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Using the Relationship Diagram View

By Dale Howard, MVP, Sensei Project Solutions

Most Microsoft Project users do not know that the software contains a default view named Relationship Diagram. This view allows you to see the direct Predecessors and Successors for any selected task. For example, in the Relationship Diagram view shown in Figure 1, notice that the selected task has one direct Predecessor and three direct Successors. Notice also that you can see that the dependency relationship is Finish-to-Start (FS) with each of these tasks.

01-relationship-diagram-view

Figure 1: Relationship Diagram view

The Relationship Diagram view is not very useful as a standalone view, but it is extraordinarily useful when applied as the secondary view in a combination (split screen) view. For example, there are at least three common views where you cannot see Predecessor and Successor relationships because the view does not contain a Gantt Chart pane. These views include the Task Sheet, Task Usage, and Resource Usage views. Applying the Relationship Diagram as the secondary view in a combination view with one of these three views will allow you to see the task dependency relationships clearly and easily.

To apply the Relationship Diagram as the secondary view in a combination view, complete the following steps:

  1. Apply any view that contains tasks or task assignments, but does not include a Gantt Chart (such as the Task Sheet, Task Usage, or Resource Usage views).
  2. Click the View tab to display the View ribbon.
  3. In the Split View section of the View ribbon, select the Details checkbox.
  4. Click the Details pick list and select the More Views item, as shown in Figure 2.
02-click-the-more-views-item
Figure 2: Click the Details pick list
  1. In the More Views dialog shown in Figure 3, select the Relationship Diagram view and then click the Apply button.
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Figure 3: Select the Relationship Diagram view

Figure 4 shows a combination view with the Task Sheet view in the top pane and the Relationship Diagram in the bottom pane. Notice in the Task Sheet pane that you can see only the task ID numbers of the Predecessors for the selected task, but you cannot see the names of the Predecessor tasks, nor can you see Successor tasks. Notice that the Relationship Diagram pane shows the names and ID numbers of all of the direct Predecessors and director Successors for the selected task, along with the task dependency types for each task.

04-task-sheet-with-relationship-diagram
Figure 4: Task Sheet with Relationship Diagram view

Figure 5 shows a combination view with the Task Usage view in the top pane and the Relationship Diagram view in the bottom pane. Because the Task Usage view contains a timephased grid rather than a Gantt Chart, you cannot see task dependency relationships. However, when you include the Task Usage view in a combination view with the Relationship Diagram view, you can easily determine task dependency relationships. For example, notice in Figure 5 that the selected task in the Task Usage pane has two direct Predecessors and four director Successors, as shown in the Relationship Diagram pane.

05-task-usage-with-relationship-diagram-view
Figure 5: Task Usage with Relationship Diagram view

Figure 6 shows a combination view with the Resource Usage view in the top pane and the Relationship Diagram view in the bottom pane. Because the Resource Usage view is a resource view that also shows task assignments, you cannot see task dependency relationships for the task assignments. However, when you include the Resource Usage view in a combination view with the Relationship Diagram view, you can select any task assignment and then easily determine task dependency relationships. For example, notice in Figure 6 that the selected task assignment in the Resource Usage pane has one direct Predecessor and three director Successors, as shown in the Relationship Diagram pane.

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Figure 6: Resource Usage with Relationship Diagram view

About Dale Howard, Director of Education, Sensei Project Solutions
Dale Howard is a seasoned training professional who is approaching 30 years of technical training experience. He has taught students how to effectively use every version of Microsoft Project beginning with version 4.0 for Windows 95, and every version of the Microsoft EPM tool beginning with Project Central in the year 2000. Dale possesses the coveted Project MVP title and is one of only 64 Project MVPs in the entire world. He is the co-author of 20 books on Microsoft Project and Project Server. Dale is known for high-energy, highly interactive style of presenting and teaching. He was voted the “Best Presenter” by conference participants at the Project Conference in 2012.

About Sensei Project Solutions
Sensei Project Solutions, a Finalist for the 2015 Microsoft Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) Partner of the Year, focuses on bringing Instant Productivity to your team. Our mission is to help individuals and organizations be more productive so that they can achieve their greatest potential. As a Gold certified Microsoft Partner and Registered Education Provider (R.E.P.) with the Project Management Institute (PMI®), Sensei offers a complete set of services and products for a successful Microsoft PPM deployment. Our guiding principles for Proactive PPM follow best practices and industry standards aligned with the Project Management Institute (PMI) and Gartner, enabling organizations to manage resource demand, obtain business intelligence that facilitates better decision making, increase business effectiveness by easily connecting people, and become self-sufficient with PPM processes and solutions. In short, Sensei helps organizations achieve Instant Productivity.

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