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I am back!!!!

9 replies [Last post]
Carlos Arana
User offline. Last seen 49 weeks 6 days ago. Offline
Joined: 6 Jun 2009
Posts: 178
Good day, my fellow planners. I am back at Planning plannet. Hope somebody noticed mi absence.

I have not much time, but I am considering buying a Spider license-myself.

They offered me a job at the Project Controls office at the hydroelectric project where I was working before. They offered me to manage the Risk system for the project (I don’t know how to manage risks - I must still learn) and the schedule. I know it won’t be easy - so i’m starting to make plans. I’ll give more details on this, for now I want to know:

How much effort and money would be necessary to implement a SDPM database for this project? It is a huge hydroelectric project at Nayarit, Mexico. Contract is worth 667 mill USD.

I’m looking for numbers to see if I can sustain the investment.

Best regards.
Carlos.

Replies

Carlos,
I don’t like this approach when people create separate Level 1, 2, 3, 4 schedules (usually there are four levels) and synchronize them manually. But there is an agreement about the requirements to the schedules of different levels that were discussed here at PP.

P3 exports the schedule into mpx and Spider imports from mpx.
But mpx is not perfect - material resources, calendars, multiple links between the same activities will be lost.

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Carlos Arana
User offline. Last seen 49 weeks 6 days ago. Offline
Joined: 6 Jun 2009
Posts: 178
Vladimir,
Thanks for the advice on the Spider version, Spider Desktop is the one I need.
I have very little field experience. Thus, I won’t be able to make the schedule by myself alone, having the advice from the more experienced Construction Managers will be necessary. At first I see that we can save the time from doing an excel table to calculate productivities and then a memory of calculus. But I must be able to do in Spider, at least, what I do in P3, before putting a step into their offices planning to plan.

I am still two years away from the required experience for PMP, that’s why I am considering CAPM first and maybe the PMP will come two years later.

I am trusting in the spider feature of exporting to excel to transfer data between systems. I don’t expect a perfect match but a very close match with predictable information losses.

Rafael,
I could not watch the vid. The network here in the project has youtube restricted, I can’t watch vids. I forgot to say thanks for the Supernatural welcome.

Thanks.
Carlos.

P.S. How many Levels of schedules are there?
Carlos,
If you will work yourself with the schedule model I suggest to use Spider Project Desktop (license cost is $1500). Spider Lite does not include risk simulation and you wanted to apply it. If our clients want to upgrade their licenses to more expensive they just pay the difference. We shall discuss this using E-mail.

Being alone you will work with the high level schedule (like what is called Level 2 here). I recommend to try to restrict activity durations in your schedule by one month. Try to involve construction managers in the schedule development. They shall accept the schedule and really use it for construction management. Even better if the schedule will be detailed for the nearest two months but it is a lot of work for such large project. I agree that the best way to learn the software is to apply it.

Spider Project exports (and imports) projects to text, mpx, MS Project xml, P6 database, MS SQL Server, Oracle. Every report and database can be exported to Excel. But export to other PM software means loosing some information like activity volumes and resource productivities.

I don’t recommend CAPM certification, skip it and move directly to PMP. Preparation is similar.

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Rafael Davila
User offline. Last seen 5 hours 41 min ago. Offline
Joined: 1 Mar 2004
Posts: 4778
Carlos,

You are at a place you will be able to perform to the fullest of your capacity; I wish you the best and if I can be of any help, count on me.

I saw ICA website and reminded me on one of their pages that they were the contractor for the Coliseum of Puerto Rico in Hato Rey, where the locals like MANA can play their music.

I do not know if you noticed on my welcome to you that I posted a Carlos Santana video clip of their “Supernatural Concert” in Miami, Florida USA, it was a reception with “Carnival Girls” dancing on their attire but seems it was too much for the hart of some PP moderator.

Best regards,
Rafael
Carlos Arana
User offline. Last seen 49 weeks 6 days ago. Offline
Joined: 6 Jun 2009
Posts: 178
ICA is Mexico’s biggest building company and La Yesca is also one of its biggest projects. ICA also works in Latin America, i think they will also build the expansion of the "Canal de Panama". ICA has built all 11 subway lines for Mexico City, and now they are also building the 12th line, for the second century of Mexico’s independence celebration.

More about ICA here:
http://www.ica.com.mx/home_ica.htm?idioma=en

Photos of La Yesca here:
http://www.geogrupo.biz/la_yesca.html

The dam you can see in these photos is the one made to draw off the river. The actual dam will be 205m high.

Best Regards,
Carlos.
Rafael Davila
User offline. Last seen 5 hours 41 min ago. Offline
Joined: 1 Mar 2004
Posts: 4778
Carlos,

Ah, ICA from Puerto Rico. Hey just kidding, this company worked on several segments of a San Juan rapid transit rail system locally known as “Tren Urbano”. It is a small world.

I can understand their preference for P3 over P6 but not preference for P3 over something more up to date.

Best regards,
Rafael

TREN URBANO
Carlos Arana
User offline. Last seen 49 weeks 6 days ago. Offline
Joined: 6 Jun 2009
Posts: 178
Hi Vladimir and Rafael, I am also very glad to see you both again.
Boguchansk dam is huge-HUGER than my humble PH La Yesca. And I thought this was big - I mean, this hydroelectric is one of Mexico’s biggest projects.

During the past march and part of april, we were enclosed making schedules for EOT claims. The schedule with delays and interferences up to march 2010 claims about 2 years of delay for the entire schedule. This schedule is still not conciliated with the client, as they just conciliated the schedule with delays up to JUN-2009 (That schedule was delivered to the client in JULY-2009). This conciliated schedule extends the finish milestone to JAN-2013.

