Expert, flexible training in the use of the most powerful scheduling software program in the world: Primavera P6 by Oracle.
Primavera Scheduling

All posts in Primavera P6

Weird Negative Float

Categories: Level of Effort, Primavera P6, Total Float
Comments Off on Weird Negative Float

There are several settings in Primavera P6 that can have unintended consequences, but perhaps none is worse than what I am about to describe. Primavera P6 users know that negative float can be induced by putting a constraint into a schedule. A Finish On or Before constraint, for example, will generate negative float if the activity is now scheduled to finish beyond the chosen constraint date.

But can a schedule with no constraints generate negative float? A reasonable person would say “no”. After all, if there are no constraints in the schedule the project can extend to any date. So negative float is simply not possible. Who could possibly argue otherwise?

Well, I can! Because I have seen it in action. Let me set the scene. I was at the Kennedy Space Center teaching a Primavera P6 class to a NASA contractor last year when one of the class participants presented an unusual problem. His schedule had negative float but no constraints.

I was quite sure he had forgotten about the Must Finish By constraint. It does not show up in the Schedule Log and no asterisk will appear in the date columns. Nope. My client truly had no constraints in his schedule. Yet some activities had negative Total Float.

The contractor commented that all of the negative Total Float seemed to be on Level of Effort activities and nowhere else. Yet the predecessors and successors to the Level of Efforts had positive float. Huh?

This is one of those situations when I wish I still had some hair to pull. I use Level of Efforts in pretty much every schedule and have never had any problems – regardless of whether any constraints were being used. Some setting or calculation in Primavera P6 was clearly off. After some research in the Oracle Knowledge Base (Document ID 988077.1) the culprit was located.

In Primavera P6, Total Float can be calculated by one of three methods:

  • Start Float = Late Start – Early Start
  • Finish Float = Late Finish – Early Finish
  • Smallest of Start Float and Finish Float

These options are found under the Schedule Options, as seen below:

Settings for Compute Total Float










Right out of the box, Primavera P6 always calculates float using the middle option, Finish Float = Late Finish – Early Finish. And most users would probably not consider changing the calculation method if for no other reason than not understanding why it would make a difference. The NASA contractor had likewise always used this method of calculating float until someone decided to play with the settings. By shear luck, this happened between our training sessions at Cape Kennedy.

There are of course a lot of settings in Primavera P6 that could change the way a schedule behaves. In this situation, no one remembered changing the Schedule Options. The schedule had just been updated, but not for the first time and previously there was never a problem with the float. Seemingly overnight, the float had just gotten weird.

The NASA contractor had switched the calculation to float = Late Start – Early Start. Primavera P6 calculates float values for both the beginning and end of each activity because the values can be different whenever the relationship type is not Finish-to-Start. You probably did not know this (or even care!) but it can make a difference. But any float calculation method other than the one using late dates results in erroneous float being displayed on Level of Efforts.

In the next screenshot I am displaying a Level of Effort activity with negative float.

Level of Effort with Negative TF






As you can see in the Activity Details, the predecessor and successor tasks do not have negative float. But why negative float? I have an answer but not an explanation. The negative float is being calculated as the difference between the actual start date of the Level of Effort and the Data Date.

Think about it. Primavera P6 considers the Level of Effort as being behind schedule because it has an actual start date that is before the Data Date. Where else should the actual start be?

In the schedule above the Level of Effort started the day before the Data Date so it is theoretically a day behind schedule. Ridiculous, but that is how Primavera P6 is calculating the float for Level of Effort activities.

Choosing the third method of calculation, Smallest of Start Float and Finish Float is still a bad idea because a negative number would still appear on the Level of Effort. According to Oracle, Start Float and Finish Float is usually the same, but can be different on both Level of Effort and WBS Summary activities.

Why? Who knows, but it keeps me on my toes!




Put Your Primavera XER File on a Diet

Categories: Oracle XE Database, P6 Professional, POBS Table, Primavera P6, Primavera XER
Comments Off on Put Your Primavera XER File on a Diet
POBS Table

You have probably noticed that after using Primavera P6 for a while your XER files seem to be getting bigger. Actually, a lot bigger. Files that used to be under 1 MB are now more than 10 MB. This slows down the importing of XER files considerably and makes it harder to email files without using a large-file service  like Hightail or Dropbox.

