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]
Hi Scarllet,
additional data on Saint Peterburg Gazprom tower that local people call gazscraper.
Recent sociological study confirmed that only 20% of SPb citizens approve this construction. It is still unclear if this construction will happen.
By other sources Gazprom plans to use foreign company as General Contractor.
In any case this project will not start soon.
Best Regards,
Vladimir
Rafael Davila
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Posts: 4678
Raf,

In my comparison for resource leveling between SureTrak and Spider I came out with a solution without doing anything to the software, It was from a file supplied by Vladimir still to make sure no options were previously set by Vladimir. You can download the files from the link I posted under post #82. The settings for my SureTrak run were the software default.

I also have pending the issue on true laddering as I want to compare this functionality in Micro Planner against Spider Project. I also understand that your software have the functionality for longest path on individual activities.

In my opinion the following relevant functionalities set apart any software from the rest of the pack:

1-Resource Critical Path
2-Longest Path
3-Good resource leveling/constaining algorithms as they may make a huge differnce.

There are other intermediate functionalities like Laddering –on average a 10% of my construction activities, Consumable Resources, DRAG, Buffers, Monte Carlo embedded in the software and a few others.

The above are functionalities not available in any Primavera Product, so they belong to the third group, at the very bottom. It was a surprise to learn Primavera lacks good resource leveling/constaining algorithms.

I will latter investigate Micro Planner Demo as I used before the Mac version of the software and loved it.

Vladimir cannot accept I am still using Suretrak, I keep saying him, I use it because I am required to do so, not because of my choice. I fear I will end using MS Project as no contractor I know is willing to use P6, they rather use MS Project, a software I do not classify into any of the CPM Groups but under a Quasi-CPM (or Almost-CPM) classification.

Vladimir,

“DRAG shows how project duration will change if activity duration will become zero.” - Vladimir you said before that your English is not so good, but you have a way to simplify things and make it easier to understand, thanks. Remember I am still not able to use this functionality with the demo software, why? What am I doing wrong?

About creating separate project for activities that are proceeding I copied the text into a word file to latter do it myself, seems like what I was looking for, thanks again.

Best regards,
Rafael
Hi Rafael, Yes, you are right about DRAG. DRAG, suggested by Stephen Devaux, shows how project duration will change if activity duration will become zero. Now about creating separate project for activities that are preceding, succeeding or connected with selected. Right click on some activity bar or the number of the row and select an option Filter/All Preceding Activities. Then select Project/WBS in the Menu bar and then Copy Filtered/Switch To. Now you see the subproject that consists only of those activities that precede selected activity. Now you have options – you may want to create new project consisting of filtered activities with existing WBS or just filtered activities only. In the first case select Gantt/Options in the Menu bar and Expand to: Level 2. Then right clicking on Project bar or the first row number, select New Phase/One Level Lower (it can be done also by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Ins after clicking on project row). Select all other phases (with Shift and Down arrow) and Cut them (an option in menu that will appear if you will right click on any selected row number or just Ctrl+C). Then return to the new phase row, right click and select Paste/One level lower. Then again right click on the new phase row number and select Copy Phase As New Project. In the second case select Gantt/Options in the Menu bar and hide phases. Select all activities with Shift and Down arrow. Right click on any row number and select Convert to Phase. Now return to Gantt/Options and uncheck Hide Phases. Then right click on the created phase row number and select Copy Phase As New Project. Now you can work with this subproject as you like and then submit all changes that may be done to the initial project if necessary. Best Regards, Vladimir
Raphael M. Dua
User offline. Last seen 4 weeks 3 days ago. Offline
Rafael

I am very interested in the resource scheduler esults you are getting from Spider, what I would like to know are you having to manipulate a whole series of switches and parameters to drive the schedule?

Shades of P3 and P6

Or are you getting a decent result straight out of the box. By that I mean the settings supplied by Spider are such that they provide an optimum answer (solution) without you doing anything to the software, other than the few minor choices you NEED to make to derive your answer

Raf
Rafael Davila
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Posts: 4678
Vladimir,

Something got mixed while editing my prior posting, hope you don’t mind, sorry.

Anoon

I had a very good experience with Micro Planner for the MAC is software worth considering. It is good somewhere else people didn’t got hooked on Primavera. The obsession with Primavera in the USA is backfiring at us, the end user.

Best regards,
Rafael
Rafael Davila
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Posts: 4678
Vladimir, What is DRAG and how it is used? In the Demo help could not find it, I can select it at the Calculations Options but does not holds. Somewhere I read that DRAG stands for the amount of time a critical activity can be reduced while at the same time the job duration is reduced by the same amount before other subcritical path get into its way. I also want to investigate on how to get longest path to a selected activity; you had a suggestion before but I need the details. As per your posting #11 on this thread: “You can consider the set of activities that precede current activity as the separate project with its own critical path, DRAG values, etc.” "With its own critical path", yes this is what I understand for longest path. This is a Soccer game with low scores, not basketball. After first half Spider Project 3 big goals, Primavera SureTrak 0. By big goals I mean: 1-Substantially superior resource leveling algorithms. 2-The ability to show true critical path and float under resource constraining, something Primavera SureTrak cannot dream of. 3-Material Resources, I call consumable resources, with a functionality that goes far beyond accounting for Materials but other resources such as space. Functionality not available in SureTrak. Sorry but the superior ease of use by Spider Project and many other will not count as a goal. The scaling bar for the screen layout and print layout is quite good but keep it out. Best regards, Rafael
Raphael M. Dua
User offline. Last seen 4 weeks 3 days ago. Offline
Vladimir

Download a copy of Micro Planner from our UK web page
www.microplanning.co.uk

RE my comment re using the float is that once you have had the program allocate the resource on the Resource Start Date and Finish on the Resource Finish Date, if you unilaterally decide to not perform the task at those dates because there is Remaining Total Float ( a name which has been in use since 1963, when we invented it at ICT/ICL, so it is not surprising you may not have heard of it) You will now cause a problem with the resources, because they were allocated, lets say between day 6 until day 9 on task 2, all the remaining resource at the those times has been allocated to the other tasks which occur at that same time.
So two things may occur, you now waste the resource because you do not execute the allocated task and you could have done some other task which could have been allocated, but because it is lower down the scheduling queue it was delayed because it had Total Float.

If you say well you do not mind delaying an already Resource Scheduled Task, then wehy run Resource Scheduling.

Micro Planner allows the user to schedule resources in such a way that the Deadline (ie the Critical Path is maintained as no task is ever delayed once it has run out of Total Float, so the task MUST be scheduled even if it causes an overload.
The alternative is your project is in the middle of Russia somewhere, where there is not sufficient resources avcailable to waste, so you are Resource Limited. Thus if a task does not get scheduled because there is no more resource, and it is critical, it will be delayed.

TRhe whole point of resource scheduling is to ensure you can performed all or nearly all the work required using a specific number or variable number of resources. So we get either overloads which means you know exactly how much more resource your require, or because you are stuck in the middle of Russia for example, how long the project will be delayed because of the shortage of one or more trades.

