Deltek Cobra has the ability to define a “Master Project” that acts essentially like a container to which you can allocate multiple projects. This feature gives you the ability to report across projects, as well as perform other functions, which can be really handy. One thing I’ve noticed though, is the ability to run reports grouped by report isn’t as easy as you might assume.
When I first started playing around with this capability I assumed that if I ran a report against a Master Project, by default the project level would be something I could group on. For example if I ran a CAP across multiple projects I would want the ability to group it by project first and then control account under that, simply by picking the “Project” as a level in the report. Unfortunately that option doesn’t exist, but the good news is there is a way around that.
To add project as a reporting level you’ll need to use the codes in Deltek Cobra. The easiest way to do this is to create a code file; I called mine “Projects” (catchy, I know). Then, within this code file I added an entry for the name of the project. I started this process because I wanted to be able to run reports that compared my snap shots of projects across different months. This same technique works for other reporting goals as well.
So first you need to create the code file in Deltek Cobra and add the entries for the projects you want to include. I wanted to be able to compare snap shots of a project to each other; I maintain a copy of the project at month close in the Cobra database. For configuration control, I rename the projects to include the two-digit month and year once the month is over, it’s just a step built into the monthly process. This keeps the most current month’s filename consistent, but allows me easy access to the previous months. For example, if I were using “Ship” from the demo data I would have “Ship-0812”, “Ship-0901” and “Ship-0902”. I use the year and then the two-digit month after the project name so they sort in order easily.
Once the code file is set up and populated you’ll need to assign it to the projects in question. By the way, if you know how many months you’ll be managing the process you can prepopulate the code entries with the appropriate name, or add as you go. It’s up to you how you want the process to work.
You’ll need to assign the code file to each of the projects in question. I usually assign the code field to Code 9 at the Control Account level. This leaves the earlier code assignments available for other uses and keeps this code assignment out of the way as it were. Assigning it to the Control Account allows me the highest level in the project structure to assign the code, which keeps the entries to a minimum.
Once the code file is assigned you just need to assign the code entry to all of the control accounts in the project. The project home page is the easiest place to do this. Just add the column for the code and use the copy paste function to copy the project name to the code assignment. You’ll want to do this for all the control account in each of the projects.
Once these admin steps are taken, you can leverage the code assignments to group by the project name in your Cobra reports, that allows for sub-total selections. These reports include the TPhase report, EV Data report, CPRs, etc. – a lot of reports in other words. Simply run a report against the Master Project that includes the individual projects you want and the select the code file you used as the first level of sub-total.
So in the example above, my first level of sub-total is “Control Accounts.Projects” (or Control Account Code 9). What you want to see below that is up to you. It can be control accounts, work packages, other code files, etc.
One quick and easy report this enables is the “EV Data” report which shows the EV Metrics similar to the CPR but with the added fields like CPI, SPI, TCPIeac among others. A nice report on its own, but when I can easily run it across archived versions of projects I can start to do some quick comparison of performances, to identify things like negative actuals, movement of budget across control accounts, changes to the baseline in the past. With the custom reporting capability in Deltek Cobra you can even build an enhanced surveillance report that quickly identifies issues, but that’s for another blog post.
I hope that you’ll be able to use this capability in Deltek Cobra for some interesting things. I’d love to hear ideas on how folks have used this, somewhat hidden capability in the tool.