Staircon at the exhibition Trädagars in September
Welcome to meet us at Trädagars. During the exhibition, the Staircon team will show how to visualize the stair in 3D for the end customer and how to generate production […]
Powerproject is easy to use and works well in most fields. The construction industry is a major market, but there are many others such as local authorities, consultants, transport planning, workforce planning, etc.
Powerproject made a name for itself because it is so easy to use. The user interface is intuitive and responsive. You use it in the same way as Microsoft® Office®, with the same ribbon tabs, keyboard shortcuts, etc. The approach is often the same as if you were working manually. You use the mouse to simply add activities and milestones directly to the schedule along with their logical relationships to each other, including overlaps or delays. You can move and copy items up and down and side to side within a schedule, between schedules, between projects; you can change the time scale as often as you like and use different scales in different parts of the schedule; you can format the date field however you want; and you can use intuitive drag & drop to assign calendars, codes, resources, cost centres, etc. You can even create activity libraries so you can quickly add a whole group of predefined activities.
There is a link to our BidCon estimating program to get the planning process off to a good start. The resulting estimate is used to generate activities, milestones, resources and costs which you can then refine in Powerproject.
All projects are full of conditions and dependencies. One activity cannot start until another one finishes. A third activity has to wait until some condition unrelated to the project is met. Keeping track of all this can be a real problem. Particularly if – or when – changes occur and you need to revise the schedule. That is unless you let Powerproject take care of it. Rescheduling becomes a matter of a simple mouse click.
It is just as easy to enter the dependencies between the activities as it is to enter the activities themselves – use the mouse to draw links directly into the schedule. To input external conditions, you can use start and end flags.
If you want to find out what the practical consequences will be for conditions and dependencies, Powerproject can recalculate the schedule. When is the soonest the project can finish? Which activities have some latitude so they can be delayed without delaying the project? Which activities are on the critical path and are required in order to complete the project? You may want to schedule certain activities as late as possible even though you want the project to finish as early as possible. This is the kind of planning you can do with Powerproject.
Although you can enter project costs directly into Powerproject, transferring data from BidCon opens up the possibility of effective cost planning. You can work with payment plans, cost control, etc.
To analyse the cost flow, you can generate cost charts during the schedule. You can place milestones in the schedule to represent invoicing according to the payment plan. You can immediately see whether there are any potential shortfalls and when they might occur.
If you include your resource requirements in the schedule you can even out resource utilisation over time and avoid overutilisation. There are two resource types in Powerproject – fixed resources like personnel and machinery, and consumable resources like materials, etc. You can use simple drag & drop to create the resources you need and allocate them to activities.
In the schedule you can create charts showing resource utilisation. The charts instantly reveal unused capacity and overutilisation. In the case of overutilisation, it is sometimes difficult to see which particular activities are responsible. In Powerproject you can simply click inside the chart to select the relevant activities and deal with the problem.
A view is a kind of predefined desktop – a particular way of looking at the project. The view saves appearance settings, filters, sort orders, etc., in other words everything that makes the view unique to you. You can use views to create a number of predefined desktops for different activities like planning, tracking, printing, etc. and then simply switch between them.
There are links with many other programs such as spreadsheet applications, CAD software (for 4D modelling) and other planning applications like MS Project and Primavera. You can also create your own macro to communicate with other programs.
Large projects make it all the more important to impose a structure and create an overview. One easy way to achieve this is to use colour coding as a way of classifying activities. Different colours can be given different meanings, for example the activity owner, project section, user, etc. To colour-code activities – i.e. to classify them – use drag & drop to assign codes to them. You are free to create the codes you need.
Apart from colour coding you can use the codes as filters or sort criteria. This makes it easy to select or sort the activities the way you want, for example only showing activities with a particular owner.
Subschedules are a way of creating a clear hierarchy of schedules down to as many levels as you need. You can also use subschedules to manage multiple parallel projects or subprojects.
A composite activity represents a combination of activities in the same schedule. If you double click on a composite activity it expands to show the activities it consists of. Double click again to collapse it. This means you keep a clear overview while still having access to the details.
Hammocks are a way of grouping together activities that are at different positions in the project hierarchy without the need to alter the hierarchy. A copy of the activity is placed in the hammock while the original stays in its original position.
To track the project, you can enter the progress – in other words how much of a particular activity has been completed – on specified reconciliation dates. The period between two reconciliation dates is called a reconciliation period. You can define as many reconciliation periods as you like, describing the progress made according to the reconciliation period. Each reconciliation period has its own reconciliation data and reconciliation path, so that later on you can track when a particular activity was carried out.
A reconciliation tells you what has been done and what still needs to be done. You can also access the same information easily by getting Powerproject to recalculate the schedule and straighten the reconciliation path (because things that have not been done today must be done some time in the future). The current project status is now integrated in forward planning – and all it takes is a single mouse click.
The recalculated schedule probably differs from the original, but it is more realistic as it takes account of the current status. You can see the differences between the two schedules by turning the original into what we call a base project and viewing it from within the recalculated schedule. A base project is a special kind of copy of a project, and you can create one whenever you need to.
The schedule is a great way of presenting the project to people outside the project. You need to be able to print it out in a way that is appropriate for each situation. Powerproject has powerful options allowing you to customise your printouts to give them an attractive and uniform look and feel. For example you can print your schedule in a predefined frame showing the company logo, and arrange the printout over one or more pages.
All projects involve an element of risk. Maybe the duration of an activity is uncertain, or the costs and benefits are variable. The forecasts relating to the end date, cost, revenue, etc. of a project are only as accurate as your estimates of how long the activities will take.
You can use the Risk Analysis add-on module to take account of uncertainties in your estimates and identify those parts of the project that are most likely to cause problems in terms of scheduling or cost. It is not necessarily always the activities on the critical path that cause the biggest problems.
Risk Analysis takes your estimates of the uncertainties in the project and works out the probability of a vast number of conceivable project outcomes – each with its own individual likelihood of occurring and each with its own critical path. The project can then be recalculated on the basis of the project outcome you select, updating all start and end dates accordingly.
We also supply Powerproject Enterprise Server, which can be used with Powerproject. This software stores the project data in a database so that multiple users can access the project simultaneously.
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