According to Oracle, this problem affects Versions 7.0 and later.

The XER file format is the most popular way to exchange project data between databases. As a consultant, I always have to send my files to the client. There is another Primavera format – XML – but these files tend to be rather large compared to Primavera XER. The beauty of the XER format is that it is text-based, which normally results in a very small file.

Nevertheless, XER files have a bad habit of getting rather chubby, if not downright HUGE. This would be understandable if it served some purpose. Unfortunately, the increased size is a complete waste of space. And in some cases it takes so long to import the XER file that P6 effectively locks up. Not good.

Specifically, the problem is the POBS Table. Join the club if you have never heard of this data field. Here is the official explanation from Oracle as to the purpose:

Functions related to table POBS have not been implemented yet so the table has not been put to use. The table may be removed in a future release.

You do have to wonder, if Oracle has not found a purpose for the POBS Table yet, why has its use persisted for so long? This is not the first time a feature showed up without a purpose. For several years Primavera P6 displayed a colored bar next to the Activity Code Values. The default color was blue. Regardless, changing the color did nothing because the feature was intended for Visualizer, which had not been incorporated yet:

Activity Codes Menu

Since the POBS Table is not used at all, we might as well delete it. Granted, if your XER files are rather small it is not a necessary step. Until recently all of my XER files were reasonably sized considering the size of the projects. But starting several months ago my XER files started gorging themselves. A POBS Table with a few dozen lines suddenly had thousands of lines. Deleting the POBS Table became a necessity for me.

Assuming you are using an Oracle database it is rather easy to delete the POBS Table in the database so that export files do not include this table by running the following statement inside the database after backing it up:

  • delete from pobs;
  • commit;

**UPDATE** Please see my post regarding how to Delete POBS Data in an Oracle XE Database for more detailed instructions on how to execute the above commands.

Files being imported into the database, however, most likely will have the POBS Table. So it may become necessary to modify the XER files prior to importing them. Here are the steps:

  1. Make a copy of the XER file (just in case!)
  2. Open the XER file in a text editor like Notepad
  3. Find (Ctrl+F) the line that starts with %T POBS
  4. Select the following lines that start with:
    1. %T POBS
    2. %F (including all line content)
    3. %R (including all line content)
  5. Stop at the next %T
  6. Delete the above lines
  7. Save the XER file
  8. Import the XER file

Below is a screenshot showing each type of line that must be deleted:

POBS Table

Note that lines that start with %R may number in the hundreds or even thousands. The above image does not reflect the thousands of %R lines that existed in this particular XER file.

The next %T will be very close to the end of the file. The rest of the lines pertain to project data that should not be deleted, which is why we stop at the next %T. The biggest headache is getting all of the %R lines highlighted.

Still, deleting the POBS Table can yield startling results. Starting with a XER file that was 14.4 MB (14,377 KB) in size, I employed the technique described above to delete the POBS Table. The new XER file was just 105 KB (!)

It is always a good idea to make a backup copy of the XER file just in case you delete the wrong lines. But otherwise this is a quick and easy way to drastically reduce the size of XER files.

Any comments or questions? Please email me.

Time-saving Tricks in P6 You Must Use

Categories: P6 Professional, P6 Tricks, Primavera P6
Comments Off on Time-saving Tricks in P6 You Must Use

Primavera P6 will save you a boat-load of time while building a schedule if you know where to look. And since one of my most recent training clients actually builds commercial boats I suppose the analogy is even more appropriate for them! While there are also several time-saving tricks for updating a schedule, today I am going to focus on the building of a brand new schedule. Here are my top five favorite P6 tricks:

1. Fragnets

If we think of the entire schedule as being a network diagram then a fragnet is a sub-network. A fragnet may be just a few activities, or dozens. Traditionally we develop fragnets for two reasons: (1) to represent additional work that is not part of the original scope, or (2) to represent repetitive work in the original scope. In the baseline schedule the latter example is how we save time.

I have not truly built a baseline schedule from scratch for quite a few years because I am always copying part of the logic. The first floor logic is copied and used as the basis for the second floor. The northbound lanes are copied and used as the basis for the southbound lanes. Besides just copying a bunch of activities, however, we also need to consider how the Activity IDs can save us time.

