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.

Let’s Challenge SPIDER

383 replies [Last post]
Rafael,
I did not meet Spider Project limits.

Five years ago the levelling of 270 000 activities project on the computer with 1GB of Memory and Windows XP took 4.5 minutes. It took much longer (about half an hour) on another notebook with 256 Mb of memory because of swapping. Now computers are faster though Operating Systems require more memory.

It may take longer if the projects have complex resource assignments but still reasonable time. The scheduling is of course much faster (measured in seconds).

Romtelecom at last PMI COS conferece presented management of their 2000 projects portfolio.

I tried test runs (scheduling, levelling, cost calculations) with million activities in the portfolio - still works without known problems.

Some single projects like construction of plants, dams, ships consist of more than 40 000 activities.
So don’t worry. If you will have even more RAM memory than 1Gb you will be able to calculate huge programs fast enough.

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Rafael Davila
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Vladimir,

Mike mentioned a few weeks ago he is to start working on the planning for a County Roads or Public Works Division; he is to schedule hundreds of maintenance jobs for a few years horizon, I believe he mentioned three years. He needs to plan ahead because of the many required permits required before a bucket of asphalt can be placed, all sharing the limited equipment owned by the county.

I must assume his software can handle hundreds of jobs on a single portfolio, perhaps 324 jobs if he is to schedule 2 road maintenance jobs per week for three years, each a mere 70 task per job would yield 22,680 tasks.

I would never consider software that cannot handle twice these requirements to be on the safe side, it would be a shame if in the middle of the job we find out the software I recommended runs out of capacity, seems like Asta Power Project can handle this, same as many software on the market, can Spider Project also? Can you tell me the limits on the amount of jobs a single portfolio can handle, same with the number of tasks?

Let’s talk not thousands of separate projects, just a few hundreds, a few shared resources; this seems to me like an everyday scheduling need.

Best regards,
Rafael
Raphael,
in my experience projects in the portfolios are frequently linked. These links may include dependencies between activities of different projects and resources that are used in more than one project.
Calculating portfolio schedule we shall take project interdependencies into consideration.
I did not write about financial side though again - if the financing is limited then portfolio schedule shall take it into account.
So there is a need to calculate the schedule for the whole portfolio model that may consist of thousands separate projects.
Best Regards,
Vladimir
Raphael M. Dua
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Vlad

In your reply to John Cornish

You are making an assumption that ALL portfolio projects used the corporate resources

Well here in Micro Planner land I am running a whole range of projects for ONE client (who is also using P3, P6, OPP, MSP) all the results from each project are shunted up to the corporate Financial System via a product called COBRA, which takes the results from each of the project management software packages and up loads it into FMIS (which is a massive Government based accounting and payment and all things to all men product)- I assume that you use XML methodologies which is how we do it

None of my projects ever uses any body from another project’s resources. Each Project, whilst part of the Portfolio, is not necessarily resource dependent upon another.

If we do have related resource projects then obviously they are run in a single Model using one or another of the software packages which are available.

We use a WBS of fragnets as we did back in 1956-60 for the Polaris project for our COBRA upload

Hope that makes things clear

Raf

Raphael M. Dua
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Rafaela

I would have that a "Lead" would have been better for a dog

:-)

don’t forget that Micro Planner not only does lags,

it does Leads too

Well it is the silly season :-)

Raf
Raphael M. Dua
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Rafaela
I have just placed a two week lag on the link between my Task and end and the Hammock has correctly calculated the duration as I would expect from Micro Planner X-Pert

Oh dear Oh Dear

Never ever be as dogmatic to say No other software does it

Keep telling you I was the pioneer to much of the computations and facilities which people like Vlad have been able to find on the public and other domains and use
in their products
I know most of them, especially in the past twenty years haven’t a clue where they got the knowledge from, but when they ask, I have .. so far ... dragged out my OLD OLD OLD workings from back as far as 1957 and Lo and behold, we were doing what ever back them

It is Christmas, you should be eating Christmas pie not H ..... pie

I am back to work again

Such fun :-)
Raf
Raphael M. Dua
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Rafaela

I just tried it using PDM - one task with a hamock linked by a start and end event

X-Pert calculated the hammock OK

Raf
Raphael M. Dua
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Rafaela

Yes YOU do know of a software package which can place a hammock across ONE ACTIVITY

Arrow Diagrams can do it

Micro Planner X-Pert for Windows and Mac does it

Raf
Rafael Davila
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Vladimir,

Your handling of the calendar along with the hammock activity is sheer genius.

Your creation of the hammock is cheating.
a) You cannot create a hammock linked to a single activity with no other software I know of.
b) You cannot use lag in hammock activities with no other software I know of, it is simply disregarded.

Hammock with LAG

My next dog is to be named LAG.

Best regards,
Rafael

P.S. Yes it works well for me.
Rafael Davila
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You can download the first version from the following link. I opted to cost load directly on the activity without use of resources, using cost components and cost centers.

http://rapidshare.com/files/324872310/MO.001.sprj

Best regards,
Rafael
Rafael Davila
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Yes it makes sense.

The ball is on my side of the court, remember is holiday season, 73deg F/ 22.77 C and the sun is shining so today I will take some spare time, we have some US relatives escaping from their frigid winter.

Best regards,
Rafael
It can be modeled but it is not easy. But I am not sure that in Excel it will be easier.
Let’s exchange the examples in Spider Project Demo. It will become much more clear for both of us.
With reference-books with consumption norms BOQ modelling is not too complicated.
Best Regards,
Vladimir
Rafael Davila
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Vladimir,

Not only will pay a few per completed jobs/task/activities but others will be paid on a regular basis say next week for payroll, next 30 days for invoices and receive BOQ payments 60 days after invoicing prior month during first week of the following month.

Of course I do not pretend exact granularity but an approximation good enough to make a computation for NPV that is close enough, a computation that will tell me months in green and months in red, I don’t think I need to model exact payment day. Anyway it is never going to be exactly on target especially the further away from today.

I am starting to get hooked not only into BOQ, but I am also thinking ahead when I might start using NPV available in Spider Project. As far as I remember you also mentioned IIR, internal rate of return, a computation that at times yields two values, one is the solution and the other is not, and even “modified” IRR so it is more than that. But "that", modeling of BOQ is going to be a common issue.

Hope you understand if others at home are to follow me it cannot be that complicated, otherwise they will do their cash flow analysis using Excel, even when is kind of static, not as dynamic when modeling into Spider Project.

Here on average, the Water Authority pays 3 to 6 months after invoicing, meanwhile you have to pay US equipment suppliers in advance to manufacturing. Banks and Sureties know and expect your cash flow shows this. Spider Project table reports can show the required details, just give me ease of use with regard to the offset between the resources (and activities) to cash flow.

Best regards,
Rafael
Thank you, John.
I just do not understand how to manage project portfolio and organization resources if some project managers use one PM software and some renegades decided to use another. In the portfolio all projects are interdependent when use common resources even if their activities are not linked.
So it is impossible to plan one project ignoring others.
How did you solve this problem?

