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Primavera P6

Choosing the Right Tool: Primavera P6 Tools for Project Management

primavera p6 tools for project management

With a history of more than two decades, Primavera P6 today is recognized as one of the leading software tools that enable project professionals to plan, manage and execute projects, programs, and project portfolios.

The software can support project-oriented organizations to deliver small scale projects, while at the same time it is powerful enough to facilitate even the largest and most complex projects across different industry verticals.

Primavera P6 is predominantly used in industries such as Construction and Engineering, Oil and Gas, Energy, Industrial Manufacturing, Aerospace, Defense, and others.

In 2008, the software was acquired and has since been further developed by the global technology giant, the Oracle corporation, into the solution that we know today.

Different versions of Primavera P6

As the project management landscape evolved throughout the years, so has the Primavera P6 software.

Today, Primavera P6 is available in several different versions such as the Primavera P6 Professional and the Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management.

In addition, Oracle has recently introduced the new Oracle Primavera Cloud (OPC) platform.

Primavera P6 Professional

Capable of organizing more than 100.000 of activities associated with even larger number of resources, Primavera P6 Professional holds the reputation for having one of the most powerful scheduling capabilities that allow it to fully support the scheduling of even the largest projects.

For the past two decades, it has grown to be considered the Construction and Engineering industry’s standard tool for planning and managing large-scale projects and practitioners’ preferred choice.

It is widely used for project planning and scheduling, resource, and cost management.

The Primavera P6 Professional (P6 Client or PPM) is a desktop-based software solution installed on a single Windows-based PC workstation, requiring single licensed user access. The software is also reputable for its pricing, as one of the more costly tools on the PPM market.

Primavera P6 Professional also works well with other applications from within and outside the Primavera suite of tools to meet the broader needs of the different project stakeholders in managing projects.

Primavera P6 EPPM 

As technology continued to advance throughout the years, so did the Primavera P6 software.

A new cloud-based version was introduced to the market as the next step in the product’s evolution, named Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management or commonly referred to as P6 web or Primavera P6 EPPM.

Although Primavera P6 EPPM is very similar to the Client-based version, it has a few notable differences, extending from architectural background, visual appearance, new features and functionalities, different licensing options, and others.

The EPPM version includes a CPM based scheduling and creation of projects, resource management, integrated risk management, cost management, project portfolio and program management, unique dashboards, streamlined enterprise-reporting, and several other collaboration features.

This article provides a more detailed comparison between the Primavera P6 Professional and Primavera P6 EPPM.

Oracle Primavera Cloud

The Oracle Primavera Cloud, or formerly known as Prime, is the final step in the evolution of the Primavera P6 solution.

OPC is a new cloud-based PPM platform that provides a one-stop solution for project scheduling, portfolio planning, lean task management, resource management and more.

At its core, it features powerful planning and scheduling capabilities, a portfolio management and capital planning options, resource management and risk management modules. It integrates the functions of Primavera P6 EPPM and Primavera P6 Professional and offers a variety of new features and additional functional and visual enhancements over them.

The OPC platform additionally supports new functionalities and workflows designed to contribute to better planning, management, and control over projects such as Lean scheduling practices that further increase scheduling efficiency, built-in risk management tools, and even enables a unique collaborative scheduling experience by allowing multiple users to work on the same project simultaneously.

The features of OPC are separated into modules, and users have the flexibility to pay only for the additional modules they use.

OPC can also produce a schedule deliverable output as an .xer file, which can be shared with the broader project team.

Tools that enhance working with Primavera P6

While the different Primavera P6 versions excel in creating project schedules and managing projects, additional tools, such as ScheduleReader are often used alongside them to optimize communication workflows and improve the efficiency of project’s execution.

ScheduleReader  

ScheduleReader is a software that is used to view project data from existing .xer and .xml files.

It is perfectly suited to keep the different members of the broader project team informed of the project status and the individual activities of each participant.

In this regard, it replaces PDF and printouts in viewing project data.

Schedules are loaded in less than 3 seconds, as it does not require any connections to a database, and it can open the .xer and .xml files created and exported from the latest versions of Primavera P6, EPPM, as well as OPC.

ScheduleReader has also found extensive applications in reviewing and analyzing various schedule data as it supports baselines comparisons, earned value analysis and more. A side-by-side review of two schedules can also be easily performed, as multiple instances of the application can be simultaneously opened on a single PC.

Users can freely interact with the data, filter, group, sort, create, customize, and even share layouts to quickly find the information they need.

ScheduleReader additionally features a unique Progress Update mode. This feature allows users to report activities and assignments status back to the scheduler. With the progress-update workflow, used together with Primavera P6, a two-way collaborative environment can be introduced throughout the organization.

