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Overwriting of existing performance data with default values offered by Spider. What is the logic?

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Evgeny Z.
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Hi,

I am just experimenting with entering of the actual performance data into Spider, so far with just entering the default data, which Spider offers me, when I do right click=> add to Actual Data Input Table.

It works fine and logical when I enter the new period every time. However I can’t understand behavior and logic of a tool, when chose to include the period, for which the performance data is already available.

So, in the example below, I have created a simple 1 task schedule.

I have then successfully entered default performance data for 11 and 12 December and rescheduled the schedule, which did not change any end date (so far so good).

However when I try once again to enter data for the same period (11 and 12 December), then I just don’t understand the logic of a tool here.

It still offered me actual data input table with some default data. It does not ask me the question here, which I would expect

“you are trying to enter actual data for the period for which actual data already exists. Do you want to overwrite the existing data or do you want to add to it?”. This is how the input table with default values looks like.

As a result, when I simply transfer the default data, offered me by a tool into a Project, the tool shortens the total activity duration after rescheduling

If I look at the performance achieve, I can see, that tool has added the 2nd entry to the performance achieve, as it I was not trying to overwrite but just added “forgotten” data to already existing one. 

 

 

So, actually I have 2 questions:

1) What is the point of default data offered, when I try to enter data over already existing one?

2) Why it shortens the “duration” task, based on the amount of efforts spent? As I understand the duration task is an analogue of Microsoft “fixed duration task”, which shall not get shorter if more people work on it, as an opposite to effort driven task

Replies

Evgeny,

Spider is used for any kind of projects and project portfolios (construction, manufacturing, oil&gas, aerospace, telecom, software development, mining, etc.).

It is especially useful when project/portfolio resources are limited and when the users want to manage not only durations, but also volumes (amounts) of work and apply productivity and consumption norms. If this is required there is no alternative.

I'll be glad if some day you will be involved in the project that requires serious resource management and then Spider will be very helpful.

Best Regards,

Vladimir

Evgeny Z.
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Vladimir,

this is to let you know, that I looked in the latest release of Spider and I noticed, that the remaining part of the issue, previously described by me in this topic has also now been resolved.

Namely, I am talking about the issue, of default values, offered by Spider when entering actual data on the task level and when trying to override existing data. In the past the default data, when added to performance archive would shorten the duration. Now the default data does not change the duration (which is what I would expect)

Note: the same issue, but when entering performance data on the phase level has already been resolved in February (as mention in my previous post)

I must say I still did not manage to find the project to try to use the Spider for real (mainly because I did not need so far it’s power), but this fix is very encouraging.

Regards.

Evgeny

Evgeny Z.
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I noticed, that default values, offered by Spider when overwriting of existing performance data have also changed (it is now correct in my view, when entering on the phase level)

Now when on the Phase level I select Add to Actual Data Input Table and select the FROM date to be earlier, then Data Date, the default data, pulled into the Actual Data Input Table is such, that it would not change the duration of activity, when transferred to the schedule.

S, this is correct, in my view.

However when doing the same on the task level, the default data is still such that it changes the duration of activity.

Question:

Is there a deliberate logic here, or it is just has been forgotten to be fixed?

Regards.

Evgeny

Evgeny,

entering actual data when some information is missed enter default (planned) values for missed activities and consider the schedule as what if schedule with the different version number.

When the data will become available changes may be made in the performance archive or return to the original version and repeat entering actual data.

You can enter actual data for selected activities only.

In your example with submarines each one enters actual data and recalculates the schedule and program manager just collects subproject statuses.

Spider was designed for proper management when people follow the natural rules and submit performance status at required time interval or are responsible for default performance data if reports were not submitted on time.

Performance archive permits to correct input errors but an access to this archive shall be restricted.

Best Regards,

Vladimir

Evgeny Z.
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Rafael,

Thanks for this. 

Please don’t spend time trying to find some tricky way to do it. You have already spent too much time with my questions.

I just wanted to check, that may be I was missing something easy, but apparently I wasn’t. It is just not easy.

Regards.

Evgeny

Rafael Davila
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We use complex cost and resource loading, not a single cost account and/or single resource per activity, we use different resource and activities calendars, we use partial assignments, we use shift work on a single activity, it is impractical to do the calculations manually.

Updating is not merely about activity dates but also about resource usage [hours per resource], volume of work per period, cost per period per cost account, productivity, remaining duration for activities and resources and perhaps other fields.

I will look to see if by extracting activities to be updated to a separate project I can get the missing data to be assumed as planned and import it back into the job. At the moment I am having some issues on the transfer of performance data using import performance data from other project.

Evgeny Z.
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Rafael,

I really appreciate, that you spent so much time on this. I also realize that I may not be that efficient communicator.

But what I want is the following:

I want to bring the project from this state:

 

(Click this URL to get the file: TrackingIssue.005.sprj ) 

 

To this state:

You noticed, that I have actually done, this, but I did do it by going to every task individually. But imagine the situation, that you received the project of 200 activities, which was "messed up" as the one I showed above in a way, that all activities are progressed to different date. And now you want to align all of them and progress to the same date and you assumed, that they all went as planned, just progress was not updated.

Can you do it in 1-2 clicks without going to every task?

Rafael Davila
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You can use the software to calculate the missing segments progress but in no way it is a 1,2,3 procedure and still a what-if scenario. Your sample file seems like in discrepancy to what I was expecting; Activities 1 and 2 shall be predecessors of Activity 3. If from DD1 to new DD2 all happened as expected at the beginning of DD1 it would be a 1,2,3 procedure.