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Rafael,
maybe I did not understand your requirements.
I understood this way:
You pay people salaries from their first to their last job in the project. You don’t know when these jobs will happen but know for what jobs you will pay.
The same with machines - you will pay from the start of their usage to the end of their usage.
And the payments do not depend on the actual work that they do.
Correct me if my understanding is wrong.
Best Regards,
Vladimir
Rafael Davila
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Vladimir,

In order to set the hammock you need to know in advance which activities or portion of each is to be applied on each payment on your always changing activity dates prediction.

I am looking for the software to estimate the cash flow without telling the specific activities that will fall within each particular period.

Best regards,
Rafael
John Cornish
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Hi Vladimir,

To answer your question "Did you manage organization resources and costs in your corporate system? Did you create plans for the organization departments? "

Absolutely we did using Micro Planner X-Pert.

Resources from Marketing, Sales, Development, Operations, Customer Services were all included in our projects.

And through using Micro Planner X-Pert we practiced baselining dated and agreed plans in the Master Archive, which included estimated costs to complete. Then we would use the Current analysis for week-on-week progress reporting and variance reporting using the baselined plans.

When changes were identified, we placed the current plan into the "Intermediate Archive" to then alter the plans to see the impact on both the "current plans and then the Archived plans.

With major customers in the global Defense, Semiconductor, and telecommunications industries, we had to be in a position to inform our Senior Management of progress and change as new customer orders were received.

We had a "mind-set" that the whole organisation knew what work was to priority so that the whole organisation were supportive. And that meant that resources in all the departments were a part of the plan and new what needed to be delivered by whom and by when.

Hope that offers a complete answer to the question you posed.

Thanks
Rafael,
we always create separate activities for payments.
If it is regular (once in a week for an example) then an activity may have special calendar/week like one work hour on Monday where payments are actually done. This activity may be set as hammock from the start to the finish of some set of works and you define cost per hour as planned payments per week. Actual payments may differ.
If you are paid for some result with 30 days lag then it is an activity with zero duration but certain cost.
Usually all payments activities in one of the structures belong to the same phase.
It is not necessary to show payment activities in all structures. They may be hidden and will not appear on the reports in one WBS but will be seen and considered in calculations in another WBS.
We suggest to create separate cost components for payments. The cost of one unit for payment components shall be negative.
In this case you will get separate reports on expenses, payments and cash flows, you will know who owns to whom and what amounts.
As expenses, payments (and incomes) may consist of components (payments for materials, payments to contractors, payments for machines, etc.).

Best Regards,
Vladimir
John,
you did not answer my questions.
But it is OK if you don’t want to do it.
Regards,
Vladimir
Rafael Davila
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Vladimir,

I believe I can handle all my physical resources the way you suggest, I forgot about strong links, functionality that was not available in Primavera SureTrak. Please understand I am still not wired to think on it as an available tool for my schedules, it is not available everywhere on CPM literature. Don’t be surprised if you have to remind me of it a few several times again.

The remaining issue is about modeling cash flow in all your activities where cash income and expense payments will lag activity execution. Here I don’t want to create a new activity for every one impacting BOQ modeling for income and maybe another one for modeling actual payments or expenses. Here we pay payroll on a weekly basis, invoices on 30 days after receipt and with luck get our BOQ payment 30 to 60 days after activity execution in private jobs, about Government jobs you would be surprised how much latter we get paid, “prompt payment” is a fantasy here.

Probably a SS/FS lag and duration (if you want it to be different) can be defined at cost assigments as not to mess with resource allocations but making costs to follow resource allocation dates within the rule. In this way for example you can model payment 2 weeks after an activity finishes. Of course Earned Value will have o lag and will follow activity duration.

Best regards,
Rafael
John Cornish
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Replying to Vladimir,

In 2009 my previous company closed its European operations and moved all R&D work back to San Jose, California.

Customer focused projects were based on taking a commercially developed product and customising it for specific applications for the various customers. This included the R&D for new electronic instrumentation, hardware and software development.

The projects that were not directly customer focused were more to do with process improvement, HSE, Environmental Impact Reductions, etc.

We did manage all engineering resources and costs within the PSO - which managed all "customer focused" projects.

I hope that answers your questions.
Rafael,
we do not permit this.
We teach our customers than an activity shall be executed by some resource team from the beginning to the end. If the planned`number of necessary resources is different at different parts of activity then divide it - it is not the same work.
But we permit to assign uncertain number of resources, like between 3 and 5. If three are available then an activity can start, if others will become available before activity finish they can join and accelerate activity performance.
If you will suggest an example where it can be useful we will add this function. Until then create two activities with FS strong link.
Best Regards,
Vladimir
Rafael Davila
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Vladimir,

Under Suretrak, for my non leveling resources it is not uncommon for me to assign a resource lag and resource duration different from activity duration. This I use when I want to model cash flow (costs and income).

How you model this within Spider Project and how it works under resource leveling?

By the way I don’t know how it would work under SureTrak resource leveling.

Best regards,
Rafael
John,
do they still use Micro Planner X-Pert for project and portfolio management?

I don’t understand corporate PM system with the renegades that are outside of it.

What do you call customer focused projects? I think that all projects are customer focused.

Did you manage organization resources and costs in your corporate system? Did you create plans for the organization departments?
John Cornish
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Vladimir,

The Project support Office at my previous employers used Micro Planner X-Pert and non other. I was a part of that team.

There were renegades that operated outside of the PSO who used MS Project. But rest assured all projects that were customer focused ran through the PSO using Micro Planner X-Pert.
John,
you wrote: At that company there was also MS Project for those that wanted to use a MS product.

Does it mean that "that company" had no corporate project management system? If PMs select any software they want to use and use them as they want, projects do not belong to the corporate portfolio, etc. the corporate system could not function.

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Rafael Davila
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John,

Yes now I am clear. I was confused when you referred to “we”, I interpreted it as to be your actual coworkers at MPI, I could not understand why another software option if working at MPI.

Best regards,
Rafael
John Cornish
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Rafael,

At Micro Planning International Ltd we offer Micro Planner X-Pert for sale.

It was first developed by colleagues working at ICL using the ICL mainframes in the 1960’s and 70’s and then when the Macintosh came onto the market it was transferred to that platform and then later transferred to Windows.

Before joining MPI Ltd, I worked at Schlumberger for 29 years and chose to use Micro Planner X-Pert exclusively for all my projects. At that company there was also MS Project for those that wanted to use a MS product.

Hope that answered your question.
Rafael Davila
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John,

I could not find your info under PP directory search but found it at MPI site.

In your posting 251 you wrote, “In my industrial experience we used Micro Planner X-Pert as the selected planning software for over twenty years.... The Micro Planner X-Pert software tool we used was excellent, ...”

Do you have the option to select other vendors scheduling software at Micro Planning to develop your own scheduling software, if so which?

Best regards,
Rafael
Hi Carlos,
thank you for reminding the topic purpose.

I really hope to learn something new or that something useful is missed in Spider Project besides simulating human behavior. And questions like I need to model this and don’t know if it is possible will be appreciated.

If you want to edit link properties just draw this link once more (and you will see link properties) or open activity properties as you suggested. Our projects usually include too many links crossing the screen. That is why we selected other ways.

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Rafael Davila
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Carlos,

What can Spider Do that your Tool can’t?

Isn’t it a valid question, remember we are confined to this posting? Does it means we will be forced to a single question, a single thread forever?

