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Managing Multiple Project and multiple key players-how?

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Rodel Marasigan
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Hi Vladimir,
First is my apology for posting my query on the wrong forum. I copy and pasted some content here and re-raise the query again as stated below.

Mostly on a large scale organisation was involves on a large project where a Project Control groups are huge and composed of different key players. On alliance contract composed of different company are having multiple projects and different site at the same time.
Now my queries are these and I know you are the best person to ask with.

In Spider Project:
1) How to handle a big project using different key players?
2) How it is manage on a big picture where all key players are doing at the same time (i.e. multiple planners having there own area, cost controller and portfolio management)?
3) How to handle cost management, schedule at the same time with different key players?
4) How to handle multiple projects at the same time?
5) How the information’s are shared including the load of works of each key player?
6) Is spider project looking to upgrade and get into enterprise and Portfolio Project Management?

In P6, we handle multiple projects in one centralize server database where every key player have access with limited security settings. Cost management and scheduling are handled by different key players so task of each key member are not overloaded and concentrated on their areas where a management level have overall controls and get an overall picture at once. Handling multiple projects is easy and manageable per project or per enterprise level. Each key player has access on online communication and update there own task even on different locations. Is this also possible in Spider Projects or looking to it in the future? Or is it possible to install Spider Projects on a server and more than one user can use at the same time?

There is no doubt that major planning software can handle big job like what you mentioned but depends on the process, procedure and communication of every key player to make it successful. Back on the early days when we are using standalone P3.x to manage big jobs and multiple projects where the common process is to have every key player a separate database on each machine to plan, monitor and update projects on their respective area and used project check-in/ check-out to update the master schedule and summarize the project by the lead planner or PCM. The master program has all the level 1 schedule and the rest are sub-projects. Sometimes if the program is too complicated or too big we use external software to gather all information and combine the summary when producing report to get the over all pictures of a project. When P6 enterprise was release it reduces the risk of error and communications are become more feasible and manageable. Managing Portfolio management is easier and lives information on the spot.
The reason I ask this is I read your presentation about Infrastructure Projects in Russia.ppt where you introduce the use of RCP and I’m curious to know the process how it is manage using multiple key player in one project. I also read in some of your white paper that Portfolio Management in Spider project was handled successfully.

Thank you and hoping some feedback from you.

Best Regards,
Rodel

Replies

Chris Rogers
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Hi Vladimir,

I am a freelancer and I had similar needs like yours. I went for a web based project management software named proofhub and I found it very user friendly and light on pocket. If you wish then you can also give it a try.

Rodel Marasigan
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Hi Mimoune,
I understand where you are coming from that is why we have restrictions on the share folder. Users have access to write and read but not allowed to delete. Also in house training will help to re-educate users. And yes daily servers backup are set default and weekly for full servers back-up.

Best Regards,
Rodel
Rafael Davila
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Mimoune,

Even when rare these 270,000 tasks jobs do occur most probably are kept in order by partitioning the work into several jobs that must always be considered as a unit. Mega projects do exist.

Utilities might have in their portfolios hundreds or thousands of jobs most of them not linked by logic but by limited resources, limited crews, and limited equipment. They have to see the whole portfolio in order to level resources. Other companies such as those working on marine works might have a dozen of jobs but again some specialized equipment that must be moved from job to job, these might be specialized pile driving equipment, barges, crane barges, cranes, draglines and a few others. These equipment got to be leveled as you cannot go to Acme Rental to get it. Other companies such as real estate developers have limited financial resources so they must see the whole portfolio in order to watch cash flow and level financial resources. Usually it is not about a single monstrous job, but about being able to see the whole portfolio.

Multiple Key Players have their own WBS needs, as a single key player I got so used to multiple WBS to the extent cannot any longer live without them. Keep in mind P3 is kind of limited, in this regard is obsolete as working a portfolio of jobs with the P3 limitation of a single WBS is too restrictive. Even if you can handle this restriction from your perspective, what about the others? In a job with multiple prime contractors are you going to tell them what WBS is best for their specialized work? Come on move to something better, as Vladimir said if a Solo processor can handle it and today’s processors are Duo and Quad there is no excuse.

You got to read in between the lines what Vladimir said, I believe he is talking about improvements on P3 approach. Don’t rule out what P3 did in ways the industry loved others might have improved on it, of course others might have gone the other way.

Best Regards,
Rafael
Hi Mimoune,
Spider Project schedule and level portfolio like one large project taking into account common resource, supply and financing constraints, links between activities of different projects, project priorities, etc. Separate projects may be relatively small but the portfolio model may be huge.

