CBA Inc

Archive for Oracle’ Category

14

Feb
2018

Using Fill Down in Primavera P6 – video

This short video shows how to save time scheduling your projects by using the “Fill Down” feature in Primavera P6. Add this shortcut to your routine to become a more effective scheduler. For more information about our instructor led, in-person training courses at CBA check out our Class Schedule.

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31

Jan
2018

The Benefits of BIM

CBA Subject Matter Expert on BIM, Cynthia Stiffler, President of VDC Services for Rock Ridge Virtual Design Construction, describes the different maturity levels of BIM, through the concepts of 4D, 5D and 6D scheduling, which are used to indicate the elements and benefits of increasingly complex BIM models.

There is a wide spectrum of possible uses of BIM on construction projects. At one extreme architects and engineers can use BIM simply to produce better quality design documents without providing the digital model to any other party. Contractors, likewise, can separately create models for estimating, fabricating or simulating construction without sharing the models.

Used in such limited ways, BIM does not come close to realizing its full potential. At the other end of the spectrum, BIM can provide a collaborative framework among all project parties, allowing the free-flow of data about what is being designed and how it will be constructed. Collaborative use of BIM takes full advantage of BIM’s capabilities.

3D – Model

  • Model walkthroughs. These provide a great visualization tool enabling designers and contractors to work together to identify and resolve problems with the help of the model before walking on-site.
  • Clash detection. Traditionally design drawings must be coordinated to assure that different building systems do not clash and can actually be constructed in the allowed space. Accordingly, most clashes are identified when the contractor receives the design drawings and everyone is on-site and working. With clashes being detected so late, delay is caused and decisions need to be made very quickly in order to provide a solution. BIM enables potential problems to be identified early in the design phase and resolved before construction begins. Illustrating the advantages of BIM, one project for the General Services Administration in America saw BIM model reviewers find 257 constructability issues and 7,213 conflicts. On the same project, traditional plan reviewers found six constructability issues and one conflict.
  • Project visualization. Simple schedule simulation can show the owner what the building will look like as construction progresses. This provides a very useful and successful marketing tool for all those involved in a project. Contractors can also use project visualization to understand how the building will come together.
  • Virtual mock-up models. Often on large projects the owner will request physical mock-up models so they can visualize, better understand and make decisions about the aesthetics and the functionality of part of the project. BIM modelling enables virtual mock-ups to be made and tested for a fraction of the cost.
  • Prefabrication. The level of construction information in a BIM model means that prefabrication can be utilized with greater assurance that prefabricated components will fit once on-site. As a result, more construction work can be performed offsite, cost efficiently, in controlled factory conditions and then efficiently installed.

4D – Time

  • Construction planning and management. BIM models provide a means of verifying site logistics and yard operations by including tools to visually depict the space utilization of the job site throughout a project’s construction. The model can include temporary components such as cranes, heavy equipment, and fencing. Traffic access routes for heavy equipment, cranes, lifts, and other large items can also be incorporated into the model as part of the logistics plan. Tools can further be used to enhance the planning and monitoring of health and safety precautions needed on-site as the project progresses.
  • Schedule visualization. By watching the schedule visualization, project members will be able to make sound decisions based upon multiple sources of accurate real-time information. Within the BIM model a chart can be used to show the critical path and visually show the dependency of some sequences on others. As the design is changed, advanced BIM models will be able to automatically identify those changes that will affect the critical path and indicate what there corresponding impact will be on the overall delivery of the project.

5D – Cost

  • Quantity Takeoffs. To determine a project’s construction cost and requirements, contractors traditionally perform material ‘take-offs’ manually, a process fraught with the potential for error. With BIM, the model includes information that allows a contractor to accurately and rapidly generate an array of essential estimating information, such as materials quantities and costs, size and area estimates, and productivity projections. As changes are made, estimating information automatically adjusts, allowing greater contractor productivity.
  • ‘Real Time’ cost estimating. In a BIM model cost data can be added to each object enabling the model to automatically calculate a rough estimate of material costs. This provides a valuable tool for designers, enabling them to conduct value engineering. However, it should be noted that overall project pricing would still require the expertise of a cost estimator.

