Hi Community Members,
Is there anyone using MSP without resource allocations. We would like to speak to a customer who uses estimates and MSP successfully.
We have a group that forecasts work in MSP (this translates to ETC in Clarity, assuming that is what you mean by estimates?).
Today, on 14.2, legacy driver, we are not experiencing any issues. They use this data to then create cost plans from assignments .
However, I have been testing 15.1 (was 14.3 and 14.4 prior) with the new driver (MSP 2013 and 2016) and there are several issues with the work hours (ETC) or the baseline hours being changed in MSP when you open it from Clarity again.
Keep in mind this group uses Fixed work as the type in MSP (to maintain the forecast as they are held to contract dates), but it has yet to be proven that fixed work has any impact.
I don't know which PPM version you are on or which driver, but I thought I would throw that out there if you have any questions.
Thank you Lynn, do you go from OWB to MSP?
I am not quite sure what you mean? As you know, you can't open the same project in OWB and MSP ,but if you are asking if we switched, then not really. We have a group that uses OWB or MSP - the product line determines which scheduler they use (the template).
They do the same work with estimates and forecast but either in OWB or MSP. We are actually testing the reverse now of flipping projects from MSP to OWB due to the 15.1 (MSP new driver) defects we are finding.
Does that answer your question?
Hi, Thank you for responding. I know you can only start with one scheduling tool for a project. We are OWB users and there are group of project managers who want to use MSP with CA PPM this way the are not managing two projects one in OWB and one in MSP outside of the tool. We are in the evaluation stage and trying to get feedback from other customers. We do not allocate only estimate so if we can estimate using MSP and there are no issues we can think about piloting MSP with CA PPM using one project.
What is your objective for the discussion? We have a mixture of things piloted, starting, in OWB, MSP, ITD's Assignment Editor - we aren't great at this, yet, but with all this dabbling we've done, perhaps I can assist.
Hi Dale, we are OWB users but there are a group of project managers who would like to use MSP with CA PPM. I am currently in the process of evaluating how everything works as well as trying to get feedback from other customers on their implementation whether it was just MSP or going from OWB to MSP or using both MSP and OWB. Any issues, challenges and success? Here are some questions we do have.
1. How does your organization estimate a task or resource level in MSP
2. Did you start using MSP immediately with CA PPM or did you use another scheduling tool such as OWB?
3. Is there any functionality that’s lost due to the integration with CA PPM based on your configuration, meaning views or schedule?
4. What was the decision factor in using MSP
5. CA provided recommended settings in order to use MSP with CA PPM, did those setting work or did you have revise to optimize your use of MSP
6. Task level details around what happens when a task is supposed to be complete by a certain date and that date passes, what occurs for ETC for resources?
Tammi - responses in blue, below:
- Mostly still using long tasks (4-5 per project, each lasting 12-18 months), much like allocations - by head, by quarter. Doing this either via MSP, ITD Assignment Editor, though there is a CA PPM screen that allows this to, not just as well as ITD's solution.
- Personally, I'll do this by getting team in a room, confirm first the WBS, the dependencies, then the resources assigned to each task; given estimates from task members, will then put these into Remaining Work, plot network diagram on plotter (3' by whatever length needed), then bring team back to challenge - are dependencies really correct, and also chopping each tasks' hours by half (can't always get away with this, but its usually profitable, as people always pad every task. I then take the padding from all tasks, sum it, cut it in half, and use it as a project buffer between last task and customer due date (see Critical Chain by Goldratt). My customers have been so happy that they've said we need to do this on all projects....
- Started with MSP and most are still using
- We do have a substantial group that has flipped to OWB - its free and the interface is much faster; so far, they are happy with it
- I don't think so. We have a team that has heavily customized the tool bars in MSP - these still work when exporting a project from CA PPM to MSP, though we had to make some changes - they utilized a number of text and number fields reserved for CA PPM/MSP interface - wish they had involved me from the start - could have gone easier.
