Emerald Tools - Primavera Add-Ons

New releases, case studies and more From Our Development Team And Consultants

19 June 2019

P6 Scrubber - Keep Your P6 Clean!

Written by Sue Hopkins - Implementation Specialist

Are you importing schedules into scrubbing databases, taking out all the unwanted data you don't want to pollute your production database, re-exporting the schedule and then importing it into the database where it should have gone in the first place? Do you have required specifications your contractors need to follow for their schedules, but have a hard time knowing whether those details are missing or incorrect until you've already imported them? Do you want to ensure you are not importing POBS tables and corrupted RISKTYPE tables? That's a lot of quality assurance to do! Maintaining your corporate data standards for dashboarding and reporting can be a full time job, especially when project teams have their own coding structures and requirements for their P6 Environment. Don't worry; there's relief. Emerald has developed a new tool that will do all that work for you! We are now introducing the* P6-Scrubber.* The P6-Scrubber is a configurable tool that resides outside your P6 environment, so you can run your XER and/or XML files through it to vet them for your specific criteria prior to importing it to your P6 database. You can decide whether you want to keep or remove data at the global, project, and activity levels. We provide a clean import file once the P6-Scrubber is finished, as well as a convenient report of the data that was analyzed. You can give feedback to your contractors about their schedules in minutes before you import their file into P6. Once the scrubbed file is imported to P6, the P6-Scrubber also flags projects and activities with the results it has found. We also put the results report in a notebook, so you can see the analysis P6-Scrubber did without opening a separate report. Using the new P6-Scrubber tool will save your team loads of time and help keep your P6 environment clean!

04 December 2018

Tracking Mandatory Codes via P6-QA

Written by Mary Lynn Backstrom, PMP, PMI-SP, PMI-BA – Implementation Specialist

These reports require specific activity code assignments, and sometimes those are missing! Assigning these this is time consuming and frustrating. But don't worry, help is available... With the P6-QA tool!

One of the numerous features available in the P6-QA tool is quickly checking a specific set of mandatory activity codes in P6 Schedules, producing quick results to know which files as well as activities in the files are missing the mandatory activity code assignments. Mandatory activity codes in the P6-QA Tool can now be set at the global or project level. In previous versions of the P6-QA Tool the Mandatory Codes check could only be used on Global Activity Codes. Quickly ensuring the mandatory codes are assigned helps ensure reports issued are correct.

Thinking this is difficult to set up/use? No catch, the process is easy.

 

First Step: Login to P6.

Set up the required codes as Mandatory codes in the P6-QA Tool. Sound difficult? Not at all! The activity codes that are assigned as Mandatory simply need (*) added to the end of each activity code.

Let’s have a look at a small example.

We have one Global Activity Code set up as Mandatory (above).

We have two Project Level Mandatory Codes set up (above).

We have assigned some of the Mandatory Codes to some activities above. We need to run the P6-QA tool.

Above is the project file this example is using – the QA-P6-QA Last Run Date has been cleared to run the P6-QA Tool. Note the QA-CL – No Mandatory Code and the QA-CL- No Mandatory Global Code columns. These will be populated to indicate at the project level the status of the two checks. Our example is running just one project file – you can set up a QA – Frequency (see column above) for the P6-QA Tool to run on each file or manually run single or specific groups of P6 project files.

Above the specific tolerance fields have been included, which can be set for these two checks. You control the specific conditions flagged in the P6-QA Tool and at which level.

The layout above is grouping by activity type, showing the activity codes and their assignments from the P6-QA Tool check.

The user can filter/group and sort on the mandatory activity code values right in the activities tab to produce a quick layout that directs them to the issues to facilitate quick correction. Use your specific project codes to create a layout that works for your business. Don’t forget – save your layout/reuse. This is a simple example of 3 mandatory codes - set up the codes you require as mandatory - a few or many more.

27 November 2018

P6 Tools – Part of Your Company Digital Transformation?

