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Project Management

FAQs

Frequently asked questions

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P6/PPMS Conversion FAQs

Why are we switching from PPMS to P6?

P6 will help MnDOT get better at delivering projects on time and on budget. P6 schedules are kept in real-time so project managers can use them as a management tool. Managers can use P6 at a program and enterprise level to easily view cost and scheduling information across the state. PPMS is the current scheduling software used by MnDOT. Leadership decided to switch away from PPMS because it would take a major overhaul of the software to upgrade it to the level of functionality offered by P6.

Why Shared Service Centers instead of a P6 expert in each district?

Primavera P6 is a very powerful tool for project and program management. To get the most from it, it is critical to employ proper scheduling techniques and ensure data integrity. By training and managing a small cadre of experts that report to the project leader, we are much less likely to have data issues that could compromise the integrity of the data

Why can't PMs have access to P6?

There are several reasons why PMs are not given access to P6 at this point. First, because of the cost of the software, it does not make sense, from an investment standpoint, to give access to users who are not going to be consitently in the software. Also, training and supporting that many people is less efficient than providing expert staff who have a deep understanding of P6 to support PMs. Finally, for many PMs, their time is better spent on the human interactions while leaving the software management to others. With that said, there is a subset of PMs that likely would be more efficient with full access to P6. To test that we are conducting several pilot studies in which PMs are given access. This fall we will analyze the results of these studies to determine if more access should be granted to more people.

Will we be changing the existing schedules to match a new scheduling philosophy?

That depends on a number of factors, such as when project will be let, the complexity of project, and the interest of the project team to utilize the new templates. The district and SSC will work together to identify priority projects for schedule enhancement.

What is the status of PPMS now that we use P6?

P6 is being used for all scheduling. PPMS will continue to be used for header information and funding until a suitable replacement is developed, and PPMS will be retired by July 2014. PPMS will be turned to read-only access on August 1, 2013.

What will happen with the header information from PPMS (long and short term)?

Until PPMS is retired, it will continue to be the authoritative source for non-schedule project data & header information. Thereafter, P6 will become the authoritative source for data.

Do projects that have been previously let and have been stored in PPMS need to be archived?

Yes but the process has not been finalized. Stay tuned.

With PPMS we could run crystal reports, can we in P6?

At present P6 is not hooked to crystal reports. The plan is to provide that functionality by July 2014.

Where can I find schedule reports for my projects?

Any schedule related reports can now be found on the Project Management website, along with a report showing the PPMS Header information. These are static reports that will be updated every two weeks after the data date is moved in P6. Any non-schedule reports can still be created using Crystal Reports on the PPMS website. If you need a custom report, please contact your SSC representative.

Where can I find PPMS Header Reports for my projects?

We are scoping out the effort to make P6 data available to Crystal Reports through the Enterprise Data Warehouse.

How will the capabilities of Crystal Reports be replaces?

A schedule has not been developed for this project yet, but a loose timeframe for delivery is early winter of calendar year 2013. We are scoping the data required to be transferred to the data warehouse on a nightly basis.

What quality control measures are in place to ensure new project schedules will be developed and review according to current standards?

Newly developed schedules are required to undergo a quality control review by either an SSC Scheduler or by the Scheduler assigned to your district.

Why do my converted PPMS Schedules have activities with unusually long durations, after the update of the Data Date?

The Data Date is updated using a "Retained Logic" function. Activities with progress applied out-of-sequence of the network logic cannot finish until its predecessor has finished. With a "finish-to-start" relationship and a successor started out-of-sequence, the logic will not allow the successor to finish before the predessessor, therefore, the remaining duration of the successor will continue to be shown after the predesessor. This will cause P6 to calculate the total duration from the Data Date until the early finish. If you still have questions about this, please contact your SSC representative.

P6 Scheduling FAQs

What is the schedule for P6 implementation?

P6 Implemention Schedule

How do I see a project schedule?

District P6 Schedules

Where can I find the schedules on the web?

District P6 Schedules

Who should I talk to about building a schedule?

Contacts

How will P6 be used in construction scheduling?

Currently all projects in construction are required to have a set of milestones for the construction project. Some projects require that contractor keep a CPM schedule in MnDOT P6 server. In Jan 2014, all construction projects will have role loaded schedules for MnDOT staff.

How do I request a new schedule?

Projects will continue to be created in PPMS for project data and funding purposes. New schedules should no longer be created in APV; they will now be created in P6. The following process should be used for now, but expect updates in the future:

i.) Requests for new projects will go to the PPMS Coordinators as usual, with a completed attribute form, or using their current process for obtaining project information.
ii.) PPMS Coordinators will create the Bundle & Element in PUMA, generate the SP# and request a job number from SWIFT.
iii.) PPMS Coordinators will create the project in PPMS with all header information.
iv.) PPMS Coordinator will forward the information to their SSC and copy the requestor.
v.) SSC staff will connect with the requestor on the next steps for building their schedule.

