That’s quite a jump in version numbers! But remain calm, all is well. It turns out that the huge change in version numbers is not indicative of major changes – or improvements – to Primavera P6.
With the introduction of the Graphical Planning Method (GPM), the methods and mindsets of scheduling and planning shifted to a hands-on, planning-dominated process instead of the computer-generated scheduling process used in the Critical Path Method (CPM)
GPM offers what could possibly be the simplest process to coordinate activities, relationships and milestones into a network schedule in the shortest amount of time. Additionally, the method’s graphical tools and techniques allow all stakeholders, regardless of training level, to implement, adjust and development schedules.
- Logic Diagramming Method (LDM)
- Graphics technology and the visual display of diagramming objects
- Planning and scheduling on an evolving, time-scaled calendar
- One-step view for connected and dated activities allows for easy schedule adjustments
- Resource-limited activity dates and floats are continuously solidified as the schedule evolves
- Activity floats originate with relationships or logic ties
- Activity floats can be realistically apportioned by not letting tasks slip beyond assigned milestones
- Visual plan allows for easy reworking as schedule evolves and develops
- Elimination of the time gap between planning and schedule reporting
I’m a big fan of Eliyahu M. Goldratt, especially his Theory of Constraints (TOC) and his work on bottleneck management. Goldratt revolutionized the manufacturing world with a critical insight into the overall operation of the plant floor. Before Goldratt, local efficiency was the key metric used to measure performance on the shop floor.
Imagine that a factory had 10 workstations, each with a specific job in the manufacturing process. At one time, management believed that if each machine was running close to 100 percent of the time then the factory would be as efficient as possible. However, Goldratt figured out that the factory as a whole could only run as fast as its slowest machine. By running machines at disparate production rates to full capacity, the manufacturer was, in fact, just creating work in process (WIP) and jamming up the factory shop floor.
To be an artist means never to avert one’s eyes.
To be a consumer of P6 Primavera schedules means a nearly constant urge to avert one’s eyes.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but the graphic produced by P6 is a schedule diagram only a mother could love. How did this come to be? Well, we have to start with the architectural basis on which the P6 diagram is built. All CPM systems have three engines: database, scheduling and display. Because of the algorithms that drive CPM, each change in the database requires a complete forward and backward pass of the database through the scheduling engine. Then a new set of early start dates is generated and redrawn.
Because the database is a column-and-row sort of affair, the user is unable to control the path of logic ties between activities. What results is a spaghetti dinner of logic ties presented in such a way that it is nearly impossible to follow which activity is driving which through the schedule. The graphical representation of the schedule could use some improvement, but mechanically, CPM is not up to the task.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could see how a building will come together day by day, based on all of your drawings and your schedule – to really visualize the plan? That might make a good blog url…
4D BIM can accomplish this, to a certain extent. If you ask most practitioners what the benefits of BIM and 4D BIM might be, they will respond with clash detection, more accurate cost information, and facilities management. These are the classic benefits of 3D BIM; the actual level of benefit derived from the implementation of 3D BIM has been quite variable.
But if the model is built correctly, you can see the risks in construction before the first piling is driven. For instance, you can see that your plan calls for two cranes to be in the same place at the same time, or that your plan calls for material to enter the jobsite through an opening that’s actually too small for the material.
This conference was held by FIATECH, an innovation-driven nonprofit in the construction industry that promotes technologies that impact the industry. They are very well regarded around the world.
In the panel I spoke on, we focused on visualization in construction. I had the pleasure of leading a discussion on the visualization of capital planning.
The Visualization of Capital Planning
When I do public speaking engagements, I try to bring something new to the conversation. I like to challenge myself when I put together a talk to bring new knowledge or insights to the subject. One of the key insights on this topic is the difference between the graphical path method and the critical path method, including why the graphical path method allows portfolio planning in a way that the critical path method does not.