Primavera P6

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!

19 June 2019

ZOHO-P6 Integration

Written by Nicole Jardin, P.Eng. - CEO

When a new client request comes in, you can create a project from ZOHO CRM. For us projects come in several categories and we have task list templates ready to be used to create tasks to charge to. Typically the first task list is Business Development. We kick off with that and assign the team working on the initiative. We can then send the project, the task list, the tasks and the resources into P6. We can do that in one step or two depending on the task list development. In this case we have a good idea of the scope of work and were able to put it together with 2 task lists. So we can integrate bot the project and the WBS/tasks and resources right away. So we use a really simple user interface tight in ZOHO projects to kick this off into P6. We tell the integration to send both the project and WBS over. Once that is done, we can go into P6 and start actionining the work. We also get a message letting us know if there were any issues with the intgration, such as a duplicate project exisiting. If all is good, you should get a PASS message both for the project and for the WBS.

19 June 2019

Are You Importing Unwanted RISK TYPES?

Written by Sue Hopkins - Implementation Specialist

Remember our good old friend the POBS Table? Well, we have a new friend in town that is introducing itself to our database in the form of the RISKTYPE table. We have discovered numerous clients are importing XER files to their database that include a large number of Risk Categories, sometimes tens of thousands of them. No one knows where they originated, but they are multiplying and wreaking havoc. The problem comes when an export file is created with unwanted Risk Types and imported into another database, creating more values in the destination database. The destination database then could share their large number of Risk Types to another database. Each time, the RISKTYPE table is passed along, it grows, spreading and infecting more and more databases. But is this really a big deal? Yes, it is! There are typically two issues with the Risk Categories: 1. 1. The table contains circular references which cause P6 to crash 2. Gibberish characters appear in huge numbers of Risk Categories and the client has no idea where they came from. The cause of the circular reference, according to the Primavera Knowledge base, occurs when a parent risk_type_id in the RISKTYPE table references a parent_risk_type_id of child Risk_type_id causing a circular reference to itself. When Risk Categories are created each risk category can have an associated child risk (parent/child hierarchy) For Example: In the database, in the RISKTYPE table, each record has a risk_type_id and parent_risk_type_id where the risk_type_id is a primary key and the parent_risk_type_id is the risk_type_id of the immediate parent. If the parent risk_type_id references a parent_risk_type_id of it's child risk_type_id then this will cause a circular reference to itself and an error will result. The second issue is caused by an invalid special character (boxes, diamonds and other non-standard characters in the expected language) in the RISKTYPE table. This was the case with our client, who had unknowingly imported many of these characters into their database. This error is a lot like the POBS issue from a few years ago - an XER may contain tens of thousands of these records. This slows import performance and spreads the gibberish characters to everyone who imports the XER. Oracle has acknowledged that corrupt data can be imported from XER files received from external sources, and over time, this corrupt data can cause performance issues with both export and import of XER files. The creation of a RISKTYPE removal utility is being considered for a future release. In the meantime, there are several workarounds available for the problem. 1. Delete the invalid data from both the source and destination databases. Re-export the XER file from the now clean database and use the updated XER to import into the destination database. Many clients call this “scrubbing an XER”. 2. Request an XML file and skip the risk categories during the import. Note that the XML files are much larger than the equivalent XER files and take much longer to import, so if you are transferring data on a regular basis, XML is probably not a realistic option. 3. Remove the RISKTYPE data from the XER file with a text editor and resave. This is time consuming when there are thousands of records. Also, the risk to doing this is information other than the RISKTYPE could be inadvertently removed, thus corrupting the XER, in which case, Oracle will not provide support. Our recommendation is DO NOT DO THIS. All of these workarounds involve either time or risk and may not be practical. Emerald has created a better solution in the form of a utility called the *XER Cleaner* that will easily and safely remove the RISKTYPE data from the XER, as well as the POBS records. The XER Cleaner is very easy to use. Simply launch the XER cleaner, browse to the XER you want to clean and click Run. The XER will be scrubbed of all POBS and RISKTYPE records and the clean file is saved in the same directory with the original file name appended with “-clean”. We have removed over 80,000 RISKTYPE records from an XER file in some cases. The best part about this utility is that it is free to our clients and the whole P6 community. No warranty is expressed or implied. Contact us for your free copy. If you like this tool, check out our otherP6 add ons. (https://www.emerald-associates.com/software/emerald-tools.html)

14 August 2018

Are You Tracking Ideas? Are Approved Ideas Easily Translated into Project Proposals?

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

Ideas in Oracle Prime:

Use Oracle Prime to create ideas: capture, evaluate, and process the ideas for new initiatives and business endeavors.

Ideas are processed using a submission and approval workflow. Prime Projects provides a default workflow for processing ideas, or you can create a customized workflow. First the idea creator creates an idea and specifies the idea's business case. When an idea contains sufficient information, the creator can submit the idea for further processing by routers and owners.

 

02 August 2018

Oracle Prime Lean Scheduling

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

What is the Tasks App in Oracle Prime about?