How will I update my Project Schedules?

Updates will be entered into the system using a front end to P6 called Team Member. People without access to Team Member will submit updates to the PM or the SSC. People with access to Team Member include, PM, functional group managers, and supervisors within functional groups. Updates in APV or Task Status Manager are not reflected in P6, please do not make them there.

Who will be responsible for updating activities?

An individual activity should be updated by one of two people:
1. The person who is PERFORMING THE WORK
2. A person who is MANAGING the person performing the work
The user who is making the updates is identified as the “Owner” of that activity. This means that this person, in addition to making updates in Team Member, is the contact point for the Project Manager for that activity. Thus, it is the preferred model; NOT use an administrative person for updating.

What is Team Member?

Primavera P6 Team Member is an interface for updating progress on a project schedule in P6. Activities are assigned to a specific user or “owner” and that user can then update actual dates, remaining durations, and percent completes in P6 Team Member. Team Member is easy to use and provides a convenient way for users to update progress on all assigned activities without the encumbrance of going into the full P6 Client application or engaging a SSC scheduler to do so.

Is there a user guide for Team Member?

Yes. User Guide

Who will have access to Team Member?

There are three groups of people that have been identified as Team Member users: Project Managers, Functional Group Leads and Functional Group Supervisors. Those who will be required to have access to Team Member are those who are actually doing the work process. Requests for access by people outside of the three roles listed above will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

When will Team Member be available to the Districts?

We are currently targeting July 10. 2013 for Team Member implementation.

How frequently will I be asked to provide updates?

At minimum, updates should be done every two weeks on timesheet turn-in day. However, users have the ability to go into Team Member at any time. Thus it is appropriate and encouraged for users to update activities with actual dates in real time rather than waiting for every other Tuesday.

Project schedules will be recalculated the Wednesday after timesheet turn-in day. So if any activities are not updated with current progress, those activities may show unrealistic dates and float. The first updates will be due on July 16th.

How do I determine who is responsible for updating individual activities on my project?

By confirming with the Functional Group responsible for the activity.

Can multiple people be assigned ownership responsibility to a single activity?

No, each activity must be broken down, so that, it can be performed by a single person.

Can an activity be delegated?

Yes, activities can be delegated by the activity owner, but, only to one other person. An activity cannot be shared between multiple people. In order to delegate an activity you must contact your SSC representative. This cannot be done by the owner of the activity.

Do I still have to follow activities I am not the owner of?

No, Team Member will not show you activities that you are not the owner of.

Who has the responsibility for assigning C.O. Team Member tasks (activities)?

The project manager.

Who is the Activity (task) Owner in Team Member?

The person who has been assigned responsibility for completion of the Activity (Tasks) is the Owner. Only Activities (Tasks) that have been assigned to you will be accessible in Team Member.

Team Member has a tab entitled "Notebook Topic," please explain this function.

Notebooks enables the Project Manager to attach specific information to an activity and for the team-members to view the information. Note for more information please see Team Member Web Application Webinar, June 19th 2013 at the 26:00 min. mark.

Who can view activities within Team Member?

The activity owner, i.e. the person responsible for updating the activity status, will be able to view the specific activity.

What does it mean to baseline my schedule?

Typically, the Project Management Team will capture the agreed upon schedule and associated documents at the end of the project planning stage. This is known as the Project Baseline and becomes the Project Plan. The baseline schedule provides an effective tool for analyzing agreed upon outcomes vs. actual outcomes. Invariably, projects vary from the Project Plan for many unforeseen reasons throughout the project cycle. The baseline will provide a reference point for the Project Manager and will help to highlight problem areas that require attention.

How many activities can I have in my schedule?

Too many activities makes a schedule hard to follow. Too few activities makes a project hard to manage. Project teams should thoroughly and thoughtfully develop a schedule that models the work to be accomplished. The key is to find the right balance of project activities to clearly show the process and to be an effective management tool.

What are the functional differences between P6 Web, P6 Client and P6 Team Member?

P6 Web: An interface tool designed for Management to monitor project and program health using global information. P6 Web is a highly customizable dashboard view providing enterprise information in a graphical format.
P6 Client: Is the workhorse of P6. The majority of scheduling tasks take place in Client. P6 Client is the interface where users build schedules, activities, assign logic and work-breakdown structures. Also, within the interface of Client users can assign resourses and roles to activities within their schedules.
P6 Team Member: Is a simplified interface into P6 used for entering and updating Activity progress.