P6 really wants us to use prefixes in our Activity IDs. In the Project Default settings we cannot leave the prefix for new activities blank, and why would we? Copying activities without the ability to assign new prefixes would frankly not be much fun. Let’s say that Activity ID FLR1_1000 is layout on the first floor of the building. When this activity is copied for the second floor the new prefix (FLR2) tells us the location while the original suffix  (1000) indicates the type of work.

Nearly always my prefixes are based on locations. I want the submittals to have the same prefix, the Stage 1 activities to have the same prefix, and so forth. Some schedulers use the prefix to indicate the type of work, but when I am adding relationships I want the activities in the same location to have the same prefix. Most of my activity relationships will be defined by proximity, not the type of work.

As an alternative, we can copy an entire section of the Work Breakdown System and paste it elsewhere. This has the added benefit of creating a new section in the WBS for the new activities while they are being pasted.

Before copying the activities it would behoove us to make sure the durations and logic are complete so that we can also copy this information as well. In most situations I do want to replicate the durations and logic. Any changes will likely be fairly minor.

The first step is to highlight the activities that are being copied and then paste them. I don’t worry too much about where they should be pasted right away. I may need to create a new WBS or Activity Code for the copied activities so that they stay grouped together.

In the screen shots below you can see what activity information I have chosen to copy and the new prefix I have selected for the Activity IDs:

Copy Activity Options

Renumber Activity IDs


2. Fill Down

There is no way I could live without Fill Down. It is so awesome! When we try to copy a value in P6 (such as a duration or a budget) the entire row is copied – that is to say, the activity is duplicated. Which is what I just discussed previously. Fill Down, on the other hand, allows us to copy a single value from one activity to another (or several). Here are just a few of the data fields that Fill Down can copy:

  • Activity Code
  • Activity Name
  • Activity Type
  • Budgeted Units
  • Budgeted Cost
  • Calendar
  • Duration
  • Percent Complete Type
  • Primary Resource
  • WBS Code

The first step is to highlight the data field that should be copied and highlight the cells below using the Shift key on the keyboard. Then right-click and select Fill Down from the menu.

But what if we are trying to copy a data field to an activity that is above the current one. Guess what? Fill Down can fill up! All we have to do is use the Ctrl key on the keyboard rather than the Shift key. The Ctrl key also allows us to select non-adjacent cells – something that is not possible when using the Shift key.

In the screen shot below I am replacing the 5-Day calendar with the 5 Day with Holidays calendar:

Fill Down


3. Link Activities

Probably 80% or more of my activity relationships will be Finish to Start in a typical baseline schedule. Because of this, it is faster to make everything Finish to Start and then go back and change the ones that should be something else. This is called managing by exception and it is a huge time-saver. The alternative is to work on one relationship at a time and I have better things to do, such as drink wine and eat chocolate.

Like Fill Down, if we highlight the activities with the Shift key, Finish to Start relationships are added starting from the top row and working down. But if we use the Ctrl key to highlight the activities, the order in which we select the activities becomes the sequence. Regardless, the relationships being added are Finish to Start.

A lot of schedulers seem reluctant to use Finish to Start relationships but it is the most conservative way to schedule work. The more we overlap activities the more resources that are required. In theory, we can “beat” a schedule that primarily uses Finish to Start relationships. An overly aggressive baseline schedule built mostly on overlapping relationships has no fat to trim should we find ourselves behind schedule and not have anyone else to blame.

Grouping is very important when linking activities. It is much easier to select multiple activities when they are somewhat close together. This can be accomplished by giving them the same Activity Code, WBS Code or even the same Activity ID prefix. There are many times when I have not yet “coded” my activities but by sorting on the Activity ID column, the related activities align themselves perfectly.

In the screenshot below I have selected a group of activities to be linked. Since I used the Shift key it does not matter if I highlight them from the top-down or the bottom-up. The result is the same – P6 adds Finish to Start relationships starting at the top.

