Occasionally we revisit some of our reader’s favourite posts from the annals of the Plan Academy tutorial library, and today we’re revisiting a topic that is always hot – importing updates from excel. Let’s take a look!
Often large projects demand many sub-teams or subcontractors update a portion of the master project plan on an on-going basis.
If your subcontractors are not up to speed on their Primavera skills, you may need a solution that simplifies gathering updates and getting them into Primavera P6.
Enter Excel….and Primavera P6’s import from Excel feature.
This video tutorial will walk you through the process of filtering and exporting a subcontractor’s activities to excel and re-importing the updated spreadsheet into P6.
How to Import Primavera P6 Updates From Excel
Hi everyone, it is Michael. Thanks for coming back to the Plan Academy Online Primavera P6 Training. We are always striving to deliver excellent video tutorials and hopefully today is no exception. I woke up this morning and thought, “What do I want to teach today? How can I help some folks out there do better at planning and what can I deliver that hopefully it’s going to give them some new insights on how to use Primavera?”
What I came up with is to revisit this concept of Reflection projects. If you are not completely familiar with Reflection projects, we have already done a great video tutorial on the site. If you are not there, go ahead check out PlanAcademy.com tutorial menu and go down here to reflections.
If you are not completely up to speed on what reflections are, there is this tutorial here we did using Reflections in Primavera that merge scenarios back in your project. That is going to help give you a starting point for reflections and how to use them.
What we are going to do today with Reflections is show you how to update project plans. How to process updates from sub-contractors, who deliver a monthly update? How do I look at that update and roll it into a master project plan? That is the topic today.
What I have got here is my Railcar maintenance facility project plan. If we scroll down here to the construction section, you can see I have two contract sections. Actually a few but this two we are going to focus on, the grading and drainage contract and the maintenance and building contract.
If I will expand those a little bit, you can see we have this general section under the grading and drainage contract. We are going to assume that the grading and drainage contract is manage by a sub-contractor. They are delivering us updates on that contract via xer file.
Then below, we also have the maintenance-building contract and same sort of thing. That is a sub-contractor, a difference sub-contractor and they are delivering updates to us on a monthly basis. The period that we are going to focus on is this period I have highlighted with curtain on the gap chart.
They are going to deliver us updates for this section. We are going to use Reflections to roll those updates in and approve them before we roll them into the master project plan. That is what the reflection project is going to give to us. I am going to turn the webcam off and I am going to get started.
Let us walk through the process that we are going to follow to set things up before we get started. You will notice among the project screen here that I have my RF0D-1. This is my Railcar maintenance facility.
This is the original project plan. It is the plan that I have been working in that I have been doing my own updating it. Now I want to capture those updates from my contractors on a monthly basis and roll them in.
We need to set up a few things first. Here we go. Here is the set up.
First thing we want to do is to create a Reflection project for each contractor. If I am working with multiple contractors, I will create a Reflection for each one. That is step one.
Step two, we are going to export that XER and we are going to send it to our sub-contractor, in this scenario. They are going to update the plan and send it back to us. We are going to re-import that updated project using the update feature. Then we are going to review/merges the Reflection in.
If we are okay with all of the updates, we have been set up, we will go ahead and locked them in by rescheduling. Let us start by creating reflections. Right click on your project and choose create Reflection.
Primavera does a little bit of thinking. You can see it has come back. It has created my Railcar maintenance facility Reflection it is called RF0D-2 and you can see it is a winner project.
We are going to create another Reflection, the same project. What I want to do is just differentiate this. This goes to my ACME sub-contractor and this goes to BSO. Those are my two sub-contractors.
The one thing I want you to notice here is when I created a Reflection project there’s a field here called source project. You will notice that the source project is essentially is a pointer back to the original project plan. The reason I wanted to bring this up is that there is a bit of a gotcha. That is why I wanted to outline this set up steps for you.
If you send this XER file without creating the Reflection project over to your subcontractor and they update it and bring it back. Now we do not have the ability to do the merge.
For example, look at this project. This is one that came back from ACME. Notice that it has no source project links to it. I cannot really do that merge functionality.