How much time should I expect to spend on scheduling development and updating my current project schedules over the course of a month?

This depends upon the individual role, number of projects and/or types of projects being managed. Typically, new project schedule development will take between two and six hours of work. Updates to project schedules should take less than one hour every two weeks to complete. It should be noted, time spent following up on scheduling issues will vary depending upon what issues the Project Manager is experiencing on any particular project.

Can I still manipulate the schedule to make it look how I want when I am not the Owner?

No.

What happens if a project changes from Design-Build to a Design Bid Build Project?

The project will require a new Baseline.

How can I process my schedule update information without access to Team Member?

People without access to Team Member will submit updates to their SSC representative, functional group leader or other team member as indicated by the PM.

Does Team Member show the project description or just the SP number?

Team Member contains both sets of information.

ROLE/RESOURCE:

What is a “role-loaded” schedule?

When you see a reference to a Role-Loaded Schedule, typically it is referring to a project schedule that, on the activity-level, has all of the activities assigned to a specific role. The resource (named-individual) may not be known or identified, but, the particular expertise required has been chosen and contains production hours that have been assigned to roles.

What is role and resource loading?

It is the act of assigning roles and resources to individual activities within a schedule. Roles define the expertise needed to perform an activity, e.g. design technician. Resources are named individuals. Role loading provides a tool to forecast future staffing needs to current capacity. Resource loading provides functional groups a means of leveling work loads over a program.

Why are we role and resource loading?

Role loading provides a tool to forecast staffing needs and compare against capacity. Resource loading provides functional groups a means of tracking staff. It is assigning hours to those resources.

Is role and resource loading too much work for the benefit?

Although it may seem like a lot of work right now, we will see efficiency increase once the scheduling templates are complete.  It will take a considerable amount of time to assign roles, resources and estimate hours for all of our scheduled activities.  However, once this is complete we will have it in a permanent, template format.  These templates will be used to schedule projects and prevent us from having to create a unique schedule for each individual project.  That said, schedule templates can be modified to reflect each project’s unique attributes.  We will save ourselves work in the future by taking the time up front to correctly build out our role and resource data base.  It also allows us the ability to look at statewide staffing levels which can be used to strategically staff projects based on workload availability. 

What’s the difference between role loading and resource loading?

Role loading associates the expertise required to complete an activity, whereas, resource loading associates named individuals to specific activities. Role loading deals with role titles (e.g., Senior Design Technician); resource loading deals with specific individuals such as (John Smith or Mary Jones).

Why do roles included in P6 schedules differ from the MnDOT labor classifications?

Roles included in P6 encompass a grouping of MnDOT labor classifications. This is intentional, because, the general need for the work to be done does not always require a specific classification, only the knowledge of how to perform the work. Additionally, there are opportunities within MnDOT for promotion that do not prohibit us from doing the same work, yet, give us more responsibility. This allows us to plan the resources needed for a particular task with more flexibility.

What does P6 do with role information and how does it help me?

P6 shows role needs over time which will allow Resource Managers the ability to compare expected workload to current capacity. This information can be used as part of decision making for staffing and consultant requirements. Role information within P6 is used to plan upcoming work and allows us to determine if we will have resources available to complete the work or if we are able to take on a larger work load. Role loading will allow us to see the impacts of adding or removing projects from our plan while allowing us to effectively manage the work we have scheduled.

How do P6 schedules account for role definitions that differ between districts?

P6 allows for a Role Breakdown Structure that is accommodative to different roles on different branches. This gives us the flexibility to place Districts on their own branches of the structure. With that said, we are striving for naming uniformity within Role definitions because the expertise is the same district to district. Ideally, role definitions will be flexible enough to work across Districts allowing us to share our services. There will be some instances where specialized roles will exist. In such cases, we will rely on the role definitions that have been developed to guide other Districts to who has the expertise to help when needed (past experience, etc.).

Who is responsible for developing role loaded P6 schedules?

The Project Team is responsible for new schedule development and loading the particular schedule with roles. Currently, EPMS is developing role templates with the help of the Functional Groups. Role loading is intended to be mostly an automatic function of using project templates and network fragment templates upon schedule creation. Roles will be pre-assigned to the activities in the templates and should only require adjustment after the project is built in the District. Project Managers and Resource Managers will be responsible for the final role loading check of the schedule, based upon the specific scope of the project.

Who is responsible for maintaining role loaded P6 schedules?

Updates of the Role and Resource data will be maintained thru the Functional Groups and performed by the SSC staff. Role loading of project schedules will be maintained within the Districts as the Project Managers adjust the schedules and needs based on the complexity and scope of each project.

