Confidentiality of Project Data When Shared in XER File Format

Clearly defined tasks and responsibilities must be given to all project participants, in order to ensure the successful completion of the project.

Even more so when a project counts a large number of participants, which makes it more demanding and difficult to manage.

When project complexity is high, the challenge to “effectively communicate” tasks tends to reflect with magnified amplitude and during my experience working as a project consultant, I have witnessed this in many different shapes and sizes. 

The companies i have collaborated with, despite their rich expertise and long years of in-house experience, still struggled to maintain effective communication between all parties involved on their ongoing projects. 

One good practice that aided nearly all of them to better deal with this challenge was resorting to different utility software tools that worked well with/in addition to their main planning software.

These tools ( list of primavera p6 companion tools ) aim to extend the main functionality industry standard planning software such as Oracle Primavera by provided support to better perform a number of daily routine tasks.

By incorporating these complementary P6 applications such as ScheduleReader for instance, companies managed to modernize project communication.

ScheduleReader is a tool that allows the user to communicate and interact with project information using the .xer file format in a more sophisticated way as an alternative to sharing project data in PDF or papper.

More About ScheduleReader

However, the change in sharing project data in rich format such as XER, XML files contributed to another particular issue which I would like to talk about more in this short article.

 Confidentiality of Project Data When Shared in the XER File Format

A project schedule exported as XER file can contain large amounts of project data intended to be shared with other parties involved in the project.

Certain data is more sensitive than others and does not necessarily need to be disclosed with all project participants. Limiting the access to this data to essential only personal on a need to know basis is often difficult to accomplish.

In specific industries, during large-scale projects, different types of contractors, subcontractors and large number of external parties are often involved, which gives this challenge an even greater importance and more complexity.

 

So what are some of the ways to successfully deal with this challenge?

Manually removing/manipulating the data and creating different version of an XER schedule for each participant of the project has in the past been a common practice.

A tiresome, time-consuming and redundant, but necessary process.

If you are a Scheduler as well, I am sure you can relate and think of 10 more productive ways to spend your valuable time.

 

Is there a way to optimize this process and more efficiently allocate our most valuable resources?

I have managed to find the answer to this question in this new project utility application named ScheduleCleaner.

A simple tool, specifically designed to address the issue of security and confidentiality of project information when data is shared in the XER file format.

 

ScheduleCleaner Overview

The tool allows schedulers to control what data is shared with project stakeholders, by allowing them to remove/anonymize specific categories of data values in an XER file.

Users can clear/erase or mask/anonymize data categories such as costs, units, rates, POBS and more, before sharing the filtered XER copies of with different project participants.

They can also create, save and re-use multiple templates which contain different modifying settings that can be applied to a single or group (Batch Clean) of XER files.

Another interesting feature the software has to offer is the possibility to convert Global Data (Activity Codes and Calendars) to Project Data.

 

How Does it Work?

With few simple steps, ScheduleCleaner produces a filtered copy of the original XER file which is ready to be shared with the different project stakeholders.

This approach ensures that the stakeholders receive only the project information needed to perform their duties, which are determined by the original owner of the project schedule.

All other data labeled confidential remains solely available to the owner of the original XER file.

 

General Use-Cases

  • Remove sensitive & confidential data from XER files and share new copies with project participants;
  • Clean received XER files from unwanted data before uploading them to a P6 database to avoid pollution;
  • Reduce file size by removing POBS data. This will help in faster file import into the database.

Benefits

  • Keep sensitive information secure when sharing project data in the XER file format;
  • Save Scheduler’s time, as the manual process can be automated and greatly simplified;
  • Third party database maintenance and investment costs are eliminated since ScheduleCleaner is the only tool you need to perform this process;
  • Main database pile-up and pollution with unwanted data in the XER files is avoided.

 

A Free Trial of the application can be requested on the following link: https://schedulecleaner.com/get-a-trial

 

Conclusion

As a more sophisticated, modern and more efficient practice, project information is increasingly shared in the XER file format.

XER project schedule files contain sensitive information that is not meant to be seen by every project participant. In other words confidentiality of project data when shared in the .xer file format raises as a new challenge.

 

What are some of the best ways to ensure data is secure and shared with the appropriate person, on a need to know basis? Did you know that now there is an app for that?

ScheduleCleaner gives project schedulers control over the project information which they share with the different internal and external project stakeholders.

The application enables users to remove/clear/erase, mask or anonymize certain categories and data values from a project schedule in the .xer file format.

Data values such as costs, units, rates, POBS and more can be removed from the .xer file with few simple steps. The application also possesses additional features, such as the ability to simultaneously “clean” multiple XER files, as well as convert Global to Project Activity Codes and Calendars.

 

# Read more of my articles on the latest software tools and project management experience/cases on the ProjectSchedulePro.com

Comments

This is really great that

This is really great that project data is confidential when shared in XER File Format. I think it is secured enough that I can use it for my service

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