Link Activities


4. Assign the Same Predecessor or Successor to Multiple Activities

There are times when we want to assign the same predecessor or successor to several activities. For example, all submittals can typically start right after the Notice to Proceed so they share the same predecessor. In my larger schedules I often have a hundred or more submittals that need a predecessor. Sure, I could link Notice to Proceed to one submittal at a time, but remember what I said about wine and chocolate?

Assign Predecessor to Multiple Activities


5. Schedule Automatically When A Change Affects Dates

While linking activities it only makes sense to let P6 calculate the activity dates each time we add or modify logic. Even changing the duration of a single activity with no predecessors or successors will trigger the calculation since the Finish date of the modified activity is obviously a little different than before. There is no excuse for submitting a baseline schedule that has not been calculated, yet many users forget to do this one last time after making a few last-minute tweaks.

In case you do not know where to find this setting, I have included a screenshot below. Note that the fourth box from the top is now checked:

Schedule Automatically When a Change Affects Dates










What are your favorite Primavera P6 tricks? Please email me.

One of the advantages of Primavera P6 and its use of a database structure is the ability for multiple users to share files. This can also be a disadvantage, however. P6 administrators can restrict users in many ways, but once a user to given permission to do something, well, the hope is that he or she does not make a total mess of things. As a professional Primavera P6 trainer it always baffles me that someone might expect to master the art of scheduling without any formal instruction. There are not too many self-taught painters to my knowledge. Carpenters, bricklayers, mechanics, etc. all go through a training or apprenticeship program to learn their skills.

When Malcolm Gladwell described “The 10,000 Hour Rule” in his best-selling novel, Outliers, he could have very well been talking about scheduling. After I had been scheduling projects full-time for about five years – or roughly 10,000 hours – I felt like I had finally mastered the art of scheduling. And keep in mind, I was working on schedules every single working day. Many Primavera users only touch their schedules once a month during the update process. As a consultant, I was working on several projects simultaneously. In a typical month I would create two baseline schedules and update ten or more schedules.

But I digress. Today I want to talk about “Carl” and his dilemma. Carl attended one of my Primavera P6 classes in Oklahoma after pulling a 12-hour shift at a refinery. So you can imagine that by the end of an 8-hour class he was pretty beat. But he stuck around after class to talk about a specific problem he was having. You see, Carl was one of about a dozen schedulers working on the same project. Refinery shutdowns are very difficult to schedule. Durations are measured in minutes, not days. A six-month shutdown might require 25,000 activities to schedule. No single person could possibly handle this workload.

One particular problem that Carl was having is that he would calculate the schedule (i.e. F9) and there would be loops in the logic. And then everyone would yell at him for fouling up the schedule. Except that Carl was pretty sure he was not the culprit. He was simply the person running the schedule at the end of the day after everyone else had been inputting changes. This was your basic “shoot the messenger” situation. Carl was taking all the blame because he did not know how to figure out who was causing the problem.

While there is no perfect solution to Carl’s dilemma I was able to show him the audit columns in Primavera P6. These columns, available in the Activities Window, provide the following information regarding an activity:

  1. Who added the activity (“Added By”)
  2. When the activity was added (“Added Date”)
  3. The last person to make a change (“Last Modified By”)
  4. The date the most recent change was made (“Last Modified Date”)

These columns can be seen in the screenshot below:

Audit Trail Columns


Activity ID E2045 was originally added on February 27, 2015 by user “admin” and then modified about a month later, on March 25, 2015. Obviously we do not know the exact nature of the modification, but we now know where to start looking.

Unfortunately, there are some limitations. Changing the relationships between activities is not considered a modification. So Carl would not be able to identify who made the logic changes that resulted in loops. Still, adding new activities is often the source of a loop in a schedule because of the corresponding new relationships.

Changing an activity duration, on the other hand, is considered to be a modification. Other examples of recognized modifications are:

  • Assigning a new resource
  • Deleting an existing resource
  • Changing a resource’s budget
  • Changing the Activity Name
  • Assigning a new calendar

Note that if you are displaying time in the date columns (Edit > User Preferences > Dates) then it is possible to track who made the last changes on a given day.

Claim Digger can of course identify changes to relationships, but can not tell you who made the changes. The audit columns are still the best alternative within P6 for identifying the source of changes.

Keep in mind that only the most recent modification date and time is stored in the audit column so there is no way to see whether more than one user has been making changes to the same activity.

