This is the first part in our series on Primavera P6 databases and data cleansing.

Many of you work in Primavera P6 databases that are a complete nightmare – hundreds of global calendars, duplicate resources all over the place, redundant codes and more copies of projects than anyone should ever need in their lifetime. You may act like these don’t bother you, but somehow logging in to P6 in the morning feels sort of like using the restroom at a crowded arena. You do your work, but you want to get out of there as quickly as you can.

Thankfully, I’ve got a few ways you can use immediately to start taking back control to get your database looking spiffy and new again.  Here goes.


Clean it up!

Duh! You saw that one coming.

Seriously, take 30 minutes with a co-worker and go through your P6 database to identify: old data to keep, data no longer in use, redundant data, unknown or mystery data.

I guarantee those 30 minutes will be the most productive you’ve had all week!

Then make a decision: export it,  delete it, or archive it.

Cleaning things up simplifies them and calms the mind. The next time you log in, you’ll be able to get around much faster and easier. Just do it!


Stop Making Everything Global!

Say it with me… “I will stop making everything Global. I will stop making everything Global. I will….”

You get the point.

Use P6’s ability to store data inside a project. Items to focus on: Global Calendars, Activity Codes, Global Layouts.

These 3 data objects hardly ever get created as “Project” objects when in a lot of cases they could. Look at your current project or the last project you completed. Could those Calendars you created have been Project Calendars? You can easily keep your db’s Global objects list lean by creating objects as local to a project.


Audit Your Primavera Super-Users

Open Admin -> Users and if you find more than 2 super-users, strongly consider revising access for anyone that does not require it to perform their job.

If you have more than 2 Super-Users, then I know why your db is nightmare…

Ready to know why?… because Super-Users create anything they want, whenever they want it.

Identify one Administrator and one backup Administrator. Make these folks your gatekeepers and your data integrity managers.

Why would you make everyone in your company a Windows Domain Administrator? Same thing goes for P6.


Have Somewhere To Play

Saunter up to your friendliest neighbourhood Database Administrator, and have them make a copy of your Production database.

Declare it your SANDBOX – a place to create any projects you like, copy projects to your hearts content and generally make a mess….

…so you don’t make a mess of your Production Database.

A Sandbox database is the best planning playground you could ever imagine!

Use it for training new users, doing scenarios and previewing XERs from other companies.


Get Implementation Help

Curious Question: If you were in charge of getting a new accounting system set up for your company, would you install it, login as the administrator and start logging expense transactions (all of this in the span of say, 15 minutes)?

No, you wouldn’t.

You’d take some time to plan your set up before you started booking expenses. You’d ask: What accounts should be setup? What invoice templates? What workflow would be best? Who should have access to what parts of the software?

So why do this with Primavera when it’s clearly an Enterprise project planning tool. (keyword: Enterprise)

You wouldn’t set up an Enterprise accounting system in 20 minutes and start logging expenses… so why do the same thing with your Enterprise project management system?

Many organizations install P6 and start planning right away, hoping to take advantage of the powerful features of the software, but with no thought into a proper setup of:

  • P6 security and permissions
  • all Global data (Calendars, Activity Codes, EPS, OBS, Project Codes, Cost Accounts, Roles, etc.)
  • project archive
  • reports
  • workflow

A proper implementation of P6, like the ones we do with small to medium-sized companies everyday, would cover the design of these and other important data objects.

AND it would layout a strategy to keep your database organized.

Want implementation advice? Contact me.


Don’t Import Directly To Production

The problem with importing XER files from other companies is that their Global data comes along for the ride. Any Calendars, Resources, Codes, etc. used in a project go with the project when it is exported and end up in your database. So global data from other companies’ pollute your P6 database every time you import an XER file they send you.

This is the biggest reason P6 databases become a data-entangled nightmarish mess!

Remember that Sandbox database you were going to setup? This is where it becomes invaluable.

Import your XERs to your Sandbox database, cleanse the imported project’s associated global data, then re-export and import to your Production db.

It sounds like a lot of work but you can automate this process with tools like XER Manager or even using Global Changes.


What Next?

Try at least one of the suggestions above and I’m sure you’ll be taking proper steps in the right direction.

Stay tuned for this series on Primavera P6 databases and data cleansing as we’ve got more great tutorials to share on this topic.

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