Tips on using this forum..

(1) Explain your problem, don't simply post "This isn't working". What were you doing when you faced the problem? What have you tried to resolve - did you look for a solution using "Search" ? Has it happened just once or several times?

(2) It's also good to get feedback when a solution is found, return to the original post to explain how it was resolved so that more people can also use the results.

Confirmation or debunking of my findings

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Andrew Dick
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Fellow planners,

I would like to ask you all to please review the following two threads and either confirm or debunk these assumptions and ideas that I have posted.

I’m somewhat concerned that there have been no further posts on these threads as I feel they warrant more discussion.

My reason for this is so that I may gather some evidence from the wider group to present to Primavera as an enhancement request ’Given one is required’.

If you feel there is a requirement for an enhancement request, could you also please provide reasons surrounding your response.

The 2 posts in question are as follows;

Thread 1 for Review

&

Thread 2 for Review

Thanks Guys

Andy



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Andrew Dick
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Thanks guys, now we’re getting some rubber on the road.

As a note of interest, when it comes to using different calendars on activities, how many were aware how the tool calculates total float when this occurs?

Quote from Primavera Help Files;

"Float: You can base total float of the summarized data on the start dates, finish dates, or most critical dates. Set this option in the Compute Total Float As field on the General tab of the Schedule Options dialog box (choose Tools, Schedule, Options). If you base float on start dates, and all activities are assigned to the same calendar, total float is the difference between the earliest late start and the earliest early start dates in workperiods. For finish dates, the Project Management module uses the latest late finish and the latest early finish dates to calculate total float. The most critical float is the lowest total float encountered in the detailed activities from each summary group.

If all activities are not assigned to the same calendar, the Project Management module defines total float based on the default global calendar."

The last paragraph is very interesting indeed.

The theory behind my benchmark idea, is to use the tool to calculate the early dates (Time analysis) using a standard project benchmarked calendar and then use the resource availability driven by both calendar and max units time to provide scheduled dates (resource analysis).

Unfortunatley it appears that when using the resource leveller it is incapable of correctly executing a Deadline Critical Resource Analysis. It can do unconstrained resource analysis just fine but when you constrain the end date it starts to go a bit funny. I’ve got some slides on that too.

Andy
Se de Leon
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I should have replied in this thread. This was my comment on one of the threads in question.

Hi Raviraj,

It’s not also possible to do that in MSP.

In MSP, assignment of working hours for each day in a specific calendar is possible. But nonetheless, same as in P5/P6, days,weeks,months is calculated globally using only 1 and only 1 default value for days,weeks or months i.e. 8 hours per day, 5 days per week or 24 days per month.

Andrew,

This would be an excellent enhancement for P6 or even MSP if the default values for calculating no. of days is day specific. Ex. hours per day assigned to Mar 28, 2008 is 8 hours, while Mar 29, 2008 is assigned 10 hours per day, March 30, 6 hours per day etc.

IMHO,

Se
Dieter Wambach
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Oliver and David
Sorry, I missed your previous posts while I wrote mine.
Change of a calendar is not that seldom: E.g. if you transfer activities from one country to another.
David
I don’t really like the empty summary line, but if required, it will be ok? Who has to work with the layouts: pm, customer, management ... If they’ll feel comfortable, we should accept.
To attach the duration to WBS summary or level of efforts (hammocks) you’ll just cover one dimension. But reporting has to cover more.
Regards
Dieter
David Kelly
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Dieter,

now we have switch off summary durations, I use Hammocks or WBS summary activities, to show "real" durations as they calculate their duratiosn based on their calendar
Dieter Wambach
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Hi All
For my opinion it is an advantage of Primavera that you can use different calendars for each activity.
To give an example: You have activities done in Europe (5 w’days per week, Mon-Fri), others at construction site in an islamic country (6 w’days per week; Sat-Thur), and deliveries with 7 w’days a week. Now you group e.g. by equipment: Which calendar should be used for the summary line? The default calendar is an option - the one used by P6.
Alternatives would be:
1st: Switch of "show group totals" for a layout
2nd: Only show the dates - which is my preferred solution. In general this solution will be accepted.
Regards
Dieter
Oliver Melling
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The calendar should/would have to be chosen prior to entering duration....which is common sense, but could be made nugget proof if required.

This means when you create a baseline and put in a duration, you are actually stating it’ll take 1 day at 8hrs/day, a budgeted 8hrs duration.

Logically, if the calendar is changed the duration should have to be re-entered.

