ScheduleCleaner is a Huge Timesaver and Avoids Many Headaches
In a typical Primavera P6 project managed environment, in order to communicate project data between project participants and Primavera P6 databases, project schedulers need to export, import, send and receive data from internal or external stakeholders.
This exchange is typically done through files in the XER (or XML and XLS) file format.
The Oracle Primavera systems were originally designed to support large projects for the Enterprise. For that reason, P6 has a database with a complex data structure that enables projects to share certain data between them. The Primavera P6 database can contain enormous amounts of data, projects and values organized in more than 180 tables.
By default, after an export of a project to a Primavera P6 .xer or .xml file, the unique “Project data” values are embedded into the schedule as objects. However, shared project data, commonly referenced to as “Global data”, is also contained within the exported file. This data exists outside of the project data and it interconnects the multiple projects and data together.
During an upload/import of the same XER or XML file to another P6 database, Global data such as Calendars, Codes, Financial periods and similar, can cause certain complications and create a mess in the P6 database due to miss-matches, missing links or duplicate and overwritten values.
What to do in these situations?
This article outlines few tips, practices and workarounds to help you in these situations.
Preview Project Data and Analyze the Schedule
To open and view an XER or XML file, you can use a schedule viewing application.
During an analysis of the schedule, you can identify potential problems. You can also see whether the data, such as financial periods in the XER file, matches the Financial Periods dictionary of the database. You can also see which categories of Global data are linked within the file or if there are any relationships missing.
Clean the XER file – Prepare the File for Database Import
After identifying what project data in the schedule may damage, pollute, corrupt or disrupt the integrity of the main or production P6 database, the next logical step is to remove this unwanted information from the file.
When you upload a project into a database, it is important to check how Global data is linked to Project data. Global Data values such Global Calendars, Activity Codes, Resources and a few other data categories are, in most cases, contained within the exported project file. During an import of this file into a P6 database, both the project data and linked global data are added to the database.
This import of external data may disrupt the organization and structure of the database, or in other words pollute the database. You may experience certain conflicts and miss-matches with the Global data present in the file and the P6 database.
So what can be done in this case?
Remove Global Data
By removing Global Data from the file, you can ensure the data in the project file is unique and can be safely imported in the P6 database where other projects and data are kept.
Keeping data at project level and getting the project file ready for import, can be manually done using an intermediary database, a safe environment where you make certain modifications and tests. Backing up the data and the database is also strongly recommended before executing any changes.
The main drawback of this scenario where you manually remove data is that it has proven to be both time-consuming and significantly add to expenses. Alternatively you can use special software explicitly designed to provide support for these situations.
There are a few tools out there, albeit some with limited capabilities, to scrub project plans exported from P6 of unwanted records, and data categories. However, there is one new tool called ScheduleCleaner that has left a positive impression on us.
ScheduleCleaner is a desktop application for the Windows operating system that can clean more than 80 categories of project data both in XER and XML project files including Units, Rates, Costs, Pricing, Project Progress Parameters, POBS data and more.
The program works as a stand-alone solution meaning that it does not connect to a Primavera P6 database, but rather works separately with XER and XML files.
With its simple process, this software saves tremendous amount of time spent manually removing unwanted data such as different types of rates for assigned resources, risk types, prices for resources and roles, project expenses and more.
Convert Global to Project Data
Global Data can also be converted to Project data. This action will result in keeping data unique and at project level, thus avoiding further conflict with any Global data from the P6 database after an import.
ScheduleCleaner is also able to support the conversion of Global into Project Data.
To illustrate, first we will preview Global Calendars data of a project schedule file with ScheduleReader application.
Start the software, load your XER file, setup the output folder, check the box “Convert Global to Project Calendars”, and click on the “Cleaning” button.
Notice that Global Calendars are converted into Project calendars.
You can now import the XER file into a production database.
- Global Activity Codes to Project Activity Codes
- Global to Project Calendars
Work with Templates – Automate the Cleaning Process
ScheduleCleaner also supports the creation of templates that you can save and re-use to clean specific schedules.
For instance, you can create one template for the files you receive from a consultant containing POBS (Performing Organizational Breakdown Structure) data that affects the performance during import.
Another template can be particularly created for cleaning the resource costs in XER/XML files you’re sending to a stakeholder because you want to keep that data private. Another one can contain settings to convert the Global to unique Project Calendars and so on.
As you can see, each file you receive, send or upload might have special requirements in terms of data removal or setting viewing permissions.
The templates with different predefined settings can be applied to one or multiple XER/XML files, which allows to quickly process a larger amount of project files (automate) and save valuable time.
Moreover, you can combine multiple operations in a template such as remove data, mask data and add Prefix or Suffix.
This articles briefly describes the nature of how the Primavera P6 database can become corrupt. We looked at the concepts of Project and Global data and summarizes a few practices and workarounds for avoiding polluting your P6 database, while importing data in the form of XER and XML files.
Actions such as identifying Global and other type of potentially unwanted or sensitive data, by viewing and analyzing the schedule. And, keeping data unique at the project level, will help you avoid any database pollution during a file import.
ScheduleCleaner acts as a security filter when importing XER projects into a P6 database. Very often, these projects cost millions of dollars, so having a clear picture about what is imported into Primavera P6 and avoiding errors helps avoid a lot of problems.
ScheduleCleaner is a rather useful application specifically designed to handle the process of preparing an XER or XML schedule for importing into a P6 database. Without a doubt, it helps avoids many importing headaches and is a huge timesaver. You can check out ScheduleCleaner directly here!