6D – Facilities Management

  • Lifecycle management. Where a model is created by the designer and updated throughout the construction phase, it will have the capacity to become an ‘as built’ model, which also can be turned over to the owner. The model will be able to contain all of the specifications, operation and maintenance (O&M) manuals and warranty information, useful for future maintenance. This eliminates the problems that can currently be experienced if the O&M manual has been misplaced or is kept at a remote location.
  • Data Capture. Sensors can feed back and record data relevant to the operation phase of a building, enabling BIM to be used to model and evaluate energy efficiency, monitor a building’s life cycle costs and optimize its cost efficiency. It also enables the owner to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of any proposed upgrades.

For more information about 4D Scheduling or BIM, contact CBA at 419-874-0800 or by email.

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14

Jul
2017
Comments Off on No More Java in Oracle Primavera P6 v 17?

No More Java in Oracle Primavera P6 v 17?

If you’re part of the Primavera Community you know what the bane of most user’s existence is. It’s, of course, Java.  Java, that once heralded Sun developed software that enabled developers to deploy code on almost any platform, has had it’s issues lately to say the least.  In Primavera software, Java is most common in the applets that run within P6 and is the cause for most of the support calls relating to stability and performance.  Users have been waiting patiently for Oracle to clear the decks of Java applets within P6.  As of version 17.7, which will be released the week of July 17, 2o17 they will have made significant inroads into delivering on that promise.

In this new release most Java applets will be replaced with HTML5 views and those few that remain can be disabled.  The new HTML5 views in 17.7 are:

• Capacity Planning
• Global Search and Replace
• Activity Network
• Resource Overallocation
• User Interface Views
• Schedules Services
• Trace Logic
• My Calendar
• Status Updates
• My Preferences
• Calendar View
• My Issues Portlet

The Java Applets that remain and can be “switched off” include:

• Risk Management (Project Tab and Dashboard Portlet)
• Portfolios
• Resource Planning (Resources Tab)
• Workspaces (Projects Tab)

There are many other refinements and new features in Primavera P6 included in the release that we’ll discuss at a later date.  But for most users the ability to cut down on your Java intake is a great reason to look at upgrading to the new release.  We’d be glad to help you evaluate your current P6 environment with our P6 Health Check and recommend how you can chart your best path forward.

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21

Feb
2014
Comments Off on An Ounce of Prevention is Worth More Than a Box of Donuts

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth More Than a Box of Donuts

Ounce of Prevention is Worth More than a Box of Donuts


In a perfect world, when awarded a project, you’d be allotted a full week of gloating, “Hoo-hahs!” and chest bumps followed by a full 30 days to submit a preliminary 90 day baseline schedule and another 60 days to submit the complete construction schedule for the full project. Of course, you’d not only have the non-partisan support and participation of the Owner for feedback along the way, you’d also have all your subs identified and ready to go. They’d all come filing into the first weekly project meeting with a fully detailed Primavera project schedule, smiles and a box of donuts to share!

Unfortunately, that’s not the world we live in. In most instances, notification of the award signifies “Go time!” Immediately all parties involved begin the frenzy to get the ball rolling. It seems that everyone from the owner, to the Project Manager, to the subs (if even known) is frantically moving at warp speed to get the project off the ground. While the effort is admirable, it is not always effective. Everyone is working in their own silo and there is often not enough team collaboration from the beginning, especially as it relates to the project schedule.

Even if you have the luxury of 60 days to submit the final construction schedule for baseline approval, the real work on the schedule often begins far too late into that time frame. Everyone is not working together to plan the work accurately, to reflect the real world, intended progression of the project. The Owner will nit-pick about adherence to the schedule specs, the subs will complain that they don’t need a schedule because they have been doing this for years, and the Project Manager will want to strangle them all because he just wants to make things happen, get home in time for dinner at least once this month, and not get sued down the road!

It’s exactly at this time, at the inception of a project, that Critical Business Analysis, Inc. should be brought on board.

CBA is often utilized as a third party schedule consultant to not only develop the project schedule, but to act as an objective team participant to facilitate the collaboration process among all parties involved. We know scheduling and project management. We understand scheduling specs and best practices. We have no private agenda and our advice can be trusted.