Last year Romtelecom presented at PMI COS Conference their Project Management System that has more than 2000 projects in the portfolio. Projects were of different size but the number of portfolio activities exceeded 270000.

RUSAL (Russian Aluminium) uses Spider for management of their portfolio of capital construction projects - several plants, Boguchansk Dam, etc. Each project model consists of more than 40000 activities and though the number of projects is relatively small the size of the portfolio is huge.

Best Regards,
Vladimir
mimoune djouallah
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thanks Rodel

I had the opportunity to work with this approach in my last project, and it worked like a charm, the advantage compared to traditional client-server process ( pun intended) as noticed by Vladimir, it is less rigid, don’t need a sophisticated IT infrastructure, and specially give a further freedom to each subproject planner( as they don’t necessary have access to same LAN network), as every subproject has different need for the frequency of update based on the nature of their scope of work, then each month the Planning manager merge the different subproject to the project group.

one point need to be stressed here, the interlink between subproject all "go" through milestones, a system of handover and receipt of work-package is implemented.
each subcontractor know when he can start the work based on the handover of the other trade subcontractor.

nevertheless, there is some precautions to be made, working with the same share folder in P3 can be a pain, unfortunately P3 don’t scale well in a huge project, whatever you made a simple operation , better to make a backup.

sorry Vladimir what kind of program have 270000 tasks ;) !?

Best regards
Mimoune

Rodel Marasigan
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Hi Mimoune,

Managing Multiple Projects in P3 using multi-users environment
First we have a written document Procedure used as a guide for all Planners which being manage and update by the Project Controls manager.
All WBS, CBS, Calendars, Project IDs, Project Codes, Resources, Activity Codes and intelligent Activity ID format are defined as standard for all Projects and sub-projects including other Dictionaries. Project Directories for main database, Project Check Out folder and Project Check In folder are all have specific location on LAN or Networks. LAN users have specific access security settings and rights to their specific Projects. For standalone users which don’t have network connection will use email facilities to send in/out of their projects and restored to project check-in and check out folder which being managed by the project control coordinator or PCM using monitor function of P3. Cut-Off date and data date are the same across the board.
Project Control Manager or Project Control Coordinator is responsible for collecting data and summarizing the Projects. An external Database using API and ODBC are also in-house interface to Project Cost Controllers software (i.e. PRONTO Enterprise, WorkBench, SUN system…etc.) to update cost, timesheets using Cost Accounts and WorkPacks.
Master Schedule are contains only Level 1 schedule (Key Milestones, Deliverable Milestones and other important event for overall projects and interlink to subprojects. Each subproject are also link to each other and using Advance option in scheduling and leveling process, each planner can run their schedule independently or Globally. To make sure that all projects have same data date, P3 is set to Group Scheduling and replace data date when running project group scheduling.

Best Regards,
Rodel
Hi Mimoune,
I am also interested in Rodel answer.
Besides, it may be useful to discuss what is good and what is wrong with this approach without discussing its realization in P3 that was not perfect.
I am also curious what did you cite? I don’t remember such discussions.
Best Regards,
Vladimir
mimoune djouallah
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" Back on the early days when we are using standalone P3.x to manage big jobs and multiple projects where the common process is to have every key player a separate database on each machine to plan, monitor and update projects on their respective area and used project check-in/ check-out to update the master schedule and summarize the project by the lead planner or PCM. The master program has all the level 1 schedule and the rest are sub-projects. Sometimes if the program is too complicated or too big we use external software to gather all information and combine the summary when producing report to get the over all pictures of a project "

sorry guys it is a spider thread but could you please Rodel elaborate on that, i can see you have managed to overcome the limitations of P3 !

best regards
Mimoune
Rodel Marasigan
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Vladimir,

Again thank you for very useful information.

Best regards,
Rodel
Rodel,
Spider stores projects as files.
If you have an access to the file you can open it from anywhere. One of the options is to use FTP. And of course you can copy the program or send it by E-mail and work with it at home or anywhere.
Replication is necessary when the project has subprojects managed by different teams or people. They get their own copies of their subprojects to work between the program updates.
Best Regards,
Vladimir
Rodel Marasigan
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Hi Vladimir,
Thanks again for the helpful information. Just to clarify number query number 1.

I know the difference between replication and direct access that is why I ask the query. For example: If I am the planner and save my project program to network drive can I access the program using VPN while I’m at home or do I need to copy or replicate the program?

