062613 Rufran's Primavera Scheduling Tips & Tricks 01-13

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This article offers a solution and full understanding to the Primavera scheduling problem surrounding the use of the User's Preference Setting or UPS. Its been a recurring concern by many planner/scheduler using Primavera from Release 4 to Release 6 where the type of access is concurrent (shared database).

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  • Imagine this situation.

    One critical project review day, the construction scheduler imported an XER file from the project contractor for review. The Project Team would like to go through the schedule before finalizing the same to be the baseline. The main contractor announced to the Project Manager that they’ve already aligned their dates to the client’s expectation, that all agreed key milestones are correct as agreed to.

    During the review process, everyone noticed that the dates were wrong and way off, totally different from what were deliberated. The overall project was longer by about three months.

    Logics and other schedule attributes were checked but they were unchanged. There was no problem the day before the review. So, what was the problem?

    This is an important review exercise with several team members flying in from other locations and now, the team cannot proceed with the review.

    “Another day was wasted! I cannot believe this is happening!”-the Project Manager complained while glancing at his scheduler.

    I think all of you will agree with me that we should prevent this simple show stopper from happening.

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062613 Rufran's Primavera Scheduling Tips & Tricks 01-13

  1. 1. Primavera Scheduling Tips and Tricks 01-13 Managing “Users Preference Setting” (UPS) Here is a situation no planner/scheduler would like to happen. One critical project review day, the construction scheduler imported an XER file from the project contractor for review. The Project Team would like to go through the schedule before finalizing the same to be the baseline. The main contractor announced to the Project Manager that they’ve already aligned their dates to the client’s expectation, that all agreed key milestones are correct as agreed to. During the review process, everyone noticed that the dates were wrong and way off, totally different from what were deliberated. The overall project was longer by about three months. Logics and other schedule attributes were checked but they were unchanged. There was no problem the day before the review. So, what was the problem? This is an important review exercise with several team members flying in from other locations and now, the team cannot proceed with the review. “Another day was wasted! I cannot believe this is happening!”-the Project Manager complained while glancing at his scheduler. 2013 Rufran C. Frago, P. Eng., PMP®, CCEC, PMI-RMP® Revision 3: June 26, 2013
  2. 2. 062613-Primavera Scheduling Tips & Tricks 01-13 Page 2 of 11 6/28/2013 TABLE OF CONTENTS 1.0 SITUATION/PROBLEM........................................................................................... 3 2.0 RELATED TOOLS .................................................................................................... 3 3.0 DEFINITION ........................................................................................................... 3 4.0 PROBLEM ANALYSIS (PA)....................................................................................... 4 5.0 SOLUTIONS............................................................................................................ 4 6.0 REFERENCES.......................................................................................................... 5 7.0 ADDITIONAL READING MATERIALS ....................................................................... 5 8.0 FOOD FOR THOUGHTS.......................................................................................... 6 9.0 ILLUSTRATIONS ..................................................................................................... 7 10.0 INDEX.................................................................................................................. 11
  3. 3. 062613-Primavera Scheduling Tips & Tricks 01-13 Page 3 of 11 6/28/2013 1.0 SITUATION/PROBLEM The Lead Planner met with the construction scheduler and looked at the schedule. Together with their Boss, they’ve decided it looked fine. The next day, they flew to the site to facilitate another schedule review meeting. Another scheduler loaded the XER of the same schedule a few minutes before the participants arrived. Much to the consternation of everyone, the schedule looked different. Several schedule attributes, including durations have changed. In spite of the issue at hand, the manager and the team decided to proceed with the review process by correcting and changing logics, durations and dates. In the end, it made matter worse. The whole exercise became frustrating and time consuming. Does this sound familiar? What really happened? What should the planner, the scheduler, the manager and the review team do? 2.0 RELATED TOOLS 2.1 Project Management (Primavera 6.1 SP1). Note that Primavera 6.7 SP2 had already addressed the USP issue. 3.0 DEFINITION 3.1 The term “User” in this document is the person using the Primavera scheduling tool. He can be the planner, the scheduler, the Project Manager or anyone. 3.2 User Preference-specifies the settings the User wishes to make in Primavera which includes how to display time, date, and currency information. You can also set options to send e-mail, specify startup options, and change your password. It is a selection under the EDIT pull down menu.
