February 9, 2015

Envision’s clients have come to regard Anthony Duca as a Primavera expert, and rightly so. He has over 20 years of specialized experience in the design, development, and delivery of advanced Primavera CPM schedules. In fact, he previously worked as a Training Consultant for Primavera Systems, Inc., the actual developer of the project management software, before its purchase by Oracle®. So when it comes to facing the challenges of the software, particularly when going from P3 to P6, Anthony is the right guide to help find the answers.
“I have consulted with many users of Primavera P3 and Primavera P6. I have used both applications to develop design and construction schedules, and during that time I have had several encounters where long-time P3 users are adamant that they will never switch from P3 to P6,” Anthony said. “I understand their frustration.”
“For contractors to switch from P3 to P6 is the equivalent of a carpenter trading in his trusty hammer for an automatic nail gun,” he compared. “Sure, the new tool is better in many ways, but it has a lot of extra features that the average user doesn’t need or want.”
Anthony understands. One of the biggest challenges for contractors going from P3 to P6 is its massive scope. P6 is customizable for various industries. P3 users often have a difficult time finding the P6 equivalent to the functions and features once used in P3. Even harder to swallow is the fact that some P3 features have been scaled back in P6. The intention may have been to make P6 more universal, but for P3 fans, their familiar tricks have disappeared.
For many years, long-time P3 users lobbied for P6 to be made more like P3. Prior to 2008, Primavera did attempt to satisfy their P3 customers and incorporate P3 features in P6. Project Spotlight, Global Change, and Stored Period Performance are just some of the examples of features included in P6 (versions 5 and 6). However, when Oracle® acquired Primavera in 2008, these accommodations became harder to execute. In versions 7 and 8, virtually all of the development was focused on new features, and most of that on the Web interface. None of these advancements are of much interest to construction contractors, whose main goal is to manage individual projects.
Then there is the installation. With P3, an average computer user could slip in a disc and install P3. Ten minutes later, he could build a project schedule. P6 is a little more complicated. It’s designed to be installed on a network, for which a new server may be required, and is run on an Oracle® database. After the initial database is setup, which could take a couple hours, P6 can then be installed on individual workstations and then connected to the network database. Getting just one user set up on a standalone installation of P6 could take several hours, and that’s with no problems during installation. Some P3 fans feel this is too complicated, and have simply refused to let go of their trusted tool.
Cling as they might to the P3 of yesterday, technology is working against them. The latest version of Microsoft Windows, Windows 7 run in 64-bit mode, will not run 16-bit applications like P3. This is forcing companies to either maintain some computers with Windows XP, or use virtual computers with Windows XP, which Microsoft no longer supports.
How long before it becomes either excessively complicated or cost prohibitive for contractors to continue to use P3? If contractors wish to stay with the Primavera brand, they will eventually have to embrace P6.
“Developing and upgrading P6 as an Enterprise tool was the correct next step in the evolution of scheduling application like P3,” Anthony believes. “Contractors can rely on an experienced construction scheduling consultant, like Envision, to help them adapt – whether it’s a nail gun or a scheduling application.”