It was very popular several years ago to have multi skilled tradesmen. now in X-Pert we can use group resources which can be allocated and any one who is free at the time can be allocated.

Unfortunately or Hooray, MSP is absolutley hopeless at Resource Scheduling and consultants make a very good living fiddling and manipulating the data to try and force a result

Total Float is defined as the amount of time you can delay a task without delaying the project thats all.

Use of constraints causes all sorts of other mathmatical problems in MSP.

Primavera 3 and 6 are not exactly the worlds best at Resourcing either especially when SS and FF get used between tasks, but then thats another story

When you download Micro Planner remember our paradigm is to create all our data in a critical path, we do not use a Gantt as input because a Gantt is output and was defined so back in 1964, and the reasons haven’t changed, just an increase in bad software :-)

Oops nearly forgot there is a Quikstart pdf manual built in to the downlaod which will get you going, enjoy

Raf
Rafael Davila
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Posts: 4678
Vladimir,

Finally I can see true critical path:

In Spider Project true float is shown for those resource critical activities, a continuous path is shown.

aaa spider

In SureTrak only one activity is shown as critical, float means nothing and critical path is not continuous. If I filter for critical path only one activity will be shown on a discontinuous path.

aaa suretrak
note: all activities initially in parallel, no logic connection in between activities.

Working without true critical path does not make sense.

Best regards,
Rafael
Raphael M. Dua
User offline. Last seen 4 weeks 3 days ago. Offline
Anoon

It just so happens that there are two of us with the same initials

I would suspect that there are several hundred in Planning Planet with the same initials.

I am an Australian of Italian parentage and the proper spelling of mu Christian name is Raffaelle.
Far to complicated for out Anglo Saxon friends who converted it to Raphael. I could not care less as most Italians Raphaels use ph (as did the Painter)
and the Spanish Rafaels use the F

I own Micro Planning International Asia Pacific as well as interests in the US and UK and German companies we have been going for over thirty years (started in June 1978) We write Project Management software which works and doesn’t cause the heated debates most other products seem too.
Better than that we also offer a first clsss support service to our clients, so in the unlikely case of our software not performing, we fix it and / or supply work arounds.

I am not claiming my software does everything that everybody else claims they can.

We do what we do extremely well and most importantly we meet the arithmetic criteria originally created by Kelly and Walker.

If you are such a sceptic, why don’t you try it.

The other Rafael was one of our original Macintosh users, and as we find when they have to use another product, they get frustrated at the inability of the software they have to use to produce the correct result without the hassles that X-Pert for Windows allows you to do.

Raf
Alexandre Faulx-B...
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Hi Rafael,
how can you insert a picture in your message the way you do?
muchissimas gracias por ayudar
alejandro de argel
Anoon Iimos
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I’m confused with the two Mr. Rafs (Rafael and Raphael with the same last initial as "D."), I suspect they are one.

Anyway, if you want to ask me what a HOLE means? For me,
it means: Having-an-Organized Level-of-Experience (or it can be "Energy" (for the not too old); and "Efforts" for those who are actually working).

As you have said, Life is not Simple, but who is complicating it?

Now, if you will combine the three principles (very simple principles), the KISS (which for Mr. Dua is the only way); the ASS (application-of-systematic strategy - if you might forget) and the HOLE (as defined above), Isn’t it very easy to understand?

now, if you don’t mind...still very busy

cheers!
Hi Scarllet,

No. this project is not ours and I don’t think that will be.

Among the projects that are managed with the Spider in Russia now:
- Preparation of Olympic Games in Sochi 2014 (248 construction projects, budget is much more that $20bln),
- Development of Russian Pacific Area and Preparation of the Asia-Pacific Summit in 2012 (more than 50 construction project, $12 bln),
- Preparation of 2013 World Student Games in Kazan (more than 50 projects, budget is still unclear),
- construction of Trans-Siberian highways (more than 5000km),
- construction of Boguchan Dam and hydropower plant ($5bln),
- a lot more is in the list, actually almost all large programs in Russia.

But for some reasons Gasprom is not among our clients and this tower will be constructed by Gasprom.

By the way this project did not start yet and caused a lot of protests in Saint Peterburg. It is like skyscraper besides Louvre. I would not be proud if Spider will be used in it.

And of course Primavera and MS Project have Russian distributors that try to compete with Spider Project and I like it.

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Scarllet Pimpernel
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Posts: 152
Vladimir,

The greatest challenge to Spider is the user. There is a tallest tower under construction in St. Petersbergs.

I did search the internet and I noticed job posting for building construction in Russia. But it also require the planner to have skils in Primavera.

Question:

Is Spider the project management software for the Tallest Tower in Russia and whole of Europe?

Thank you,
Scarlett
Raphael M. Dua
User offline. Last seen 4 weeks 3 days ago. Offline
Anoon

Very Droll !
I haven’’t heard that for at least forty years

Raf
Rafael Davila
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To all,

I guess any software that does resource leveling do it for some reason, because real life has constraints, because there is a need for it, whether you like it or not. It is a fallacy you can reason with simple FS0 logic all constraints, some are there just because they are a contractual requirement, others are because of physical limitations. Life is not that simple.

Any software developer that stands for simple SF0 relationships and do not believe in resource leveling or other type of constraints shall limit themselves to what they preach. If your software cannot do better than the sample resource leveling job Spider Project provided, if this is too complicated for you, then you better start thinking about retirement.

In summary I got:

Without resource       ES 1-Apr-09 EF 7-Jul-09 DUR 98 days
leveling
Primavera SureTrak      ES 1-Apr-09 EF 30-Jul-09 DUR 121 days
resource leveling
Spider Project       ES 1-Apr-09 EF 9-Jul-09 DUR 100 days
resource leveling

The numbers speak by themselves, ten activities, two resources, and only FS0 relationships, very simple. Multi constraining at the minimum expression, two sets of constraints, logical relationships and available resources, what all software can handle but not as good as Spider Project. Of course Spider Project can handle constraining on additional sets of constraints, something no other commercial software can do.

spider sampl relationships

Best regards,
Rafael
Anoon Iimos
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KISS only works with an ASS, ASS means - Apply So-called System or Application of Systematic Strategy.

Now, you can all KISS my ASS!

cheers!
Hi Raphael,
thank you for joining this discussion.

As I wrote earlier different project stakeholders have different needs. At the Client position I will need less detailed schedules than in General Contractor position, in Subcontractor position I will need more detailed schedules than my General Contractor.

We are involved in management of construction projects at different positions. I agree with you that General Contractor usually does not manage subcontractor resources. But in my country General Contractor likes to know what number of people shall be involved in the construction work to finish on time, what main mechanisms and in what quantities shall be used by subcontractors, to be able to control the work and not just schedules.
It is also nice to have the estimate of future schedule and budget before the contract negotiations.

So at General Contractor position the schedules are usually prepared before the contract was signed and the crews include workers and machines without paying much attention to specific people skills. General Contractor can estimate the number of workers on site but does not know who of them is fixer, carpenter, brick layer, etc.
It is also nice to apply production norms to be able to require certain number of people and machines to be moved to the construction site. And good schedule is very helpful in contract negotiations.

