Archive for the ‘P6 EPPM’ Category:

Primavera P6 R8.4 Database Options

Coal miner at work with pick axIn a recent blog for Construction Science I discussed some of the new features of Release 8.4 for Primavera P6 Professional and EPPM. Today I would like to discuss the database options for a standalone installation of P6 Professional. Oracle 10g Express (Oracle XE) has been included with P6 for several years. Users could also choose from one of several versions of Microsoft’s SQL Server, but most opted for SQL Server 2005 Express Edition because it is a free program. Both of these options are still available. But Release 8.4 introduces another option, SQLite. The advantage of SQLite is that it does not have the size limitation of Oracle XE (4 GB) and is easier to manage than Oracle XE or Microsoft SQL. Backing up a database is now as easy as copying a file folder because SQLite is a serverless database engine. For users who have struggled with Oracle XE or Microsoft SQL Server, SQLite seems like a great option.

Ah, but there is a trade-off for simplicity! Oracle’s Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are not compatible with SQLite. This is something Oracle intends to fix in a future P6 release or patch. APIs are the building blocks of many software programs, and while it is not something most of us would ever realize, Oracle’s Claim Digger is an API. So Claim Digger is not accessible when using SQLite. For me, that is a deal-breaker. I use Claim Digger nearly every day to analyze files. In some situations my clients have more than one version of a baseline schedule or update on their server and they no longer remember why. If some of these files are in fact identical we can delete them without any concern. At the very least, Claim Digger will tell us what the differences are. Most owners also expect contractors to explain what changes were made during the update process, and the Claim Digger report usually suffices.

Claim Digger does have some limitations, which I will discuss in a future blog, and there are third-party programs that are more powerful. However, Claim Digger is included with P6 so it is a tool that all users have access to without spending more money. I will accept free help anytime!

Also, because SQLite is truly a single-user environment, there are several other restrictions:

  • There are no User or Security Profiles, as there can only be one user
  • All projects are opened in Shared mode; Read Only and Exclusive modes are disabled
  • Sending e-mail notifications of Project Issues is not supported
  • Advanced import options are disabled for projects in XML format
  • Check In and Check Out of projects are disabled
  • There are no options to save data for All Users or Another User (layouts, etc.)
  • Job Services is not supported; Jobs cannot be scheduled
  • Update Baseline and Risk Analysis are not supported

P6 EPPM Training Available Online and In-Person Anywhere

Earlier this year we rolled out our popular P6 101 (8-hour) and P6 102 (16-hour) training programs for P6 EPPM. We waited to offer this training until we had a chance to develop our own training materials. Our training programs are designed to mimic the steps necessary to create a schedule, run production, update and monitor progress, in that order. More importantly, we teach P6 EPPM from the perspective of professional schedulers who have been using Primavera software for 25 years. Some features in P6 EPPM are not appropriate for every industry. And there are situations where switching to P6 Optional Client makes more sense than trying to muddle by with P6 Web. Both of these components are included with P6 EPPM.

For example, you cannot automatically renumber Activity IDs in P6 Web while this can be accomplished quite easily in P6 Optional Client. So in the P6 EPPM environment an employee using P6 Web might need to request that another employee using P6 Optional Client perform this task instead. Conversely, the P6 Optional Client user would need to request that the P6 Web user change the Earned Value settings, one of many administrative settings that are only accessible via P6 Web.

Our P6 EPPM training programs are intended to teach the P6 Web component since P6 Optional Client is virtually identical to P6 Professional. However, we can teach both P6 Optional Client and P6 Web back to back in order to fulfill all of our clients’ training needs. We did this recently for a major Department of Defense contractor in Kansas City. The first two days were devoted to using P6 Optional Client and the next two days focused on P6 Web.

