Ok folks, cancel that long weekend you had planned at the Glendive Dinosaur & Fossil Museum; exciting news just in from Deltek – on April 16th they released a new version of Cobra. Exciting at least for sad chumps like me because this is way more fun than just another HotFix. Indeed this time there are actually some new toys to play with so I’ll be busy for the next few days I’m sure.
This article takes a very brief look at some of the highlights of Deltek Cobra version 5.1.2, build 5.01.2700.0159 new features and improvements. We don’t have a full list here, just the most juicy bits. Therefore we recommend you download official Release Notes from the Deltek website to see a full list of all the goodies.
Multiple Database Selection at Login
We’d been hearing rumors about this feature for a while, and now at last I can go right into a production, QA or training database from the comfort of my Cobra login dialog. No more goofing around with the Data Tool other than to initially setup the various data sources I might need to do this.
Automatically Check Resource before Deleting from Project
This new security enhancement protects the system from idiots like me who might delete a resource that is assigned to a project somewhere. It checks with any projects that have the particular resource file your are deleting resources in to see if the resource is assigned. If it is, you’ll see the following message and the resource survives the attempt. However, be sure to go into the new “Other” tab in the Application Preferences dialog and enable this new feature first. I didn’t read far enough through the release notes before attempting this and trashed a couple of sample projects before I figured out that this isn’t default behavior. What a chump.
Resource Assignment Codes
You can now specify up to five Resource Assignment Codes in the Project Information dialog. This is much the same as the existing CA and WP code tabs except it doesn’t have a Text or User Field option, just the <none>, Code (optional) and Code (required) type options. I can already see how this will be helpful in the field. Awesome.
Single File Load for Activity and Resource Assignment Data
Well this seems cool: you can now load activities and resources from a single CSV file rather than working with two separate files. We haven’t tested this yet, and the Help system didn’t seem to give specific details of the file format that will make this happen; but to be fair we didn’t look too hard due to deadline time constraints. It does appear that along with resource assignments you can load Results also, and even calculate missing result values, much like you can when loading actual costs. So this feature does appear to have a lot of potential and we’re looking forward to seeing it in action.
We took a quick peek at the mapper and this does give us some clues to the possible makeup of the additional columns in a CSV file that will make this work. Therefore I expect we’ll be putting out more info on this exciting new capability in a future article.
Configure Calculation of Derived Results
Added to the General tab of the Project Information Classes is the ability to suppress calculation of source results when updates are made in the Time-phase area of the Resource Assignments tab in the project view. I know this will make a few of my customers happy as this has come up a few times as a requirement.
To summarize some of the other items that have been added, here’s a brief list.
Improved Cobra Security sees enhancements in support of Windows authentication in standalone and client/server deployments as well as enhancements to the EPM Security Administrator to support these changes.
Time-phased Grid Security allows the locking down of the time-phased grid for Budget, Actual and Forecast classes with the addition of a ‘Prevent editing Time Phased Grid’ option in the Classes and New Class dialogs.
Cobra Web Services now allows you to interact with data and processes so you can create applications that can execute Cobra functionality over the network. It is basically a web server service that allows you to build custom tools to access the API functions of Cobra. For example, this current release exposes advancing the calendar for a particular project, load actual costs, calculate forecast and earned value, recalculate, perform a reclass, respreads and update totals, all done across the network from within a Web browser.
One article can’t do justice to the improvements but hopefully we’ve given you enough of an appetizer to go download this new ‘Beasty’ and try out some of the new functions for yourself. It’s great to see that development continues and finally new features are starting to come online that will further augment Cobra’s market lead in the earned value space. If nothing else it gives me something interesting to write about over the next few months.
Ten Six are already in the process of updating our PMI accredited Cobra Fundamentals and Advanced training courses to bring these new features online and into context. Contact Ten Six for information about our on-site and Virginia based open training courses for Deltek Cobra.