Written by Mary Lynn Backstrom, PMP, PMI-SP, PMI-BA – Implementation Specialist

Hearing a lot about ‘digital transformation’ lately? Digital transformation can be defined as the acceleration of business activities, processes, competencies and models to fully leverage the changes and opportunities of digital technologies and their impact in a strategic and prioritized way.

What elements are included in your Digital Transformation plan? Can your team afford to ignore new technological advancements? Planning a strategic and prioritized path forward to fully leverage changes and opportunities in digital technology can have a very positive return on investment. The Digital Transformation for a company varies from company to company and can be a large project encompassing many different elements depending on said company and its current state.

Here's an example of leveraging changes and opportunities new technologies can provide. Say your team uses Primavera P6 for Project Management, yet doesn't use P6-Loader, P6-QA Tool, CAPPS or TAPS (barcode updating), and P6-Calculator for any efficiency gains, are you getting the best out of the tool. In many surveys conducted over the years by Oracle and Primavera, P6 is highly underutilized with 100% of clients using P6 for scheduling, 60-70% for resource management and only 30-40% for cost management and earned value analysis.

Emerald Associates specifically designed our productivity tools to address pain points users commonly encounter when using P6 so you can do better managing your projects and get more out of the project team;

P6-Loader:

The P6-Loader automates manual data entry through the secure import and export of most data elements between Primavera P6 and Microsoft Excel.

The P6-Loader allows for the controlled extract and upload of data at the global and project level and eases the challenge of manipulating your project data by leveraging the spreadsheet functionality of Excel.

The P6-Loader goes above and beyond the built-in import and export functionality in Primavera P6. It has also become a desired replacement for the outdated Primavera SDK (Software Development Kit). Now, with version 4 being cloud enabled, it is quickly becoming a desired tool to help with migrating to the cloud efficiently. With close to 1 Billion of transactions pushed through the system, it is making teams worldwide more productive.

P6-QA:

Emerald’s P6-QA tool removes the burden of manual schedule and business process analysis by automatically identifying deficiencies in Primavera P6 schedules based on scheduling best practices, industry standards, and user introduced business process requirements.

The P6-QA tool is unlike other third party Primavera schedule validation tool because it seamlessly integrates directly into Primavera P6 itself, allowing for the improvement of project management skills and scheduling quality in real-time. The P6-QA tool can be run at a preset interval such as weekly or monthly, or on an as-needed frequency to maximize your P6 schedulers’ ability to self-critique and ensure effective quality control.

When your resident engineering team is your frontline reviewers, this tool makes their role much easier and more efficient saving you a lot of time getting your contractors schedules reviewed, critiqued and hopefully approved so you know if the project is still on track without an expensive team doing a lot of analysis. When you are reviewing schedules every few weeks on a project this is significant in time savings as well as the time freed up to address any issues on the project.

CAPPS:

CAPPS is our tool that lets the remote users and likely non P6-Experts to get the project updates into P6 from wherever they are and whenever they have a moment. This means waiting for updates once a month is a thing of the past. Taking 2 weeks every month to get your portfolio updated is a thing of the past. Real-time statusing is doable with variances and deviations able to be highlighting and interjected into the schedule as they are happening making your forecasting, change management and claims avoidance mush more effective.

TAPS:

TAPS, or the Turnaround Progressing System, uses barcode scanning technology to eliminate the need for lengthy manual data entry when updating your Oracle Primavera P6 schedules. Simply use a barcode scanner to find, start, update or cancel any activity within the schedule in two quick scans.


With TAPS, status updates can be done 75% faster while increasing your team's accuracy, since there's no chance of manual data entry errors. The first scan finds the task and the second scan starts, finishes, and statuses the task with any of the percent complete types available in Primavera P6.

The progressing flexibility along with the ability to calculate and report Earned Value at the resource assignment level makes TAPS a strategic enhancement for all Primavera P6 users.

P6-Calculator:

The P6-Calculator performs calculations that are traditionally unavailable in Primavera P6.

