Watch this brief video showing some of the key features of the 4castplus Schedule Integration AppLink with Microsoft Project

 

Video Text

In this video I’m going to give you a brief introduction to the 4castplus LiveLink with Microsoft Project. This tool provides the ability to synchronize WBS, schedule, budget, actual cost and progress data in real-time between MS Project and 4castplus.

The first thing I’m going to do is show you my MS Project file I’ll be synchronizing with 4castplus. As you can see, it’s a simple WBS and schedule with a collection of tasks and rollups. I’ll close that for the moment, and go into 4castplus where I’ll create a new project to sync with this one.

I’ll click into this folder on my project tree and select new project.

I’ll call it Willow Lake Expansion like my MS Project file. And I’ll fill in some basic information about the project.  I’ll click on save & close.

Now I have a new project – and when I click on the WBS tab, there is an empty work breakdown structure. So what I’ll do now, is synchronize this 4castplus project with that MS Project file by using the 4castplus AppLink. You can download and install the AppLink from this menu here. I’ve already installed it, so I can simply launch it from my start menu.

When I launch this, Windows will ask permission to run the application. This is a standard Windows security policy; and occurs because the 4castplus AppLink is designed to make changes to an external file. In other words, it will directly modify MS Project, and windows is asking my permission for that.

I’ll click on yes, and the app will launch. I can select which 4castplus environment I want to connect to – this gives you the option to work in your Production or Training account.  I also have a third environment which is our own sandbox testing area. So, I’ll login to that as the same user I’ve logged in as in 4castplus.  It’s key to be the same user as it makes sure that I’m using the same project and system permissions.

Now looking at my AppLink window, there are really only two things I can do in here: Attach and Synchronize. As you can see in this list, there are already a couple of projects that I’ve attached to. I’m going to now add a third. To do that, I’m going to click on Attach. This first pops up a list of available 4castplus projects to attach to.  I’ll click on my Willow Lake project and click Ok.

So now that I’ve selected the 4castplus project, I now have to select the MS Project file to attach that project to. It’s brought me to my Willow Lake project, so I’ll select that one and hit okay.

As you can see now, it’s automatically launched the MS Project file and it’s reading in all the information about that file it needs to perform the attach.

Ok, so now that I have the file attached, I’ll go back into 4castplus. I’ll click on the refresh button on my WBS and you can see nothing’s happened yet. That’s because I haven’t synchronized. So I’ll go back to the AppLink and click on Synchronize.  The initial sync is essentially an import of the MS Project data into 4castplus.

Now that it’s finished the sync, I’ll go back to 4castplus and hit refresh again. You can see I now have a fully sync’d WBS and schedule.

You can also see that my AppLink window has updated with the view of the WBS in 4castplus.

So now that things are synchronized, I can go ahead and make changes to my MS Project schedule and re-sync to see the updates in 4castplus.

I’ll first change the end date on this Architectural Drawing task. The Pile Schedule task has that as a predecessor, so I can ask it to auto-update to respect the change in dates.

I’ll also change the name of the Cable Conduit task … to prepend it with “Primary”.

I’ll also add a new task by first copying & pasting Tank Farm …  and renaming the new task to add Part II.

I’ll click on save and now I’ll go back to the AppLink and click on Synchronize.

When that’s finished the sync, i can go back into 4castplus to see the updates.

Before I click refresh, let’s review what’s changed. These two schedule dates will change, this task name will change, and a new task will be added here. So I’ll click refresh and you can see that it’s all been synchronized appropriately.

So for my next example, i’ve created a simple budget in 4castplus which I’ll baseline now by clicking the baseline button.

Now that I have that, I’ll go synchronize again to see those updates show up in MS Project.  I’ll keep project in view in the background so you can see the numbers show up live.

So now you can see I have my budget appearing in Project – it’s also appearing in the AppLink window as well.

For my last example, I’ve entered some timesheet information in 4castplus so that you can see incurred cost data show up in MS Project.  Here on my timesheet, I’ve put in three 8-hour days. Looking back at my project now, you can see that that’s generated actual costs on the project.

Now before I synchronize that back to MS Project, I’m also going to change another schedule date to show you what happens after baseline. I’ll change the end date of this Concrete Drawings package.  … Now I’ll click save.

And now I’ll go back to the AppLink and click on Synchronize.

Looking at MS Project, you can see the actual costs and hours have updated. …

I’ll click back into 4castplus now and refresh the WBS again – and you can see the schedule change here.  To show you which schedule changed, I’ll open up this workpackage. Since this project has been baselined, the baseline schedule has been locked. The change that occurred in the synchronize only happened on the Current Schedule.