Best Regards,
Rodel
Hi Rodel,
I will answer to some of your questions where know the answers.
1) I don’t understand what do you mean. An access to the database and replication have different purposes. Replication is made for autonomous work with the subprojects and entering actuals by subproject managers. An access to the database can be given to anyone but an ability to make changes may be restricted or totally banned.
2) I did not try this but do not expect pronlems.
3) Any notebook will be sufficient. In my travels I use very small notebook with Core Solo processor and easily schedule and level the project that consists of 270000 activities. Replication also does not require special resources.
4) Planner can manage everything.
5) Archiving is not automatic. When the schedule is updated the software asks if to create new project version (recommended). The planner can select No and new version will not be created.

Primavera level resources but does not calculate correct resource constrained floats. With correct resource constrained floats you can determine Resource Critical Path - a sequence of activities that have zero resource constrained floats. RCP is calculated by proper resource levelling and calculating resource constrained floats as the part of resource levelling.

Unfortunately the declarations of CCPM are not supported by the practice. They avoid creating detailed project models, recommend to have not more than 200 activities in the project schedule. With this recommendations it is obvious that Critical Chain cannot be properly defined and buffers set. Besides I don’t understand why it is necessary to protect Critical Chain at all. I see no problems if Critical Chain will change during project execution.
Look at http://www.spiderproject.ru/library/mps.ppt

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Rodel Marasigan
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Thanks Vladimir,

I fully understand and I realized that if same network nothing is required. Hope you don’t mind asking more queries.
1) Is it also possible to access the database without replication using VPN?
2) Is Spider also possible to run in Citrix metaframe presentation server?
3) What is the basic micro computer specification to run a big project with multiple sub-projects where database is residing at the share network?
4) What is the basic resource requirement to maintain the server database or it can be maintained by the planner itself?
5) Archiving of data are they set automatic in a period of time or manual?

And one more thing, I read your white paper about RCP which you mentioned that it was almost the same theory of CCPM, fortunately I have a copy of book of Critical Chain Project Management, second edition by Lawrence P. Leach. The approach is almost the same by inserting resource buffer and puts the main emphasis on the resources required to execute project tasks.
The only thing that bothers me is what is the difference between RCP and resource leveling?
Are RCP a result of resource leveling or RCP and resource leveling are the same or both of them are completely different?

Again thank your for very valuable information

Best Regards,
Rodel
Hi Rodel,
FTP is one of potential options. Russian Aluminium prefered to use DFS (Distributed File System) of Windows Server. If multiple key players are in the same network nothing is required.
Spider Project replicates project database and each key (responsible) player gets own copy of the project (program, portfolio) schedule that includes only those subprojects they are authorised to change. Another oprtion - they will get everything but all changes that are made in other areas (where they are not authorised to make changes) will be ignored when the whole model will be updated.
So each can player can work independently without accessing central database between predefined times of the model updates and can establish owh routine of entering actuals and updating subproject model.
It is necessary to make the main model consistent at any time (the same data date for all project subprojects).
Client-server approach makes group work too complicated. If somebody enters actual information for the new date the model become inconsistent until everybody enters actual information to the same date. It restricts the work with subproject models for all project participants. We tried to avoid it. As I wrote earlier PM specifics require disreet update of the project model that makes client-server advantages unusable.
Replication solves this problem and increases the safety of the project data.
When you created the portfolio by creating links to the portfolio projects you are able to open the portfolio without opening separate projects. Projects remember their links and there is an option to calculate resource-constrained schedule of the separate projects taking into account portfolio restrictions without opening the portfolio.
And don’t forget that Spider Project stores project (program, portfolio) archives. If something went wrong with the current version you have an option to open last updated version, compare any two versions, etc. It helps to manage project (program, portfolio) trends and increases the reliability of project data.
Besides projects are linked with the reference-books that contain cost data, material requirements data, productivity data, etc. Any changes in the reference-books are transfered to all connected projects if necessary (if archived version is opened the planner can select not to transfer current data).
In any case any update can be reversed.
There is no need in the complex database administration, the work is simple and reliable. As I wrote earlier our customers manage hundreds and thousands of portfolio projects using this approach and never met any problems with their models and databases.
Best Regards,
Vladimir
Rodel Marasigan
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Hi Vladimir,
Thanks for the information and yes you are correct that enterprise and Portfolio management was already acquired by Spider Projects when browsing internet yesterday and came across on “Vision for Project Management software Industry” by Stacy A. Goof.
Correct me if I’m wrong on my understanding.
To manage multiple projects and multiple key players Spider Projects use FTP server to store program files so everyone that have privilege access can use and modify the program. It was a great approached and process which limit the error on transmitting data by the way of import and export function. It’s almost the same as client server but different methodology which give good benefits for both users and organizations. I understand that planners or users can open same program files at the same time but is it possible to do update at the same time?