Yesterday in the evening we had a meeting to make a new planning for the project. The goal is to get this planning for this monday. It won’t be a great schedule, but it will give us some time to continue working.

Also, this monday is the official day when my contract with ICA (The contractor) starts. I am ending my contract with ISA (The company where I was working, dedicated to construction claims) this saturday.

So, during the negotiations to make my contract with ICA, I mentioned that one important thing for me is to change the scheduling tool (We are using P3), as I feel that my career is going nowhere if I get expertise with a tool from 10 years ago, but the argument from their part was the old - "The client requested P3 (I thought to myself: "But the client does not know how to use P3-or MS Project in any case") and ICA has one individual system to manage Schedule and costs, another for EVM and another for Risks". The Project Manager told me about these systems and invited me to know them, specially "ICA Risk" as I also mentioned that I wanted to learn Risk Management - And the Project Controls Manager understood that I wanted to manage risks, so he is entrusting me with the Risk management. I actually don’t know exactly what will be my daily job, but I think they want me to manage ICA’s internal systems as no one is managing them (This is something I am supposing, based in the fact that they did not show me actual data, just data loaded during the proposition phase of the project -3 years ago- and the fact that the schedule was not being updated until I arrived the project). So these first months I will get to know the systems and see what data goes in and what data goes out.

In any case, I want to learn Spider, as I consider it a tool for planning not for making schedules-and I love to plan. Maybe I won’t be able to actually use Spider for this project, but I want to leave the door open, by acquiring myself the knowledge to plan in Spider. I still believe that the better way to learn to use a tool is to actually make something with it. I need to push and know Spider’s limits on how it manages data, what formats can it export-import and the integrity of the data when exporting-importing (I am hoping I can do all my management in Spider and then just export reports to the other systems, but I won’t know until I have a full Spider and the familiarity with the actual systems)

Let me tell you a little about La Yesca Hydroelectric Project.
The project start date was in SEP2007, the finish date is not yet defined - in the contract it was JUN2012, but there have been several additional works due to a difficult geology. We have many problems, more than just the delays. One of them (I believe) is the schedule. We have a schedule of less than 1000 activities. We started updating it in JUN2010, by my suggestion, three months after I started reviewing the schedule. There are many SS and FF links and some lags greater than a year. I am still understanding what do those lags mean, and subtituing them with logic. the schedule gets a little more logic with each revision we make with all the construction managers. There is the project manager, the construction superintendent and 5 construction managers: One for concrete building, one for underground excavations, one for Open-air excavations, one for the Dam construction and one for special rock treatments. The project may not be as big as Boguchansk dam, maybe I will be able to sustain the schedule myself... but I am not sure, I need some more time to get the feeling of my new position.

If I buy a Spider licence myself I can sustain its cost in 4 months. But maybe, to start playing with the current project schedule I don’t need the professional version, maybe Lite is sufficent. In that case there will come the day when I need to upgrade.

So my question now is: If I buy a Lite license, are there facilities for updating to prefessional in the future?

I’m collecting data to make plans. My profit is to learn Spider, get CAPM certified this year together with my Engineer architect degree. Still, more than planning just wishing by the moment.

Best Regards
Carlos.
Rafael Davila
User offline. Last seen 5 hours 41 min ago. Offline
Joined: 1 Mar 2004
Posts: 4778
WELCOME BACK CARLOS

Hi Carlos,
glad to meet you again.

At the moment Spider Project is used for management of Boguchansk Dam construction. This is huge hydroelectric project on Angara river in Siberia ($5bln budget).

The project is really huge and you will need a lot of help creating project model that will certainly consist of many thousands activities (approximately 50000 at Boguchansk Dam).

Spider simulates risks and it is not that hard, easy to understand and to apply.

I estimate an initial time for gathering all necessary information and creating initial project model in two - three months. The work shall include:
1) Creating WBS and high level schedule,
2) Creating Resource Pool,
3) Creating Material Dictionary (materials and equipment),
4) Creating coding system,
5) Creating the list of typical fragments (technologuical processes that are used in construction),
6) Creating the library of typical fragments (small projects that describes these typical processes),
7) Creating the databases (reference-books) for construction norms (material requirements for volume unit of typical activities, standard resource crews, resource productivities for typical assignments, etc.),
8) Creating project model by inserting the fragments into WBS,
9) Linking activities of different fragments of the project model,
10) Applying costs,
11) Calculating the schedule and the budget,
12) Comparing necessary expenses with financial restrictions,
13) If necessary recalculating the schedule to fit for financial constraints,
14) Create optimistic and pessimistic estimates for project parameters,
15) Identify risk events,
16) Create optimistic, most probable and pessimistic scenatios of the project performance,
17) Calculate probabilities to meet project targets,
18) If they are low consider fast tracking or other ways of schedule compression or cost saving,
19) Adjust project schedule to make the targets reliable,
20) Organize project tracking collecting information from many sources (teach people, set the routine, create forms, etc.),
21) Discuss and approve forms of performance reports.

You will have the detailed information only for part of the project and so will apply rolling wave planning when future works will be detailed when the drawings will become available. Uncertainties will become lower but this will be the constant job (updating the schedule receiving new information on future works).

It is hard to estimate your expenses. Spider Project Professional license costs approximately $4000. The cost that is large is the cost of your and your team efforts.
Boguchansk Dam team includes approximately 10 planners, each of them working with own subprojects. It is hard to cover everything alone. But it depends on the level of details that will be required. For subproject management it is sufficient to use Spider Desktop Plus ($2000 per license).
Everybody else who will need an access to the project model for analyzing data and printing reports will use free Spider Viewers.

So you shall estimate future work and what team will work with you. In any case the cost of the software will be small if to compare with the cost of efforts.
And of course you may rely on our team support.

Best Regards,
Vladimir