The software is also available in a PRO version that includes a Linear Scheduling View with Time-location charts, and a unique Calendar View. The PRO version also includes a DCMA 14 points schedule analysis report and reporting functionality that allows users to generate predefined or create custom-made graphical reports with different summaries of project data.

In terms of deployment, the application is available in different setups and can be installed locally on a single Windows or Mac machine, as well as on a server location for concurrent use throughout the enterprise.

The latest version of ScheduleReader is available for download for testing and evaluation purposes as part of a 15-day fully featured free trial version from the official website.

Additional information on the different licensing options can be found on the website as well.

ScheduleReader is best suited as an enhancement to the Primavera P6 environment, in scenarios where organizations use the Primavera P6 Professional to manage their project operations.

At the same time, it is an excellent addition in cases where the EPPM and OPC solutions are used, further enhancing the collaborative environment, and making project data available to the broader project team in a cost-efficient manner.

Choosing the right Primavera P6 tool for your organization or project

There are many important factors to consider when choosing the right PPM software for your organization. Although there is not a right or wrong answer in choosing the right tool for your organization or project, some of the following opinions may assist in your consideration phase.

On-premises or on the cloud:

If you are looking for an on-premises solution, the Primavera P6 Professional is clearly the way to go. The software is well suited for organizations where selected team members are required to use the application to create and maintain the schedule throughout the project. The other team members involved in the project, can efficiently utilize project data by using ScheduleReader.

ScheduleReader is an on-premises software that provides efficient view-only access to the project plan with a variety of features catered to match the different needs of the broader project team members such as field staff, project controllers, project managers, and others, in viewing, analyzing, and reporting on project data.

On the other hand, The Primavera P6 EPPM and the Oracle Primavera Cloud are excellent cloud-based PPM solutions with few notable differences between them that can fully meet the needs of all project-oriented organizations.

Needs of Users:

A match between the features, functionalities and need of the end user is also an important factor to consider.

Due to its robust CPM scheduling capabilities, standalone use, responsiveness, and speed of scheduling which can be lower when scheduling large projects in the cloud, the P6 PPM may be preferred by power-users such as schedulers and project planners.

On the other hand, the ease of access, portfolio management and other new features available in the EPPM and OPC cloud-based solutions provide benefits for not only the schedulers, but also project controls and managers who need to analyze project portfolios, quickly examine reports with project data and coordinate costs and resources.

Size of Organization:

The Primavera P6 professional version is well suited for small, mid, and even large companies involved in scheduling several large projects. The Primavera P6 Professional features a powerful scheduling engine capable of creating intensive work schedules and has a well-developed ecosystem of other on-premises software tools that work well alongside it to meet the broader needs of the project. Companies can comfortably use the software create the project schedules and share them with the other companies they work with. The other companies can further use software tool such as ScheduleReader to view the project data or to introduce a collaborative environment on the project.

In contrast, medium to large organizations often have larger number of projects to manage and a global workforce that needs to access and contribute to project data.

In such cases the EPPM or the OPC platform should be also considered, as they offer advanced features oriented towards project portfolio management, collaboration, analysis, and reporting.

They are fully equipped to meet the wide needs of project-oriented companies undertaking larger and more complex endeavors, as well as the ones engaged in both small to medium sized projects.

As cloud-based solutions, they allow an easy access to the latest approved version of any report or project schedule, from anywhere in the world. This makes them best suited in scenarios where multiple individuals who are geographically dispersed in different locations around the globe, are required to contribute to the project data.

Cost Considerations:

The Primavera P6 solutions are equipped with powerful features to meet the needs of complex project management geared towards enterprise use. As the Primavera P6 tools are available in different versions, they all come with different licensing types and price-points.

Primavera P6 Professional, is licensed for each individual user, as the application is accessed from a user’s workstation. As providing a license for each employee can become costly, companies often look to limit the number of Primavera P6 Client licenses the scheduling staff and adopt project viewers such as ScheduleReader for the different members of the broader project team.

On the other hand, both cloud-based solutions, P6 EPPM and OPC have a more flexible licensing structure, but in essence the access to the application workspace falls under a license, again raising the question of how many project participants would need to access the application.

In addition to the cost associated with the use of the software, the cloud-based versions often bring a change for many companies into the industries who have longstanding workflows that rely on the offline way of working, such as Construction and Engineering, Oil and Gas and others.

Changes in the way of working, can also leave organizations to deal with imposed challenges such as training employees in the use of new tools, optimizing and monitor access to the data, and other factors that can incur additional project delays and costs.

In all cases, ScheduleReader is an excellent addition that can be used alongside the cloud-based versions, as it can provide a cost-effective solution to view, analyze and report on project data shared in the .xer file format and effectively meet the various needs of the different project participants.