The exciting news this week is that the long-awaited Primavera P6 R8.3 update is now available for download on Oracle’s e-delivery website. This release includes updates for both the Primavera P6 Professional client and the Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management (EPPM) Web client.
In our Future Plans for Primavera P6 EPPM article posted in August last year, we outlined what one might expect to see in the R8.3 release. And it appears that most of this has become a reality according to the ‘What’s new’ documentation available with these releases and some of our preliminary first hand examinations of the new tools. We’ve taken a few screen shots for you and have listed the major enhancements.
Primavera P6 Professional R8.3
Starting with Primavera P6 Professional, very little about the client has changed from a visual perspective; always a good thing for existing users. What has been introduced is a new tool called the Primavera P6 Professional Visualizer: an attractive interface tool that brings together the original TimeScale Logic Diagram (TSLD) functions and a basic Gantt chart viewing tool. The Visualizer is an additional desktop application that can be launched from the P6 Professional Tools menu or from your Windows Start menu. Because it connects to the database directly you don’t have to have P6 Professional running to use it.
You can watch a 7 minute video on Primavera P6 Visualizer by clicking here
Another new item is a Discussion tab in the Activity Details. This allows users to communicate via the software by posting comments against particular activities in the project.
Other features include XML import/export improvements addressing one-to-one matching of data items exported in XML formats to those of the original XER formats. Users can now exchange XML project files with users of earlier version of Primavera P6 going back to P6 R6.2 SP4.
The IPMR Data Item Description (DID), number DI-MGMT-81861 went into effect on July 1st, 2012 and part of this calls for a specific UN/CEFACT (XML) software-neutral export format for the IMPR Format 7.
For government contractors, this format is now available to Primavera P6 R8.3 users via the Export Format dialog as shown above.
Further items of note are the options to load or not load the project summary data upon startup of Primavera P6 and the option to use either online help or local help.
Primavera P6 EPPM R8.3
As you’d expect, most of the development effort for this release has been done in the Primavera P6 EPPM web client with 27 usability and administrative enhancements listed in the documentation. The Team Member application has also seen 14 enhancements. Starting with the Primavera P6 EPPM client, here’s a list of the published improvements:
Adoption and Usability Enhancements
- Setting a Default Start Page
- Renaming Columns
- Viewing the hierarchy for activity, project and resource codes
- Sorting on Multiple Columns
- New relationships detail window on activities page
- CMSI connector for Content Repository
- Document support in Progress Reporter
- Improved printing from the EPS and Activities pages
- Additional baseline fields
- Selecting multiple items in Assign dialog boxes
- Find and Replace option
- Copy activity options
- Discussion feature
- Improved filtering
- Workflow enhancements
- Progress reporter support for user productivity kit
- Enabling team members to update activity codes and UDFs
- Copying User-related Views for New Users
- Job Completion Notification
- API and Web Services Enhancements
- Improved Selection for Job Services
- Bounce E-mail Address
- Module Access Changes
- Project Name instead of DB ID in Content Repositories
- Password Security
- Online Help for P6 Professional Settings
- Project ID as Filter options for Creating Portfolios
Let’s look closer at just a few examples of these new enhancements starting with the Start Page option. This allows you to specify what page is seen when the user first logs in to Primavera P6 EPPM. The setting is made in the User Interface View page. You can also select which tab is displayed at startup and the Page to open within that tab by moving the desired Page to the top of the list.
In the above example, the Project Manager User Interface View is being set to open the Activities Page in the Projects tab.
We were also pleased to see a Relationships tab in the Activities view that shows both predecessor and successor lists for a selected activity. This has long been a popular feature with Primavera P6 Professional users and it good to see it in the Primavera P6 EPPM client.
The new Replace and Rename Column features can both be accessed via a right-click on the column headers.
Multiple selection is now possible in Assign dialogs, so you can use the Shift and Ctrl keys to speed up your processing of assignments.
Team Member Application
- The Team Member enhancements are listed as follows in the What’s New document:
- Discussion Feature
- Team Member Work Distribution Filter
- Adding or Deleting Activity Steps
- Enhanced Filtering of Tasks
- Updating User-Defined Fields and Activity Codes
- Viewing Notebook Topics
- Viewing Documents
- Cannot Status Dates in the Future
- Primary Resource Support on Milestones
- Star Filtering Option in E-Mail
- Sending a Welcome E-mail to Team Members
- Requesting Updates via E-mail Statusing Service
- E-Mail View for Progress Reporter Timesheet Users
- P6 Status Update Approval Impact
For non-scheduler types, the Team Member application is certainly becoming a very capable tool and has enjoyed the benefits of many of the enhancements that appear in its bigger sibling applications; the Discussion feature to name just one.
We hope this brief overview has given you some useful insights into this new release. It’s too vast for us to cover in its entirety during this introductory article; however more blogs will be posted as we get into some of the user tests and real-life situations down the road.
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