The option does not show up. If that does happen, there is a work around for you. The work around is essentially to take the updates from this and to copy them into a reflection project and then we can do a merge. A little bit of manual work on your part but in case you forget to do this set up steps that I outlined then that will be the work around you’ll want to follow.
Now that I have created these two Reflection projects, the process I would follow would be the open one. Open each of them one at a time and then essentially to export them to an XER file. You can ignore that error. I will export them to an XER file and then I will send them off to the contractors in question. Those contractors will update them, send them back, and let us see what that looks like now.
To import an XER file and update it I need to have that project open first. I go ahead and open my ACME project. Back here and do an import, again you can ignore that error. There is my ACME import files I’m going to go ahead and choose it. This is what we want to see we want to make sure that this import action sees update existing project. Again, we will just make sure we have the selected project. We will go ahead and import. Great, so we will do the same thing with the second project.
Now that I have both of those imports done, I can actually do the merge process now. This is where everything comes to a head. This is the point of this. I will start with ACME. Let us go ahead and merge a reflection into a source project. In case this green is not familiar, what this is a review in a comparison of the data that’s changed in the reflected project versus the original project.
Up here we have the choice this group this changes by subject area so you can see their group to your by activities and it list each activity. It says here is the value before it was merged. Here is the value after we would perform the merge. What you can see is this activity mobilization was not started now it is in progress. It was 20 days of remaining in work now there is only five. We have indicated an actual start of July 7th.
You can go through and see all the changes according to these projects. Now I tend to like to work in this activity view. What that gives me is it gives me the ability to choose what updates will be merged in with these check boxes. Once again, we have the ability to kind of review mobilization this is what has changed and you can see that. Now we have an actual start for this resource assignment as well.
As I merged these changes in if I ever need to go back to the project, how the project is at this moment. I will save a copy of that as a baseline and store it. If ever I need to revert back, I can always restore that baseline as a project and then I’m back where I started. I can also create a backup file if I want to save it to my hard drive. I can have a baseline and an XER file.
I am going to stick with the baseline for now. After merging, what do I want to do with that reflected project? Well, we could keep that reflected project around. Then you will be able to go on and view it or you can delete it if you want because those changes are incorporated in.
Let us go ahead and merge these changes in. Merge process completed successfully. Great, the ACME project is now merged into my Railcar maintenance facility original project. I now do the same process with the second project. Open her up. Right click merge into source project.
Let us look at the report for the BSO sub-contractor. In fact what we are seeing here is we are seeing an in progress activity being marked not started. In a completed activity, be marked not started, what is happening here? Pitfall, when we are working with multi-project merging we need to be cautious that we do not overwrite the previous merged information.
That is exactly what is happening in this situation. We are overwriting the ACME projects updates with a non-updated activities from this BSO project. This is where those check boxes come in handy. We need to use those check boxes to subtract select only activities from the current sub-contractor.
Let us go back to Primavera. These activities are not form the current contractor. The way I can tell is because we have a proper activity number in here. These are all C10 series activities. The real updates from this contractor are the C2G guys, 2G. These two I want to include. This other guys I want to leave out. Here we go.
As you can see if I roll this up, I have left those guys out. I am going to include just these two activities from the 2G C2G series. Let us go and do the merge. Let us go back and have a look at our project now.
You can look at these dates and notice that I have the appropriate actual set on those dates. Here my remaining durations and you can see that the information that we logged in there has come across properly. In fact, some information that does not show up in the report are the percent completes.
Here we logged information about physical percent complete on all of these activities. Although it does not show up in the report, it does come across. Why does it not come across? I cannot say. I am not completely sure.
My gut would tell me that I would like to see that stuff in the report. As we go down to the second sub-contractor, we can see that that information about the physical percent complete has come across as well. The last process would be essentially to reschedule the project and then to go ahead and compare it to the baseline. See how we are doing based on those updates.
That is all I have for you today. Hopefully this tutorial on Reflections has been handy and again if you like it please let us know. Leave a note in our comment section. Have a great day.