Far too often, we are brought into a project only after major issues with the project schedule have been identified. Certainly we can help in these situations, but issues like these, and the meetings surrounding them, are adversarial, ugly and definitely confection deprived.

Whether you are the Owner or the General Contractor, save yourself the agony. Contact us at the beginning of your project to be a “second set of eyes” for the development of your project schedule and then use us as a reliable resource throughout the life of the project to be sure your scheduling effort is still on track. We all know that the project schedule can be your best friend, or your worst enemy. Bring us aboard and let us make the introduction to your new BFF…we’ll even bring the donuts!

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15

Jan
2014

Better Safe than Sorry!

Information Security - Better Safe than Sorry

I want to share some very useful tips with you on information safety.

Unfortunately, I recently learned the hard way when my credit card number was stolen as I checked into a Las Vegas Hotel for a seminar. Luckily though, my bank was very diligent and the breach was under $100 and very short lived!

  • 1)  ALWAYS use strong passwords (combinations of capital letter, number and punctuation work best and are harder to crack). An easy way to remember is also using something similar to the following short phrase: I8cookies
  • 2)  Don’t use the same passwords for all accounts and change passwords regularly. This is easier said than done and is more secure. There are password vault applications available (many free) on the web and on smartphones that can help you compile and manage your different passwords securely. Granted, you sometimes get as much functionality as you pay for. There are some really good paid options too. A personal favorite of a colleague of mine is called RoboForm.
  • 3)  Back up your data into multiple and diverse solutions such as an external portable hard drive in conjunction with a secured cloud based backup solution. Don’t rely on a single storage medium for your most important data (family photos, etc.)
  • 4)  Basic information like your address and birthday are easily obtainable online. For Password Reset questions always use secret questions that are fairly obscure and only you or close family would know.
  • 5)  Another good practice is to make sure public profiles on Google, Facebook, etc. are controlled and you only share information that you are comfortable with the whole world seeing. Don’t make it easy for someone to guess your password. Also, don’t set your social, email or other accounts to “auto login”. If someone nabs your computer or device, you have given them instant access.
  • 6)  Full disk encryption (e.g., BitLocker for Windows, FileVault for Mac OS X, dm-crypt + LUKS for Linux) for your personal machines is critical to secure your data in the event you misplace or lose it. That way, despite the loss of the hardware, it becomes more difficult for someone else to access your data.
  • 7)  Be wary of using your credit card or other sensitive information online with websites that are not well known. Always ensure that HTTPS/SSL encryption is used when performing any transaction that requires you to enter sensitive information including your username and password. Look for https on the URL and the padlock icon in the URL. To even be safer, one can click the padlock and ensure the site has a valid certificate (such as Verisign).
  • 8)  Enable every alert possible for transaction confirmations, password changes and other notifications. It is one of the best ways to keep on top of any unauthorized change in any online account. Pay attention to the options each site provides and enable as many as possible.
  • 9)  Be aware of email phishing scams where a hacker attempts to gather information about you such as your username, passwords, or credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity. Avoid clicking on any suspicious links or providing any data about yourself. Always contact the entity directly using their published contact details to validate if it’s a legitimate request.
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16

Oct
2013
Comments Off on Primavera P6 Service Alert

Primavera P6 Service Alert

Primavera P6 Service Alert

On October 15th, Java released a critical patch update to Java Runtime Environment (JRE) release – 1.7.0_45. If upgrading the JRE to this release, the Primavera P6 Web Access module of the P6 EPPM product line, which utilizes LiveConnect applets in the browser, will start generating errors.


This is a biggie! This alert indicated that it was just for P6, but from what I understand, it will also BREAK  PCM. – – Be aware!!

If you are experiencing any issues

Contact Us!  We are here to help!!

Contact us NOW!

Alert Applies to:

Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management – Version 7.0 and later

Information in this document applies to any platform.

