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P3 versus P6 What are your views?

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Ray Notley
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Having used both P3 and P6 I personally find P6 cumbersome and rather too difficult to use. I much prefer P3 which I have used to great effect over the years.
P6 does not come with pre-printed manuals as did P3 and Suretrack.Users are having to go to third parties to buy a manual.

What are your views (mine are based on over 30 years of experience(age 64).I would be glad to hear what other Planning Engineers think.

Replies

Ayman Eleish
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Dear All,

That was really benefited discussion,I suggest if any one can forward the same to the Primavera company so as to make the required modifications to P6.

Regards,

Mike Testro
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Hi All

Lets just summarise the debate:

P3 v P6 - they are both rubbish but some aspects are more rubbish than others.

Best regards

Mike Testro

Jose Frade
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Funny how after so much time after the post and the issuing of P6 this subject still being ducussed and commented.

It clearly indicates Primavera has completely delivered a tool not suitable for most of the planners work. The same way it also indicates that the new tool (P6 - now in rev. 8.2 already) is directed to a different target (company wise, managers, etc).

Contributing to the actual status we can find:

1.P6 not incorporating (even today) tools for planner every day work - which existed in P3.1

2.Difficult for the most busy planners to find the necessary time to know P6 in deep.

3.The fact that P6 makes simple things requried for planners routine work impossible to get while it incorporates nice complex stuff for which normaly you and your company (in the context of the conpany reality and project) do not care.

 

Summarizing: I still use P3 if I have the choice (I do not realy like to have to export data to excel just to see a S curve of a certain area, phase, system or lead engineer, among other common day work activities.

 

I use however P6 when interacting with other companies and planners hoping Primavera one of these days will incorporate in one release all the nice functions left in P3... (decreasing the focus on comercial and make the target on what is requried for the planners).

 

BR

 

JMFrade

Ayman Eleish
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Hi All,

One of the most imprtant layout for the planners to submit is to show the overall/summarized current percent complete versus the planned one.In P6 you can not do the same for base line,and you can not add enlarging picture on layout as well on contrary to P3.In addition to non existing of key board short cuts and unabilability to customize the Y axis in resource profile.

But on the orther hand,you can find a lot of facilities in P6.

I think P6 should be little bit modified.

Regards,

Mohd Shahimi Yang...
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I have to agreed to most of the comments here. This is the problems when programmer trying to be a planner. They just didn't understand the needs of planner or most of time overkill the programme.

This goes to P6 as well. Too complex and too many unrelated columns/calculations and in the end, most of current planner will just do all the updating/s-curve etc in Excel.

Rgds

Mohd Shahimi Yang...
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I have to agreed to most of the comments here. This is the problems when programmer trying to be a planner. They just didn't understand the needs of planner or most of time overkill the programme.

This goes to P6 as well. Too complex and too many unrelated columns/calculations and in the end, most of current planner will just do all the updating/s-curve etc in Excel.

Rgds

Erdem Uysal
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P3 has powerful and smart keyboard shortcuts, P6 has none of them. While managing a schedule model consists of thousands of activity, trying to make mouse more useful is a bullshit. I want P3's keyboard shortcuts back in further P6 versions.

Erdem Uysal
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P3 has powerful and smart keyboard shortcuts, P6 has none of them. While managing a schedule model consists of thousands of activity, trying to make mouse more useful is a bullshit. I want P3's keyboard shortcuts back in further P6 versions.

Faris Aldwiekat
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I am a planning engineer since 2003 using primavera for the whole period, limited usage of P6 (only 1.5 year), I found that P6 is easier in some features but as an overall I found P3 is easier specially in report preparation and outputs, may be I didn't reach a good level in P6 or didn't have the chance to  practice more. also in th company I used to work for we were not able to use P6 as central system managing programs and portfolios, and it came up finally that individuals were using at as stand alone system which empty the essence of P6 has and P3 doesn't.

not to forget that planner needs to spend more time and get more knowledge in IT issues (SQL and infomaker).