Copying a schedule results in the Added Date and Last Modified Date resetting to the day the schedule was copied, so the audit columns are only useful in the original version of the schedule.

2014 was the best year ever for Primavera Scheduling and our parent company, Construction Science. But while higher revenues are always welcome it was really the range of clients and training experiences that made 2014 very special. Here are just a few of the highlights:

  • We provided Primavera P6 training to a NASA contractor working on the Orion space program. Orion is the first deep-space program initiated by NASA since Apollo. As someone who well remembers landing on the moon – I was 11 years old when it happened – the idea of going back to deep space is very exciting. No decision has been made by NASA on a destination, but Mars or an asteroid seem like distinct possibilities.
  • We provided Primavera P6 training to Disney’s Creative Costuming at Disneyland. Yes, Disney uses Primavera P6 to schedule the making of costumes for all of their major theme-park characters. We spent one day at Disney University (!) teaching class and another day teaching at the actual location where the costumes are made. The effort that goes into making these costumes is quite extraordinary.
  • We provided Primavera P6 training to the U.S. Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) in San Diego. One of the interesting tidbits that came out of this training is that the Admiral of the Navy does not like red bars on the Gantt charts. He apparently believes that “red” means the project is behind schedule. And you definitely do not want to make the guy in charge of the Navy’s weaponry mad. So we showed the SPAWAR team how to make the critical path bars another color.
  • We provided Primavera P6 training to a general contractor in Chicago who is renovating Wrigley Field. This $575M project represents the most extensive renovations ever made to Wrigley Field, one of America’s oldest ballparks.  This will be an incredibly difficult project due to the historic status of Wrigley Field – even the ivy that covers the outfield walls is a protected landmark. ESPN has posted some great high-resolution photos of what the renovated ballpark will look like.
  • I was selected by Lorman Seminars to be a presenter and moderator of its “Tricks, Traps and Ploys Used in Construction Scheduling” seminar in Sacramento, CA. After 31 years as a professional scheduler it was fun to talk about all the sneaky stuff that is sometimes part of CPM scheduling. An audio recording of the seminar and the training manual can be obtained at a 50% discount by using this link.
  • Our Primavera software sales nearly doubled compared to 2013. We have always offered very competitive pricing but we firmly believe that our personal attention to clients is really the deciding factor. With the various versions of Primavera software that are available (Contractor, P6 Professional and P6 EPPM) we try very hard to steer our clients to the right product for their needs.

On a more personal note, the partners in our firm attended Game 4 of the 2014 World Series in San Francisco. What an amazing experience! Attending a World Series game is, in my opinion, a “bucket-list” item. Winning the World Series? Priceless! Actually, this was a very special World Series for me as my first baseball love was the Kansas City Royals and now I root for the San Francisco Giants. Given how I feel about both teams maybe this should count as two bucket-list items!

To all of our clients we send our heartfelt thanks and gratitude. And we wish all of you a great 2015.


What is a “Planned” Date in P6?

Categories: Constraints, P6 EPPM, P6 Professional, Primavera P6, Schedule Options
Comments Off on What is a “Planned” Date in P6?

Primavera P6 has quite a few date fields that are often misunderstood. Perhaps no date field is stranger than the “planned” date. To begin with, there will always be a Planned Start and a Planned Finish date associated with every activity. In a schedule with no progress (or what we would traditionally call the “baseline” if P6 did not use this designation for target schedules) the following is always true:

  • Planned Start = Start
  • Planned Finish = Finish

Once progress is recorded, however, all bets are off. The planned dates will not reflect actual dates, for example. Primavera P6 shows actual dates in the Start and Finish columns, making it easy to see which activities have progress (take that, Microsoft Project!) without having to add the Actual Start and Actual Finish columns. Space is always at a premium in a printout so not having to add the actual columns is a nice benefit.

Here is where it gets interesting. Changing the Planned Start or Planned Finish date on an activity with no progress will change the Start and Finish dates and likewise move the bar in the Gantt Chart. The rules are:

  • Changing the Planned Start changes the Start date, even if the Planned Start is before the original Start date
  • Changing the Planned Finish moves the Finish date and changes the Original Duration to match
  • Changing the Planned Start and Planned Finish will move the Start and Finish dates accordingly
  • No other activities are affected by changes to the Planned dates of an activity

None of this will happen, however, if the “Schedule automatically when a change affects date” scheduling option is selected. This is because scheduling the project wipes out the changes made to the Planned dates. These are not constraints, after all. The logic was never modified. Which may seem like Planned dates are a cruel trick.