There is no enhancement to be made to the current methodology, there is a need for a new methodology.
David Kelly
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Oliver,

Ran that past Primavera a few years ago.

Lets say you enter a duration in days, and then you enter the calendar, Primavera checks the number of hours per day in the calendar before storing a number of hours.

What if the number of hours per day varies from day to day?

What happens if you then modify the Calendar at some future time, does it recalculate the number of hours or not? Perhaps the "first" calendar was a typo - and you REALLY meant the second calendar?

Or is the second calendar you enter because you want the first number of hours liquidated over the new calendar?

If you put the Calendar in first and then the duration.....

Hmm. I’ll stick to the current fixed ratio.






Oliver Melling
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IMHO...

Even if there were project specific user preferences for hrs/time period for each project, the use of multiple calendars would still leave activity duration data being wrongly displayed.

Primavera should use the hours per time period of the activity calendar or resource calendar (depending on activity type) as a reference for calculating the hours from entered durations (days or weeks etc.)

The base estimate should come from the resource on the coal-face and so 1 day to them should equate to the number of hours in 1 day of their calendar.

I logged the problem of incorrect durations with Primavera and they could only suggest a global change/udf combo to display the correct durations.

I think they would make it work if they could...
David Kelly
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andrew,

Up to my eyes at the moment, but I shall send you the "two keys srokes" stuff - which of course needs the data set up the right way in the first place so that will need described as well.

I am up for reviewing your workaround, and can throw in my tuppens worth about the difference between WBS and Hammock (I will NOT call it an Loe) actvities for "real" durations....
Andrew Dick
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So today I came up with a set of guidelines or benchmark settings that I have shown to a few people.

These settings are designed to provide consistency across the enterprise database with respect to the selection of the units/time period and the global default calendar, and also provide guidance on resource calendar and float calculation,

I beleive my research has shown ALL of these things are interconnected by the units/time period and the global calendar setting, along with a couple of other things.

If anyone would like to provide a review of this proposal please e-mail me at ’andrewtdick@hotmail.com’ and I shall send it on.

And yes it does appear that it is a ’Work Around’ ;-)


I was also hoping for a few more comments here on this & the other 2 threads where I have discussed this topic from the greater population of PP, so c’mon you guys.

Andy
Dieter Wambach
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Where are the Primavera guys? Where are the PARs? They should have answered.
Primavera Enterprise I know since version 2.1 - since 2000. I know some user requests which later became part of P3e (today P6). September 2006 they asked customers for enhancement requests for version 7 - at least in Germany. Primavera is a customer-driven software. They live from our money.
Regards
Dieter
Sandy Matheson
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OK, hands up who has ever had an ’enhancement request’ implemented. Anybody out there?
Andrew Dick
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David,
Fair enough then,

I can live with that.

However I’m very interested to know what these enhancement requests are that you would like to see and also what you have done with them to date.

I would like to see Primavera also be able to do what it already claims, and if it takes more effort on my behalf to learn, or effort on my behalf to keep on about issues that I feel are important then I will do that.

If the people who use the system are not willing to improve the system then we may as well not use it, it defeats the purpose of doing a better job if you constantly have issues/workarounds to cope with.

Anyway, if you would like to send me a message to andrewtdick@hotmail.com, about those enhancement requests you say you would like, I’d appreciate knowing what they are.

P.S. What are the 2 key strokes???


Andy
David Kelly
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Andrew,

I think we may just have to agree to be mutually incomprehending about P5/P6’s resource management! I remain amazed that I can configure it to work for clients with remarkably different problems to resolve. Incidently I have NEVER read the output log from resource levelling - the one issue you describe of how-to-find-the-activities takes me two key strokes..... hey ho.

It does mean of course that I do have to know everything. I accept that has taken orders of magnitude longer than any of the other PM software I have learned in the last 35 years.

Yes, there are LOTS of enhancements I would like to see. P5/P6 is clearly at the start of its development life - such a relief to be free of the old P3 which was clearly going nowhere.

A D
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WORKAROUND!!!

This is what PMI says,

Workaround is a response to a NEGATIVE RISK that has occured. Distinguished from contingency plan in that a workaround is not planned in advance of the occurence of the risk event.

This sounds good to a planning guy, compared to previous definitions.

Cheers,

Ravi
Andrew Dick
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It appears that I have used an improper reference in identifying the meaning of ‘Workaround’, and verbally rebuked as appropriate.


A learned colleague of mine has pointed out that using Wikipedia as a reference source is not acceptable in our halls of learning.