Description

On October 15th, Java released a critical patch update (CPU) which will require download and upgrade to the following Java Runtime Environment (JRE) release – 1.7.0_45.  If upgrading the JRE to this release, the P6 module (also known as Web Access) of the P6 EPPM product line, which utilizes LiveConnect applets in the browser, will start generating one or both of the following prompts:

• “Security Warning – Allow access to the following application from this web site?”

• Available Options: ‘Allow’ & ‘Do Not Allow’.

Screen Capture Example:

Security Warning - Allow or Do Not Allow?

• “Security Warning – This web site is requesting access and control of the Java application shown above.  Allow access only if you trust the web site and know that the application is intended to run on this site.  Allow access to the following application from this web site.”

• Available Options:  ‘Yes’ & ‘No’ & ‘Help’

Screen Capture Example:

Security Warning Image - Requesting Access

 

Occurrence

This will occur for every P6 EPPM release, P6 (also known as Web Access) module.

 

Symptoms

See the description field above for symptoms when loading applets in P6 using JRE 1.7.0_45

 

Workaround

To remediate these prompts for the P6 EPPM P6 module, Oracle Primavera will be releasing fixpacks (see patches section below for further patch detail).  Until fixpacks become available and are applied to your P6 EPPM release, you can use the following workaround to suppress these prompts:

• Select the ‘Allow’ Prompt or ‘Yes’ prompt for successful loading of applets.  Note:  This prompt will occur for each applet.

If you have previously select the ‘Do Not Allow’ prompt or ‘No’ prompt and the applets fail to load, refer to the following instruction to clear your java cache for allowing selection to the ‘Allow’ or ‘Yes’ prompts:  http://www.java.com/en/download/help/plugin_cache.xml

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24

Sep
2013
Comments Off on Better P6 Float Management through Proactive Analysis

Better P6 Float Management through Proactive Analysis

Mange P6 Float by Proactively Adjusting Your Schedules

…if the Finish Date Variance is trending in a negative path, the activity may soon have negative float.

As many times as I have conducted Primavera P6 training, I am always surprised by the under use of one of the basic P6 tools.

A Scheduler painstakingly builds a schedule to reflect reality and then after the project starts, neglects to take advantage of the opportunity to be proactive in managing negative float and variance trends.  The tool is the P6 Baseline.  Sure, most Schedulers create a baseline at the onset of a project and, if following best practices, assign it to the Project Baseline to make it globally available for all users to view.  Assigning to the Project Baseline ensures that any P6 User comparing the “BL Columns and Gantt Bars” is viewing data from the original Baseline.

But how about Updated Baselines for trend analysis?

With all the focus on managing negative float within a schedule, the Finish Date variance trends sometimes get lost in the shuffle.  It is extremely important to understand that, even when an activity has positive float, if the Finish Date Variance is trending in a negative path, the activity may soon have negative float. The ability to see the negative trend and adjustment the schedule accordingly can prevent the activity from ever having negative float.

Consider the following:

Utilizing data in the table below, at what point would you recognize that the Foundation activity had a negative float issue?  CYCLE 5??

 

Update # Update Date Activity Float BL1 Finish Date Variance
Cycle 1 6/15/2013 Foundation 12 0
Cycle 2 6/30/2013 Foundation 9 -3
Cycle 3 7/15/2013 Foundation 5 -4
Cycle 4 7/30/2013 Foundation 1 -4
Cycle 5 8/15/2013 Foundation -2 -3

 

If you were capturing updated baselines each cycle and monitoring the negative Finish Date Variance trends, it is likely that you noticed a potential problem on Cycle 3. Being the proactive person you are, you take action to mitigate the negative trend activity from ever getting into negative float territory.

ly

So what is the suggested best practice?

  • Capture a baseline each time you update the schedule and assign it to the Primary Baseline
  • Use variance analysis layouts to monitor trends using Activity Table columns such as BL1 Finish Date and BL1 Project Finish Date Variance.
  • Consider capturing past period Finish Date Variances in User Defined Fields to watch for trends occurring over multiple Update cycles.
  • Design P6 Report Writer reports to use color coded conditionally formatted cells to highlight negative float/negative finish date trends as red and positive float/negative finish date trends as yellow.
  • Take action on the scenario where positive float activities have multiple Update Cycles with negative Finish Date Variances.
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