I have no other place to go and ask questions about Spider. Please be patient maybe, eventually Spider will have its place and this monstruous topic will be thing of the past, and issues will be easier to follow. Mike gave us hope as well as other PP moderators, is just that it takes time. For the moment we were asked to keep here and limit our reference to Spider on other topics.

About your question on not being able to edit a single relationship by clicking on my current graphic view I am not experiencing this issue, if you refer to clicking on the bars. Or do you refer to clicking on a bar and moving the cursor to another bar to create a new link? This you can also do.

Some fields are locked in your activity pane, I suspect to protect the traceability of updates and integrity of the data, same at other screens, is this your issue?

Mike,

Can we create other topics specific on Spider Project? Under which category?

Best regards,
Rafael
Carlos Arana
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C’mon, people, we’re losing scope here. Let’s challenge Spider! In giving challenges to Spider we give Vladimir the oportunity of improve Spider Project. He’s asking for challenges, he’s not asking how much are your projects worth, he’s not asking "What can Spider Do that your Tool can’t?", he’s asking "What can YOUR tool do that Spider can’t?" or, also, "What can’t YOUR tool do that you’d wish it can?"

The goal should be defeat Spider with something it can’t bear, "functionality that is useful but is not supported by the packages that you use". Something that requires workarounds.

Sure, Spider can’t model human behavior so please don’t come here to bluff that you can manage with eyes closed and your hands tied in the back. Can you? Then make a topic on how to do it.

Here’s my question for Spider:
Why can’t I edit a single relationship by clicking it in my current graphic view? Why must I go to the activity properties and find the link between all activity links?.

I’m one voice more claiming for a Spider category in Planning Planet. I hope Mike hears us.
Rafael Davila
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John,

“You said: "Other software, I don’t know Micro Planner X-Pert, do not level resources based on the quantity because such data doesn’t exist.”

This was Vladimir, this is a kind of argument of a software developer that know better than I do. I am an end user who is starting to appreciate good resource leveling as my prior experience with Primavera SureTrak was no good at all. As a matter of fact most of these years I was using soft relationships to force the software to solve in this way resource constraining issues and then verified resource loading vs. availability without running resource leveling at all.

My projects rarely go over 600 activities, 30% procurement, they rarely go over 30$M US but they need all the functionality of advanced CPM software.

I believe there is a high possibility MP-X has a superb engine. If so this will confirm my argument, not all resource leveling algorithms are equal and this is a relevant functionality that differentiates the software. By the way Spider keeps several algorithms for your choice as these yields different results, one of them looks for a solution set that yields minimum job duration within your constraints but it might happen you prefer other solution, or that under certain circumstances one yields better results than the other.

Thanks for your contribution, many of your suggestions can be adapted to other software if need be, also I am sure many MP-X users appreciate it also. I hope you continue posting in PP about MP-X here and even in threads of your own, these will be enlightening.

Best regards,
Rafael
Rafael Davila
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Agustin,

“Variable quantity and workload”. I noted this but not yet there, your experience will be of great help.

If you noted on one of my prior posting about synchronization of update among several versions I called it as easy as 1,2,3 or a piece of cake so about probability and trends I will give it a try and maybe ask for your help. Perhaps it looks like much work but at a click of the mouse, the computer got to work and multitask also.

About norms, are you referring to reference books? If so, not yet there also.

About multitasking you should know that for 30 years I worked at the construction site, first as project engineer then as project manager, we did not multitasked but mega-tasked or giga-tasked.

But it also happens with equipment, a tower crane would be assigned several jobs at the same time, at times would be handling rebar materials, then gang forms, then a few other things.

Best regards,
Rafael

John Cornish
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To Rafeal,

You said: "Other software, I don’t know Micro Planner X-Pert, do not level resources based on the quantity because such data doesn’t exist.

I just wanted to say that Micro Planner X-Pert has a superb engine for computing schedules with resource leveling, or recognition of imposed deadlines that may cause resource overloads.

The other two ways to analyze is a) Early Start, meaning that if a task can be started (logically)it will be started once the resource is available. Or, b) Latest start, meaning a "just in time" approach providing its a low risk project.

Happy analyzing.

John
John Cornish
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Vladimer,

I just wanted to point out the Micro Planner X-Pert enables resources to be defined as available for work on a "rate/hr" or rate/day basis as well as a total work to be completed within a given duration. This gives the flexibility and reflects project management in practice.

Cheers
John
Rafael,
below are the answers to your questions.

1) in Spider Project work load and productivity are kept separate and there is no need to use one to mimic the other as these parameters can be set up individually per activity assigment, keeping the interpretation simple and both available at the same time.

Yes, you are right. But I want to bring your attention to the ability to set quantities and workloads separately.
Most packages cannot do it. The users can define only total workload. As the result the workload of 200% may mean 2 resource units with 100% workload, 4 resource units with 50% workload, 5 resource units with 40% workload, etc. You just cannot specify the real needs.

2) in Spider Project the priority field is also independent per activity assignment and that it can provide me with the rule for the software to make the appropriate decision for hundreds of activities every time I run the schedule.

Again you are right. The assignment priority defines the rules for resource selection in skill scheduling. Usually the schedules managed with Spider Project consist of thousands activities.

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Augustin Purnus
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Hi Anoon,

Vladimir gave the best answer. Is the way of thinking and how we can get a project model as closed as to the reality.

Best regards,
Augustin
Augustin Purnus
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Hi Rafael,

You can work with the default options at the Resource Assignment level, but if you have information and want to model better the way project will be run, than you can use a specific workload and productivity. The productivity together with the resource quantity and Volume of Activity will allow calculating the activity duration during scheduling.

The estimation we made for activity duration based usually on the same info will be avoid. But using productivity means to have some recorded history. In the Eastern part of Europe we have work norms (or corporate norms) with this kind of information. It helps you not only to easily estimate the project cost for tender purpose (it is a huge database), but also to plan and schedule construction and to monitor and control it.

The priority will be used to fine tune the schedule, or to define some important resources over others.
But, what is in my opinion an important option, is “Variable quantity and workload”. It will allow to model multi-tasking phenomena which is the reality.

Any person involved in a project may perform in a certain day (or time interval) several activities. Other software, I don’t know Micro Planner X-Pert, do not level resources based on the quantity because such data doesn’t exist. Even Critical Chain suggests to avoid multi-tasking. But this is in the nature of how we work.

Using this option will give you a shorter duration of the project after resource constrained scheduling. Try it with two or three resources and activities and compare the results with what will give you SureTrak or MSP.

Best regards,
Augustin
Rafael Davila
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John,

Thanks for your prompt reply, I used Micro Planner Manager for the Mac before and loved it.

Vladimir,

I kind of prefer the software to look at the options and make the decision; I am not to ask the PM for his preferences on every run especially on jobs with hundreds of activities, I prefer him to tell me the assignment priorities when preparing the model for the first time.

As you know I might be proficient with Primavera SureTrak that lacks the functionality for skills, crews and a few others Micro Planner and Spider have. As a rookie at these functionalities within Spider Project I know we have at the resource assignment tab the following options among many others, workload, productivity and priority.

Please tell me if I am correct with the following statements;

1) in Spider Project work load and productivity are kept separate and there is no need to use one to mimic the other as these parameters can be set up individually per activity assigment, keeping the interpretation simple and both available at the same time.

