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Multicharting in Project Server's Portfolio Analyzer gives more view options

Project Server 2002's Portfolio Analyzer is already a powerful tool. But its Multichart feature can help you create graphs and charts that illustrate your projects. Here's how to make this function work.

The Portfolio Analyzer is a powerful reporting tool in Project Server 2002; it allows users to view project data, including work, cost availability by project, resources, and time. With it, you can create OLAP-based views of data illustrating your portfolio of projects.

Much of the power comes from "slicing" the data across time, but doing this with a graph, such as a pie chart, is not very straightforward. However, Portfolio Analyzer has a feature called Multichart that can make even pie charts show time-scaled data. Since it is often consultants who possess both the skills to see the relationships between data and the technical skills, I’ll explain how you can build this kind of view.

A few examples
Figure A is an example of a Portfolio Analyzer view that is quite useful. The pie chart shows the cost of the projects in the portfolio of an electronics manufacturing company, broken down by the Strategic Business Unit field. The actual figures that each slice of the pie represents are shown in a “mouse over” caption that appears as you hover your mouse over each slice. In this way, the Portfolio Analyzer provides clear, uncluttered graphics and still allows for a quick view of a graph's details.

Figure A


This view also allows users to see the breakdown within a strategic business unit by project name. Figure B shows the drill down chart for the Consumer Products “slice” of the chart above. (Drill down by double-clicking on a slice of the chart.)

Figure B


Making use of the Multichart functionality within Portfolio Analyzer can make this view even more useful. Figure C shows the same chart using Multichart with the Time dimension.

Figure C


Using multicharting, we now have the same graph for each quarter in 2002 and 2003, allowing portfolio managers or executives to more closely examine the breakdown of costs across time and business units.

The first step is to build the “regular” view. Open Project Server 2002 Web Access as a user with rights to create views. Click on the Admin link at the top of the Home page, and then click the Manage Views link. From there, click the Add View link to bring up the Specify Views page. Select Portfolio Analyzer from the set of radio buttons across the top, as shown in Figure D.

Figure D


From the Pivot Table Field List, drag the Cost measure into the section of the chart marked Drop Data Fields Here, as shown in Figure E.

Figure E


After you drop this measure into the chart, you’ll see a single bar chart showing the cost of every project in your portfolio. The bar chart is the default chart type. To change the chart type, click on the Chart Type toolbar button (the one on the far left of the toolbar above the chart area), and then select Pie Chart. You’ll see a solid pie representing your entire project portfolio.

Next, you’ll “slice” the pie into sections. For our example, the slices will be Strategic Business Units. Scroll down the field list window and find the Strategic Business Unit field. For your view, this may be some other field. Drop the field into the Categories section (the light-blue Drop Category Fields Here section) just to the right of the pie chart. The pie will show how the cost of your portfolio is divided among the different values of the field you dropped into the Categories section. Figure F shows this new, sliced pie chart.

Figure F


Level 03 is shown in the Category section of the chart because that is the level of the Enterprise Project Outline Code that we decided to show in this example. Your chart may have a different level displayed.

You can also see the table display of this information by scrolling up slightly to see the Pivot Table of your data. Notice that in Figure G, Level 03 is displayed.

Figure G


You’ll likely want this to show a friendlier name for the category, so you can edit the Caption property of the Category. Right-click on the Level 03 section of the Pivot Table and select Commands And Options from the menu. Click on the Captions tab of the dialog box and enter a more useful name for your slices in the Caption field. For our example, we’ll use Strategic Business Unit.

Now you have the “normal” view of this data. To add the Multichart functionality, bring up the Commands And Options dialog box for the Chart area by right-clicking anywhere on the chart area of the view. Then, from the General tab, select Chart Workspace. There you’ll find a section called Multiple Charts. Select the first of the buttons, as shown in Figure H.

Figure H


This adds a new “drop” area to the chart called Drop MultiChart Fields Here. Next, drop the Year and Quarter time dimensions from the Field List. For our example, I selected only the years 2002, 2003, and 2004. To do this, click on the Years field in the chart, and a drop-down box will appear (see Figure I). To filter out a year, just clear the check box for that year.

Figure I


Another example of how to make use of this ability to show multiple charts is shown in Figure J. It’s the same view shown in Figure C but with another field added to the Multichart drop area. This field is called Authorization and shows whether a project is proposed, under review, or active.

Figure J


The last example is a different kind of chart that could be useful as a multichart. Figure K shows a view of Work (the blue bar chart) graphed against availability for given organizational units, multicharted over time. This view has been filtered to show only the first quarter of 2003.

Figure K


As with all the features of a product, you should create some sample views to play with and work with the formatting to get the views the way you want them. Experimentation is the best way to find new and useful views of your data.
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