P6 Recipe for Trouble (and how to avoid it)

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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 administer for an Alaska general contractor. (I am mindful of exactly what I’m doing in each, and avoid working with or even viewing the same records in each window). Likewise, we use multiple user access  tools to build and close an estimate, because it’s faster.

But along with that productivity comes the inevitable “who’s on first?” issue. A clear definition of roles and workflow is critical to successful multi-user file management. Also, a schedule file is different from an estimate in that its logical network can contain hundreds of interdependencies that could easily get out of sync, resulting in erroneous calculations. Estimate calculations are linear, summing only costs. The algorithms in a schedule are much more complex, as we’re dealing with time calculations in addition to cost.  Don’t fall into this trap. Set up a clear policy of single user access when making changes to a P6 project file to maintain the schedule’s integrity. And sleep better at night.