Faris Aldwiekat
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I am a planning engineer since 2003 using primavera for the whole period, limited usage of P6 (only 1.5 year), I found that P6 is easier in some features but as an overall I found P3 is easier specially in report preparation and outputs, may be I didn't reach a good level in P6 or didn't have the chance to  practice more. also in th company I used to work for we were not able to use P6 as central system managing programs and portfolios, and it came up finally that individuals were using at as stand alone system which empty the essence of P6 has and P3 doesn't.

not to forget that planner needs to spend more time and get more knowledge in IT issues (SQL and infomaker).

Shareef Abdul Azeez
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Hi Joel

 

" If you discuss planning terminology with project managers they don’t even know what you are talking about"

Good one!!!

Joel Gilbert
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I have been using Primavera since 1988 and P6 for the last 2 years. I wish the P6 inventers would spend some field time and learn that most of the time we are under pressure to deliver in a hurry and for example now you want to filter which use to be easy in P3 but awkward in P6 and not forgetting  the hundreds of other application and Icons you now have to keep focus on. The most important not improved is still the reporting we still throw the info into Excel anyway. If you discuss planning terminology with project managers they don’t even know what you are talking about – P6 has so many % complete options just to name a example, its mind bogling.

Primavera should adopt KISS. Keep it simple stupid.

If P6 keep on getting so complicated they will start loosing the market and some other software will become king. Hopefully that will happen soon. Until then we will just have to battle on and take the pressure

stuart waller
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I have been planning for 23 years and I find p6 plain awful to use too many awkward and labour intensive steps to to anything, calendar issues and an annying habit of loosing layouts .. I could go on. P3 is now so old will not work with my windows 7 64 bit system so im stuck with this piece of crap. Asta Powerproject is the way to go

Peter Hibberd
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I have worked extensively on both formats (P3 and P5) and find that the flexibility of presentation with P5 to be far better in that you can mix WBS and activity codes in layout definition. The P5 interface is a bit more clunky but I soon got used to it. However the absolute stand out benefit for me is the fact that all coding structures are hierarchical and the use of parent codes where the detail is not yet known in the project life-cycle is very convenient.
The fact that PrimaVera are not going to continue support and development of P3 should be seen as ’writing on the wall’ for P3.
The P5 / P6 product development still has many miles to run before it is at the same level of maturity as P3, I just hope it happens before I become too mature (sic)..
Rav B
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P6 is rich as far as content is concerned, but there are very limited keyboard shortcuts in P6 compared to P3. So, Y this feature is removed, if it’s a improved version???

Oliver Melling
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I think that P6 is currently too complex for the company environments it operates in.

I have worked at 3 different companies that all implement it to varying degrees.

Some use it stand-alone and i think that it works well for just plain scheduling (although its usability is a bit annoying), but i have accepted that it is better to export all reporting data into XL rather than waste time with the graphics P5/6 can produce.

Some use it on a shared database without timesheets, which does give the flexibility of reporting resource info across programmes/portfolios, assuming that your database is administered well and the planners all know what they’re doing.

Then there are a few that try to run with plans that are stored on a central server and progressed by timesheets.
I believe this is only possible if you have very simple lifecycle elements to your plans, such as in production environments. (Where a plan may be split by parts then a set of repetitive tasks)
Only at 1 company i have worked numerous people have realised that the plan should be at the centre of the project, but they still didn’t let 100’s of staff update individual tasks, they used an army of planners.

Although P5 is still my tool of choice, I think P5/6 is an example of where the software developers have overkilled what could have been much simpler programme and GUI.

A tool that does everything you need on a project is what is required and P5/6 trys too hard and gives more information than your average PM asks for.

The reason i belive so many people still rave about P3 is because it does what is required, even if it is a little old-fashioned to use.
Rene Riegal
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P3 and P6 serve different purposes. P3 is more for scheduling. P6 is more for project or program management. I’m using both and I find myself reverting to P3 to build schedules and using P6 for project integration and such.

As such P6 is okay. It process information well. It also has some great capabilities. But it also has its problems.

Its input interface is fiddly and the output graphics are appalling. It takes too much time to create and build a schedule, and for presentable graphics, even just basic bar charts, 3rd party software has got to be used or do as I have, export out to P3 and print from there (and P3’s graphics aren’t anything to write home about.)

It’s labor intensive. P6 needs an army of planners/schedulers and IT people to maintain it. If you\re using a standalone version like me, good luck, because you’ll spend a lot of time on IT-type work instead of planning/scheduling. (One Primavera support tech expressed surprise then dismay that I didn’t have an IT department to help with the administration/SQL aspects of P6.)

