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Welcom Software - Open Plan

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Hermie LaO
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I did some comparisons on P3/P3e/P3ec versus Open Plan Software and found out that it is more flexible. I am wondering why it is not as popularly used as Primavera.

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Pedrito Salamat
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Hi all,

I agree to most of you that P3 as of today is the friendliest software that most company used, although there are still some bugs to be rectified. I started working before in Artemis with propmt command , although I used to develop logics but it is quite hard to develop. I used to perform also in Open Plan , almost the same concept as P3 has but has limitation,,although I haven’y seen yet the professional version as what you have stated.

With regards, to resource leveling , it is actuallly depends on the planner how he could level his resources particularly in the construction. The activity could be driven by activity alone or by resource,,,so if I used to adopt the resource driven then I could get the proper recource leveling, however if really the network logic is activity driven having different resources therfore , you cannot able to get the excat resource levelling you have planned.
Joanne,
Thank you for your reply. Actually I know OPP resource leveling capabilities, I was interested if you use advanced leveling features like skill scheduling or using cost restrictions. As I understood from your letter resource leveling is not much used in Defense industry. I understand that being a buyer you do not need to create detailed resource schedules or have an opportunity to use as many resources as necessary.

I also want to add that using simple resource leveling heuristics suggested by Open Plan does not guarantee obtaining the best schedule.
Alternative resources may have different productivity and it is a pity that Open Plan does not simulate resource capabilities. Did you use skill scheduling in practice?

In Russian Ministry of Defense resource leveling is used more as cost and supply leveling. They manage programs where resources are contractors and traditional resource leveling does not make sense. But finances are limited and creating program schedules you should allow for budget restrictions.

I agree with you that time limited schedules are not practical.

I hope that some day you will return to the real resource management – I consider it as the most interesting part of project planning and control.

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Joanne Foster
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Hi Vlad

OPP has a number of resource levelling options, you can complete Time Limited resource levelling (which in my humble opinion is not really resource levelling) or resource limited resource levelling which is where things start getting interesting...it will basically calculate schedule dates based on your resource assignments and availability. It also has the capacity to resource level across multiple projects ie you can assign priority to a project for a specific resource ie resource reservation (provided the same resource file is used).

OPP has the ability to stretch, reprofile, split tasks, you can also select your method of resource scheduling ie Priority, Total Float etc, so it will take these into account during the resource scheduling process. It will even suggest alternative resources within a ’resource pool’ to try and meet the schedule.

Working within the defence industry I haven’t really had the opportunity to utilise resource levelling as much as when I was working in the commercial world (in the companies I worked in defence, they have used early dates and assumed unlimited resource capacity within reason. So I have lost touch a little bit with the true benefits of resource levelling in OPP, however I did use it extensively in a previous life where I only had a specific number of engineers working across multiple projects and use to baseline on schedule dates making sure that across all projects I hadn’t overloaded any particular resource.

The training course for OPP takes around a day or so to go through resource levelling techniques (if that gives you some indication of it’s ability)

Regards
Joanne
Joanne,
your posting is one of very few mentioning resource leveling. I have an impression that most planners do not use resource leveling at all. I also think that Open Plan has more resource leveling capabilities than Primavera and MS Project. You know that we use Spider Project and pay a lot of attention to proper resource management. So I am interested in your experience - which special Open Plan resource leveling capabilities do you use and consider as most interesting. Are there resource leveling capabilities that are necessary in your projects but missing in the software that you are using? Are you interested in resource constrained schedule optimization?
Best Regards,
Vladimir
Joanne Foster
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Hi All

I have been using open plan professional for just over 6 years have seen it go from v2.5 to v3.1a SP1, and was the system administrator for open plan and cobra at my previous company. I have not seen a completely stable version since v2.6, which is really disappointing, some releases have had critical bugs like not rolling up % complete. I think that Welcom are getting on top of things now, but it will probably take another year before it reaches the stability and confidence that users had with v2.6.

You will find that it is the tool of choice in the defence industry (particularly in australia), however P3 seems to be the preferred software for construction and mining.

It is a flexible tool and has some really good import/export features. It can import/export to P3 and MS Project as well as csv and txt files. The thing I really like about opp is it’s flexibility in being able to create calculated fields, user defined fields, etc. and has some excellent resource levelling capabilities.

If anyone has any specific questions - happy to answer them.

Regards
Joanne



Hermie LaO
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Hi Alan,

I think Primavera just aligned themselves closely with these "big boys" at the highest levels.
Alan Chadwick
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This may be an urban myth that goes around the planning community....it has been rumoured that Primavera are owned by the Bechtel...Hallibuton tribe.

One only has to look at the major contracts that they have ...eg. Advisors to many goverments on massive transport scheme, acting as programme management advisers etc...then the reason for the use of Primavera rather than Open Plan etc explains itself when you see it specified within contracts etc.....

or maybe this is just a conspiracy theory !!
Hermie LaO
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Philip/Alex,

I completely agree with what you guys are saying. In the construction industry I often hear the saying "If it aint broke, don’t fix it".

P3 is a great tool, this is why we made sure we can take in the P3 project directly. Same goes for Microsoft Project Data.