Already our P6 EPPM training has been in high demand. We recently completed a 6-week assignment for the State of California, developing training materials and training the in-house trainers. Ironically, we beat out Oracle itself for this assignment! Next week we begin training a major highway contractor in Texas. We provide P6 EPPM training online every month for individuals and groups. In-person P6 EPPM training is available anywhere in the world for small groups. Well, we only provide this training in English but otherwise no restrictions!

Below is an introduction to P6 EPPM that we recently posted on YouTube:

This video explains how to set up a new project in P6 EPPM. In the next few weeks we will be posting more videos explaining various features of P6 EPPM. Please contact us if you have any questions.


P6 EPPM vs. P6 Professional

Yesterday I delivered a P6 training session to a client  who bought the enterprise (EPPM) version of this software for the wrong reason. There is a perception based on rather confusing marketing materials put together by Oracle that if you want to log in remotely to a database you must buy P6 EPPM. Nothing could be farther from the truth. But anyone who tries to muddle their way through Oracle’s website would have a hard time figuring this out.

P6 EPPM is web-enabled software. Notice I did not say “cloud” software. There is a big difference. When you buy P6 EPPM you still install it on a server in your offices. Once installed on a server, users access P6 EPPM using their Web browser. More on that in just a moment.

Deploying P6 EPPM in a large organization can certainly have benefits. Rather than installing P6 software on hundreds of computers you install it once. That is a pretty good deal and nearly as practical as true “cloud” software hosted on someone else’s servers. One of my clients has several hundred named users – meaning people who have access to the software – and not surprisingly they are using P6 EPPM.

So what about remote access using P6 Professional? Well, it’s not too difficult for anyone to gain remote access to a database regardless of which version of P6 they are using. You simply install the database on a server and users connect to it remotely using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or some similar means of networking. Admittedly I know nothing about setting up a VPN but this is easy for an IT person to do. And most companies already have something like this in place already.

Because P6 EPPM is web-enabled, however, you are accessing files on the Internet. Lose your Internet connection and you are not getting any work done. With P6 Professional, you can install one database on your laptop and another on a regular server. This way you always have access to a database. Another advantage with P6 Professional is that using a Web browser is much slower than using software that resides on a computer. Each time you leave one window in P6 EPPM you are waiting for your browser to load another one. Unless you have a very fast Internet connection this will drive you a little crazy.

The Web browser introduces still another problem. P6 EPPM will not function correctly unless you are using Internet Explorer 8. Love Google Chrome? Too bad, because it will not work with P6 EPPM. And forget about using Mozilla Firefox as well. And frankly, who is still using IE 8 other than maybe Al Gore? Okay, that was a cheap shot at the guy who once claimed to have invented the Internet, but the point is most of us have already upgraded to something else – a long, long time ago.

Java also rears its ugly head in P6 EPPM, which requires a very specific version of Java that is several years old. Java is a programming language used by many applications and websites. Ironically, Oracle owns Java but P6 EPPM has to make do with a really old version. My client with the hundreds of named users quickly discovered that it had several different versions of Java installed on various machines. And during my class yesterday I could not get the Project Preferences pop-up window to appear no matter what I tried. Cursed Java strikes again!

(To be fair, P6 Professional also uses Java but because you are using the program in a standalone environment the older version of Java is not much of an issue).

So have I convinced you to switch to P6 EPPM yet? Look, P6 EPPM is fine for large organizations since it makes deployment much easier. But when I show people P6 Professional side-by-side with P6 EPPM, they always pick P6 Professional. If you have only a few named users, P6 Professional is easy to deploy. You might only need to install P6 EPPM once, but the last time I installed it required an entire weekend and several phone calls to Oracle Support.

When it comes down to scheduling projects – which is the point, after all – P6 Professional is easier to use, and much faster. But not to worry. P6 EPPM software includes P6 Optional Client in addition to the Web-enabled software, and P6 Optional Client is basically P6 Professional with just a few minor differences. Yet many people who purchase P6 EPPM are not even aware that another version of the program is included. Oracle simply does not explain this very well at all, but now you know!