You also mentioned that Portfolio Management are being manage with or without opening the projects which means Spider Project has a functions of summarising the data or some link of each Project to manage Portfolio, Am I correct?

All the queries are answered with full understanding. About cost management yes I mean cost library and data, actual cost entry and not date or schedule related. In regards to load of works you answered it correctly with the use of forms and where foreman and other key player use to update their task.

Again thank you very much for very notable and useful information.

Best Regards,
Rodel
Rodel Marasigan
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Hi Rafael,
Thanks for the information and YES I already downloaded spider project demo version when Vladimir provided the link on one of the thread in a forum.

Also I’m familiar with Citrix which we already using it since Proxy server was introduce using citrix metaframe presentation server. Using company computer and working on a remote area or at home we use VPN to access our files, folders, emails…etc. But for alliance computer where multiple company involves and each companies have their own company rules, securities and restrictions we use citrix metaframe server for Web Interface to access our emails, files, folder, programs… etc.

Best Regards,
Rodel
Hi Rodel,
below I repeat slightly modified post #153 fron Let’s Challenge Spider thread where I described group work in Spider Project.
We decided that client-server technology is not good for project management software and developed different approach to organizing group work. Read the description and I will be glad to answer your future questions describing the details that may be of interest to you.

Now short answers to your questions.

In Spider Project:
1) How to handle a big project using different key players?

Described below.

2) How it is manage on a big picture where all key players are doing at the same time (i.e. multiple planners having there own area, cost controller and portfolio management)?

Also described below.

3) How to handle cost management, schedule at the same time with different key players?

What do you mean by cost management? If you mean entering new costs it is usually done not by entering schedule data directly in the project schedule but modifying cost reference-books. Everything else is integrated.

4) How to handle multiple projects at the same time?

If you mean portfolio management then it is easy. In Spider Project you can create any number of project portfolios just creating references what projects belong to each portfolio. By the way one project can belong to many portfolios.
These projects may be managed by different planners at different machines. At any moment you can open and calculate any portfolio without opening its projects. The same requirement - for portfolio scheduling all projects shall have the same data date.

5) How the information’s are shared including the load of works of each key player?

I think that it is described below though I don’t understand what is load of work.

6) Is spider project looking to upgrade and get into enterprise and Portfolio Project Management?

Spider Project is 14 years in the Enterprise and Portfolio Management. So your proposal is late, we upgraded in 1996 when Eagle Ray (the original name of Primavera Enterprise) did not exist. At that year we managed the construction of Olympic village for the First International Youth Games in Moscow (with 17 main contractors).
As I answered earlier Spider Project is used as the Enterprise Project Management System by many large companies like Russian Aluminium, Romanian Telecom, Belarus Transgas, etc., Russian Ministry of Defense, Russian Ministry of Regional Development, Russian Accounting Chamber, Romanian Ministry of Internal Affairs, etc., in most large programs in Russia like preparation of 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, development of Russian Pacific Area, preparation of World Student Games in Kazan, etc. These programs consist of hundreds construction projects and have multi-billion budgets. I cannot list here many hundreds companies that use Spider Project as their enterprise project management system.

Your questions are welcomed. I can answer in more details if necessary.
_________________________________________________

Spider Project Professional, Desktop Plus and Lite support group work but differently.
Spider Project Professional includes not only project but also portfolio management tools. I understood that your question is about project management.

If the project has subprojects that are managed by different persons and organizations (we call such projects programs or multi-projects) then you will need Spider Project Professional for program management.

You shall also implement strict regulations on the time of program data updating. Program scheduling and reporting require the existence of the common data date for all subprojects that belong to the Program. So all program participants shall enter actual information to the same date and time. These requirements are the same for everybody who is responsible for updating program data.
Let’s suppose that the Program is updated on Tuesdays basing on the program status on Monday evening. So all Program participants shall enter actual status information strictly on the required time (Monday evening) to make the status date the same for all program subprojects. And this shall be done on Tuesday morning before the Program will be rescheduled and reports will be produced.
These requirements do not depend on the software data organization. If you want to be able to reschedule the program or get project reports the data date shall be the same for all program activities.