 

With the Lean Scheduling functionality in Oracle Prime you have access to the Planning Board (below). This enables the user to create customized views for their information in the Work Plan screen in the Tasks App.

09 May 2018

P6-QA and the Project Scheduler

Written by Sue Hopkins - Implementation Specialist

Manually wading through a schedule and looking for errors is time consuming and prone to human error. Not only that, it's boring. No one wants to do it, but you need to check your schedule for errors!

Even worse then working through your own schedule for errors, is slogging through a contractor's. When you don't know how they have built the schedule, it can take days to make sure things hold together. Some of our clients have several layouts, reports and even special access databases and outside tools to do this which is very time consuming, error prone and boring.

02 May 2018

Finding Setting Up or Changing Resource Availability in P6 a Struggle?

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

We have all experienced at one point or another how tedious (and time consuming) setting or changing resource availability can be in the P6 resource dictionary. Particularly for an example like the one we will walk through where you are setting up or adjusting turnaround resources and the weekend rule happens to be ½ crews.

 

The P6-Loader can ease the pain of these types of tasks.

24 April 2018

Global Calendars – Exactly Which Projects Are Using Each Calendar?

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

In P6, identifying each specific project using each of the Global Calendars in a concise, fast, easy to use manner is challenging. Some may think this is not necessary very often, but in my experience, it has been quite the opposite!

Is this functionality already handled in Primavera P6, Client or Web? A very good question - let’s have a look.

01 March 2018

Do You Need EV Calculated at the Resource Level?

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

You are correct; out-of-the-box P6 does not calculate Earned Value (EV) at the resource assignment level. It only runs EV at the activity level which is fine for a start, but what to do when you need to ‘dig deeper’ and analyze crew performance? You can't use Global Change to calculate the resource assignment EV because the activity percent complete isn't available in the Global Change list of fields.

A very simple option is to use TAPS to input your schedule updates. TAPS is barcode updating (with additional functionality). By using TAPS, updates are faster and more accurate giving you (and your team) more time for schedule analysis. Yes, TAPS runs EV calculations at the resource level.

14 February 2018

P6-Loader v5 Usage Sheets Revolutionize P6 Database Maintenance

Written by Nicole Jardin, P.Eng. - CEO

When you have a large number of users in your P6 database, it is surprising how quickly that database can get “clogged up” with a lot of unwanted data. This happens even when using Sandbox databases, restricting privileges and every other trick you have thought of; long time P6 users know what I am talking about.

10 January 2018

P6-Loader - Easy Moving of Pre-Turnaround Work to the Turnaround Window

Written by Sue Hopkins - Implementation Specialist

On every Turnaround there are Pre-Turnaround activities that do not get done prior to the actual Turnaround and need to be moved into the Turnaround phase of the schedule.

The challenge is how to record actual hours earned in the PRE phase vs the TA phase, since a large number of these activities already have earned hours associated with them. Simply moving the activities would decrease the reporting of hours in PRE and create earned hours in TA for work that was actually done in PRE.

This can be done simply and quickly with P6-Loader.

28 September 2017

A Guide to P6 Archiving - Part 2

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

Archiving P6 Project Data and the Question of Location

This is part 2 of a series of blogs discussing best practices of P6 archiving. In Part 1 we discussed the question of time:

  • How long should you keep a P6 project file?
  • How do you track the date to archive your P6 project?


Now we will discuss the question of location.

 

archive project data

12 September 2017

A Guide to P6 Archiving - Part 1

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

Archiving P6 Project Data and the Question of Time

We get asked on a regular basis what the best way to archive P6 data is.

  1. How long should a project file be kept?
  2. What should be done with the project files when that time period has expired?
  3. Where should they be kept?
  4. How can we retrieve if we need them, especially with upgrades?


In this blog series, we’ll look at some of the options available to a P6 user and discuss the question of time.

 

Archiving P6 Project Data and the Question of Time

 

16 August 2017

How to Publish P6 Project Data - Now That You Have To

Written by Sue Hopkins - Implementation Specialist

In Primavera P6 16.x and Beyond You Need to Publish Your Project Data for Resource Analysis and a Whole Lot More

When working with resources in Primavera P6 Web version 16.x on, there is a new twist: the need to publish data. If you are trying to analyze resources and the following message displays, it's time to publish.

 

P6 Warning - Resources Don't Have Published Data

 

10 August 2017

This Job Site Really Needs Help!

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

Addressing Primavera System and Connectivity Issues

Over the last few years I have worked with many clients on turnaround projects in remote trailers on job sites that didn't have great connectivity. Now I am no techy, so I cannot pinpoint what causes the problem, but I know there is a problem when the coffee maker is the busiest place in the trailer. Now I am talking trailer coffee here folks, that stuff is gut rot at the best of times. If the planning team is hanging around, it is because they have been kicked out of Primavera P6 again!

 

Primavera P6 Connectivity

 

In the current economy the mere suggestion of financial spends to address system issues are something that will elicit gasps, face palms and shocked facial expressions, let alone a few choice words. But during one of these “extended coffee breaks” I did some number crunching out of curiosity on what the downtime costs really were.

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