When the contract is signed subcontractor submits the schedule that is based on his own estimates and availability of people and machinery to be used. And again it is vital to understand on what data the promised schedule is based, what productivities are used in duration estimates, if subcontractor schedule is reasonable and supported by necessary resource quantities.

For subcontractor the schedule is resource management tool. At this level the good schedule shall supply the management with the information necessary for assigning people and machines to do specific works, for supply management, for management costs and risk mitigation. And subcontractors simulate shift work, their crews include specific skills, not just workers, their durations are based on the real productivities of their resources, their budgets are based on the real costs of resources, etc. Subcontractors require detailed schedules that are based on the real data to be able to save money and to achieve contract goals with sufficient reliability.

In addition:
It is not rare when our General Contractors have three schedules (and budgets) of the same project - rather optimistic for own workforce and subcontractors, probable with contingency reserves for themselves and contractual for the Client. These schedules have different durations and budgets. Contractual schedule includes management reserves and is based on contract costs that include General Contractor profit.

And of course rolling wave planning is used in the long projects.

KISS is nice if you have reserves and don’t count money.

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Raphael M. Dua
User offline. Last seen 4 weeks 3 days ago. Offline
Folks

WELL I suppose it was about time I entered this discussion as Micro Planner is being talked about and how it does things.

First let me state, There is NO software in the WORLD that will ever do what the Planner & Scheduler perceives they need and want in order to provide a schedule which once having been created works for ever providing the results we all dream about.

Every single project is unique !, in fact that from my old and weary memory is how we describe a Project, it is a Unique endeavour with a Start and an End.

That is all there is too it !

Now the problem starts when we as Planners and Schedulers try to create a schedule which represents.. as we see it .. the truth.

Because the Client is not 100% sure of what they want, they create scopes, charters, specifications, drawing and all sorts of paraphenalia which they hope represents what they want. Plus to cover anything they have forgotten or is unclear, there is the CONTRACT, which runs counter to anything sensible and logical.

So we come along and try to immediately bang it into a piece of software which we love or hate (or both)and produce a schedule which is meant to represent Time, Budgets, Costs deliverables etc etc. The end date as per the Contract

But of course it doesn’t, never will. If you like me find yourself having a couple of days in which to take the scrappy Tender schedule we put together in the pious hope of winning the bid, (but don’t spend too much time and money on preparing the schedule, say management)you start to make compromises, the Project Director immediately without any reference to any schedule will direct you to the answer as they know it.

Worst still you will find yourself estimating durations for tasks which will be actually carried out by a sub contractor, you will make assumptions about the amount of resource they will allocate to your project, as well as likely costs. Have you any idea how much of the FF&E is imported and what price the dollar today for installation in three years time.

And all the time you are banging in constraints, without any real idea how the software handles multiple conflicting constraints, because we have to meet the contracted dates

Using all the clever bells and whistles that Vendor "X" has in their PM software to try and produce a half decent schedule which will actually stand up and last the week is pointless.

Basically unless you keep it really really simple, and do not try finde one of the 25 thousand combinations of switches that P5 and P6 can do for you to finesse the schedule, (and lot of other software tools too)you will only be a software jockey never a planner and scheduler.
You MUST be able to arrive at a Critical Path which has the Contract End Date, logically and WITHOUT a single constraint

Many years ago there was a small group of really brilliant Planners and Schedulers here in Melbourne (Australia)in about 1968 - 73 George Pockett and Associates was the name, who only ever did their P & S by hand calculations.

And I tell you they did a great job, it was the pressure of non planners in the construction companies who pushed for Computer produced schedules on a weekly basis, that killed them off.

Whats the point I hear you all cry !

The point is that all the foregoing posts regarding whether this software does this or that, is actually meaningless.

I love Vladimir Liberzon’s Spider package for all the things it can do, BUT I do not actually need any of them to produce a great working schedule.

The ability to assign crews, simulating working in shifts, work volumes resource productivities etc etc, is fantastic.

I wish I could use all these wonderful things on my current $AUD 500 million construction project, but the problem is that the moment I have to ascertain from the sub contractor what, when, how many, who will he put on the task, he can’t tell me. So far after a year I do not think one out of 76 subbies has been within 25% of what they thought they would do as to what actually is going on.

We run a very thin total project schedule with four weekly sub schedules and six monthly over view schedules to cover the four years of the project.

Simple multiple schedules using arrow diagrams and precedence diagram mixed with the interfaces between to cope with the drivers.

Of course we use Micro Planner X-Pert for Windows, BUT, I have to report in MSP2003.

Text Data Interchange is how we do it, so we use MSP for the pictures so loved by management and XPW for doing the actual work and resource driven schedules.

XPW has been going for thirty years without too much fuss and bells and whistles. It just does Critical Path, fully Resourced, and Costed, very simply !

BTW we also run full EVPM through XPW.

KISS is the only way

Well that’s my view

Raf

Hi Rafael,
if you will have time look at the sample construction project in Spider Demo. You will find assigning crews, simulating working in shifts, volumes of work and resource productivities, delivery and consuming of wall frames, project financing and simulating future profit, cost components and cost centers, etc. You can also play with material (frames) and cost levelling.
Enjoy!

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Yes, you were right comparing apples to apples.

But I want to notice that MS Project, P6 and other softwares define total number of resources and resource assignments in percents, or hours, but it is not enough. Assigning resource it is necessary to define both quantity and workload (in percents or hours). In other case you will not be able to distinguish between two resource units working with 50% workload and one resource unit assigned 100%. As the result you will get wrong resource constraint schedule and will have problems interpreting results. This approach works only for full time assignments.

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Rafael Davila
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Posts: 4678
Vladimir,

It was so easy to get the result I was looking using Spider Project that I did not got into this, I revised the SureTrak PDF as to my SureTrack histograms be in hours per week. To compare apples with apples.

My experience with Micro Planner was many years ago, with the MAC, when everyone else was using DOS and making jokes about the mouse.

Best regards,
Rafael
Yes, the results are true. Other levelling options will produce similar results.

Did you notice that creating resource histogram in Spider Project you have two options - to show quantities or resource hours. It is not the same, the same resource hours do not mean the same quantities because resources may work part time or have pauses in their work.

I also want to know about Micro Planner. I played with this software long time ago and do not know its current capabilities.

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Rafael Davila
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Vladimir,

I just made some adjustments as to show in the SureTrak histograms hours/week same as Spider Project. I would like you to verify the compressed folder. The PDF have Bookmarks that will help you to navigate and understand each drawing.

Here you will find my PDF comparing SureTrak vs. Spider and also the P3 and Spider Files.

Spider vs. Primavera SureTrak


About using other possible resource leveling options with SureTrak, forget it, with Spider Project you do not need it, just set it to the optimization method. I have no patience to look and find the best combination of options will give me the best of what SureTrak can do.

Spider files are easier to move than Primavera, the program startup is faster than Primavera and it yields better resource leveling, better by much. This Spider thing is even easier to use.

And I thought this about Spider Project being an all inclusive resort was a joke, was about to ask you about the free banana boat ride.