It has limited applicability. Project’s I’ve worked on and others I’ve spoken to don’t have the need, time or resources to invest in using all of P6’s capabilities. What they want, and generally quickly, are schedules to help them manage and graphics to help them report, neither of which P6 does well.

P6 is designed so that it best used with direct interface by others outside the planning/scheduling department. The companies or projects I’ve worked on the only interest is in the output … the input is planning/scheduling’s problem. I can’t imagine what it’d take getting a company or project to agree to a direct interface.

Also, and a surprise to me, is how P6 is perceived. A couple of overseas (outside America) contractors saw P6 as an American-style project management product so that using P6 meant using American-style project management to which they took exception. It’s kind of hard to promote the use a product that’s almost seen as a kind of propaganda.

P6 seems to be Primavera’s attempt at a project management software solution, meaning that P6 is better suited to the corporate level where there’s the time and resources to tinker. Fortunately P3 (because of user demand that Primavera not drop it and the prospect that Microsoft Project would take over), a more limited but more widely useable software, remains available.
smiling shagger
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as a planner, i am more comfortable using P3.
it gives more control and more shortcut.
i try P6, view cramped, too many icons. do one thing have to press 2 buttons in comparison to p3.
in p3 its easy to organise activity coding structure.
printing on p3 also better control on output.

last but not least, p6 somehow looks like MSP, yucky!(sorry)

hempfully
smilingshagger
Oliver Melling
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Ray,
I never really play tennis, it was just a way of decribing that the skill of the workman is more important than the shinyness of the tool.

I believe a level of effort task is an ’improved’ hammock.

The software constantly changes, as does the lexicon and best practice methodologies of project management.

Maybe at one time the BS was more prominent as THE standard to use, but now PMI, APM, PRINCE etc seem to be used more extensively.But lets face it, they are all much of a muchness.

Saying that there are some subtle difference between a ’hammock’ (P3) and a LofE (P3e+). I think that these include the type of calendar used for scheduling the activity and the types of logic that can be used in conjunction with the activity.
Oliver Melling
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Ray,
I never really play tennis, it was just a way of decribing that the skill of the workman is more important than the shinyness of the tool.

I believe a level of effort task is an ’improved’ hammock.

The software constantly changes, as does the lexicon and best practice methodologies of project management.

Maybe at one time the BS was more prominent as THE standard to use, but now PMI, APM, PRINCE etc seem to be used more extensively.But lets face it, they are all much of a muchness.

Saying that there are some subtle difference between a ’hammock’ (P3) and a LofE (P3e+). I think that these include the type of calendar used for scheduling the activity and the types of logic that can be used in conjunction with the activity.
Ray Notley
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Oliver you seem to be a tennis player ?
My view is that it doesn’t matter how much you spend on a piece of software, the importance is to improve it and this doesn’t necessarily happen by spending money. The software has to service the users needs in every repect.
One annoying thing is that for years we have refered to a Hammock as a Hammock so why should we have to refer to it as "a Level of effort activity"? This is not in keeping with the British Standard for Project Management Terminology.
Oliver Melling
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Ray,

I was trying include that point in my statement,but like i said it’s difficult to explain!

A good tennis player with a modern racket should in reality always win against an equally good tennis player using a wooden racket!
Also true, a good player with wooden racket should always beat a novice with a top of the range racket.

Its not just about how modern the racket is (although this is a factor), but also the players ability to use it(PM-wise, not just the application) and the type of court your playing on etc.(as more complex projects call for more complex solutions)

I think P5/6 can be annoying in some ways, but if a company has spent that much money on developing a new application, it must be better or they wouldn’t have bothered would they?

Or are you of the opinion that the tennis rackets are now that complex that they hinder the players? :)
Ray Notley
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Oliver thank you for your views. However I think that a planners ability relies on more than his computer skills don’t you?
Oliver Melling
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Ray,

I used P3e first then have since looked back at P3 and find it cumbersome and difficult to use.

But which is most usable depends upon which you have used the most.

Trying to find a similie for them is difficult.

Wooden tennis rackets vs Modern tennis rackets?
DOS vs Windows?

IMO, it still all depends on the planning ability of the user.