P6-Calculator automatically performs calculations on data in P6 to present information to users that would otherwise be difficult for them to see, improving visibility and digestibility of complex P6 data and enabling better decision making.

All of the above tools are available on the Oracle Cloud Marketplace.

This is just one small example of an opportunity to leverage the changes and opportunities of digital technologies and claim the positive rewards of their impact. Help your team work smarter, not harder by empowering your team with the best tools!

27 March 2017

Saying Goodbye to Expedition 8.5 and Hello to Unifier - Part 2

Written by Ian Nicholson, P.Eng. - VP Solutions, Ravi Wallau - Integration Specialist

A Case Study From A Technical Perspective

Alberta’s Capital Health was a big user of Expedition from the 1990’s through to 2010. They had hundreds of projects that were sitting on a Sybase SQL-Anywhere server that needed to be retired but they needed to have easy access to the documents related to these health care projects.

 

Emerald solved their problem using the PCM-Archiver. This PCM add-on tool automates the extraction process of all projects and documents, and in this case, ultimately saved the client approximately 140 hours of computing work. For a more in-depth understanding of this project and its results please refer to Part 1 of Saying Goodbye to Expedition 8.5 and Hello to Unifier. In Part 2 we are going to explore a more technical perspective including some of the bumps we experienced along the way of extracting 1,213,318 documents, generating 1,123,318 Excel files, generating links for 39,384 attachments and generating 91,236 PDF files!

27 February 2017

Save 5 Minutes Every Time You Cancel an Activity in Primavera P6

Written by Sue Hopkins - Implementation Specialist

Whenever we have a client that is interested in TAPS, we always get the question about how an activity is updated to reflect that it has been cancelled. So, how does TAPS cancel activities?

 

Cancelled work is work that you have decided not to perform. Typically the turnaround (TA) team doesn’t want to delete the activity because that would change the baseline hours. On the other hand, they also don’t want to progress the activity which would earn hours.

13 February 2017

The Fastest Way to Cancel Activities in Primavera P6

Written by Mary Lynn Backstrom, PMP, PMI-SP, PMI-BA – Implementation Specialist

Automate the Process of Updating Cancelled Activities in Primavera P6 with our Barcode Updating Technology

When planning a turnaround project you want to make sure you include all the tasks that will happen and even those that might happen. This is a great strategy in the planning phase because during the actual turnaround, you don't have time to add all of the “potential” activities that become necessary.

 

Now the dilemma becomes, how to cancel the tasks that your team doesn't need after all.

 

You could process the updates for cancelled activities using manual data entry, dealing with logic, manhours, and baselines, but if you handle a lot of these it becomes time consuming, tedious and frustrating. Lets face it, during a Turnaround that is just not a good idea. You might think that dissolving is good enough, but is it?

 

02 February 2017

IT Program Management with Primavera P6

Written by Nicole Jardin, P.Eng. - CEO

An Example of P6 Mentoring, Coaching and Working Sessions

Primavera P6 Coaching

 

We have been working with a client using Primavera P6 for a large multi-year, multi-sprint IT project to revamp their customer loyalty program and overall customer experience. The team has been using P6-EPPM and have been aggressively putting together schedules for each key component of the program from infrastructure, to ERP, to integration testing and deployment.

 

This team is in large part new to P6, and they have been fighting to produce an overall program plan that has a continuous critical path so they can answer the usual question “when are we going to be done?”.

 

16 January 2017

Getting Roles Onto Your Master Primavera P6 Plan - First you Have to Find Them

Written by Mary Lynn Backstrom, PMP, PMI-SP, PMI-BA – Implementation Specialist

Do you find it tedious and time consuming to locate the resource assignments with missing roles?

binoculars

When you are building up your schedule it is easy to miss assigning roles to resources, especially if you did not use roles at first and are introducing them after the fact. Another common scenario is when you are importing contractors' P6 schedules and are merging them into your turnaround plan or a large capital program where you are reporting both on resources as well as roles for trades and discipline rollups.

