In late June Deltek released Cobra version 5.1.4 (5.01.4700.0565). This version offers a few new features and enhancements that will improve usability and convenience in some areas of the tool.
In this article we take a brief look at some of the highlights of this new version and explore a couple of the new features.
Note: there is already a cumulative update for version 5.1.4 CU#1. This installs build 5.01.4701.0598 which has some fixes to the new and existing functionality. This is the build we used in the writing of this article.
Upon opening the new version, the first thing you will notice is some extra goodies in the Tools menu.
Deltek have added two new options; ‘Zero-out Data’ and ‘Update Codes’. In the previous 5.1.3 release Deltek added ‘Align Time-phased Dates’ too, so this menu has become quite a bit longer in recent months.
The Zero-out Data option that allows you to zero out selected cost classes based on a date range. You can target the entire project, or selected control accounts, work packages, WBS, OBS or other structures in the tool. This could be useful for clearing out estimated actuals from a prior period or remove incorrect actual costs. It’s wizard based and easy to use.
Update Codes allows you to change or add code values to project elements such as control accounts, work packages, resources, resource assignments and so on. This could save a lot of time during the setup of a new project when there are numerous values to assign.
Using this tool you could populate the work packages below a selected control account with a specific code value. Again, the wizard makes this feature a no-brainer to use.
Other enhancements that are not so obvious from a visual standpoint include:
Cobra now allows you to import and export apportionment definitions through the Integration wizard and the API.
You can now set the project audit log through the API using the Set Project Baseline process.
You can now define up to nine resource assignment codes through the Fields Tab of the Project Information Dialog Box and the Fields Page of the New Project Wizard.
Cobra now allows you to specify spread curves up to 52 points. This allows you to have a more accurate spreads on the time-phased data on the Resource Assignments tab of the Project view.
Previously, Cobra would use the same access control list (ACL) assigned to the original report when you chose to save an existing one. This behavior has been enhanced as follows:
When you run and save an existing report using the same report name (thus, overwriting the existing report), the ACL of the saved report now defaults to the ACL of the original report.
When you open an existing report and save it using a different report name, the ACL of the saved report is cleared.
Cobra now has a report history list added to the Report menu. This saves reports across user sessions and the most recent reports will be there after you logout and log back in.
Last but not least, the Customer Experience Improvement Program. This provides an additional dialog during the installation of the software that provides an option to send installation data back to Deltek and usage statistics too.
Still not fixed is the Insert Column issue in the Project and CAWP tables of Cobra. When you right click to insert a column, it always inserts the column to the far right of the table, regardless of where you’re cursor is when you right click. New users find this particularly frustrating because the far right of the table is typically off the screen, so it looks like the column didn’t get inserted. Perhaps the term ‘Add Column…’ would be more accurate, as one is certainly not inserting it anywhere other than at the far right. We are still hoping to see a way to save named layouts of the table columns too or at the very least, have it retain the view when you create copies of a project, rather than scrambling the table back to the default layout. We live in hope.
Some nice improvements to Deltek Cobra have appeared in this latest version and we have been testing it for a few weeks now without uncovering any issues. As time goes by this tool gets better and better. It’s good to see new features appearing, many of which have provided more ease of use. This is particularly true in the area of installation. The process for installing updates is robust and very well designed. If you are running multiple databases such as production, testing or QA, the installer detects the additional connections and offers to upgrade each database – a brilliant time saver for the folks in charge of keeping the product up-to-date. This Cobra Database Upgrade Wizard is the subject of another blog.