This month marked Oracle’s latest release of Primavera P6 16.1, their flagship project management software. There are some new features to discuss and some changes. If you’re on an a single-digit version (version 6, 7 or 8) don’t forget about Oracle’s new versioning approach – version 16.1 isn’t truly 8 releases ahead of v8. You can get the low-down on all versions from our version history page.
Since Primavera P6 is really 2 applications, let me update you on both Primavera P6 EPPM (web tool) first, then the ever-popular Primavera P6 Professional (windows tool).
What’s new in Primavera P6 16.1 – P6 EPPM First.
I know many P6 Professional users who have tried to use EPPM might be groaning right now, but in truth Oracle Primavera is moving closer to web-based version of P6 we can love (or just use). Here’s why:
Java Replacement With HTML5
Oracle had started in previous versions of Primavera P6 EPPM to distance itself from Java, technology that rendered EPPM unusable to many and annoyingly slow for most. With the replacement of Java for fleet-footed HTML5, we’re starting to see improvements in performance that are significant.
In version 16.1, Oracle has replaced the following views with HTML5 versions:
- Activities screen
- EPS screen
- Resource Assignment screen
To give you a feel, here’s the old Activities screen:
And here’s the new 16.1 version:
Oracle does stipulate that most of the functionality is now in the HTML5 view. However, it is possible to switch back to the classic Java view (if necessary).
While I’m happy to see performance improvements through HTML5, if the old Java-applet Classic views are still available, I’m drawing the conclusion that Java is still lurking around, to the dread of many IT administrators.
Some features that are not yet available in the HTML5 views, that will still rely on Java are:
- Import / Export XML files
- Import / Export Excel files
- Trace Logic view
- Progress Spotlight
- Activity Network view
- Calendar view
- PERT view
- Printing (only browser print is supported).
With the lack of these key features in the faster HTML5 views, especially import/export and printing, I’m would still recommend holding off if your company is considering an upgrade.
P6 EPPM 16.1 has a new Resource Assignment view, but it is missing the Resource Assignment spreadsheet. So you still can’t see how your resource hours are spread.
However, Oracle has included an enhancement to the Timescale in the Team Usage view. Previously you couldn’t get a Daily view, only Weekly was available, but now you can see your graph by Days.
Global Search and Replace
P6 Professional has the popular Global Change tool to make massive replacements across a project. P6 EPPM has Global Search and Replace. And Primavera P6 EPPM 16.1 has some enhancements to this area as well, making it much more usable.
- Inclusion of Resource Assignment fields so replacements can be made on resource assignment data
- Nested & Advanced filtering – create those deeply nested replacements like in P6 Professional
- User Templates – save your search and replace parameters for reuse later
- Support for Codes – Activity Codes & Project Codes can now be searched on and replaced like a Global Change
Here’s a catchall of the other new features and enhancements
- Primavera Gateway
- Baseline data now in Primavera Gateway (used for Primavera Unifier)
- Primavera Analytics
- There are quite a few enhancements to Priamvera Analytics including
- Deeper visibility into Primavera P6 and Primavera Unifier
- Support for on-premise or P6 Cloud
- Consistent Look & Feel Across Primavera P6, Unifier, and Analytics
- BOMA Standards Support
- Facilities and Real Estate Management Analytics
- For all of the finer details, check out this Primavera Analytics slideshare
- Publication Services
- Reduction of failed jobs and option to try to re-run failures
- New notifications to admins on failed jobs
- Eventing options are now in Primavera P6 EPPM as of 16.1
- Team Member (mobile app)
- IOS and Android Apps have been reskinned and featured added include:
- validate expected finish date
- display planned units
- view details / delete pending changes
- support for iOS9 split screen
- QR codes now used to make on-boarding easier
- Can try the App in a Demo Mode (go ahead and get a copy from the App Store or Google Play)
What’s new in Primavera P6 Professional 16.1
And now what you’ve been waiting for – the new goodies in Primavera P6 Professional 16.1.
Let me warn you – it’s not overwhelming.
Oracle continues to focus 90% of its efforts on updates to P6 EPPM / mobile apps and 10% of efforts on its flagship popular Primavera P6 Professional (aka the windows tool). Now that you have the warm and fuzzies, let’s get into, because there are 2 things that are worth the wait.
New Relationship Fields – Successor Details & Predecessor Details
Wow! Two new fields are now available to Primavera P6 16.1 users (both P6 EPPM and P6 Professional) – Successor Details & Predecessor Details.
These fields show predecessor/successor, relationship type and lag in the Activity columns. We all know how hard it is to find Lag time in a project. Well, it just got a whole lot easier! These 2 new fields put the lag information and relationship type in full view.
Have a look. The video below helps you compare visually the original “Successors” field, and the new “Successor Details” field.
Java Removal From Primavera P6 Professional As Of 16.1
This is a welcome surprise! While Java has plagued us with annoying update pop-ups for the last x releases, we are now FREE! Features in Oracle Primavera P6 Professional that required Java have been re-written. Here’s the list – get excited:
- Import / Export XML
- Update Baseline
- Claim Digger (schedule comparison – more on this later)
Oracle has removed Java to streamline the application and make it easier for IT Administrators to manage. Yay!
Primavera P6 Professional now installs .NET to help it do what it does.
Performance is MUCH Better in P6 16.1
Surprisingly, Oracle Primavera has made some changes to make Primavera P6 16.1 run faster. They have implemented local caching to greatly reduce the number of server calls. I noticed that my copy loaded up very quickly. This should help those who are working with 5000+ activity projects.
To help performance, Oracle has also reduced the updates to Progress Bars in P6 16.1. Apparently this was dragging things down.
Primavera P6 Visualizer has had performance tweaks as well. It loads faster, and draws TSLD diagrams faster, which we welcome also.
Oracle seems very proud of its P6 Cloud Performance. Changes in 16.1 have resulted in an average increase in speed by 50%. So those who are still using Citrix, might want to perk up. This might really help users facing slow performance over WANs. Here are the details:
Primavera P6 Professional can now be run on the P6 Cloud using a Citrix alternative called Oracle Secure Global Desktop, For those cloud-loving companies, it might be worth a look at.
As always, I’m happy to see progress made toward a better suite of tools to help planners, schedulers, project managers and project controls professionals. While Oracle Primavera has made some progress toward improving Primavera with the release of Primavera P6 16.1, in my opinion there are still many issues and lacking features with the Primavera P6 EPPM tool. Although Java is on the way out, this release still relies on it so HTML5 is not truly a selling feature yet. Performance is one of the biggest stumbling blocks to organizations who use Primavera P6 Professional to adopt Primavera P6 EPPM. It will remain that way until we get a tool that :
- Has the same features as P6 Professional (and more)
- Performs well over LANs and WANs
While I wish we would see more improvements to P6 Professional, it looks like I’m not going to get my way. I’ve sat in on many many “Enhancement” calls through the OPSIG where recommendations are brought forth from the user community to Oracle. Those sessions reveal a load of issues and requested features that could make Primavera P6 Professional a much better platform. But either progress is slow or more likely Oracle has other plans.
What do you think about the new features in Primavera P6 16.1? Let me know in the comments.