 

16 December 2016

P6 Activity IDs - Wow That is Some Interesting Numbering

Written by Mary Lynn Backstrom, PMP, PMI-SP, PMI-BA – Implementation Specialist

Struggling With P6 Activity ID Consistency - or Should we say Lack Thereof?

A very common pain point when trying to align project schedules to company or project SOPs (standard operating procedures) is ensuring activity id breakdowns are consistent (as outlined in your company schedule business processes). This can be a real nightmare especially if you are working with multiple contractors and engineering firms all with different structures and standards.

13 December 2016

Primavera P6 - Getting Your New Schedulers Up-to-speed With Less Frustration

Written by Mary Lynn Backstrom, PMP, PMI-SP, PMI-BA – Implementation Specialist

Give Your New Schedulers A Head Start with the P6-QA Tool

head start

 

Let’s help our new schedulers get up and running faster then ever before.

 

I love training up new schedulers. I've been a scheduling lead for years and always get a kick out of teaching new users best practices that I have learned the hard way.

 

30 November 2016

TAPS - Resource Earned Value - Saved Me More Than Once

Written by Masoud Forouzi - Implementation Specialist

On a previous assignment I worked on a 6 week turnaround project with 500,000 man-hours. After each shift update we needed to get Earned Value reports to management. It was hard enough completing updates within a 2 hour time period along with getting the next shift's reports out, but having to do full earned value was even harder.

 

28 November 2016

Out of Sequence Activities In Your P6 Schedule During a Turnaround?

Written by Masoud Forouzi - Implementation Specialist

The unexpected happens during a Turnaround project - Let TAPS help

turnaround

“No battle plan survives contact with the enemy” - Helmuth von Moltke

 

When you are a scheduler on a Turnaround project you cannot expect everything to go as planned. Often at the end of your shift, when entering progress, you’ll find out something unexpected has happened in the schedule. For example, activities have been marked as completed while their predecessors are not yet started. There are different reasons for this:

 

  • Was progress of the predecessor(s) missed?
  • Were the progressed activities reported incorrectly?
  • Has something changed in the activity’s logic?

24 November 2016

Restoring Deleted P6 Data - Never Happens Right?

Written by Ravi Wallau - Integration Specialist

A solution for common cases of accidental data deletion in Primavera P6

upset at computer 800

 

Accidental deletion of important data is something that happens. Everyone has done it at some point.

In P6 EPPM, some of the most common cases of accidental data deletion are:

  • Deletion of the wrong resource

  • Deletion of the wrong project 

  • Deletion of the wrong WBS node or nodes

 

18 November 2016

The P6-Auditor is Like a Flight Data Recorder for Primavera P6

Written by Ian Nicholson, P.Eng. - VP Solutions

What the P6-Auditor and a Flight "Black Box" Have in Common

plane 800

 

I love watching the TV show Mayday – the forensic work that goes into understanding how and why a plane crashes is fascinating to me. Key in any investigation of what went wrong is recovery of the flight data recorder. This “Black Box” records virtually everything that happens in the control system of the aircraft and enables investigators to understand exactly what went wrong. 

 

We implemented our P6-Auditor for one of our clients a couple of years ago, and a few days after go-live we got a call from the help desk that users across the organization were reporting that all of their activity code assignments for a particular Global Code had disappeared. 

 

10 November 2016

Primavera P6 Activity Codes – Why you NEED them

“Tagging and Bagging” - One of the Best Tips I can Share After Working With Primavera for 27 Years

In doing consulting with an IT PMO client the other day I was faced with this comment:

 

“The last P6 consultant we had told us not to use activity coding because it is an administrative headache!”

 

Now I have to say, after 27 years of doing P3 and P6 consulting, this demonstates one of the most unpleasant parts of the role of “Expert”. How do you politely explain to your client that they paid good money for bad advice? And how can I know exactly what was said and in what context for the client to come to that conclusion? However, in this particular case, when in comes to activity coding in P6, it is clear cut no-brainer – THEY GOT TERRIBLE ADVICE.

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