2) in Spider Project the priority field is also independent per activity assignment and that it can provide me with the rule for the software to make the appropriate decision for hundreds of activities every time I run the schedule. Of course a schedule is dynamic and preferences can be adjusted on an exception basis if the PM finds it appropriate.

Resource Assigment

Best regards,
Rafael
John Cornish
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Hi Rafael,

Let me answer your question, which was:
"If you have available one C++ expert software engineer( called Fred) that can code 1.5 times as fast as 2 rookies (called Bill and Ben), how you take this into consideration within MP-X?"

Using Micro Planner X-Pert, first create a group called C++ Expert. Then add Fred as 100% available.

Another group needs to be created called C++ Engineer and add Bill and Ben at whatever percentage availability you choose from 1% to 100%.

If you know you will use the C++ Expert then the duration will be based on their expertise and efficiencies.

If you know you will use the C++ Engineers and the will need more time then extend the task duration to allow for their "learning and personal development" which may cause you to factor the duration by 1.5 times or 2 times.

This approach to using Micro Planner X-Pert puts you in charge of making resourcing decisions, rather than letting a software package make an arbitrary selection of a resource, which may cause loss of time, else where in the project’s schedules.

Thanks for the question and I hope I have given a practical solution that reflects project management in practice.

Excellent.

john


Rafael Davila
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John,

Because the main theme of this topic is to challenge Spider and it does provides for different resources to be assigned the same skills with different productivities I would like to know how Micro Planner X-pert handles this issue. For example you have available one C+++ expert engineer that can code 1.5 times as fast as 2 rookies, how you take this into consideration within MP-X.

Best regards,
Rafael
Hi John,
thank you for describing the way you use Micro Planner X-Pert.

I think that everybody agree that any software is the tool and the goal of any software developer is to suggest the proper tool to people who will use their product.

Best Regards,
Vladimir
John Cornish
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Hi,
In my industrial experience we used Micro Planner X-Pert as the selected planning software for over twenty years.

We used the WBS to ensure the project’s "scope" was fully included and all deliverable items were included within the family tree structure.

We then defined the "actions" linked them logically and used sub-projects in which to draw the network diagram.

We assigned activity durations to see the time-line and earliest completion date without resource considerations.

Next we added "Resource Groups" to activities where a group represented a skill/trade, eg. C++ Engineer, H/W Engineer, Systems Engineer, etc. So we were talking in general terms of the skills needed to complete the project. This calculated the budgetary costing information.

Next we assigned staff to oner or more of the Groups. Once analysed by resource smoothing or recognizing imposed deadlines, we could view the histograms for individuals.

Then cam the time to play the "What if" analysis for different resourcing plans to get the best balance between costs and schedules - extra time always added to overall costs.

Finally, we used the internal "Earned Value" reports and graphs to show cost-profile and when the "spend" would occur for financial planning of the project.

Once the plan was signed off and dated it was archived in the Master Archive for reference at any stage in the execution of the project.

As the project progressed the Earned Value reporting of "Actuals" versus the "Master Archive" we could readily see whether we were on track to meet the dead-lines or cost targets. The advantage was that the EV reporting gave "Early warnings" of troubles ahead if no corrective actions were taken to bring the project back under control and executed to the original master plan.

Good days.

And happy project teams simply because every member of the team believed the project was achievable. We did no allow "bullying" from any quarter. We always had a party to celebrate achievements of major milestones.

Our Project Managers were strong leaders, the listened to everyone, they were encouraged to consider risks and to manage them.

Our project Managers were always aware of the commercial and business benefits that their projects offered to the company or to the Client.

The Micro Planner X-Pert software tool we used was excellent, however it was merely a "supportive informational tool" that assisted the Project Manager to make better and informed decision making that led in my experience to a higher probability of delivering projects more successfully.

So, whilst there is much talk of planning software and the merits of different packages, that offer the project manager different (or wrong) sets of results.

Let’s remember that it is "People" that deliver Projects - software being a supporting tool of the trade. And it is imperative to remember that the project Sponsor relies upon the Project Manager, Planners and Schedulers to use the software tools for the job that deliver accurate and trustworthy plans and reports - especially for fixed price contracts with penalties for failing to meet the projects requirements of time, cost and quality.
Anoon,
WBS defines what shall be done and tasks define how.
To do the tasks you need resources. So the tasks define resource requirements and these requirements include labor, machines, materials, equipment.
Defining logical links, assigning resources, defining task durations or volumes of work to be done and assigned resource productivities you can calculate the schedule that does not consider resource limitations. If the dates are not proper you can play What If first time changing links, resource assignments, calendars, or the scope (WBS).

If the schedule with unlimited resources looks good enough you shall define what resources you have and what restrictions you have.
Basing on resource availability and restrictions you can calculate project resource constrained schedule. Once again you may find that the delays are too large and the schedule needs improvement. This is the time for the second What If session. Now you play with resource availability, assignments, calendars and if the results are poor return to the step 1, reconsidering activity links and project scope.

The next step includes supply and financing analysis. If material and cost requirements could not be met the schedule shall be adjusted and once more What IF session be played.

Resources are consumable (materials and equipment) and renewable (labor, machines). WBS phases describe deliverables, tasks describe actions.
Time may be constrained, duration depends on tasks and resources.

I wrote earlier that assigning tasks to resources is more complicated than assigning resources to tasks (the result is the same?). It is easier to create and to assign resource crew than to remember all resources in the crew and to assign the same tasks to all of them.

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Anoon Iimos
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Hi Vladimir,

The Schedule means, What if??? (for me)

You can define the tasks or activities logically and then - What if?

The thing is, you are assigning resources to the tasks, and not tasks to resources (remember this question before?).

What if you had defined the Labor resources first and then assign the tasks? (I supposed you said that this cannot be possible in scheduling).

To make it simple:

Work out your tasks first,

and then work out your resources so that it will fit your tasks.

Resources are consummables, and Tasks are deliverables, and time is? (is time a constraint?)

So which one is more Critical?
Hi Anoon,
the schedule means dates.
Without resources you can create Activity list, logical relationships, create the network.
But what can be done at what time depends on the available resources and the schedule that does not take this into account is not reliable.
So the tasks are first, but the schedule requires more than just tasks.

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Anoon Iimos
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Hi Agustin,

Thanks for your view.

"No Resources - No valid Schedule" (by Glenwright)

What if you reverse it?

No Schedule - No valid Resources!

Which one do you define first? The Tasks or the Resources?

For me, resources is a matter of options, but you will always define the tasks first and not the resources - I mean in scheduling.

So if you don’t have enough or available resources at a certain time, you still can wait for that time to come, but that doesn’t mean that your schedule (of tasks) becomes invalid (maybe invalid to show only the earliest possible time).

Well, that’s my view.

Best regards

Raphael,

You wrote: "If you are a believer of PDM, you will know that there are four precedence link types."

PDM is one of many ways to show network logic. Network logic does not depend on the way it is shown.

You wrote: "Microsoft has happily soldiered on for over thirty years not allowing SS and FF between two tasks and they have over 90% of the market.
What does that tell you?"

It tells me that most MS Project users do not load resources. MSP not only does not allow SS and FF links but also produces poor resource constrained schedules. Many Spider Project users started with using MS Project. When they understood their real needs they left MS Project and selected other tool.