For this particular example instead of using Duration Type Activities I would use Productivity Type Activities with volume of work equal to distance along each submarine path, productivity equal to submarine speed. My calendars would be 24/7. In this way covered distance, remaining distance, submarine speed and remaining duration based on submarine speed will be related by the software.

http://www.mediafire.com/?64u0nubb1d8df

You can reduce activity remaining duration by increasing submarine speed, make it transparent in a way any change in required speed is clear.

Photobucket

But this is functionality not available in most other software.

Best regards,

Rafael

Evgeny Z.
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Rafail,

I know I did not perform the schedule run.

But can you please assume, that you have been asked to take the schedule which you have now downloaded and make sure, that all tasks have a grey period, going to the 3rd of December and it needs to be done BEFORE you run the schedule.

Can you do it?

Rafael Davila
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Just what I thought, you have posted the activities data but not performed a schedule run. What you display is an uncompleted update, only after you perform a schedule run you will get the schedule updated to display the impact of your reported progress.

You are drawing some activities progres but not calculating the impact.

Photobucket

Evgeny Z.
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Rafael, 

 RE "Not all actual data, just the data on the actual data input table". The actual data input table in my project is empty, I have transferred all data into the project (performance archive). The project file is available for download from the link below. Can I ask you a favor to download it and check how to align all tasks to progress to the same date in 1 -2 clicks (assuming tasks went as planned) without adding progress to every individul task.  https://docs.google.com/folder/d/0B1FBt_G3gCVqS1pmZTJqcWI0Qjg/edit?pli=1&docId=0B1FBt_G3gCVqM0NyVjloUGRvZ00  Seporately: what do you refer to "CPM rules"? Regards. Evgeny
Rafael Davila
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Not all actual data, just the data on the actual data input table if you want to progress As Planned as per CPM rules, from the status of all activities at a previous DD to the status of all activities at a new DD.

At the beginning As Planned are all activities as projected at start of job, after this As Planned means projected at a common DD on last update.

Like it or not, unless drawing bars all CPM schedules perform updates on a single DD, a concept you got to grasp and understand. Only after updating to a common DD you will get CPM revised projections that will consider all common links, resources and constraints.

When I say post I mean transfer into project. Look at the following figure and you will see discontinuous progress on Activity 3, what I believe to be somewhat tricky in Spider because did not find it on the help file, not because of the simple required steps.

Photobucket

Evgeny Z.
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Rafael,

Are you saying, that the only way to achieve my goal described below  (“how to easily (1  -2 click) align all activities to have actual data entered till the same date in this, previously discussed, schedule”) is to delete all actual data and start all over again?

Rafael Davila
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There is no way to take a schedule and say: “let us just progress all tasks as planned until the latest Data Date available”

Am I missing something?

You are following the wrong procedure for the above. Just erase all actual data input table records and start all over from actual DD to new DD and post the "as planned" progress as displayed. This is the very basic updating assumption that almost never happens. It is a reminder of what was planned to occur before imputing actual data, just that you want it all to be "as planned".

If you want to enter independent/multiple entries for the same activity(es) then you shall post the very first period of each activity on first batch. On further batch(es) you shall add the additional entries as the input data table will accept only one entry per activity per batch.

Evgeny Z.
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Vladimir, Rafael,

My be I did not explain myself correctly. The point.

My expectation was, that when I do for certain period the action “Add to actual data table” then the tool would come up with some default data, which, when transferred to project without change, would not change the duration of the tasks. In reality this statement holds true only if the range, which I have selected, does not have any previously entered actual data. If it does have a data, then it cannot be transferred to the project without screwing the schedule.

So, that means, that when entering actual performance data, one has to be extremely careful not to include by mistake a period, for which the data has already been entered for one or several activities.

As consequence of this, up until now I did not find a way how to easily (1  -2 click) align all activities to have actual data entered till the same date in this, previously discussed, schedule:

(Click this URL to get the file: TrackingIssue.005.sprj ) 

So my goal is to make sure, that both activity 1 an activity 3 have a progress entered until including December the 3rd (the same as the most further progressed  Activity 2). The only way I found to do it is to go 1st to Activity 1 and enter default data from 30.11 till 03.12, and then go to Activity 3 and enter default data from 28.11. till 03.12.  

 

There is no way to take a schedule and say: “let us just progress all tasks as planned until the latest Data Date available”

Am I missing something?  

Evgeny.

if you entered the whole set of actual data then you shall reschedule the project as the software suggests. In this case you will not see the same data in the input actual data table.

If this was not done it means that you did not finish entering actual data for the period. Additional data will be added to performance archive.

Entering actual data you enter both actual and remaining volume of work and actual and remaining duration.

When you enter volume it can be compared with MSP percent complete - durations will be calculated proportionally. Then you may change this estimated actual and remaining durations entering real data. The same about costs and material consumption.

So activity duration is not fixed. If you have done more than expected for actual period remaining duration will become shorter and it is natural.

Best Regards,

Vladimir

Rafael Davila
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You answer yourself the question before entering data.

  1. If you are on the actual data input table you are entering new data. This is not the place to edit already posted data.
  2. If you want to edit already posted data then you must go to the performance archive table and edit there old entries already posted.

You have to practice working with editing at both tables. Most common editing is required when missing activities are to be added using actual data input. Also it is not uncommon that after initial update, after posting the actual input data some errors are discovered and some editing on the performance archive must follow.

An interesting issue is when you have a need to report discontinuous and irregular progress for an activity on your monthly updates. An activity might show no progress on the first and third week of the month while on the second and fouth week, volume of work, costs and resource hours might differ on each week. This is necessary to keep transparent "measured-mile" production rates.

Best regards,

Rafael