The Assignments Export/Import spreadsheet allows non-cobra users to update budget and forecast data. These updates can then be imported back into Deltek Cobra via the Assignment Import feature. This is powerful, but you have to be mindful that the format you are working in has its limitations as to just how much you can change before it fails validation when reloading.
This article outlines the dos and don’ts of Assignment Export/Import spreadsheet updates.
The Assignment Export/Import feature is available in Deltek Cobra 5 and 8. It allows you to export a particular class and type of data to a spreadsheet. It is generated in Deltek Cobra 8 via the Integration ribbon’s Assignment Export feature. In Deltek Cobra 5 you would use the Project menu’s Assignment Export/Import option.
The assignment spreadsheet is a time-phased report that lists data by control account, then by work package, then by resource. A series of dated column headers then displays the period values for each resource assignment, rolling that data back up into the work packages and then the control account rows. This spreadsheet is reminiscent of a standard Control Account Plan or CAP report.
If valid adjustments are made to this spreadsheet, the values can be imported back into Cobra via the Integration Ribbon’s Assignments Import button. This allows non-Cobra using team members to participate in the forecasting and maintenance of the earned value data.
As mentioned before however, there are certain limitations as to what you can do in the spreadsheet in order that the data can be re-imported and integrated into the Cobra database.
Within this spreadsheet you can make certain changes to the existing data and even add new data, but only in a limited way.
- Make changes to existing numbers in the time-phased area.
- Insert new rows to add resources, as long as you give the resource a valid name and result name (HOURS, DIRECT, or whatever is already in the column).
- Add values to the time-phased table only in reporting periods that already exist.
- Make any changes you need to existing spreads.
If you follow these general guidelines, your spreadsheet will probably pass validation when you reload the data back into Deltek Cobra.
However if you do any of the following things, you will not be able to reload your data.
- Do not place values in periods outside of the existing work package dates. Doing this will fail validation as Deltek Cobra will not extend the dates of a work package or control account (budget or forecast) using this method. Your best option is to extend the dates first in Cobra directly.
- Never type freehand notes anywhere in the spreadsheet area.
- Never build formula in the spreadsheet. If you do, copy them and paste the results using Paste Special – Values to overwrite formula.
- Do not employ such things and conditional formatting or other features that will change the general format.
- Do not change work package or control account dates. Having said that, it is possible to change these dates as long as you make sure that you correctly maintain the dates of the Control Account and Work Package and know how to return the formatting to be exactly the text type formatting that you see before you start changing dates. This is fiddly to achieve and not recommended.
If you must change dates, only do this using Forecast Class spreadsheet reports – never do this for budget values on an integrated project that is under baseline change control using this spreadsheet.
To allow the Assignment Export/Import feature to be used for non-Cobra users such as Control Account Managers (CAMS), resource managers and other EVM project stakeholders, these people should be educated to the limitations of what they can and cannot change in the assignment spreadsheet.
The benefits are huge as it allows non-Cobra users to provide data back to the Deltek Cobra system using a spreadsheet platform that virtually everyone is familiar with on some level. We have found it a terrific tool for maintaining manual forecasts as the CAMs can make meaningful changes to their ETC values using this spreadsheet.