But many planners use their PM software for presentations and MSP is good enough for drawing simple project schedules. And thus they compete with Excel that also permits to draw project schedules.
We consider these painters as the separate market.

What you wrote about floats makes no sense to me. I think that my English is not good enough.

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Rafael,
those who use Success Probability calculations and analysis are happy. This is most reliable performance measurement and management tool.
Look at the publications on Success Driven Project Management (SDPM), try this functionality, and later we will discuss its proper use.

I am not sure that your customers will require this unless they are advanced in project risk management, critical chain, or other approaches that apply management of reserves (buffers).

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Rafael Davila
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Raphael

Calling somebody a "dingo" in Australia is actually an insult, sorry I did not know I just meant "you must be though" as if a lion in the wild but used a reference from the Australian fauna, it was meant to be praise in the context of the whole sentence. I was trying to be nice, not being mean.

About your name Raphael it was without even noticing, here Ralph is so common that instead of Raph it just came to my mind. We are not so sensitive to name misspelling especially when dealing with other nationalities, we are more tolerant, don’t even pay attention to such issue.

"Microsoft has happily soldiered on for over thirty years not allowing SS and FF between two tasks and they have over 90% of the market. What does that tell you?"

This tells me that it satisfies most people needs for Gantt chart software and not the more sophisticated Precedence Scheduling software. Some of us have more sophisticated needs, I do not need a fancy Gantt chart software I do need the more sophisticated precedence scheduling software. For Gantt Charts I prefer Excel spreadsheets.

"Microsoft in the form of their top guru in Project tells me that according to their research about 80 to 90 % of projects are run simply using Excel spreadsheets."

This tells me a lot about why Microsoft has no interest at all in what serious precedence scheduling is about, judging from how slow (over thirty years ! ) they have been at adopting many missing PDM functionality in their product and this comment from one of their so called Gurus. Seems like they are more interested in that 90% than in the rest 10%, the rest of us.

"It is great pity that none of you are actually reading what I am saying about Total Float and the fact that as a Planner and Scheduler you should be working hard to provide the best solution to deliver your clients needs."

I read what you said about total float is just I completely disagree with you, about the fact that as a Planner and Scheduler you should be working hard to provide the best solution to deliver your clients needs I completely agree, so I have no comment in this regard.

Goodbye,

Rafael
Raphael M. Dua
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Rafael

As an Australian born Italian-German; speaking English as a third language, I am afraid I don’t quite understand what your post 226 is meant to mean.

Sugar Gliders are left in the wild here in Australia, but I believe prople in the Americas tend to keep them as household pets, so what do you mean by your reference?

Sometimes I find it quite amusing in trying to figure out what some of the various folk who type faster than their brain operates in English mean in their posts.

Also

1) I don’t like being called Ralph, because it is an English name, not a diminutive of Raphael, you can spell Raf as Raph, because mostly my American cousins do, but then they speak English-US

2) Calling somebody a "dingo" in Australia is actually an insult

It is great pity that none of you are actually reading what I am saying about Total Float and the fact that as a Planner and Scheduler you should be working hard to provide the best solution to deliver your clients needs.

It is not about software, unless like me you are actually teaching a degree course at University where all these wonderous way of calculating have to be taught.

If you are a believer of PDM, you will know that there are four precedence link types.

Microsoft has happily soldiered on for over thirty years not allowing SS and FF between two tasks and they have over 90% of the market.

What does that tell you?

Microsoft in the form of their top guru in Project tells me that according to their research about 80 to 90 % of projects are run simply using Excel spreadsheets.

BTW, it is going to be almost 40C here in NSW today, I have many critical task to carry out before our Christmas shutdown, the moment the temperature hits 38.6C, under our OH&S rules the workers will stop work.

I haven’t even considered any float values, because I will have to shuffle the work around tomorrow and Saturday to ensure the tasks which have been resource scheduled to occur, and perhaps don’t because of the heat do get completed by end Saturday.

Now I have better things to do with my limited time as I have six big projects on the go in three countries and I will now drop off this posting and ensure my clients continue value me in providing the schedules required.

Goodbye

Raf (the Elder) :-)
Rafael Davila
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Vladimir,

I already synchronized my first updating of two versions, in order to do so I had to define the second version twice but it worked at a click of a mouse.

I still got to do some exploring into this functionality to get used to it and understand how update version numbers are kept into sync.

Up to now a piece of cake, is a matter of getting used to it in order to fly with it.


In a couple of days I should be exploring Risk Analysis and Success Probability, at first glance does not seems like a piece of cake and wonder if my clients will be interested on getting into this.

Best regards,
Rafael
Rafael Davila
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Anoon,

In my posting #205 I made a reference to a 2 activities schedule most CPM packages cannot handle, because this topic have become so large I migh have not included here but at another thread.

So here it is:

Schedule a 2 activities network, not tied one to each other by precedence logic but sharing a limited resource.

For example:

Activity A – 5 days
Activity B - 5 days
Both activities demanding one unit of Resource A, of which only one unit is available.

Most software under resource leveling will schedule A and B at different time, the first one depending on your priorities selection. This is ok up to this point, but the problem is most will show float of 5 days on the first activity while a delay in this activity will delay the completion of your schedule.

Imagine that you as a Project Manager look at the available float as per your CPM schedule and start paying attention to those shown as critical and even start moving resources from those showing some float as to keep under control those showing no float. Because most software under resource constrained schedule will show the wrong float for resource critical activities you most probably will end up moving resources precisely from the wrong activities. You either will discover too late it was wrong or start doubting about the CPM float display. Well better start doubting about the CPM float display and either buy a glass ball or software capable of showing resource critical float.

Anoon, just schedule it by yourself the sample 2 activities job. I used to call it abominable error and science all software developers are aware of this it cannot be called an error nor an omission, from now on I will call it an ABOMINABLE LIE.

Best regards,
Rafael
Augustin Purnus
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Hi Anoon,

If I may, I will give you an answer to your question. I see Vladimir already did it.

I’ll quote Earl Glenwright (he was quoted before by Raf) from a presentation made in June 2005 at AACEi, “Issues & Controversies”:

“NO RESOURCES = NO VALID SCHEDULE ! “

There is a very interesting interview gave by Jim O’Brian in the PMI COS website (http://www.pmicos.org/jointerview.asp) about the history of CPM.

The questions put firstly were: how to organize the project activities ? in what sequence ? how much time will take them ? which activities are more important than the other ? … and so on. And the result was the Critical Path: critical and non-critical activities, free float and total float. But the focus was only on activities without taking into account if there are or not enough resources. Do not forget what the social, political and economical context was when CPM was developed.

So, in this approach, the activities are those who consumes (need) resources, no matter if the resources are available to do them.

This kind of project model worked for a while, but mainly in very organized, based on a chain of command environment similar to the army.

Later on they asked what will happen if there are not enough resources. It is interesting that Dan Trietsch from University of Auckland revealed in a paper published in 2003 - “Why a Critical Path by Any Other Name Would Smell Less Sweet? Towards a Holistic Approach to PERT/CPM” that Russian mathematicians had made deep researches during ’60 years in what we call the scientific work organization. I have a great admiration on Russian mathematicians as time as I learned from their work.

