The fiscal calendar in Deltek Cobra is a vital component for the EVM project. It underpins every aspect of the project from defining the end of period dates to controlling what comes out on the reports. Understanding how it all works is critical for any Deltek Cobra user.
This article looks at some of the features of the fiscal calendar and shows you what happens when the status date is advanced during periodic updates.
Calendar Periods Tab
The Calendar Periods tab displays the calendar that all subsequent Calendar Sets are based upon. It has the full range of period end dates that it calculated, or that were entered manually, when the calendar was first built. It also shows the hours that Cobra has calculated for each of these periods.
This is also the tab you use to enter holidays to help maintain the productive hours and keep the time-phased data more true to life. In the Ten Six Deltek Cobra Fundamentals Training course, we take you through the entering of holidays and hours calculations in much more detail.
You would also use the Calendar Periods tab to add new periods to your calendar or delete unwanted periods.
Standard Calendar Sets
When you first create a calendar in Deltek Cobra, it always creates three standard Calendar Sets. Shown here in the following figure, these Calendar Sets are:
00 – Basic Calendar Set
18 – Previous, Todate, At Completion
19 – Specified Periods
Each of these Calendar Sets supports one of the standard IPMR CPR Format or other required EVM reports. All Calendar Sets are based upon the dates defined in the Calendar Periods tab, also seen here in the Calendar dialog.
Calendar Set 00 – Basic Calendar Set
This calendar set contains a complete list of all the period end dates for the entire duration of the calendar.
The labels in this calendar set are displayed when the calendar is advanced and used in time-phased reports by default. All these labels are flagged with a fixed $ flag.
Calendar Set 18 – Previous, Todate, At Completion
This calendar set uses only three labels. These are standard labels generated and maintained by Cobra throughout the project lifecycle. This calendar set is most commonly used for CPR Format 1 and 2, 533 and Earned Value reports. Each of the following has a floating flag.
TODATE – this label is used by Cobra to identify the status date. As the calendar is advanced, Cobra moves this label and its flag to the next reporting period end date.
PREVIOUS – this label is used by Cobra to identify the prior reporting period. All values in all periods up to and including this date are summed to this point. Cobra uses the TODATE and PREVIOUS labels to calculate the current and cumulative values for such reports as the IPMR CPR Format 1 and 2 reports.
ATCOMPLETE – this label is always located on the last period of the calendar. Cobra uses this label to calculate the sum of data for the entire project period of performance and allow such values as BAC to be calculated when reports are run.
The following figure shows how the PREVIOUS, TODATE and ATCOMPLETE labels and flags are used by Cobra to sum periods up to and including the period of their location.
Any other period that is labeled and flagged will sum prior periods up to and including themselves. In the next example, the quarterly flags are summing the unlabeled periods that exist between them to give end of quarter totals for BCWS values in the project.
Calendar Set 19 – Specified Periods
This calendar set is used by the CPR Format 3 and 4 reports to control the ‘Six Month Forecast by Month’ and ‘Specified Periods’ columns. The report keys off the Labels and flags to determine how to calculate the values in each of the report’s columns.
In the following figure you can see the Labels and Flags in calendar set 19 being used to determine the forecast and specified periods columns in the Format 4 report. The forecast has the next six months flagged, and then the next 4 quarters.
Labels and Flags
Labels and flags work together to control project and reporting periods.
Labels are simply a text field that will be used as the header label for reports run against the project. Typically these contain a date in the desired format for reports, however you can enter any text, date or numeric value you need in a label field and Cobra will accept it.
Flags are used to determine which labels appear in a report. There are two types of flags.
Fixed flags have a $ symbol and will not move when the calendar is advanced.
Floating flags have an * symbol and will move to the next period row whenever the calendar is advanced. The will continue to move to the next row until they reach a Fixed Flag or a blank label; at which point they disappear.
Floating flags allow you to automate a calendar. For example if you wanted to create a time-phased report that always shows the next six months, floating flags are used.
Above: the rows flagged as floating will each move down to the next row when the calendar is advanced. Therefore any report (such as a time-phased report) using this calendar set will always display the next six months without having to be updated each period. In the following figure you can see the time-phased report using calendar set ‘02 – Next Six Months’ to control the display.
I hope that this will give you a better understanding of some of the capabilities of the fiscal calendar. As I said at the beginning of this article, the fiscal calendar underpins every aspect of the project so having a through understanding of it is essential.
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