  4. 4. 062613-Primavera Scheduling Tips & Tricks 01-13 Page 4 of 11 6/28/2013 4.0 PROBLEM ANALYSIS (PA) 4.1 This problem associated with the UPS a recurring concern while using Primavera Software from Release 4 to Release 6 where the type of access is concurrent (shared database). 4.2 To fully understand, let us look at Figure 1. In this simple schedule segment, the planner set the Time Unit Preference as 8/40/176/2080. For this example, note that the Current Schedule was assigned as its own baseline to keep track of any change. 4.3 The planner went to Roger, the PC Manager and showed the schedule from his workstation. Roger was updating the schedule at that time as can be seen on Figure 2. Take note that the schedule he was working on has his own Time User’s Preference Setting of 10/50/21/2600, completely different from his planner. 4.4 Roger closed his schedule and quickly opened the planner’s Primavera workstation using his log in credentials. He opened the same schedule that his planner was working on. The planner was surprised to see that the durations had changed. See Figure 3. 4.5 Relying on his first impulse, the planner changed the duration back to 100 days, only to make matter worse. He now has delayed his project. It is showing different key dates (see Figure 4). Using the baseline as benchmark, the current schedule had actually slipped. 4.6 The cycle of confusion has begun. 5.0 SOLUTIONS 5.1 Solution 1 5.1.1 Deactivate the Time User’s Preference option provided to all “Users” and default everything to the Admin Preference set to 8/40/176/2080 setting (or whatever might be agreed upon) while relying on Calendar assignment in detailing the work hours per day information. This can be done by unchecking the Time Period Admin Preferences as illustrated in Figure 5.
  5. 5. 062613-Primavera Scheduling Tips & Tricks 01-13 Page 5 of 11 6/28/2013 5.2 Solution 2 5.2.1 Be aware that the User’s Preferences Setting is tied to the User’s Log in Profile. 5.2.2 If someone else created one schedule and another opens that same schedule, the other person might not see the same information because of the User’s Preference setting. If the two UPS are different, the schedule will be viewed differently. 5.2.3 The same is true with the same person who is developing a new schedule and has set a new User’s Preference information. If he comes back to an older schedule with a different UPS, he/she will see some of his/her information change. 5.2.4 The only workaround is to make sure that the User set the User’s Preference to the intended setting of the schedule owner. 6.0 REFERENCES 6.1 Help, About Primavera, Project Management (Primavera), Release: 6.1 SP1 7.0 ADDITIONAL READING MATERIALS 7.1 Part 1: Updating and Managing the Schedule; Managing Baselines (page 49-51)- Primavera® P6™ Project Management Reference Manual, Version 6.2
  6. 6. 062613-Primavera Scheduling Tips & Tricks 01-13 Page 6 of 11 6/28/2013 8.0 FOOD FOR THOUGHTS 8.1 Primavera calculates and stores time unit values in hourly increments. When you display or enter data in time unit fields in increments other than hours, the Project Management module converts the data based on the Hours per Time Period settings. 8.2 Conversely, if the User enters time units in increments other than hours, the Hours per Time Period settings are used to convert these input values to hours for the scheduling database calculation and storage. 8.3 In order to display time unit data accurately, the User should set the Hours per Time Period values according to the activity calendar used by the organization. For example, if you are an engineer and engineers use an 8-hour activity calendar, enter 8 as the Hours/Day value. If you do not enter a value that corresponds to your role's activity calendar, activity durations may be displayed incorrectly when you view your activities in spreadsheets, reports, etc. 8.4 The setting of the User’s Preference dialogue box also affects how OPRA (previously called PertMaster) converts the time units during its import or export process.
  7. 7. 062613-Primavera Scheduling Tips & Tricks 01-13 Page 7 of 11 6/28/2013 9.0 ILLUSTRATIONS 9.1 Figure 1
  8. 8. 062613-Primavera Scheduling Tips & Tricks 01-13 Page 8 of 11 6/28/2013 9.2 Figure 2
  9. 9. 062613-Primavera Scheduling Tips & Tricks 01-13 Page 9 of 11 6/28/2013 9.3 Figure 3 9.4 Figure 4 The Duration has automatically changed from 100 days to 80 days! Warning: This can be confusing to the disciplines. The planner decided to correct his duration back to 100 days but the discrepancy got even worse as the dates (Key milestone dates) has shifted back and is now showing delays. ***Note that the current bars moved with reference to the baselines.
  10. 10. 062613-Primavera Scheduling Tips & Tricks 01-13 Page 10 of 11 6/28/2013 9.5 Figure 5
  11. 11. 062613-Primavera Scheduling Tips & Tricks 01-13 Page 11 of 11 6/28/2013 10.0 INDEX “User” 3 ADDITIONAL READING MATERIALS 5 cycle of confusion 4 DEFINITION 3 FOODS FOR THOUGHTS 6 ILLUSTATIONS 7 INDEX 11 PROBLEM ANALYSIS 4 Project Risk application 6 REFERENCES 5 RELATED TOOLS 3 SITUATION/PROBLEM 3 SOLUTION 4 Solution 1 4 Solution 2 5 time unit values 6 to display time unit data accurately 6

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