Coming back to the subject. In the lets’ call new approach, the resources are those who made possible the activities deliverables. If you don’t have the available qualified resources, you will not get the deliverables from a certain activity. In this approach the focus is on resources. The real life shows us this. So, if resources does not have float (because of their calendar and availability), than the activity to whom they are assigned are called “resource critical activity”. The sequence of such activities it is called “resource critical path”.

Why is more realistic such a schedule ? Because … What happen if you don’t have the right people and equipment in the right time ? What happen if you don’t have a certain material at the right moment to be used in an activity ? But most of all, what happen if you don’t have enough money at the right moment to pay for people, equipment and materials ? And the answer is not: I have float.

The usual feeling a Project Manager has is the frustration. He is responsible to do something with almost nothing. I suppose Raf will confirm this feeling.

So, planning is about future. And the future can have different faces, or you can think that there are many possible futures. From all of them, you are interested in only one. And try to bring that future into current reality. Spider just help you to foresee different aspects might affect your commitment.

And come back to Earl: No resources = No valid schedule !

Best regards,

Augustin
Anoon Iimos
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Vladimir,

How do you, or how do Spider define critical activites?

Is it from the task’s floats, or from the resource floats?

What if your schedule is not resource loaded?

Can you just rely on the task’s floats to determine criticalities?

cheers
Yes,
it depends on resource availabilities and calendars.
Look at slides 29 - 33 in the following presentation:
http://www.spiderproject.ru/library/london.ppt#292,29,Assignment floats
Best Regards,
Vladimir
Anoon Iimos
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Hi Vladimir,

I’m not good in math, but here I supposed you’ll only use a little plus (+) and a little (-), and a combination of calendars, with days and hours.

I just cannot think of a reason why what you called an "assignment float" (do you mean resource float?)may differ from the activity floats, when the resource is to be assigned to the activity?

Do you mean because of the availability of the resource(s)?

Best regards
Rafael Davila
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Start floats and Finish floats may be different especially under activity splitting and/or resource constraining. The other occasion I can think of is when updating changes the original duration of activities that originally had same Start floats and Finish floats.

Float might be tricky but very useful to the extent Contracts in USA make reference to it. Unfortunately some (shall I say many) CPM software fall short of updating their computation of float in agreement with the functionalities available after “old” CPM which in its beginning did not included resource leveling and not to mention other real life constraints.
Hi Anoon,
I should add that there are Start floats and Finish floats.
Start Float shows the potential delay of activity start and Finish float will show the potential delay of activity finish.
They may be different.

In Spider Project you can also find assignment floats that may differ from floats of those activities where resources were assigned.

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Anoon Iimos
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Hi "elder Raf",

Yes, I believe when you said that Total Float is a chain, and it seems decreasing from a higher value or units (in the early activities), and maybe it can become zero when it reaches the end or the last part of the activities.

What really drives the movements of floats? Is it plainly from the relationships as defined? So that only FS relationship will show the real value of float?

Best regards

Rafael Davila
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Raphael,

“These were originally derrived from arrow diagrams, you cannot correctly calculate them in Precedence.” – a quote from your posting.

Arrow diagrams should never die, Micro Planner is the only software I know provides you with this functionality and although I prefer to work with precedence diagrams the comparison between the two methods shall be available forever, it is not a rarity it is valid mathematical computations.

I hope eventually Spider Project gets its own forum category and believe that same as Tilos also Micro Planner should have its own forum category I will follow as to keep watch on the difference between the two methods. And yes I know Micro Planner can handle both methods.

I am not rallying for Micro Planner because two new categories at the same time might be too much for PP, but believe the beauty of PP is about options. A small space on the screen for Spider and Micro-P will do no harm, on the contrary.

Best regards,
Rafael
Anoon,
of course critical activities are defined as those that have their total floats less than some specified value, usually zero.

When the schedule is not resource loaded then activity floats are defined by the network logic and target dates.

When resources are loaded then activity floats are defined not only by network logic and imposed dates but also by resource availability.

If supplies are restricted then it shall be taken into consideration too.

And of course activities may be delayed due to money shortage.

So real feasible activity floats shall be calculated considering all these constraints.

AOA and AON - just different presentations of the same networks. Floats do not depend on the way the network is shown.

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Free float have those activities that can be delayed without delaying any successor. So an activity can have large total float but zero free float because it has the successor and the link to this successor is driving. Delaying an activity with free float we will also delay succeding activities but it does not mean that the project finish or other target date will be postponed if the delay is less than this activity total float. Total float shows what delay of the activity execution will not cause the delay of any project target. It may mean that not only this activity but also its successors and activities that use the same resources will be delayed but still the project will be on time. Best Regards, Vladimir
Raphael M. Dua
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Oh Dear Anoon

I did not say to ignore Floats, you misquote me

If you had read my posting properly you would have noted that there was a quote at the top of the article and unquote at the end of the article, which was the work of a third person, Glen with whom I in the main in agreement

The example is rather savage and not helpful in this utter waste of time re Float.
There are two free floats, one is called Early Free Float and the Other is Late Free Float
These were originally derrived from arrow diagrams, you cannot correctly calculate them in Precedence

If a task has as you say 100 units of TF but Zero Free Float, then you cannot delay the task because if you do you will delay tasks futher down the float chain, as there is a link coming from this task which is critical

All of you seem to think that float or what ever is tasked based.

Total Float is a value shared along a chain of tasks with that same value. So if the first task with TF of 20 is not delayed then the second and or successive tasks may be delayed by 20, If the second task is delayed by 10, then the rest of the chain now only has 10 units of float to share.

If you used Arrow Diagrams none of you would have this bother as the Arrow diagram is fundementally clear.
Read Patrick Weaver’s paper on Float in Octobers PM World today e-magazine, which caused Glen to make his statement.

It would appear that all of you have nothing better to do than argue over a very trivial matter.

You are not serving your clients very well as you should be Planning and Scheduling the project in hand.

Obviously the folk in other countries appear to be able to estimate 100% accurately task durations ever time all the time. Which might make the float value meaningful

You obviously do not understand ’Statistical Deviation, which is generally accepted as being plus or minus three percent of the answer.

So Total Float really is quite meaningless, especially after resource scheduling.

Once the algortithm has allocated the resource for the task to use between the start and finish dates, there can NEVER be a time when you as the individual can come along unilaterally as say "OH, thers’s two days Total Float left I think I will delay the task for that time.

Because now, you have completely STUFFED up the resource allocation.

Frankly I do not care what one bit or another software package does, my job is to ensure I deliver my clients the project ON TIME and ON budget.

Nothing more, nothing less.

If you think carrying on about about float does that then you are quite mistaken.

By the way I manage a fair number of my under $1 million projects by hand, don’t need a computer,..... oh woe is me, what has happened to my Total Float :-)

By the way,again, Hot of the press, If you want to understand about AOA or AON read Dennis Lock’s new book on "Aviation Project Management" By Triant G. Flouris, Dennis Lock

You most definitely will learn something from the even older master than me.

Raf
Anoon Iimos
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Hi Vladimir,

You mentioned about floats, do you mean in general? Because I supposed there are "Free Floats" and "Total Floats", what if the two differs for the same activity?

For example: an activity (or all the activities) has zero free float but at the same time it shows 100 days total float (for some activities - if not all). What does it mean? How an activity with zero free float, but with 100 days total float will impact the schedule once it is delayed?