Now that the projects have been initially role/resource loaded, what is the expectation of the districts?

It is expected that Project Managers will utilize and follow the Role/Resource Schedules by keeping the schedule accuracy with regards to resources utilized.

How do the P6 schedules account for folks that serve multiple roles?

A person can be assigned to multiple project roles. Also, their maximum availability can be reduced to account for their non-project responsibilities. P6 will generate a histogram report, graphically showing their project assignments. It is up to the Project Manager or Resource Manager to determine who will work on a particular project task depending on their qualification and availability.

SSC - Shared Service Center FAQs


What is the role and the goals of the SSC?

“The mission of the Project Management SSC is to become a provider of choice for project management services that enables their customers to excel at their core mission and services.  Their goals and objectives include investing in the development of project managers, being an expert and advocate in the tools and processes of project management, sharing lessons learned and improvement opportunities, and being cost effective, results-driven and fully engaged in effective project delivery.”

What does the SSC, actually, do?

The SSC is charged with providing the districts with scheduling services, cost estimating services and communication services between the CO and the districts.

What are the benefits of having an SSC Service?

A few benefits of having a Shared Service Center for Project Management include:

  • Staff dedicated to project management and project controls to elevate the importance, and recognition of the technical expertise of these disciplines.
  • Coaching and consulting for project managers as they apply new project management skills.
  •  Service and monitoring for project, resource and program managers so they can focus on managing people instead of data.
  • Accountability in project delivery through disciplined baseline establishment, results measurement, and objective follow up (track and measure successes and lessons learned).
  • Enhanced ability to communicate project and program data through uniform data management practices.

How responsive will the SSC be?

“Responsively addressing the needs of customers is vital to the successful existence of the SSC and they are committed to being an asset to those in project delivery.”

P6 and CPM Training FAQs

What training is available for Team Member?

A webinar and a User Cheat Sheet is available on the PM website under the P6 Tab covering the use of Team Member, please see the links below. Additionally, SSC staff will be available for any additional over the shoulder instruction that may be needed.
P6 Webinars
Team Member Cheat Sheet

Project Management with CPM FAQs


How do I stay informed? (PM Community distribution list, etc.)

By also utilizing the monthly PM video conference, EPMS Website and through your SSC contact.

Because we are changing to a Schedule Management Culture would you please explain what this looks like for all Project Managers?

Eventually, Project Managers will be responsible for their projects from cradle to grave. Project Managers will lead the effort during the planning stage, monitor the progress thru execution making changes or adjustments as required, until completion. Project Managers will be charged with implementing recovery plans for projects that are falling behind schedule in order to meet the baseline schedule.

How will Project Manager's be held accountable for the effective management of their project schedules?

Management will track project success and failures by PM and will be able to determine a PM's effectiveness over time.

What are the potential consequences of not effectively managing project schedules?

Project Management will become crisis management. An inability to identify resource needs in a timely manner. A lack of faith in the reliability of schedules will develop. Project progression will slow due to having an undefined critical path established.

Why does my schedule not change when I make updates to my schedule?

If there is a situation, (like a let date change), where it is imperative enough to recalculate a schedule and recreate reports outside of the two week reporting period, your SSC can provide that service at the PM or Functional Group's request. There are only two caveats: 1.) The scheduler cannot move the Data Date and 2.) Since this will be an ad hoc report, it will not appear on the website. This will be added to the process documents. Our thoughts are niether of these caveats should be an issue since the reports will correct themselves within two weeks. What we do NOT want is for it to become an expectation that people will receive instantaneous schedule information every time an update is made. This runs the risk of being counterproductive because when people only consult the schedule when they have done their own updates and can get a false sense of the schedule. One of the reasons why we have a scheduled data date move, with regular reports, because it makes more likely that progress is updated across all activities and a more complete view the schedule the hard way. A two week updating period should be frequent enough to provide useful schedule information in the majority of situations.

CE/CM FAQs

Coming Soon...

Risk Management FAQs


What is Risk Management?

Risk management is a methodology for identifying, assessing, and prioritizing risks associated with projects of different kinds. Once identified, a plan can be implemented to minimize or eliminate the impact of negative events. Different strategies have been developed to reduce the impact of known risks.

I'm not in management, why do I need to be concerned with risk management?

Everyone of us must be aware of how our actions could affect your District and your Department. An awareness of risk management will help us see potential risks before they happen and alert us to take action to minimize such risk.

What is the point of risk management?

The point of Risk Management is to help reduce and/or eliminate potential risks of doing business, thereby, reducing the cost of our business and eliminating potential embarrassing mishaps. Risk Management fits into the objective of improving efficiencies by pre-planning for the elimination of costly problems.

Other FAQs

Coming Soon...