Well, we create logic for a reason. Moving bars around is not scheduling. Logic is supposed to drive dates. A few constraints are okay – although some owners are adamant about having none – as long as they do not cause an interruption to the critical path. Postponing the start of a critical activity would obviously make no sense.

Note that if you change the Planned Start or Planned Finish of an activity with progress, nothing happens at all. The Planned dates will not change.

Changing the Planned dates, really, is mostly a bad idea. But let’s say we all agree that some of the dates in a schedule are not right. So we massage the dates using the Planned columns and then create a baseline. Using the baseline as a guide, we then modify the logic and durations to achieve the new dates. Sort of like tracing a drawing with velum paper.

Comments or questions? Please feel free to contact me.

Primavera P6 R8.4 Database Options

Categories: Claim Digger, P6 EPPM, P6 Professional, P6 Web, Primavera P6
Comments Off on Primavera P6 R8.4 Database Options

Coal miner at work with pick axIn a recent blog for Construction Science I discussed some of the new features of Release 8.4 for Primavera P6 Professional and EPPM. Today I would like to discuss the database options for a standalone installation of P6 Professional. Oracle 10g Express (Oracle XE) has been included with P6 for several years. Users could also choose from one of several versions of Microsoft’s SQL Server, but most opted for SQL Server 2005 Express Edition because it is a free program. Both of these options are still available. But Release 8.4 introduces another option, SQLite. The advantage of SQLite is that it does not have the size limitation of Oracle XE (4 GB) and is easier to manage than Oracle XE or Microsoft SQL. Backing up a database is now as easy as copying a file folder because SQLite is a serverless database engine. For users who have struggled with Oracle XE or Microsoft SQL Server, SQLite seems like a great option.

Ah, but there is a trade-off for simplicity! Oracle’s Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are not compatible with SQLite. This is something Oracle intends to fix in a future P6 release or patch. APIs are the building blocks of many software programs, and while it is not something most of us would ever realize, Oracle’s Claim Digger is an API. So Claim Digger is not accessible when using SQLite. For me, that is a deal-breaker. I use Claim Digger nearly every day to analyze files. In some situations my clients have more than one version of a baseline schedule or update on their server and they no longer remember why. If some of these files are in fact identical we can delete them without any concern. At the very least, Claim Digger will tell us what the differences are. Most owners also expect contractors to explain what changes were made during the update process, and the Claim Digger report usually suffices.

Claim Digger does have some limitations, which I will discuss in a future blog, and there are third-party programs that are more powerful. However, Claim Digger is included with P6 so it is a tool that all users have access to without spending more money. I will accept free help anytime!

Also, because SQLite is truly a single-user environment, there are several other restrictions:

  • There are no User or Security Profiles, as there can only be one user
  • All projects are opened in Shared mode; Read Only and Exclusive modes are disabled
  • Sending e-mail notifications of Project Issues is not supported
  • Advanced import options are disabled for projects in XML format
  • Check In and Check Out of projects are disabled
  • There are no options to save data for All Users or Another User (layouts, etc.)
  • Job Services is not supported; Jobs cannot be scheduled
  • Update Baseline and Risk Analysis are not supported

Export Resources without Cost Data

Categories: Primavera P6, Primavera Resources
Comments Off on Export Resources without Cost Data

The purpose of exporting Primavera P6 files in “XER” format is to transmit all of the project data to another database. In many cases we are not looking to exclude any data. So how do we avoid sharing sensitive cost data with other parties? Contractors may not want owners, subcontractors and other parties to have access to this proprietary information.

There are two options for not sharing cost data. One option is to delete resource assignments altogether. We do this by copying the schedule inside Primavera P6 and un-checking the “Resource & Role Assignments box, as seen below:

Export Project without Resource Costs_1







While this option works perfectly well, the recipient will see no resources or roles in the schedule. What if we want the recipient of this file to be able to see the resource units but not the unit prices? This requires a different approach. Option 2 involves creating a new user and associated user profile who is not allowed to view cost data. When this user exports the file the resource rates will disappear but the resource assignments and units will remain intact.