I have therefore submit the following links to further enlighten us on what a workaround is;


The Free Dictionary - Workaround


Merriam Webster Online - Workaround


Online Dictionary - Workaround


Not that it really matters; To say that the system works as designed but the workaround to make it work properly is to display the duration in hours, just makes it necessary for us as planners to do manual calculations or a global edit to populate yet another field with data that our managers understand so we don’t have to spend hours explaining the limitations of the software.


I liken it to buying a brand new car which only has a reverse gear designed into it, it may work as designed, but does it fulfil the aspirations you had when you decided to buy the new car??


At the end of the day I don’t think we should let this issue rest, if I’m wrong tell me and I’ll be quite and just use the workaround.


But;


If I’m right, lets try and get it fixed……


Andy
Andrew Dick
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Isn’t it interesting that they quote how the software is working as designed, but followup with a work around for the issue.


Intersetingly enough;

Workaround

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


A workaround is a bypass of a recognized problem in a system. A workaround is typically a temporary fix that implies that a genuine solution to the problem is needed. Frequently workarounds are as creative as true solutions, involving outside the box thinking in their creation.


Typically they are considered brittle in that they will not respond well to further pressure from a system beyond the original design. In implementing a workaround it is important to flag the change so as to later implement a proper solution.


Placing pressure on a workaround may result in later failures in the system. For example, in computer programming workarounds are often used to address a problem in a library, such as an incorrect return value. When the library is changed, the workaround may break the overall program functionality, since it may expect the older, wrong behaviour from the library.



I have also received those Non-answers to problems I have raised in the past.


Also did you know that the POINT website seems to be partitioned so that the global user pool can’t see all the problems that have been logged.


Did you know that for an enhancement request to be processed it has to be requested on the POINT website enough times to warrant the thing being fixed.


Andy
Sandy Matheson
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FYI, the latest non-answer from Primavera:

The software is currently working as designed; this is why it is classified as an ’enhancement’ rather than a bug in our software.

Unfortunately, there are no plans to change how the software currently functions at this time. If a decision is made to change how it functions you will be notified. I apologize for the inconvenience.

The workaround at this time is to display your durations in hours.

Sincerely,

Michael Hilferty
Andrew Dick
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Thanks for the feedback guys,

Imran,
I really don’t think that I should be classified as someone who is always right. I mean if you were to pose that theory to my wife I don’t think she could stop laughing. :-)

Sandy,
I too agree that the issue of setting the Units/Time Period at the admin level for the entire enterprise is a major problem. And as we can see so does Ronald.

However I would definitely prefer the method suggested by Ronald to overcome the issue. What Ronald suggests is the way that these systems should be set up, so far as to say, as a company what is our standard working day, I.E. what hours do we expect our workers to achieve on any given standard day (Note:- this should not be related to productivity, just physical man-hours).

Once we have established the ‘Standard’ we then have a benchmark to pivot off for any modification to the daily work cycle, as pointed out by Ronald.

The issue here as far as I can see is that it will upset the Enterprise function of the tool and basically require a separate database for each project or program.

Other issues come in when the administrators or users with the appropriate level of access decide to change the global default calendar which then interacts with the Units/Time Period to calculate the summary WBS durations, thus causing even more confusion.

David,
Nice to hear that even as a salesman for Primavera that you are not entirely happy with some of the functionality or the way in which the product works. But; your comments on the resource management functionality of the tool have left me somewhat confused. In my opinion Primavera version 5 or 6 wouldn’t know resource management if it was laid out in front of it.

The simple fact that there are over 50,000 different ways to resource schedule the one project dependant on the settings is just too much overkill. On top of this if the algorithm can’t generate an answer it simply puts the activity on its early date, and you have to go digging in the log report to find out which activities are affected (and then get no reason).

I have used tools in the past that will level far more accurately than Primavera, but again that’s my opinion and as stated in my first paragraph – I don’t profess to know everything.

All I want to do here is generate a discussion thread that can be used as evidence to Primavera to show them that they have ‘missed the boat’, to coin a phrase, when it comes to some of the settings and defaults with the tool.

As planners we are faced with the requirement to be able to provide accurate answers and reasons as to why a project end date is sitting where it is. As planners should not have to explain the complex nature of the system and the subsequent workarounds we have to put into place to overcome the deficiencies of the planning tool given to us based on a glossy sales pitch.

I firmly believe that the only way Primavera has such a market share at the moment is due to the predecessors such as Sure Track and P3, coupled with the reluctance of IT departments to trial and implement new software. This along with the glossy sales pitch provided to potential customers has seen the market share of Primavera grow.

