Primavera P6 Tips and Tricks – Primavera Software File Types

primavera P6 Version 8.2_e-book training manualTips and Tricks on Primavera P6 File Types

There are several Primavera propriety file formats that you need to be aware of:

  • XERUsed to exchange one or more projects between Primavera databases regardless of the database type in which it was created and exports all project data. Earlier versions of XER files may be imported into later version databases. A layout (formatting) is not part of an XER file.
  • PLFUsed to exchange Layouts between Primavera databases regardless of the database type in which it was created.
  • ANPUsed to save the position of activities in an Activity Network.
  • ERPUsed to exchange Reports between Primavera databases regardless of the database type in which it was created.
  • XMLA format introduced with Primavera Version 6.0 which is used to import data from the Project Manager module. This is the same software language but a different format to a Microsoft Project XML file.
  • PCF – Used to exchange Global Changes between Primavera databases.

Non Primavera File Types

Select File, Import… to open a wizard that will guide you through the process of importing projects into your schedule.

Project (*.mpp).This is the default file format that Microsoft Project uses to create and save files. Microsoft Project 2010, Microsoft Project 2007 and Microsoft Project 2000 – 2003 are three different formats.

Primavera Version 8 will not import any mpp file when Microsoft Project 2007 or Microsoft Project 2010 is installed as these disable the mpp import function.

Primavera will import and export to the following non Primavera file types using the wizards found under the menu commands File, Import… and File, Export…:

  • Project 2000 2003 (*.mpp).This is the default file format that Microsoft Project 2000, 2002 and 2003 use to create and save files. Importing these files requires Microsoft Project 2000, 2002 or 2003 to be installed on the PC.
  • MPX (*.mpx). This is a text format created by Microsoft Project 98 and earlier versions. MPX is a format that may be imported and exported by many other project scheduling software packages.
  • Microsoft Project XML format is supported in Version 6.2 and later. This allows import of a file created by Microsoft Project 2010, or 2007, or 2000 to 2003 XML without the installation of Microsoft Project.
  • Primavera Project Planner P3 and SureTrak files saved in P3 format. A SureTrak project in SureTrak format should be saved in Concentric (P3) format before importing.

To import files saved in P3 format you need Btrieve loaded on your PC. Btrieve is loaded when P3 is installed. A demonstration version of P3 will load Btrieve onto your machine and enable P3 files to be imported.

  • XLS. Primavera Version 5.0 has a new function allowing the import and export of data in Excel format.

Read the Administrators Guide carefully before importing a project as this is a very complex operation and may import unwanted data into your database. It is recommended that you establish a sacrificial database into which you import projects so that corporate databases are not filled up with unwanted data.

Eastwood Harris Supplies Project Management Training Manuals, Project Management Training Presentations and Consulting on Primavera P6 and Microsoft Project 2010 across Australia.

Primavera P6 Software Tips Brisbane – Creating and Using Resources

Eastwood Harris_project management trainingCreating and Using Resources in Primavera P6 Software Brisbane

First, one would usually establish a resource pool by entering all the required project resources into a hierarchical table in the software. The required quantity of each resource is assigned to the activities. In an Enterprise environment in Brisbane, these resources may already be defined for you.

Entering a cost rate for each resource enables you to conduct a resource cost analysis, such as comparing the cost of supplementing overloaded resources against the cost of extending the project deadline.

Estimates and time-phased cash flows may be produced from this resource/cost data.

Creating and Using Roles

Primavera has an additional function titled Roles, which is used for planning and managing resources in Brisbane-based projects.

  • A Role is a skill or trade or job description and may be used as an alternative to resources during the planning period of a project.
  • Roles are defined in a hierarchical structure and hold a Proficiency Level.
  • Roles may be assigned to activities in a way similar to how resources are assigned. Roles can be replaced later by resources after it has been decided who is going to be assigned the work.
  • Primavera Version 5.0 introduced a function allowing a Role to be assigned a rate.

The Relationship Between Resources and Roles

Primavera has the ability to define roles and associate them with resources.

A role is a job title, trade or skill and may have many resources. A multi-skilled resource may have multiple roles. For example, a role may be a Clerical Assistant and there may be five clerical assistants in a company who would be assigned the Clerical Assistant Role. If one clerical assistant were also a data entry person, then this resource would be assigned two roles: Clerical Assistant and Data Entry.

Activity Type and Duration Type

Activities may be assigned an Activity Type and Duration Type, which affect how resources are calculated. Additional software features enable the user to more accurately model real-life situations. These features are covered in the Assigning Roles, Resources and Expenses chapter.

Budgets

The Budget function enables Top-Down Budgeting at a summary level against each EPS Node in an accounting style. Budgets may be compared to the detailed estimates calculated after resources have been assigned to Activities

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Primavera P6 Training Sydney – Types of Project Constraints

primavera_P6_V8.2 training using metrics brisbanePrimavera P6 Project Constraints Types in Sydney

There are two types of constraints:

  • Project Constraints which includes the Project Start Date and Project Finish Date, and
  • Activity Constraints; the two most common are Start On or After (Early Start) and Finish On or Before (Late Finish).

External dependencies are applied to a schedule using Constraints and these may model the impact of events outside the logical sequence of activities. A constraint would be imposed to specific dates such as the availability of a facility to start work or the required completion date of a project.

Constraints on projects in Sydney should be cross-referenced to the supporting documentation, such as Milestone Dates from contract documentation, using the Notebook Topics function.

Project Constraints

A Project Start Date called Project Planned Start in P6 is the earliest date that any activity may be scheduled to start. An activity will start on the Project Start Date unless one of the following stop the activity starting on the Project Start Date::

  • There is a Calendar Non Work time, or
  • A constraint, or
  • A relationship.