Well, the desert was good, but we have not finished with the snacks yet, we call them “piscolabis”. I want to continue exploring other functionalities and maybe the “laddering” behavior, not sure about it being equivalent to Micro Planner Ladder Activities. The problem is I don’t have Micro Planner and doubt it is as easy to use as Spider Project. Maybe someone of our Micro Planner friends will jump and explain the functionality.

Best regards,
Rafael
Rafael Davila
User offline. Last seen 7 hours 58 min ago. Offline
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Posts: 4678
Vladimir,

By the way “piscolabis” (snacks) can be better than desert, we also can have appetizers (Hors d’œuvre) for a start these can be caviar.

For “piscolabis” I am thinking about true critical path after resource leveling, like nacho chips with homemade guacamole. Maybe the sample job can be used for these purposes, I will investigate this unique functionality during the weekend, as you know my old notebook died and I am using my son’s notebook, he is claiming for some computer time.

Best regards,
Rafael
Rafael,
create new project and then several activities just pressing Insert.
Link first two activities (default is FS), then link them again and you will see Links Properties Dialog box, select Properties and define SS link with volume lag (50% as an example), then press OK and then Add and new link between the same activities will be created. Again go to Properties and select FF with 50% Volume lag.
You can define any number of links between two activities.
Connect other activities too if you like.
In the scheduling dialog there is an option Ignore preceding activity links if activity is in progress. Select the option that you need.

I had sent to you sample project in Spider format. Copy it into Projects folder and you will see it in the Working storage. Or just double click on project file and it will be opened.

I still did not have P3 at hand. Hope to send you Primavera files tomorrow.

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Rafael Davila
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Posts: 4678
Vladimir,

Where is the functionality for Ladder Activities and progressive feed? Using Spider Demo I want to mimic the effect of stopping work in one ladder rung and see the effect through all of the dependent rungs, not just the end event.

Links, Lags and Ladders

“This is similar to the operation of SS and FF links, however, from an analytical viewpoint, the major advantage of a ladder is if work stops on one rung, the delay is automatically flowed through all of the dependent rungs, not just the end event.”

Vladimir, I already downloaded the demo version of Spider Project and I am getting ready for the Grand Finale, the comparison of resource leveling sample using Spider Project and my software.

Spider Project Don’t let me down.

Best regards,
Rafael
Hi Rafael,

The usual way our project models are created is to create them using typical fragments library. Typical work packages are decribed in details in these fragments and they are just included in the schedules as project WBS elements with the correction (automatic) of their volumes. So creating the detailed project model is not hard.
But I agree that General Contractor needs much less details than subcontractors and Owners need even less details. But Spider Project was created to serve everybody and so everybody shall find necessary functionality.

Volume Lag means that the next activity can start or finish after certain volume (amount) of work had been done on the preceding activity. It is much more flexible than time lags. If volume lag is for an example 500 meters and dependency is SS, then next activity can start after 500 meters will be done on preceding activity and you don’t need to adjust time lags basing on actual data. Volume Lags can be also defined in volume percents (like 50% of volume shall be done on preceding activity before next activity can start).

Strict Link means that activities become pasted. If next activity is delayed then previous activity will be delayed also. Resource levelling can not break this link. It is used when next activity shall start exactly when link condition will be satisfied.

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Rafael Davila
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Posts: 4678
Vladimir,

For the size and type of jobs we do probably applying all these functionalities to all resources would be overkill but applying to a few like different production rates to different earthmoving equipment really stands out. After you get used to these functionalities it must be good to have them than missing them.

That you collect information on the volume of work done is something we used to call production reports to be included as part of your job costing in order to get unit costing instead of mere budgeting. To me tracing cost expenditure per cost account without tying these to a physical unit of production is a waste of time, and believe me this is not uncommon.

For years I was a Project Engineer and latter a Project Manager. As a Project manager if I asked the Project Engineer how much work was accomplished and he tells me 4,000 man hours I would ask him to be more specific. If by Monday he tells me 2,000 man-hours of Concretework, 500 man-hours of excavation, 1,000 man-hours of masonry installation and 500 man-hours of cement plaster by next Wednesday he will be at Mexico Street collecting his unemployment check. I need CY/cubic yards for Concretework, CM/cubic meters of excavation, SF of masonry installation and SY/square yards of cement plaster, I need to know my unit costs, please don’t give me EV acronyms. At the jobsite everyone knows the average unit costs of each, but BCWS, BCWP, ACWP and so on is non-sense, this is budgeting at its lowest level, just using weird parameter names.

That Spider Project has Earned Value Functionality is good, some Owners require it. I would not use it unless required, but better having it than not, just in case.

About Multi Resources (Crews), I love that, this is how construction work is managed on the field.

Can you pleas expand on Volume Lags and Strict Links, what are they for?

Best regards,
Rafael
Hi Rafael,

Activity Volume is the physical quantity of work to be done. It is measured in physical units (meters, tons, cubic meters, etc.). If you set activity volume you shall also define assigned resource productivities (Volume per hour). Productivities can be assigned to driving resources or to the crews (multi-resources). The activity may be done by the crew consistibg of several resources with different productivities (different excavators as an example). So activity duration is calculated by dividing the Volume by total crew productivity. You remember that crews may be changed and it immediately change durations of those activities where these crews were assigned.

But it is not that easy. If you assigned not certain resources but resource Skills then resources that have the same skill can have different productivities. In this case you will be able to calculate activity duration only after available resources from the skill set will be assigned. So activity duration is calculated in the process of project scheduling (levelling) and is defined by productivities of assigned resources.

Introducing activity volumes we became able to apply different kind of norms, like Resource (Crews) productivities on certain types of activities, material requirements per unit of volume, unit costs, etc. We can also define payments per volumes to our workforce and subcontractors assigned to certain types of activities. It means that we can create and use different databases with the corporate (state) norms that in Spider Project are called Reference-books. Any kind of reference-books can be created and managed inside Spider Project and projects can be linked with different reference-books.

Besides, it is useful for estimating project execution and reporting. We collect information on volumes that were done and as the result have objective information on remaining durations, costs and material requirements. And for project performance analysis it is nice to know the quantity of earth that have been moved, the square meters (feets) of walls that were erected, etc.

If some activity has no physical measure you can measure the volume in percents.

When you enter actual volumes done on activities the software assumes that you spent corresponding duration, materials and costs. But you can change these data if necessary and enter new estimations of remaining volumes of work.

Best Regards,
Vladimir

Rafael Davila
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Vladimir,

Exploring in sequential order your Comparative analysis of the functional features of PM software packages, the first item that attracts my attention is under Activity Types, Volume (physical), can you briefly explain what does this functionality means and provide us with some examples showing this cannot be modeled under software lacking this functionality.

I will continue through the table as to get a grasp on those other functionalities latter on and will follow up on the promised sample job showing how Power Project resource leveling is superior to the rest of the pack. This will be for desert, better be good, do not disappoint me.

Best regards.
Rafael
Gary Whitehead
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Hi Anoon,

I’m saying you’re suggestion of:

""Resources are assigned to tasks" - I supposed this is the conventional way.