The perceived ease of use of the tool has also proven to be a big selling point, As we all know the tool is easy to input data into, BUT, how do we, or how can we, trust the answers if we can’t even get the basics right?

Anyhow if any of you have more to add please do so, I really want to try and elevate this to a point where Primavera can help us to help them.

Andy
Ronald Weaver
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Andrew
I completely agree with Sandy’s statement
"The duration in days shown on an activity is determined by the units/day specified in ’User Preferences’. To show correct duration in days this units/day must match the working hours/day set in your calendar. This effectively means that you cannot have calendars with different hours/day in the same project. A major problem in my view.
"
But I differ in my approach on how we gat around it.
I work in an environment where we commonly refer to activities in days (I would probably use hours if I work in a plant shutdown environment) and to expect that a workday is 8 hours is the norm. Therefore our ’User Preference’ is set to 8hrs/d, so the calendars we use for activities are all 8h/d. This in no way limits the h/d we use in resource calendars. An activity is 5 days and for the most part everyone thinks "40hrs" but the resource is assigned a 10h/d calendar and therefore in those 5 days, works 50hrs. Our duration in days is always correct and the budgeted units’ gives use the resource hours. This also provides use correct durations when using 4, 6 and 7 workday calendars. I even take this one step farther, I will only use a 5 day calendar when building very high level long range schedule where the common duration is in weeks.
In the old P3 you could not mix hourly and daily schedule and while you can in P4, 5 and 6, I find it only confuses the duration issue.

To some it up, when I am told "This is a 12h/day activity" I simply ask "is that 12 hours based on how much you want the resource to work or how many hours we as a company think there are in a day?"
The purpose of what we do is COMUNICATE and while setting the preferences at the project level would probably fix this issue, the defaults are there to translate the art of our discipline into what our users can understand and use to make decisions.

David Kelly
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I am the Primavera dealer in Scotland. Its largely Oil and Gas customers I have. This means a typical project could have onshore engineering staff working a 40 hour week, offshore construction staff working an 84 hour week, and a hugely expensive Trenching Barge working 168 hours a week.


Try picking a default calendar for that little lot!!!!

Yes, summary durations is a HUGE issue. We badly need an enhancement - my choice would be a column called "Elapsed Days".

Meantime the work around is to use either a Hammock (I know I am supposed to call it Level-of-Effort) or a WBS summary activity where I can chose the calendar and get the correct number of days shown. In version 6 you can suppress the the role up by default calendar and only show the summary durations by the summary activities of either type.

I agree that an activity that is exactly 24 hours long that starts at 00:00 SHOULD finish at 23:59 the same day NOT 00:00 on the next day. In my experience there are very few environments where the working day starts at 00:00, therefore this unfortunate circumstance happens very rarely.

I have no issues with resource management that get disturbed by any of this. The resource management arithmetic is flawless in my opinion. Indeed the resource management arithmetic is so superior to p3 I wonder how we got away with it for all those years.


I have spent 8 of my 35 years in computerised project management learning P5/P6. I am still learning new things every day. Only 2 years ago I decided that this new version was superior to the old P3 - now I consider P5/P6 so superior in every way to that old war horse I would never want to use P3 again.

Yes, P5/P6 is HUGE and navigating through it all to the 10 percent of the functionality that you need is demanding. I come accross many installations that treated P5/P6 as an upgrade to their planning system, rather than a whole new project management landscape. The level of frustration amongst working planning engineers in environments whose management did not prepare properly for this sea change has not done Primavera’s reputation any favours.

It works. It works better than anything else.


Sandy Matheson
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Andrew
I have found 2 basic problems with calendars/durations in P5

The duration in days shown on an activity is determined by the units/day specified in ’User Preferences’. To show correct duration in days this units/day must match the working hours/day set in your calendar. This effectively means that you cannot have calendars with different hours/day in the same project. A major problem in my view.

To get around this we are setting all calendars to 24 hours/day (screws up the resource management by the way!). This shows a new problem. With 24 hour calendar the finish date is displayed as 1 day after the actual finish of the activity. So for a 1 day activity it shows finishing on the next day which does not look correct - non users are surprised that we planners cannot get this simple thing correct!!

I have logged thes issues with Primavera and they have set them as ’enhancement requests’, in other words binned them. I stated these were not enhancements but corrections but the meaning was lost. These are only a couple of the issues with this poor software........
Imran Arshad
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Dear Andrew,
Yes you are always right.Cant provide reasons bcas if i knew reason then probably tried to find solutions.


Imran