Great news for the Primavera P6 community as Oracle releases R8.4. Available immediately, Primavera P6 gets a solid update to R8.4 and includes some welcome new features. Here we take an initial look at what’s included in this release.
Primavera P6 Professional
While most of Oracle’s development attention is directed at Primavera P6 EPPM, Primavera P6 Professional receives the following changes and enhancements with the big news being the database.
SQLite Replaces Oracle XE
As mentioned in our previous blog predicting what was coming up in the R8.4 release, Oracle has moved away from the Oracle XE database in favor of SQLlite for a standard install. It’s important to note that you do not have to use SQLite if you don’t want to. You can still install Oracle XE or Microsoft SQL Server, but you would have to install the database first and then install Primavera P6. While this news of SQLite may be slightly controversial, many end users will welcome the simpler setup, configuration and the ability to more easily troubleshoot issues. Of course, this is for standalone installs and we will be looking at this in more detail in future blogs.
New Primavera Visualizer functionality
Visualizer now allows you to add legends to your headers and footers as well as the ability to customize the font and the alignment of text. In addition, you can now add images, tables and variables (dates, bars, activity codes and lines) while adding, deleting or resizing sections. You can choose different variables for both the legends in the headers and footers.
You can now display shifts as date intervals by selecting the option from one of the three timescales in the Timescales Tab. These shifts are managed in the Resources Shifts dialog box in P6 Professional.
You can also manage multiple layouts at the same time by simply selecting them in the Multiple Layouts dialog box. You can paste layouts from one grouping to another or move them to the Project layout for User layouts only. You can also copy and then modify bar chart settings which help in creating new layouts.
Primavera P6 Professional allows users to add, copy, and update baseline functions which can now run as a job service. This enables you to carry on working while the processes run in the background and when they’re complete, you receive a notification. Of course, this functionality is not available if P6 Professional is a standalone install.
Import XML files as a Job Service
You can also import XML files (both Primavera P6 XML and Microsoft Project XML format) as a job service. Again, you receive a notification when this job is complete and it’s not available if P6 Professional is a standalone install.
Primavera P6 EPPM
The web version receives the most attention in this update with the much needed and improved integration with other Oracle applications including Primavera Unifier and Primavera Prime. These and other enhancements include:
The Update Baseline feature allows you to selectively update some or all of a baseline’s details while retaining the past performance of activities against the original baseline. This means that you can add new activities to a baseline but still retain comparison data for existing activities. You can then filter activities that have been updated as well as those that haven’t changed. This feature is run as a job service only.
Add New Column in Highlighted Position
A nice usability improvement is that you can now add a new column to a precise location in the Customize Columns dialog box as opposed to it just being added to the bottom of the list.
Assigning Resources – New Search Attributes
In the Select Resources dialog box, you can now search on Resource ID, Resource Name, Primary Role, E-mail, Office Phone, or Location.
Reassign Relationships by Activity ID
You can now reassign relationships to activities by changing the Activity ID. Previously, changing a relationship required the deletion of an existing assignment and selection of a new one. Now, select the Activity ID field in the relationship detail window and then type a new Activity ID to reassign the activity. Values in the Relationship Type and Lag fields entered for the previous assignment will not change when assigning a new activity.
View Project Users
A new Users button has been added to the Open Projects dialog box that allows you to see which users are logged into a project with the option of being able to email them.
Many other enhancements have been added including:
- Expand All/Collapse All on Users Page
- Assign Multiple Responsible Managers to a User
- Select a Project Security Profile When Assigning Users to an OBS
- Assign Multiple Users to Multiple OBS Nodes Simultaneously
- Select Multiple Values in Report Settings
Primavera Unifier Integration
The integration between Primavera P6 and Primavera Unifier runs as a job service in the background and can be scheduled to run at a set time or on-demand.
The type of data exported to Primavera Unifier includes summary duration, unit, and cost data. The data exported is based on the schedule in Primavera P6. For example, duration-based schedules will send just duration data whereas resource-loaded schedules will send duration and unit data and last, cost-loaded schedules will send duration, unit, and cost data.
If you assign Cost Breakdown Structure codes to activities, resource assignments and expenses in Primavera P6, these cost codes are imported into Primavera Unifier and are used to summarize P6 data in Unifier’s cost sheet.
In Primavera Unifier, a summary sheet displays summary data for each project, one for the project and one for each baseline, up to 12 total sheets. Organizations can now use Primavera Unifier’s advanced costing, cash flow, and earned value functionality to analyze P6 data.
Primavera Gateway is used to export data from Primavera P6. Projects are linked with the P6 Project ID mapping to a Project Number in Primavera Unifier.
Primavera Prime Integration
Primavera P6 R8.4 allows you to exchange data with Primavera Prime using the Exchange Data option in the main menu. This exchange runs as a job service. You can then use Primavera Prime to run a quantitative risk analysis on your schedule. To do this, you must make sure your activities and risk data including risk response plan details and uncertainty estimates are entered into P6 and that the project is scheduled. Risk data includes risk thresholds, scoring matrices and mapping risks to activities.
Those of you who are familiar with Primavera P6 will notice three new fields for entering the uncertainty estimates on each activity. These are Minimum Duration, Maximum Duration and Most Likely Duration with these fields being updated for task or resource dependent activities only. Once the analysis is completed in Primavera Prime, you can then send the results back to Primavera P6, again as a job service.
The other Primavera Prime integration point is for scope management. Scope items are materials used in an activity. In Prime, scope items are assigned to work packages which can then be sent to Primavera P6 as leaf-level WBS nodes. You can then add activities to the work packages to provide a greater level of detail to the project, which can then be sent back to Primavera Prime to update work package dates and costs.
Team Member enjoys some nice updates which include:
- Submit timesheets – this was previously only available in Progress Reporter.
- Enhanced sorting – sort by Task ID, Task Name, Project ID, Project Name, Start Date, Finish Date (default)
- Updating notebooks – this allows you to edit notebook details from the My Tasks view.
- New method for current period units – To add 5 hours to 10 hours already spent, select 5 hours. Team Member 8.4 automatically reflects your cumulative time as 15 hours spent on a task reducing manual calculations.
- Status other resources – this allows the primary resource, activity owner, or a user with a Team Member distribution filter to update the details of labor, non-labor, and material resources assigned to the task.