I’m thinking of the reverse - Tasks to be assigned to resources (using a resource pool, resources calendar and a defined series of activities). "

...is not practical.

I think what Vladimir and Rafael are suggesting is quite different:
1)Build your schedule as normal (including all logical links which are mandatory, but none which are sometimes included to manage resource limitations)
2)Assign the resources required to do the activities
3) Have the programming software do some magic computational stuff which will give you the best schedule which satisfies all the links and constraints you entered in step 1, but also adheres to whatever resource limitations you have told the software about.
4) As the project progresses, re-run step 3 with each update so that the actual resource limitations are continuously reflected in the latest forecast, throughout the life of the project.

This approach gives clear benefits to the 2 most common alternatives which are:
a) Ignore resource limitations, and get a schedule which for example may tell you you need to have 20 cranes on site on the same day
b) Use logical links to reflect the resource limitations by for example staggering the crane-requiring activities, and then having to manually add / delete / ammend all such links with each update to ensure the schedule remains fit for purpose.

Cheers,

G
Anoon Iimos
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Hi Gary,

Don’t get me wrong. I supposed these are all Rafael’s and Vladimir’s ideas with their "resource constraining" and "activities with no links" using their "systematic algorithm"; "brute force" or whatever (i forgot some).

Now, you are saying that it’s not possible?

cheers!

Gary Whitehead
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Anoon,

I’m with Vladimir on this one. To plan a project properly you need to start with the scope and the logic, and then assign the resources required to deliver it in the sepcified time limit. To instead start with a defined list of resources, and then assign the activities would present the following limitations:

-Resources can be pulled from other projects, or assigned to them as required. But you won’t know what’s required until you’ve mapped out the scope & schedule. You can’t optimise the project by adding or removing activities in the same way (unless you have a very generous client!).
-Activities have a logical sequence which must be followed (you can’t fill a hole with concrete until you’ve dug the hole). Resources do not (you can utilise Jon’s time first, or Bob’s. It doesn’t matter). Defining the sequence of activities first ensures you satisfy this constraint. Defining the resources first does not have a similar benefit.

Cheers,

G
Yes Anoon,
we define a crew of resources (in Spider it is called multi-resource) and define the quantity (not hours!) of each resource in a crew (like 5 workers, one excavator, etc.).
Then you can select one or many tasks and assign multi-resource to all of them.

At any moment you may decide to change some crew (like to add one more worker) and these change will be automatically done everywhere that crew was assigned. If you changed driving resources then activity durations will become different (after schedule recalculation).

This is necessary for "what if" evaluations and useful during project execution. To change assignments manually is very time consuming in the real large projects.

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Anoon Iimos
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You need to assign the same task to many resources (or group of resources or a team)?

Then can you not define a crew or a team, say Team XXX composed of labor and equipment with a common and total unit say in hours, and assign this team xxx to yyy task?

I mean, assign yyy task to team xxx. ?

cheers!
No,
I always start defining the tasks to do and only then decide who will do these tasks. Assigning tasks to resources I need to assign the same tasks to many resources if there is a need in a crew and it is hard to control that all necessary resources are assigned to all tasks.
Best Regards,
Vladimir
Anoon Iimos
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Vladimir,

How could you say that it’s not pratical?

Imagine yourself as a "resource" that is tasked to defend Spider. Here, you exist first, your task comes later.

Again for example: You are a contractor with a maintained number of resources. Now comes your project, isn’t it first that you assign this project(the tasks) to your resources?

cheers!
Hi Anoon,
it is not practical.
If the task requires a team of resources then you shall assign the same task to many resources, instead of creating resource crew and assigning it to many tasks where it is required.

The tasks are depended if there are technological restrictions on the order of work. Resource assignments do not change this. The links shall not be used only if the tasks are not dependent and can be done in any order. In this case the order shall be defined by the software if these tasks compete for the same limited resources. The computer shall select which tasks to do first basing on resource availability and schedule optimization criteria. Usually the best schedule is the shortest schedule.

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Anoon Iimos
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Hi Vladimir,

"Resources are assigned to tasks" - I supposed this is the conventional way.

I’m thinking of the reverse - Tasks to be assigned to resources (using a resource pool, resources calendar and a defined series of activities). With this, I guess your tasks becomes independent with each other, meaning - no links (so Mike’s "FS0" becomes irrelevant).

Can Spider do this thing?

cheers!
Hi Anoon,
your post is not clear to me.

Project resources can be defined before activity definition or later. It depends on the project nature. If you plan some project inside the organization you have Organization Resource Breakdown Structure ready.
Resources are assigned to tasks when both are defined. If you don’t know specific resource that will do the work you can assign skill.

For an example: you need heavy bulldozer to do the work. In your resource pool you have Caterpillar and Komatsu. It does not matter which one to use though their costs and productivities are different.

So you create Skill Heavy Bulldozer, put both in this skill set, and assign Skill Heavy Bulldozer, because it is hard to say which one will be available at the moment when your task will be ready for execution.

Please clarify your question if I did not answer.

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Anoon Iimos
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Rafael,

With reference to your post # 60, again, I’m not interested with your terms from outer space like "brute force"; "operations research"; "subroutines" etc.

I maybe interested in your "resource constraining" (Of course I don’t understand it, but just let me try, please..?).

For example: Instead of defining first activities or tasks, you first define your resources (or you can figure out both at the same time?).

Now, once you had defined your resources, you can now assign tasks or activites to the resource or group of resources.

Just doing the reverse of what you usually do using available or current softwares.

cheers!

Rafael Davila
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Vladimir,

I posted in Rapidshare the table you send me so others can look at it and make their own questions. I am aware it is not comprehensive but it is a start.

Spider Project Functional Features Table & other Software

For me only one sample job will do it, as we say here, “for a sample only one button is enough”. I will take a look at it and compare with Spider Project Demo.

Best regards,
Rafael
I can send you many examples of projects that you can level in different softwares and compare results.
You may notice that when you start the resource levelling the software suggests you to select the priorities. That is all - then activities that have your (defined by you!) priorities will get resources first. That’s all, the software does not even try to find an optimal solution.
In Russia this Spider advantage is just well known fact and nobody argues about this.

I spoke about this problem with Western PM software at IPMA Congress in Paris and PMI Conference in Boston in 1996. At these conferences I also spoke about Resource Critical Path (later called Critical Chain). Nothing was changed since then.

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Rafael Davila
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Vladimir,

That MS Project does not look for an optimum solution is no surprise but that P3 neither is new to me, hard to believe.

UNBELIEVABLE ! ! ! !

Guess the only way to know is to compare side to side the same job under P3 and Spider Project.

Don’t take me wrong, it is just hard to believe. I would like to see some indepentent study on that.

Best regards,
Rafael
Hi Rafael,
the software that you use does not even try to find optimal resource constrained schedule. The best (like P3, P6. Open Plan) suggest the user to select some simple heuristics that will be used based on setting priorities to some activity fields.
Most primitive (like MS Project) use only one predefined simple heuristics.
So in the best case the user can try several simple heuristics trying to find the best one for the current project.
In Spider Project this approach is called standard.

