Update: It appears that this feature isn’t new, but rather something that was in the previous version of Project but buried deep on a right click toolbar menu. So instead of a new feature, this is the perfect example of an old feature that has been surfaced due to the introduction of the ribbon.
As a project manager at a consulting company one of the jobs that I frequently had was running bids for new pieces of work. During a bid, the project team can be updating project schedules many times to reflect different options and approaches to winning the work which can become really difficult to maintain. Often I resulted to printing out different versions of schedules on A3 and manually reconciling the differences with a highlighter pen.
But not anymore, thanks to Project 2010’s Compare Projects feature, I can take two versions of a schedule and tell Project to compare the differences. The new feature hides on the Project tab, nestled in the Reports section.
When invoked, a dialog is displayed allowing you to choose which other plan you would like to compare. As you can see in the table below, you also have the choice of selecting which tables you want to compare for the Tasks and the Resources.
On clicking ok and a fair amount of processing, Project puts up a Comparison Report, consisting of the two projects being compared at the bottom, and a consolidated view at the top as can be seen below:
The consolidated view shows the differences in the columns across the two schedules being compared as well as a handy merged Gantt chart similar to a tracking Gantt that shows the schedule differences. If a task has been added or deleted, the consolidated view will also highlight this by putting a + or – next to the task.
My personal favourite is the filter component, allowing you to filter the comparison report in a number of ways to quickly and easily identify the changes you are trying to identify. Of course not all differences are at the task level, so Project also allows you to flip into a Resource Comparison view showing the differences between resource work assignments and their associated types.
Whilst I hate the pressure of running bids, I am actually looking forward to next time I have a large one come to me with lots of different versions of the schedules, I guarantee that Project 2010’s Comparison Report will be getting a workout!