P6 Project Manager Tip

//P6 Project Manager Tip

Digital Dryshack #87: 10 Reasons D.O.D. Schedules get Rejected

Working with a G.C. firm providing scheduling training in Honolulu last week reminded me of the struggles most midsize contractors face when submitting an Initial Project Schedule (IPS) to NAVFAC or the Army Corps of Engineers. Most contractors produce a simple bar chart in MS Project for their typical jobs and aren’t familiar with P6. Rarely are the rigorous and demanding scheduling complexities included in D.O.D. project manuals required by private industry or commercial work. So when awarded a NAVFAC or USACE project, Contractors aren’t getting paid for anything but the bond because their IPS is rejected multiple times for a myriad of reasons. For this reason, I’ve listed the 10 most common reasons the Government rejects Initial Project Schedule submissions: Incomplete Logical Network is the #1 reason most schedules are re­jected. These 2 rules are absolutely non-negotiable: Every Activity but the first (Contract Award) must have a Predecessor Every Activity but the last (CCD) must have a Successor Schedule Log report not reviewed for compliance with Project Spec is the #2 reason for rejected schedules. This invaluable report lists all Constraints, Critical Path Activities, mandatory program settings, open-ended and out-of-sequence Activities, and much more. If you don’t review this report [...]

Digital Dryshack # 68: Scheduling Best Practices

15 Tips for Best-Practices Scheduling While discussing scheduling with a client in Hawaii recently, I found myself repeating over and over, a variation of “…scheduling best practices include…” Hearing these words repeatedly set me to thinking that I hadn’t recently seen scheduling guidelines set out in a concise, straightforward document. So here goes an attempt at that lofty goal. Rule # 1: Always maintain the best interests of the project in the schedule Rule # 2: Always maintain high ethical standards in building the project schedule That said, to paraphrase an old saying, “the hand builds the schedule, rules the project.” (You are in control over how you represent shades of gray. Represent your company’s best interests, as long as you comply with #1 & #2 above) Complete the logical network Don’t leave any open-ended activities. Every activity but the first has a predecessor, every activity but the last has a successor. Use the entire contract duration in the initial project schedule (IPS). Promising early completion carries significant legal implications, and is therefore often unwise. Be realistic with the logical network. Avoid “waterfall scheduling” (excessive Finish Start relationships where Start to Start is more accurate). Keep relationships simple. In most cases, [...]

Java Error in Primavera P6 Install – unable to access jarfile

A java error came up in the middle of a standalone Primavera P6 install for a client. We had just finished installing SQL 2008 and were running the database setup. When we would go to launch the database file we received the error: "unable to access jarfile lid\dbmt.jar” We examined the batch file, tried re-naming the pointed directories, modifying java settings, re-downloading Primavera P6 install files, and a host of other things. Nothing worked and we put the project on hold until the next day when it could be approached with a clear head. Thankfully, we were able to solve the problem when we resumed in the morning. The fix? Change your windows preferences to un-hide the “hidden folders.” Even though the java (jar) files were on the computer, they were hidden, and the batch file couldn’t run, which produced the jarfile and java home errors. Once we changed the setting, the install worked perfectly. To unhide your windows folders: Open Windows Explorer On your keyboard press the Alt key Go to Tools ---> Folder Options On the View tab, under Files and Folders, Click the bubble for “Show Hidden Files, Folders, and Drives” Full disclaimer that this fix won’t [...]

Feature of Work (FOW) Specs For Army Corp Projects in Primavera P6

Dealing with Feature of Work (FOW) for Army Corp Projects in Primavera P6 One issue that we have come across in developing a schedule for an Army Corp Project in P6 is how to treat the Feature of Work (FOW) in the Corp specs.   Often the Corp states three FOWs in the spec, for example FOW1, FOW2, and FOW3.  This will only work in P3, if you try to use them in P6, they will not carryover in the SDEF conversion.  This is because Primavera P6 is programmed to only allow specific Activity Codes in the SDEF Conversion.  They are: WRKP RESP AREA MODF BIDI PHAS CATW FOW Any deviation, for example an activity code named TEST, or the old P3 codes FOW1, FOW2, FOW3, will not export to SDEF! Also important to note, the spec will probably state that the FOW length should be 30 characters.  People report issues because Primavera P6 only allows a max of 20 characters.  However, in the SDEF conversion P6 is programmed to import the Code Description, not the Code Value for FOW only.  This means the max characters you set in P6 for FOW is moot in the SDEF export because it ignores the code.  The [...]