Or shall I believe the "elder Raf" to just forget about floats?

Best Regards
Hi Rafael,

these versions can have any names but in the risk analysis dialog they shall be selected as optimistic, most probable and pessimistic. If this was done they will be updated together when actual data were entered.
Actual data will be the same in all three scenarios.
If you want to hide anything create the structure that is not full (exclude activities and phases that shall be hidden). You will get all necessary reports for this WBS.

Besides in the Users Access rights options you can define what structures can be seen by selected users. So even with electronic copy hidden activities will not be shown for unauthorised people. Later you can include back any of hidden activities.

Official schedule shall be pessimistic. It is necessary to have contingency and management reserves and to make some profit.

But it is user choice. For the Client it may be probable version, or critical schedule that may be achieved with the specified probability.

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Rafael Davila
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To all,

In my prior posting, "Activity 1 and Activity B cannot happen at the same time." Shall read, Activities 1, 2 and 4 cannot happen all at the same time.

Vladimir,

I will get into some modeling for 3 versions of the same job soon and wonder if they necessarily have to be named optimistic, probable and pessimistic. I have not explored this functionality yet.

You already know we have a need to model the official schedule that will always be missing some activities until a change is approved, and our version that includes those new activities, already in progress but not allowed to be shown in the official CPM. This because of legal implications, here the interpretation of the law complicates things.

Transferring updating data from one version to the other is time consuming and error prone, this Spider functionality can be very useful.

Best regards,
Rafael
Float is the management tool.

It shows what activity delay will endanger achieving project targets taking into account ALL project constraints.
It is necessary for management decisions, at least it is nice to know.
It does not mean that it shall be known to everybody involved in the project execution.

Many Spider Project users create three project schedules:
Optimistic for subcontractors and own crews that do the work,
Probable for themselves,
Pessimistic or Contractual for the Client reporting.

These schedules may differ in activity duration and cost estimates, they can even include different events and tasks.
If actual data were entered in one of these schedules Spider Project updates all of them. So the user always has three synchronized scenarios of project model.

So we think that not only floats shall not be used by those who perform project works but also activity durations and costs that include contingency reserves.

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Rafael Davila
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Ralph,

You are good, but no sugar glider, in any case a dingo. Being in project management for many years you cannot be a prima dona, you can get a beating and get out of it as if nothing happened.

Your differing point of view, coming from a beautiful mind just add value to the debate.

Vladimir,

If you want I can hold him while you beat him.

Ronal Winter is a Primavera Partner so he might not join the discussion, though it would be great.

Unfortunately Primavera bought P3 and did not have these minds into their team to get P3 where it was supposed. P3 never fully realized the change from CPM to the more advanced precedence functionality.

I understand resource float must consider limit of concurrent use of resource float, look at the following example, Activity 1 and Activity B cannot happen at the same time, therefore resource float for both activities cannot be equal. Consider available quantity for Resource A = 3ea and that the only precedence link is FS between activities 3 and 4.

RCF

Best regards,
Rafael
Raphael M. Dua
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OOPs
That should say ’The rest" shines ...

Raf
Raphael M. Dua
User offline. Last seen 6 weeks 4 days ago. Offline
Raf - the Younger

Well I am more hair challenge than you in that case
I have thirty % Grey and the shines in the dark

:-)

Gave up the moustache ten years ago

Raf - the Elder
Rafael Davila
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Ralph,

As you know I always liked Micro Planner, and agree with you about the need for better resource allocation algorithms, believe you are a pioneer in the practical application of these.

I also agree with your hands down approach to project management. We never disclose float to our subcontractors and not even to our crews, the problem is with the Project Manager that have access to float values as shown by the software. Therefore I have some need for it to be better than what most software shows.

Yes we understand it varies with time, varies with the specific resource leveling algorithm, I have no problem with this. Well for some reason someone called it Phantom Float. I still believe Spider is correct, is better than showing no float computation but those who cannot compute float as limited by the driving constraints, other than precedence logic should not show it at all, they are misleading the client while Spider alerts the client on the interpretation of float.

About the elder one, I have 80% grey hair, 10% white hair and 10% no hair, my moustache makes up the missing 10%.

Keep debating; it is always good to hear from you.

Best regards,
Rafael
Hi Raf,
Earl wrote: We all know that ’float’ is a mathematical result of the unrestrained analysis of the activity network.

I agree with Earl that unrestrained analysis is useless and Rafael thinks the same.

Thank you for the good wishes, but here it is 1:21am and I will go back to work tomorrow morning.

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Raphael M. Dua
User offline. Last seen 6 weeks 4 days ago. Offline
Micro Planner’s Resource Algorithm will when a resource runs out select from a specified group of resource where each has a (what I call a weighting) and select the most approriate resource to do the task. so if I am short of a Senior Computer Programmer who does their work at a 100% and I have available a senior Systems person who is very experienced and say twice as good, Micro Planner will the halve the time or quantity required.
You are to hung up on Float
According to Earl Glenright who is well known in the states
Who responded to an article on Float he says
Quote
In Response to the article in the November 2009 PM World Today by Pat Weaver explaining the various types of activity ‘float’
20 November 2009

Dear Editor,

Float ??? Who cares ?

Here’s another point of view - mine !

I don’t think this treatise on calculating float enlightens anyone and may compromise their understanding and add to their confusion.

What does it matter what kind or how much ’float’ there is?

Once the scheduling phase is complete, there should not be any references to ’float’. Telling anyone on the project, including owners, that they have ’float’ is opening Pandora’s Box for chaos.

A baseline schedule is THE schedule of the work plan. It can not ’float’ !
If the performers of the work think they can ’float’ their work, soon all activities are ’critical’!

And instead of sharing ’float’ the managers of the earliest activities will use all they can get.

We all know that ’float’ is a mathematical result of the unrestrained analysis of the activity network. We also know that it is used in the scheduling process to schedule peak resource demands into lower periods of demand by ’floating’ the less critical activities.
Once the schedule is set, ’float’ has no intrinsic value. In fact, incorrectly declaring that there is ’float’ is misleading and subjects the planned work schedule to disruption during execution.

A simple example:

3 subcontractors are told they have ’float’ or ’Total Float’ days for their work. Now suppose each of them applies this ’float’ to scheduling their work. When their work plan is integrated with the parent work plan, a hiatus results. But you told me I had ’float’ and here it is shown on the printout of the schedule.

The restriction of links to only F-S is becoming more frequent in scheduling specifications.

Why? Because bad experience leads to good judgment.

Actually the S-S and F-F links are attempts to schedule the work even before resources are considered. I do acknowledge that correcting logic-links is easier in PDM than ADM. (note that I said ’correcting’)

In conclusion, messing around with ’float’ in any of its variations is diverting management from the real world. ’Float’ is in a fantasy world.

Speaking of diverting attention, there is an Eastern Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania Dutch)
saying that is very applicable to the misunderstanding and use of ‘float’

"As you travel on thru life brother
Whatever be your goal,
Keep your eye upon the donut
And not upon the hole"

And so it is with ‘float’. Keep your eye on the work plan and schedule, not the ‘float’

Earl Glenwright, PE, PSP
Colorado, USA

UNquote

There you have it, now it must be time for Rafael and Vladimir to go back to work and find something else to talk about

Raf (the elder one :-) )
Rafael Davila
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Agustin,

Welcome, I am working on my own sample jobs using Spider resource leveling, the most basic Spider algorithm give me better results than Primavera, I even had to fool Spider using priorities to mimic bad resource leveling by Primavera SureTrak to show how bad it is at showing float after resource leveling.

