.5 or 0.65… you need to multiply the % Complete per 100 to reflect percentage.

This is the WBS we get from this little customization and what I now use to communicate with senior management.

For your next updates, you have to save again your Project plan as Excel file with the same mapping (after updating it of courseJ). Then on Visio, right click on the External Data window and select Refresh Data….

38 commentaires:

Dan said...

Jeremy, Do you have any alternative for aligning child elements vertically instead of horizontally? I am working with a very large project and WBS and it is simply too large when the elements are arranged horizontally. I know that for some reason Microsoft decided to take it out of the code to "simplify" it. Any suggestions would be great. Thanks

Jeremy Cottino said...

Hi Dan,
Found a simple way to do it, hope it will fit your requirements.
Select all shapes (CTRL + A), on the Home tab, click on [Position] button. On the [orient shapes] section, click [Rotate Diagram] and select your orientation (right, left...)

Kristina Benoit said...

Hi Jeremy,

I tried your trick of rotating the diagram and this didn't really help. Do you know of another way to get the old vertical arrangement that was in Visio 2007 modeler?

Jeremy Cottino said...

Hi Kristina,
Don't know if this can help, go on Design tab, and click on Re-layout page, if you select Flowchart > Left to right you have a kind of vertical arrangement.
Hope this help.

Dietmar Schoder said...

Maybe you want to try for WBS.

Anonymous said...

hi there I have Visio 2010 and MS project 2007 once I open the Modeler it prompts me to select the project and it does not do anything after hitting ok. any reason why?

SoftwareCorner said...

I loved your blog. Want more.


Donald Brown said...

windows 10 product key code free , windows 10 pro product key sale , windows 10 product key 0xc004e016 , product key of windows 7 professional 64 bit , windows 10 activation 10162 , windows 10 serial key not working , office 2016 product key , how to change correct product key for windows 7 ultimate , lBgCpf

windows server 2012 r2 buy

office 2013 key sale

cheap rosetta stone french

Shah Hax said...

nice....keep it up..Microsoft Visio Pro 2013

Paul Miller said...

.Net is most preferred programming language among software developers all over the world. It is also considered as most trusted and effective platform to build high performing desktop or enterprise application. DOT NET Training Institutes in Chennai

Tina Kenard said...

I feel satisfied with your blog, you have been delivering useful & unique information to our vision even you have explained the concept as deep clean without having any uncertainty, keep blogging.
website designing training|PHP Training in Chennai

sunitha vishnu said...

This is excellent information. It is amazing and wonderful to visit your site.Thanks for sharing this information,this is useful to me...
Android Training in Chennai
Ios Training in Chennai

Nancy Garero said...

Big project always have the big problems, the basic problem for the every project is to understand the following of big data and its complexity which is not easier to understand by a common man. So form here the work of data scientist is started you have to chose the best data scientist which can solve your all data complexity problem and you can get them from

jash vitha said...

Very nice...Thanks for sharing the work break down structure...Really nice..
No.1 IOS Training Institute in Chennai | Best Android Training Institute in Chennai | Java Training Institute in Chennai

Gothai mal said...

Your way of explaining is very nice to sharing..Keep update your post..
No.1 Software Testing Training Institute in Chennai | Best Selenium Training Institute in Chennai | ISTQB Certification Center in Velachery

devo said...

It is an informative Blog..Thanks for sharing this useful and interesting article..Best IEEE Project Center in Chennai | IEEE Project Center in Velachery.

Awe Tech Water Purifier said...

Wow ! Very Nice article Thanks for sharing this article. Very useful information i got from this article and website.

Tech Fizy said...

Thanks for sharing informative article. Download Windows 7 ultimate for free from getintopc. It helps you to explore full functionality of windows operating system.

Fuzzy International said...

The best thing is that your blog really informative thanks for your great information!
cashew nuts suppliers and exporters in dubai
A4 paper suppliers and exporters in dubai
onion suppliers and exporters in dubai
potato suppliers and exporters in dubai
spices&grains suppliers and exporters in dubai

Rigid Box said...

Thanks for sharing. this article wonderful website Information provided in this website are very nice.. Again Thanks for this article..

grace leah said...

You shared useful post. Thanks for sharing.
Java Project Center in Chennai | Best Java Projects in Velachery

kri pav said...

Your way of explanation is very nice..Amazing post..
MultiMedia Training Institute in Chennai | MultiMedia Training Center in Velachery | Graphic Designing Course in Chennai

Andria BZ said...

Thanks for your informative post!!! After completing my graduation, i am confused whether to choose web design as my career. Your article helped me to make a right choice. PHP Training in Chennai

krish said...

Your Blog is nice and informative..Thanks for sharing...Data Mining Projects Center in Chennai | Data Mining Projects Center in Velachery.

srihariparu said...

Really an amazing post..! By reading your blog post i gained more information.
Power System Project Center in Chennai | Power System Project Center in Velachery

Anna malaiyar said...

I gathered lot of information from your post..
Tally ERP9 Training Institute in Chennai | Best Tally ERP9 Training in Velachery

victoriya said...

Useful post, interesting to read this blog keep more post...VLSI Projects Center in Chennai | VLSI Projects Center in Velachery

Lakhsar Engineers said...

Very Nice !! Keep Updating Article like this !! Wonderful content i got from this website.

ASO Services said...

Thanks a lot for sharing this with all of us, I like it and we can communicate. Do you need buy app ratings and reviews. To boost app ranking and double app downloads now.

Vel Murugan Properties said...

Nice article Thanks for sharing this article Wonderful information from this website Thanks !!!

Hotel Paatti Masala said...

Very Nice & Wonderful

kri pav said...

You have done a great job, really the concept of data structure was superb.. RPA Training Institute in Chennai | UI Path Training Institute in Chennai | Blue Prism Training Institute in Chennai

Rilon Welding Coimbatore said...

Wow Very Nice !! Article providing here very nice information am getting from your website.. very nice information am getting from your website.. Again Very Nice

Thanuja Sri said...

Are you looking for professional rpa online training institute ?

TamilSelvam said...

Our Project work going in on chennai region kindly update the boom lift rental in chennai member.

john kevin said...

I simply wanted to write down a quick word to say thanks to you for those wonderful tips and hints you are showing on this site.

data science training in chennai

anudeep bichal said...

Needed to compose you a very little word to thank you yet again regarding the nice suggestions you’ve contributed here.

java training in bangalore

JamesWilliam said...

Informative blog and it was up to the point describing the information very effectively. Thanks to blog author for wonderful and informative post.
Mobile application developers in Chennai | Android application developers in Chennai | Android app developers Chennai | PHP developers chennai

Post a Comment