But subproject managers may require different frequency of data updating. In small subproject it may be necessary to reschedule daily to supply resources for the plans for the day (shift). So subproject managers may need to manage their subprojects separately, with their own data dates, resources, regulations though all of them shall follow program requirements and supply the program planner with the Monday evening statuses of their subprojects on Tuesday morning.

That is why Spider Project uses special organization of the group work with the program data.

Program Planner creates Responsibility Breakdown Structure where phases are the names of responsible managers, activities in these phases are those that belong to their subprojects. Program Planner creates a list of responsible managers and enters the folder paths where to send them their subprojects and where to take updated models. These responsible managers are assigned to the phases in the responsibility structure.

When the command Distribute suprojects is selected by Program Planner Spider Project replicates the Program model and sends to each of responsible managers the models of their subprojects for the autonomous work until the next update. Now subproject managers may work with their own regulations until the next Tuesday (for an example updating the model every day). All of them know that it is necessary to update their models to the status of Monday evening on Tuesday morning because at 10:00 on Tuesday Program Planner will select the command Consolidate subprojects and all information in the program model will be updated by the information that exists in the subproject models. This way the new version of the program model will be created and the previous one will be stored in the program archive. The program (portfolio) shall be rescheduled and analyzed, corrective actions may be planned, and after new plan for a week will be accepted Program Planner selects the command Distribute subprojects ...

At the lower levels program planners may use not professional but Desktop version of Spider Project that is much cheaper. They do not need to work in the network, they just need to place their models with Monday evening status to specified folder, to FTP server, or just send by E-mail. The size of Spider Project files is relatively small.

But if you manage relatively small project where project participants just enter actual data (not work with the models adding activities, assigning resources, costs, etc.) then you don’t need to replicate project model and use different model of the collaboration. And for this model you can use Spider Project Desktop Plus (two times cheaper than professional version).

You still need Responsibility Structure but this time people are responsible only for entering actual data for different activities. Usually they are assigned as resources but sometimes you can decide that actual data shall be entered by somebody else (foremen, etc.).

But this time Spider Project will send not the models of subprojects but table Reporting Forms that include the data of what is planned for current time period (list of planned activities with assigned resources, planned dates, volumes of work, durations, costs, material consumption for all planned activities).

For each parameter this form includes initial, planned and remaining quantities. If actual data differ from planned actual quantities shall be entered and other parameters will be adjusted. An example - if you entered actual activity volume of work, the software adjusts the remaining volume of work, actual and remaining duration, actual and remaining costs and material consumption.
You can modify the remaining data with the forecasts of remaining volumes, durations, costs, material requirements.

Entering actual and forecasted data you shall save this form to the specified folder, FTP server or just send it to Project Planner by E-mail. Using command Consolidate monitoring data Project planner updates project model creating its new version. Previous version is stored in the project archive.

Reporting forms can be opened and filled with Spider Demo that is free. They can also be exported to Excel and imported from Excel.

And of course you can create different access to the project data for different project participants defining what and how they can see and edit project data.
___________________________________________
Rodel,
can you answer to Rafael question on P6 longest path in the New Spider Project Functionalities thread? You may do it better than me.

Best Regards,
Vladimir
Rafael Davila
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Posts: 4780
Rodel,

Perhaps you should download the Spider Demo, if you have a fast internet connection between the download and the installation it shall take no more than 3 minutes, it takes me less than 3 minutes to download and install full upgrades but not sure if registered users are provided faster access.

I suggest some reading on Virtualization products by Citrix as this allows you to deploy on the web any software you have and makes it easier the administration and installation of updates that can be installed at the server by IT without need to access the remote desktops. It can be used for P6. I have seen applications running on Citrix on the Web and could not perceive any difference as if running the applications locally, perhaps even faster if a heavy application running on a server faster than your 3GHz laptop. I believe the future is on virtualization where IT will provide each user with a virtual desktop and will have better control on the installation and upgrading of software, of course each user will still be able to use the computer locally as usual. Is interesting how even the same user using different computers will have different access profiles, not the same if using a company computer as if using his home computer, at home he might not be able to copy, paste or print while at the office he might.

http://www.citrix.com/English/ps2/products/feature.asp?contentID=2300358

Finally I would like to comment that for deployment of Spider Project you can have as many licenses as needed for updating the files and perhaps hundreds or thousands of users accessing the job files using the free viewer you can distribute freely in unlimited quantities.

Best Regards,
Rafael