But Spider Project includes iterative optimization algorithms that can significantly improve scheduling results. And this method in the software is called Optimization.
Though these algorithms do not guarantee that the schedule is optimal they will certainly produce near optimal solution.

That is why Spider Project resource constrained schedules in many cases are much shorter than the schedules produced by P6, MS Project and other tools though they are created for the same initial conditions.

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Rafael Davila
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Anoon

All algorithms are systematic, this pompous name only means a set of instructions that systematically look for a solution, is the way a computer looks for a solution to any given problem, and once these general procedures are coded into a computer language are usually known as subroutines.

With regard to resource leveling, all software has its own algorithm, each looking for an optimal solution. Hopefully all will get close to the optimal solution, there might be different outcomes but close.

One way to get the optimal solution would be by generating all possible outcomes that satisfy the constraints and selecting the optimal one(s). Yes there might be more than one optimal solution. But these method, known as “Brute Force” would require an enormous amount of computer time, which is where these procedures excel.

The issue of resource leveling can be handled by almost any CPM software of today, what none can do, with the exception of Spider Project, is handling the resource leveling issue while at the same time considering other set of constraints, real constraints. This was the future, now it is the present, follow the leader.

If you are further interested into these types of issues you can look into the title of Operations Research, the branch of mathematics that deals with this kind of problems. After 30 years out of school to me this have become too complicated, just give me the tools.

About resource constraining without linking activities just imagine the following set of tasks you can work on only one at a time.

Do the laundry, Go to the Pharmacy, Go to Bank and make cash deposit.

All are completely independent activities so there would be no logic link, you most probably would solve the issue based on priorities, or maybe "float" the available time before they become critical.

Best regards,
Rafael
Anoon Iimos
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Hi Rafael,

I supposed that what you had stated in Post # 55 is too much for my very little understanding (if any).

Sytematic Algorithm...What is that???!!!

Resource constraining and without linking activites, so as to find the best possible solution using a machine???!

I STILL CANNOT BELIEVE IT!

cheers!
Hi Rafael,
in Spider Project you can select which cash flows to analyze. Your project may have many cost components (labour cost, material cost, machine cost, indirect cost, taxes, etc.) including payments, financing, income. For all cost components you define the cost of one unit. Some currency is selected as basic with unit cost equal to one, if some component is measured in different currency then the cost of one unit is defined by current exchange rate. Cost units for incomes are negative.
You can also create cost centers that consist of selected cost components.
So you can create cost center that includes your expenses on accrual basis and another cost center based on cash basis. As the result you will be able to analyze both cash flows. We also use this technique to analyze contract relationships - who owns to whom and how much at any moment.
Cash flow reports and S-curves can be published for any cost component and cost center.
And yes, Spider Project calculates NPV, IRR, MIRR and Payback Periods. Discount rates can be defined for all cost component separately (and may be different!).
Spider Project can show in parallel S-curves (cash flows) of any two project versions. One of these two may be baseline version or ALAP schedule version.
Spider Project keeps project archives, so you may be interested to compare current project version with the version created one week ago, one month ago, etc. including comparing cash flows.
Yes, we have such table. I will send it to you tomorrow.
Best Regards,
Vladimir
Rafael Davila
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Vladimir,

I was checking on the modeling for an activity to start as soon as any of two finishes, you are right the logic was wrong, I have not found a solution within SureTrak limitations while on the spot I got it with functionality not available in SureTrak or P3 but could figure it out with the concept of consumable resources/material resources available in Spider Project.

In your SDPM presentation (see posting #31) on page 14 there is a Cash Flow Projection and I would like to know if you are using appropriate lags for your cash flow. I would never issue a cash flow curve on “accrual basis” but on “cash basis” that is, as it comes in and out of my bank account. This is a functionality I believe you are integrating with NPV or Net Present Value, this is also novel and not available in any other software I know. Please tell us if you have a whitepaper on this issue and how to get it.

I also would like to hear about S Curves in Spider Project, my software Primavera SureTrak is very limited and cannot generate reports in which you can compare the actual S Curve with a Baseline and cannot handle both Early and Late S Curves. Within SureTrak I can only generate a single resource graph at the end of my Gantt chart. Up to now the best functionality for Graphic Reports I have seen is by Primavera P3. What can you tell me about Spider Project?

Do you have a table comparing functionalities available between major CPM software that includes Spider Project?

Best regards,
Rafael
Hi Anoon,
yes, everything has limits. That is why we plan our resources, supplies, finances to be able to achieve our targets.

Hi Rafael,
very well said.

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Rafael Davila
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Anoon,

Even if two activities use the same resource linking one to the other in order to avoid resource availability issues is not necessarily the best approach. What if the two activities are in no way dependent of each other, as the job progress the relative start of one with respect to the other might switch, by using activities link you will prevent the software to schedule the best option. For small jobs you can handle this manually but for jobs with thousands of activities you are better off with the assistance of your computer, use it to your advantage.

Resource constraining is not about finding a feasible solution is about finding the best or close to best solution. It is an optimization problem that requires the use of computer algorithms to systematically look for the best solution, a solution that might change as your schedule moves with time.

Best regards,
Rafael
Anoon Iimos
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Vladimir,

Again, it sounds like from the commercial side (Sorry).

I presumed you are saying that this will apply to a given or defined overall duration (say, contract duration)?

And I would say limited contract duration, with limited space (literal space) or defined interim milestones or whatever that has limits (and I guess everything has limits!).

cheers!
Hi Anoon,
I answered your question several times.
These two schedules are linked without constraints.
If an activity in construction schedule uses sone unique equipment then you may link delivery and usage activities with FS link.
If materials may be used on many activities then don’t link activities but use material levelling and activities that require materials that are not available will be delayed automatically. Material levelling is present in Spider Project.

Cheers!
Anoon Iimos
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All,

Please allow me to go back to Vladimir’s statement:

"We start with the construction schedule as if materials are available at any moment. As the result we get material requirements at any moment."

If you’ll just admit (honestly), I believe everybody is doing the same thing, regardless of the software used.

Construction scheduling is not difficult if you got the details with you, which means complete engineering details. Consummables are easy to define and these shall fit with your activities.

Delivery schedule or Material availability is another story.

Linking the two (Construction Schedule and Material availability), is where the problems will come-up!

This is my question, is Spider capable of linking the schedules (as mentioned above) without using constraints (or without nailing certain activity or activities)??

This is what Vladimir didn’t answer!

cheers!
Rafael Davila
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Anoon,

Because Primavera P3 and SureTrak cannot model consumable resources, then you means there is no way you can define materials into P3 and SureTrak? You can define them as non leveling resources, a limited functionality for cost and cahsh flow tracking, but this is essentially what you can do when you have, or are required to use outdated software.

You can define your materials as different type of resources and this make a huge difference, just that Primavera people have not realized this yet. You can define some of your material resources as consumables, this to model other scheduling constraints and not merely cost or chash flow.