P6 Activity Won’t Schedule On Time

P6 Activity Won't Schedule On Time We received a call at 4pm on Friday afternoon (the obligatory Friday Afternoon Construction Emergency) concerning a scheduling issue: in spite of all attempts, a 10 day P6 activity with only 2 days remaining was showing a disconnected duration, a gap of 2 months between its Actual Progress and its Finish date. Worse, important Successor Activities were linked to the delayed Activity , so the whole logical path was being held hostage by the rogue activity. Try as I might, using all the tricks I know for manually controlling & updating progress, every time I scheduled the project, the Activity would disconnect from its progressed status, and show the same 2 month gap. I changed Duration type to Physical, manually edited Remaining Early Start, all to no avail. It looked like a classic case of Out of Sequence Activity, but all its Predecessors were 100% complete, so that seemed illogical. I should have run the Schedule Log report to check for Out of Sequence, but I kept thinking that if I kept at it, the solution would reveal itself. As usual, I should have listened to that little voice. Any time a progress bar [...]

How to Update Closed Financial Periods in p6

Following training we provided in Anchorage recently, a senior scheduler pulled me aside with a perplexing P6 problem. He had inherited the schedule for a hospital in northern Alaska that had been originally assembled by a cast of now-long-goners. By and large the schedule was reasonably solid, but some quirky behavior somewhere in its structure revealed itself every couple months, throwing pay apps out of balance. Try as he might, (and he's a solid scheduler), the errors kept recurring. One month all the pay items would balance, and the next there would be some math that just didn't add up.  It boiled down to our needing to adjust the amounts billed in some now-closed financial periods. The solution turned out to be simpler than we expected. Here is the solution to how to update closed financial periods in p6: 1) In the Details view, we opened the Resources Tab 2) We customized the Resources Tab to include columns for Units and Costs from the (now-closed) Financial Periods that were incorrect. 3) Consulting the manual, we entered the DIFFERENCE. in the Actual Units and Actual Costs for the period. (P6 will not overwrite the original value, but it will post an [...]

P6 Activity Code issue and fix

We took a call recently from a geographically-diverse company’s project manager who was having problems building  a new P6 schedule for an Army Corps of Engineers project. He’d been working for hours on it and was getting nowhere. Try as he might, when attempting to assign his Project Activity Codes to items, they were nowhere to be found, despite being correctly set up. Sound familiar? Chances are it might, as it’s an issue we’ve run into several times. I met the distraught project manager at a local restaurant, and we discussed his problem over lunch. The details: The problem is due to Activity Codes’ schizophrenic ability to lead“three lives”. Activity Codes can be created: at the Project level in the EPS at the Enterprise level. In this particular case, the scheduler had assigned Project level Activity Codes (correctly per the Contract Specs), AND GIVEN THEM IDENTICAL FIELD NAMES AS ENTERPRISE ACTIVITY CODES. This doesn’t work! The higher level code (in this case at the Enterprise level) will trump the lower level code (at either the EPS within the Project). The rule: Activity Codes created at different levels MUST be named differently. That difference can be as simple as a change [...]

P6 Recipe for Trouble (and how to avoid it)

We received this interesting email through our Oracle | Primavera Business Partner network at Stenstrom Group: "Increasingly, customers are calling into Oracle Support with Data consistency issues. It has come to our attention in the Channel that partners are training customers to use P6 in the following way: We found that customers are opening P6 in multiple browser tabs and making changes to both tabs. They were opening, editing, and saving from 2 active sessions.  For example, they may delete an activity from one session but in the other session the activity still exists.  When they save the first session, the activity is deleted but when they save the second session the activity exists again. This practice is NOT supported by the application and should not be recommended or encouraged. If you have questions or concerns please do not hesistate to reach out to your Channel Manager or RSM." My initial reaction was to think it unlikely any competent scheduler would deliberately work in different sessions on the same project at the same time. That was no sooner out of my mouth when I realized that I work routinely in 2 concurrent windows when modifying a Winest database that I [...]