I just simply cannot understand how you can use the resource constraining functionality available in the other software as they will give you wrong float. The natural reaction for a project manager will be to believe available float as shown in these software is correct. They will be making the incorrect choices.

Tell me how it is possible there is no panic with these other software when it is so simple to understand?

Hope you add value to the discussion, common sense tells me that at some point others will realize how ahead Spider is.

I am not to wait, keep following this thread and show me your tricks, this is just starting to get better.

About risk analysis I am still hooked on Monte Carlo, from my collegue days back in the 70’s, but Vladimir has a point about how the practical results are when compared to Spider approach, sensitivity analysis is a concept I understand and willing to accept if Spider approach is equivalent and more efficient. No sientific theory just a few practical examples will be enough. But keep in mind this is still kind of high level analysis for the everyday job.

Best regards,
Rafael
Augustin Purnus
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Hi Rafael,
I am working with Spider Project for 5 years after I worked more than 10 years with MS Project and Primavera on all versions. I found extremely useful the use of resource skills. It is one of the major features (among many other) who allow you to organize better the resources and to get a feasible plan after resource constrained scheduling. Because other PM software does not use such an approach, Spider will give a project duration shorter than the duration computed with the other software. And if you combine this feature with the variable resource quantity or workload, you will get surprising results. However, this is not enough. You still need to perform the project risk analysis.
Best regards,
Augustin
Rafael Davila
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Vladimir,

No, I do not know of other scheduling software that includes skill scheduling for resources with different productivities.

I am not surprised Spider is the only one; as a matter of fact it was my suspicion, just look at my posting #213.

Best regards,
Rafael
Hi Rafael,
please inform me if you know other scheduling software that includes skill scheduling for resources with different productivities.

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Rafael Davila
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BACKUP ALL YOUR DATA FILES, REMEMBER NOT ALL FILES ARE STORED UNDER MY DOCUMENTS

WILL KEEP IN TOUCH

In Spider Project:

Resources and/or multi-resources are organized as resource skills in case they can be assigned to the activity execution as alternatives even with different productivities, costs and other characteristics. When a resource skill is assigned to the activity execution, total quantity (or productivity) of comprising resources (and/or multi-resources) is specified.

Spider Project automatically selects resources (or multi-resources) to be assigned to activity in order to fulfill all restrictions. User preset priorities of resources (multi-resources) are also taken into consideration: resources (multi-resources) with lower priority will be assigned to the activity execution in case they are only available in the required time period.

It is great functionality that allows you to replace or interchange similar resources as needed. The best way to understand it is by exploring its application using a sample job. Because Primavera SureTrak does not have this functionality it is kind of new to me. Spider is not the only software with this functionality, in the application of it is where the software might differ.

Best regards,
Rafael
Anoon Iimos
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Hi Rafael,

I supposed this "Skills Functionality" refers to the "Unsual Efforts" that you may use if you find that your Contract time or duration is not reasonable.

i’m sorry my monitor is blinking...

Rafael Davila
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Posts: 4794
Thanks Vladimir,

I am not used to the skills functionality, although I heard about it before it is kind of new to me having software capable of modeling skills. I wonder if the other few that can model skills can do it so elegantly, especially with regards to productivity and with regard to the option to choose assignment by number or by total production rate.

Next week I will take my time to copy and paste into a text document a selection of your answers for my future reference.

Best regards,
Rafael
Rafael,
to simulate this create Skill Backhoe and add to this Skill all Backhoes that are available.
Assign to activity not specific Backhoe but this skill.
All Backhoes may have different productivities and you have a choice:
1) To specify the number of Backhoes that shall be assigned,
2) To specify total productivity of all Backhoes that shall be assigned.
You can also define the priorities of Backhoes for this specific assignment, and overall priority for selecting resources from Skills like minimal cost or minimal duration.

The software will select available Backhoes basing on defined priorities (one of Type A or two of type B as an example).

This is the usual situation in many projects with earth moving works. Companies have different machines (Caterpillars, Komatsu, etc.) with different productivities and costs. Manual assignment is complicated. Assigning Caterpillar one cannot be sure that two or more tasks will not require this machine simultaneously while Komatsu stands idle.

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Rafael Davila
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Vladimir,

When scheduling for heavy construction your interchangeable resources, will be selected based on availability, these in turn might have different productivities that depending on the selected resource(s) will drive the activity duration.

Suppose I have 3 backhoes each with different production rates but interchangeable within my construction activities. I cannot model this in Primavera P3/SureTrak, can Spider Project do that? How?

And what about this one, Backhoe type A must be interchanged with 2ea Backhoes type B and these in combination will produce 20% more than type A.

Although I am more into Building Construction I believe a good model for this kind of situations got to be useful to the Heavy Construction PM, especially when suddenly a few pieces of equipment break and he has to redistribute the remaining.

Best regards,
Rafael
Hi Mike,
паук is the right word.

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Mike Testro
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Posts: 4397
Hi Vladimir

Which of these is the true russian spider?

паук

кровопийца

таган

звезда (коллектора)

крестовина

Best regards

Mike Testro
Yes, Rafael,
you are right. But unfortunately Spider Project is used for building other kind of ships that are shown at the title slide of this presentation: http://www.spiderproject.ru/library/eng/Programs%20in%20Russia.ppt
At this slide we put the pictures of various projects that are managed with Spider Project help.

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Rafael Davila
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Vladimir,

The following job seems like a perfect fit for Spider Project where optimum resource leveling and scheduling for several work shifts are the call of the day. Of course the modeling of limited work space using special resource types available in Spider Project are a must have.

Oasis of the Seas

Best regards,
Rafael
spider
Rafael.
conditional links with just Yes or No switch are available now. The next step - to introduce more complex conditions based on formulaes and other options. We will increase the number of options very soon.
We will also soon suggest "to summarize" the schedule - analogue of Level 1, 2, 3, etc. schedules. In summarized schedule the phases will be transformed into activities that remember the distributions of resource, cost and material requirements. This is under development and will be available soon. Of course this will be only an approximation of the detailed schedule. But sufficient for submitting to the Client.

I agree that wrong float is worse than lack of float calculation. I talked about this at my presentations at IPMA Congress in Paris and PMI Conference in Boston in 1996 but nothing changed since then. In Boston I also talked about Resource Critical Path calculation. Also nothing changed except Critical Chain was invented in 1997.

Best Regards,
Vladimir

Rafael Davila
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Vladimir,

This feature will be welcomed but I cannot wait to see conditional relationships, this is going to be something out of the ordinary.

Did you noticed my 2 activities sample job no other software can give you the right float under resource leveling. I just simply cannot understand why others don’t get how important it is. Is like they never worked on the side of a Project Manager that looks at the CPM in search of available float to manage his schedule. With the wrong float under resource leveling you are misled.

Software that cannot provide you with true float under resource constraining should show nothing or at least a warning telling you that the shown floats cannot be trusted. They are misleading the user; probably they should be liable as this is a negligent omission they are aware of.

Best regards,
Rafael