The way ahead, is not to replace existing systems but rather to enhance its functionality without removing existing feature sets. P3 users have made significant investments in the tools, we aim to add value to it.
Alex Wong
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Hi Philip

Thank you for your reply, I think lot of us do know that Primavera already stop developing P3 unless there is a bug in it’s programme.

Like any software, it have its life cycle of development, when the product is first release, lots of bugs and functions that is not cover. (becasue they always want to sale the product ASAP) during that period you see patches, and new version release almost every year. Then the release slow down.... and eventually the technology overlap and require a new development. Like Cobal and Pascal uses in banking system. At the end of the day they need to be phase out.

If you follow P3, it release its windows version in (89 or 91) Correct me if I am wrong, however, the database platform is kind of restricted its development cycle.

Thats when the sort of announce that no further development will be roll out in P3 series.

P3e then came to play, as expected, the first few release do have a lot of teething problem, and the latest version seem to settledown with its functionalities and performance.

Agree, software can improve over time, however, in the later stage the cost benefit of adding new feasture is not justifable.

Regards

Alex
Philip Jonker
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Hi Alex/Hermie,

I have been following your discussions both here and in the RE: LEVELS OF SCHEDULE thread. I feel that the discussion is no longer with that thread, and this one is closer to what I would like to discuss, the role of software developers.
I think the fundamental problem here is that the software developers, write completely new programs every so many years, like P3e and open plan professional, instead of doing upgrades, and selling the upgrades as maintenance packages. This was how P3 became dominant in the market place, as at the time Open Plan took to long to get out the Prof. version. Another reason is that there are no conversion utilities, like the MPX conversion tool in P3, also the old open plan had a conversion facility for primavera programs. This makes project companies hesitant to change, as most clients have been using P3, and demands the same from contractors. All products should have their own unique features, but there should be conversion facilities, as this will allow buyers of new software more freedom of choice. It will also make certain software developers take more notice of their customers needs. In this way, users can have more say in the marketplace.
I have in the past worked with surveying software (DTM), where the developers were only to happy to build in new functions/features, I and other users needed, as it helped them to sell their package to new buyers. Such upgrades would be provided as part of a maintenance contract.
I have not seen much development in P3 over the last 5 years and more, yet it remains the most used planning package, in projects. Show me an instance where any other types of software has lasted that long while remaining the same. Can somebody explain this? I think there must be some way that this can be improved.
I have stated previosly, that I have used both the packages, and have no problems, however, there is always room for improvement, which there is quite a few I can mention in the case most packages.

Regards

Philip
Hermie,
it is very interesting to learn and to discuss the parameters that are used for your comparison.
Regards,
Vladimir
Alex Wong
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Hermie

Since you are from Welcom Software, we would like to know the advantages and disadvantages between Open Plan and P3 and P3e.

Thanks in advance

Alex
Philip Jonker
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Hi Guys,

I have some experience with Open Plan, it is similar to P3.
The previous Dos version, V4, was the industry standard for quite a while, and was an excellent package. The database files cuold be easily accessed and this facilitated the input of information, and well as mass editing. However, with the advent of windows, Welcom came out with a windows version similar to V4. At the same time they were developing Open Plan Professional, which had a lot of bugs and teething problems, and it was during this period that P3 began to become dominant. The last time I used OP was about 4-5 years ago, and found it much better than the orinal version. I have not followed the development in the past few years much, and would be interested if any OP users out there can tell us a bit more. I think there could be a place for an OP forum.

Regards,

Philip
Bernard Ertl
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I’ve moved this discussion to the Project Management Issues forum.

Hermie, my understanding is that Open Plan is used a lot in the Aerospace industry. I’m not sure how many members the PP has from that industry sector. The PP seems dominated by folks in the AEC & petrochem space.

Bernard Ertl
eTaskMaker Project Planning Software
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Hello PPers,

There are currently 3,175 PPers who state that they have "average", or "greater" knowledge of Open Plan.

As ever, if it is shown that we have sufficient votes to create a separate forum, we would be pleased to create one.

Keep on Planning !
Dayanidhi Dhandapany
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Hello Hermie,

Could you please highlight the advantages of Open Plan here in this forum? as compared with other softwares as you have mentioned?. But this discussion should come under in some other forum heading i suppose.

Cheers!!!


Daya
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Hermie,

If you have anything which you think we could publish on the PP site, we would be happy to explore this for you.

PP Admin.
Joanne Foster
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I have not had to utilise the ’skill’ as we generally structure our resource files on skills.

Just to clarify...it’s not that defence don’t attempt to resource levelling...they do very basic levelling but do not necessarily constrain the resource availability/limits...they basically assumes that they have unlimited resources (within reason) in that if they currently have 20 software engineers...but the project requires 30 they will recruit the extra 10 either through contract or permanent positions. They do resource levelling in so far as, if the project resource profile goes up and down like a yoyo they try and smooth the profile.

Also because of the strict EV rules which defence obide by it makes resource levelling to the person more complex and in most instance in-practical, to add further complexity the financial systems do not usually support collecting actuals at the skills level, but rather by salary banding.

J