I thought you are going to beat Vladimir? I will try, but my "hidden agenda" is to use Spider Project as the model of what our software shall be capable of doing. Believe me after a few years of scheduling you ask for more than simple FS0 relationships, this is primitive, the PDM functionalities are more flexible but still in the Dark Ages, on the other hand Multi Constraint Scheduling where all constraints are integratede and taken into account at the same time is the modern way, get into the new Millenium.

Best regards,
Rafael
Anoon Iimos
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Rafael,

I thought you are going to beat Vladimir?

Just assume that I’m working on another planet where planning can be done in various ways.

Though I believe (still) that there is only one way of doing it. And of course with the intention of making as much profit as you can (this is what I meant by commercial).

"Material Resources" for me, is always consummable (you don’t need to emphasize that!), but this has always limits as well (again, this is engineering), how can you make profits if your consummables has no limits?

sorry for interruption (you know I’m working!) I’ll be back later.

cheers!
Rafael Davila
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Anoon

When you resource load your schedule you load it with different purposes and different types of resources depending on your modeling needs:

1) Some resources are set as non-leveling resources but are required for cost loading and to predict the resource demand.
2) Others you set them as leveling resources that are used as available and then after being used by the activity(ies) are released to be available to be used again.
3) Consumable resources are a special kind of resources that when used are consumed at the specified rate, these you can also replenish at another specified rate such as a one day delivery.

Although I do not have spider Project I believe Spider Project uses the term Material Resources to mean Consumable Resources, a matter of semantics. This at times might be confusing for the few used to use a different name for this purposes and even more confusing for the many whose software do not provides this functionality of Consumable Resources. The software I use/used, Primavera P3 (not any longer) and Primavera SureTrak lack this functionality.

Best regards,
Rafael
Hi Anoon,
I don’t understand what do you mean by technical side and commersial side.
I described the way people work here.
I am sure that in serious projects like Nuclear Power Plants construction, shipbuilding, aerospace, etc. it is not possible to work other way anywhere.
What is a challenge to Spider?

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Anoon Iimos
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Vladimir,

If you were a judge, I would say, your Honor I would like to hear (if I may) an answer that comes from the technical side of your personality (and not from the commercial side).

Your first sentence: "we start with the construction schedule as if materials are available at any moment. As the result we get material requirements at any moment." This, for me is valid.

The rest are rubbish!

Remember, this is a challenge to Spider!

cheers!
Hi Anoon,
we start with the construction schedule as if materials are available at any moment. As the result we get material requirements at any moment.
Material requirements reports are sent to supply people.
They create supply schedule for the main equipment that shall be ordered in advance and this schedule is included in the construction schedule.
There is only one project schedule that includes construction, delivery and financing schedules.
You can use constraints like milestones that represent deliveries with the links to those activities that use these products, but better to monitor the supply process as the part of the project monitoring.

Cheers!
Hi Pinan,
yes, material supply shall be planned according to material usage. If some equipment shall be ordered, made and delivered for you then your schedule shall take the duration of this supply into consideration.

If materials are available at any moment then supply schedule and material levelling is not necessary - you just order materials when needed and will have them at any time. We use material levelling only for those materials that are not readily available.

Material levelling is also used for simulation of moulds flow. Moulds are installed (consumed) and then delivered after concreting. And the total quantity of moulds (frames?) is restricted.

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Anoon Iimos
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"So construction schedule defines requirements to supply. Delivery schedule defines restrictions to construction."

Vlad, I like that statement. If you don’t mind to answer, I may ask if in your personal style of scheduling:

1. What do you do first, Construction Schedule or Delivery Schedule? (considering that all elements that you might need are known).

2. If delivery schedule is not known, how are you going to simulate construction schedule? Do you use constraints?

3. Which comes first, "chicken or egg"?

cheers!
Anoon,
if some materials are not available construction activities that use these materials are delayed until material delivery.

Material requirements at any moment are defined by construction schedule. If your supply schedule cannot satisfy these requirements then activities in construction schedule are delayed.

So construction schedule defines requirements to supply. Delivery schedule defines restrictions to construction.

Cheers!
PINAN T.
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in our project, we level material according to usage
Anoon Iimos
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"In this case you define delivery schedule and construction schedule will be adjusted to material availability."

Vlad, I don’t understand this statement.

Material availability is your delivery schedule, right?

construction schedule is construction schedule!

Here, what is driving what? Are you going to constrain any of them?

cheers!
Hi Pinan,
yes, material levelling may be applicable for the project having small storage area. In this case you shall plan material delivery to your storage in accordance with project material requirements and storage space that shall be also considered as one of project materials.

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Materials are equivalent for consumable resources. So equipment that you plan to install is also some kind of material.

You can define necessary materials as fixed quantities or the quantities required per unit of activity volume. If the volume of work will change then the required quantities of materials will change also.

Material levelling is necessary when you have supply (delivery) restrictions like in your example. In this case you define delivery schedule and construction schedule will be adjusted to material availability.

Cheers!
PINAN T.
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MATERIAL level maybe applicable for the project having small storage area?
Anoon Iimos
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I supposed "materials" is a known element of the project (what’s the use of engineering anyway?).

Maybe tools or equipment to install these materials are not known or may vary, but I cannot imagine why you need to level materials to fit in time...?

When your activities have fixed units of materials, how are you going to make it flexible?
No problem if this is the trade secret. But I don’t know the features of your software, so may suppose that your software level materials, why not?
Best Regards,
Vladimir
Anoon Iimos
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Vladimir and All,

For your information, I’m also employed, so it’s a trade secret which I cannot tell you! Sorry...

cheers!
Yes, Spider Project does it. I don’t know what software do you use.

If you don’t agree with answers 1) and 2) then what is your answer?

Cheers!
Anoon Iimos
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Vlad,

The first items (1;2;3), yes that’s right.

My question is not how to link, but what would be the best relationship to define or simulate material delivery in your schedule?

I don’t agree with the answers by the way (I just presumed you’re joking, we’re not leveling materials of course! or are you doing it?).

cheers!
Hi Anoon,
let me determine your task as follows:
1) there is some activity that require certain materials,
2) you don’t have these materials at the moment, so material delivery shall be simulated in your schedule as an activity or a set of activities,
3) how to link these activities?
Confirm if I understood your question properly.

Answers:
1) If this is one time delivery then connect delivery activity with your activity with FS link,
2) If delivery has duration (materials are delivered in parallel with your work) then link delivery with your activity with both SS and FF links,
3) If your software can level materials then don’t link them at all. Activity will not start until materials will not appear in your schedule.

The last is preferable if you don’t know which activity will use delivered materials first.

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Rafael,
we apply risk simulation to get target dates and costs that can be achieved with reasonable probabilities.
And we suggest to use deterministic (preferably optimistic) schedule for setting tasks for project workforce or subcontractors but to analyze buffer consumptions for project performance measurement.
It is a theory that we call Success Driven Project Management. You can read about it here: http://www.spiderproject.ru/library/SDPM_Canberra2004.pdf

I have serious doubts about Monte Carlo application to the real life risk simulation. It is very time consuming if try to achieve necessary precision. We suggested and use more simple approach that is sufficient for our needs. You can use it with Suretrak though with more efforts than in Spider. If you will remain interested after reading the presentation we can discus it.