First, we create a new user and label that person in such a way that we remember why this user was created in the first place. Go to Admin → Users. Below, I have added a new user with the name “Export User”:

Export Project without Resource Costs_2








Note that I have given this new user access to every project in my database by assigning this user to the highest level in the Organization Breakdown Structure (OBS). This is not absolutely necessary but it does make it easier to export any project without cost data.

Second, we need to assign the new user a Project Profile that excludes the ability to “View Project Costs/Financials”. Go to Admin → Security Profiles and select Project Profiles. In the screenshot below I have added a new Project Profile, “No Costs Exported”:

Export Project without Resource Costs_3








Also, I gave this new user no ability to modify schedules because the only purpose of this user is to export projects sans cost data. As soon as the project has been exported I will log back in using my normal user name.

Now we are ready to export a project with cost data. Keep in mind that you will need to log in as the new user first!

Questions or comments? Please feel free to contact me.


Exporting Groups of Projects

Categories: P6 Professional, Primavera P6
Comments Off on Exporting Groups of Projects

Backing up a Primavera P6 database is the best option for moving the entire set of project data – schedules, resources, calendars, layouts, etc. – to another computer. But if the only goal is to move a group of projects from one database to another, there is an easy way to do this very quickly.

We all know that a project must be open in order to be exported. So the first step is to simultaneously open all of the projects that need to be exported. Caveat: you cannot open more than 100,000 activities concurrently in P6 Professional but there is otherwise no limit to how many projects can be opened at the same time. For this reason I recommend exporting groups of projects based on either a Project Portfolio or EPS node.

In the first screenshot I have selected a group of projects based on their EPS Node. I can either highlight projects individually using Shift or Ctrl on the keyboard, or simply highlight the EPS Node itself:

Exporting Multiple Projects_1






Now that the projects are open I can then start the normal export process, as seen in the next two screenshots. The only difference is that I am selecting a common name for all of the projects. I typically name the file after the Project Portfolio or EPS Node to avoid confusing a group of projects with a single project. In this example I have called the common file, “Manufacturing Projects”:

Exporting Multiple Projects_3Exporting Multiple Projects_2









When importing the group of projects I still have the option of importing some or all of the projects. Note that because I am importing back into the same database Primavera P6 is warning me that matches across the board were found.

Exporting Multiple Projects_4








That is all it takes to move a group of projects from one database to another. When I am working on construction claims this is a great way to send the attorneys all of the project files. The size of the common file will of course be larger than normal but XER files are text-based and generally never get too large to email as an attachment.

If you have any comments or questions please feel free to contact me.



Import Primavera P6 Filters with Layouts

Categories: Primavera filters, Primavera layouts, Primavera P6
Comments Off on Import Primavera P6 Filters with Layouts

Most Primavera P6 users know how to share a layout with someone in a different database. But did you know that filters can also be shared? To recap, we select View → Open Layout → Export to transport a Primavera Layout File (PLF) from the database. The other user then selects View → Open Layout → Import to bring the PLF file into their database. While there is no such export/import feature for filters, they can be attached to any layout and therefore transferred to another database.

The trick to exporting filters with layouts is to copy an existing filter as a Layout Filter. In the screenshot below I have selected the existing User Defined filter, “Activities with Steps”. To create a Layout Filter, select “Copy As Layout” from the right-hand side of the filters menu:

Export Filters with Layouts_Step 1

In the next screenshot we see the result of this operation. The “Activities with Steps” filter appears under a new group, “Layout Filters”. All filters copied to this group will be exported with any layout you choose to export. Because of this, you might want to keep the number of Layout Filters to a minimum, or delete those that should no longer be exported.

Export Filters with Layouts_Step 2

One other thing. The above layouts are project layouts. The Enterprise Project Structure (EPS) has its own set of layouts. When the other user receives the Primavera Layout File it is important that they open a project – any project – and import the layout in the Activities window. EPS layouts are not compatible with project layouts despite having the same PLF format. However, EPS filters can likewise be exported with EPS layouts.