A Project Finish Date is optional, but once set this controls Total Float (often referred to as Float in P6).

When a Project Finish Date constraint is assigned in Sydney then Total Float is calculated to this date.

  • The picture shows a project with a Project Finish date on Friday 26 September developing 5 days Total Float.

p6 project finish date

  • The picture shows a schedule with a Project Finish date of Friday 12,
  • This is earlier than the calculated finish date, thus calculating 5 days Negative Float:

p6 project finish date 2

Activity Constraints

Typical examples of activity constraints would be:

  • Start on or After for the availability of a site to commence work, and
  • Finish on or Before for the date that a total project must be completed or handed over.

Activity Early Start Constraint

  • An activity will no longer start on the Data Date when a Start On or After constraint is assigned
  • This is more commonly known as an Early Start constraint.

p6 project early start

NOTES: In P6 the time must always be displayed as P6 will often set constraints at 00:00hrs which is midnight and is not very often an appropriate time to set constraints.

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Primavera P6 Training Brisbane – Scheduling the Project

Project Planning and Control Using Oracle Primavera P6 - Versions 8.1 & 8.2 Professional Client & Optional ClientScheduling the Project in Primavera P6

The software calculates the shortest time in which the project may be completed, Activities are moved forward in time until they meet a Relationship or Constraint or a calendar nonwork time. Un-started activities without logic or constraints are scheduled to start at the Project Start Date or as permitted by calendar nonwork times.

Scheduling the project will identify the Critical Path(s) when there is a Closed Network.

The Critical Path is the chain(s) of activities that takes the longest time to accomplish; a delay to any activity in the chain will delay the end date of the project. The calculated completion date depends on the critical activities starting and finishing on time.

If any of them are delayed, the whole project will be delayed.

Critical Path

The Critical Path is the shortest duration that a project may be completed in and a delay to any activity will delay the end date of the project, activities A1000 to A1030 and A1060 below also shown in red are on the critical path:

primavera p6 critical path

Total Float

Total Float is the amount of time an activity may be delayed without extending the project end date.

  • An activity with Total Float may delay another activity,
  • May be displayed in a column and in the Gantt Chart, as per the thin black bar below and
  • May be negative.

primavera p6 total float

Free Float

The Free Float is the amount of time an activity may be delayed without delaying another activity.

  • Displayed only in a column and
  • Is never in the negative.

primavera p6 free float

P6 does not display Free Float as a br.

Relationship Colors

Relationship colors in P6 may not be formatted as with most other software:

  • Solid Red are Critical and normally do not have Total Float,
  • Solid Black are Driving Non-Critical and their successors have Total Float,
  • Dotted Black are Non-Driving Non-Critical and their predecessors have Free Float.

primavera p6 relationship colours

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Primavera P6 Software Tips and tricks – Setting Up a New Project

Set Up a New Project Using Primavera P6 Software

To review or modify some of the basic Project or EPS information entered when a project was created, ensure that the Project Details form is displayed in the bottom of the screen:

  • Highlight a project or EPS Node,
  • The project must be open to edit some project data,
  • You must also have the appropriate access rights to edit data,
  • Select View, Show on Bottom, Details and click on the General tab:

set up project in primavera p6

  • The Risk Level may be used to sort and filter Projects and EPS Nodes.
  • The Project Leveling Priority is used when leveling a project to reduce peaks in resource requirements. Value of 1 is the highest and 100 the lowest.
  • Check Out Status enables the user to determine if the project is checked in or checked out (New to Version 4.1). Checked Out By and Date Checked Out enables the user to establish if the project is currently checked out.

Eastwood Harris Supplies Project Management Training Manuals, Project Management Training Presentations and Consulting on Primavera P6 and Microsoft Project 2010 across Australia.

Primavera P6 Software Training Melbourne – How to Add Logic Links

primavera P6 Version 8.2_e-book training manualAdding the Logic Links Using Primavera P6 Software in Melbourne

The logic is added to the schedule to provide the order in which the activities must be undertaken.

The logic is designated by indicating the predecessors to, or the successors from, each activity. There are two methods that Primavera software uses to sequence activities:

  • Precedence Diagramming Method (PDM), and
  • Arrow Diagramming (ADM).

Most current project planning and scheduling software, including Primavera, uses PDM. You can create a PDM diagram using the Network Diagram function.

There are several types of dependencies that may be used:

1.       Mandatory dependencies, also known as Hard Logic or Primary Logic, are relationships between activities that may not be broken. For example, a hole has to be dug before it is filled with concrete, or a computer delivered before software is loaded.

2.       Discretionary dependencies, also known as Sequencing Logic or Soft Logic or Secondary Logic, are relationships between activities that may be changed when the plan is changed. For example, if there are five holes to be excavated and only one machine available, or five computers to be assembled and one person available to work on them, then the order of these activities could be set with sequencing logic yet changed at a later date.

Both Mandatory dependencies and Discretionary dependencies are entered into Primavera P6 as activity relationships or logic links. The software does not provide a method of identifying the type of relationship because notes or codes may not be attached to relationships. A Note may be added to either the predecessor or the successor activity to explain the relationship.

  1. External dependencies are usually events outside the control of the project team that impact the schedule. An example would be the availability of a site to start work. This is usually represented in Primavera by a Milestone that has a constraint applied to it. This topic is discussed in more detail in the next section.

The P6 software will calculate the start and finish dates for each activity.  The end date of the project is calculated from the start date of the project, the logic amongst the activities, any Leads(often referred to as Negative Lag)or Lags applied to the logic and durations of the activities.

Eastwood Harris Supplies Project Management Training Manuals, Project Management Training Presentations and Consulting on Primavera P6 and Microsoft Project 2010 across Australia.