The schedules in Monte Carlo simulation shall be calculated using the same algorithms as in your software. Without resource limitations it is not critical if all softwares use similar CPM calculations, but resource levelling is different in any software. If Pertmaster uses its own levelling algorithms then it produces probability distributions if to manage project different way.
It can be easily noticed by changing priorities for resource levelling in your software - the results will change. Even with the same priorities different software uses different algorithms. So to produce reliable results Pertmaster shall use Primavera engine for Monte Carlo calculations. And this results shall be different for MS Project users and Primavera users for the same project.
So I agree with you that internal risk simulation is preferable.

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Anoon Iimos
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I’m still wondering why you gentlemen (and ladies?) are trying to argue about the importance of Start-to-Finish (SF) relationship.

Let me try for example:

1. an equipment with a concrete foundation;

2. Considering that you can construct the concrete foundation without any hassles but only the anchorage that you will need to tie with the reinforcements of your concrete foundation (so that you cannot place concrete without it).

3. You still have no idea when this equipment (including anchorage and appurtenances) will be delivered to you.

4. How are you going to schedule this? What relationship will best define the delivery of anchorage and the installation of the rebars?

cheers!
Rafael Davila
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Vladimir

My software does not provide for the automatic functionality on the use of buffers nor do have integrated Monte Carlo Simulation, so my knowledge is somewhat limited.

You have mentioned before that you use the probabilistic functionality within Spider Project to determine adequate level of buffers. For this I have some idea on how to implement it but I believe that the deterministic critical path does not necessarily is the same as the most probable critical path under a Monte Carlo Simulation. Please comment on this and other practical uses of these functionalities.

Also I don’t believe that exporting a P3 schedule to Pertmaster will be the same as if running Monte Carlo from within your software, they are not 100% equivalent so each of the many hundreds Monte Carlo runs will not be 100% equivalent, some functionalities will be lost other will not be equal. I would prefer to run Monte Carlo from within my software. Do you agree or disagree on this statement?

Best regards,
Rafael
Hi Mike,

in most cases I agree with you, I also prefer detailed schedules where most relationships are FS without lags. But in some cases and in some projects like linear projects it is not practical. And in some projects we meet complex relationships like one we discussed with Rafael that cannot be simulated with simple basic logic.

I don’t agree that resource hours give sufficient information for project levelling. Some resources like cranes are used on many activities part time and very often the cranes are critical resources in construction projects.

Limited space often restricts the works that can be done independently. It does not mean that the next crew will do the following work.

I also don’t believe in manual levelling. The projects are rarely performed as planned. And there is a need to reschedule the project almost each time when actual data are entered. It is too hard to do manually if resources are restricted. And impossible for large projects even if you use only one resource for all activities.

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Mike Testro
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Hi Vladimir

In my simplistic world you can’t paint a wall until it is plastered. Neither can you plaster a wall unit it is built.

No matter how complex the project one task follows the other within a defined space.

My definition of a defined space is where one trade can work on its own - until the next trade moves in.

It is so simple that it doesn’t need any further explanation.

All of this is encapsulated in my bottom up FS method.

I can see no better way of construction planning.

Best regards

Mike Testro.
Hi Mike,
space is also a kind of resource.
Why do you loose an interest to the topic?
I think that it is interesting to discuss how to simulate complex cases of project modelling.
And please suggest how to simulate that some activity can start after finish of any of several preceding activities using simple bottom up basic task method.
Best Regards,
Vladimir
Hi Rafael,

Not all.
Logical Relationships, Start No Earlier Than, Finish No Later Than are shown at the bar chart, other constraints (supply, financial, resources) that delayed activities are listed only in the schedule report.

You are right - it is not necessary to be mathematician ro create project models. It is enough to use logic and common sense.

When we prepare project planners for construction projects we prefer construction engineers to IT people. It is necessary to understand the logic of works, to learn Spider is much easier.

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Mike Testro
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Hi Vladimir.

Is it only resource linking?

What about work space?

All of this can be done with a simple bottom up basic task method.

I am beginnining to think that we are both talking about the same procedure but approaching from diverse directions.

In any case I am rapidly losing interest in the whole topic.

Don’t worry I won’t lock the topic.

Best regards

Mike Testro.

Rafael Davila
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Vladimir,

You mean I figured it out without my software having the functionality and even without being a full time scheduler? So the average part time scheduler can figure it out?

That would prove one of my points, give me the functionality let the software do the math.

Do you have a constraints screen wher you can identify driving constraints in the way you can see driving predecessors? Can you print in the bar chart driving constrints, let say at the left of the bar while at the right you have the activity description?

Mike,

The constraints are real, not always a FS0 relationship can define what is driving your activity.

Best regards,
Rafael
Hi Mike,
activities are linked through resources they use.
I hope that you will accept this clarification.
FS, SS, FF, SF are not enough.
Best Regards,
Vlafimir
Mike Testro
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Hi Vladimir

This thread is moving on very well. You said recently:

Activities are not linked at all.

Not At All! not even FF SS FS or SF. No lead lags?

Welcome to the world of Space - Time continuom universe of star trek planning.

Spider contols the WEB.

Best regards

Mike Testro.
We use resource production and consumption.
Activities are not linked at all. But previous activities produce some dummy resource and succeeding activity use this resource. The resource may be consumable or renewable - both options can be applied. Resource produced by one activity is sufficient for performing next activity.
It can be easily done for three activities out of ten.

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Rafael,
what if your activities are in the middle of some schedule?
Then ALAP will not work.
Besides, SF means that AAA and BBB will finish after CCC starts. It means that CCC can start early - it may happen as the result of resource levelling.
Please clarify.
Best Regards,
Vladimir
Rafael Davila
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Vladimir,

It will take me some time to analyze your question, although it still continue to move the activities there is a possibility of other issues not being considered, I am also finding issues on the calculated total float for the driver of CCC, this is another issue. If latter you can e-mail me a P3 file then it will be easier for me to model what you are observing.

I was also thinking in the possibility of using consumable resources. Using negative consumption the predecessors can replenish the resource from 0, the successor activity will not be able to start until you have the required resources, but I do not have this functionality as to explore it. I was also thinking about the activity consuming the resource but at the same time replenishing it at the same rate as to prevent the resource from being consumed and still being able to be replenished by other activities and used for constraining the start of other activites.

Do you have another idea?

Best regards,
Rafael
Rafael Davila
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Vladimir,

Ironically activity CCC is set to be the predecessor, the links are the following

CCC --> SF0 --> AAA
CCC --> SF0 --> BBB
CCC has a “As late as possible” Float Constraint

I uploaded the P3 file under the following link so anyone can download it and explore it, because I am using SureTrak you will have to adjust your Layout.

http://rapidshare.com/files/288646383/FIFO.zip

I am still wondering how to schedule for the activity to start as soon as any three out of a set of 10 finishes. Real life is not as easy as FS0 only.

Best regards,
Rafael
Carlos Arana
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Can Spider import/export to MS project or Primavera format? Power Project can, it is very useful since these two are many industries’ standard.