- MSP is widely used in automotive
- Resistance to change
- Belief that we need to use same tool that our customers and suppliers use (not true, as the apps all export/import to/from XML, today)
- Belief that once trained in MSP, one knows how to plan a project (not true - we're getting better, but still see a number of plans that can't be scheduled due to dependency and dependency type errors)
- follow their recommendations, they work for us; if you have a problem, this will be first thing they ask you to correct
- nothing happens, except variance metrics will start to show tasks are falling behind, except that if one updates schedule, using 'move incomplete work to current date,' the unused ETC will be pushed forward, basically rescheduling the task(s); I've seen discussions regarding how to automate the update of schedules, as project managers sometimes forget - there's an 'AutoSchedule Project' job, but we've not yet played with this. Going back through the history stored in my head (goes back quite a ways, now...), I recall that this job wasn't always available, people were asking for such a thing. I expect that it is running the algorithm for the Clarity Gantt Chart, so would want to be careful if/when rolling this out.
- do you want something to happen? may need to add a 'current date' attribute to task object and have it updated by a job, that would then kick off a process when task finish date variance exceeds a threshold.
- personally, I like the do nothing approach - a project has lots of tasks, some will get done early, some late - if monitoring for the early completions, can take advantage of them, making up any time lost on late tasks - better to monitor the project buffer - this way, every task doesn't turn into a firefight, which is counterproductive.
We are still on the legacy version of the CA PPM/MSP interface, as we are still on 14.2 - the XML version not working well, there, yet. Hoping XML version is faster on 15.x.
The MSP interface is still exceedingly slow when opening multi-level, hierarchical projects - which is a majority of our work. This is perhaps the primary reason for our one group's move to OWB.
Also, note that one cannot use another investment type between projects or between programs and projects. We'd like to run a program, say with a particular customer, contain a number of products we are launching for them, with each products' supporting projects underneath. If we try to open the program into MSP, the interface will stop at the program level, not working through the Product layer to the child projects underneath. I've not tried this with OWB but expect the same behavior - there are workarounds, but they don't reflect reality as well.
Hope this is helpful!
Thank you Dale, I really appreciate it. What organization do you work for?
I'm with ZF-TRW, parent company is ZF out of Friedrichshafen, Germany. I'm at the US headquarters, Livonia (Detroit) Michigan, in Braking Engineering Quality. Due to my years with ABT/Niku/Clarity/CA PPM, I'm still the functional expert, supporting all of our user groups and our Global PMO team. We are then supported by a technical team from IT and HCL.
ZF-TRW is an automotive safety systems company - we help get you where you want to go (steering, braking, ABS, stability control, roll-avoidance, smart cruise control, autonomous systems...) and try to protect you when you try to break the laws of physics (seatbelts, airbags...). Our parent company, ZF adds drive trains, marine, wind, rail and many other products.
For those that remember TRW: We used to have a credit arm, now called Experian. We also had an aerospace group, which sponsored the Cleveland Air Races, many years ago (before my time, I'm not that old) and participated in several Mars projects. We also had an IT services group (Reston, Virginia - which I've heard, uses CA PPM) - now both owned by Northrop-Grumman, acquired when they bought us in 2002.
And, for any Trekkies out there, an original episode of Star Trek was filmed at one of our aerospace sites ("Space Park," (in Manhattan Beach on Redondo Beach Boulevard, now owned by NG) - Annihilate! My son interned there, last summer, for 10 weeks, receiving a job offer - kind of a "small world" thing, a place I wanted to get to, my son gets there first!.
Last bit of history, where I started, Kelsey-Hayes, later acquired by TRW - we put the wheels on Henry Ford's Model T's. I wasn't around for that, either! But you can get a ride in one when visiting Detroit at Greenfield Village.
A lot of cool history (sad to see some of it gone to others) and a bright future.
Awesome history Dale! Thank you so much
I may not have as detailed replies as Dale, but see my replies below
1. How does your organization estimate a task or resource level in MSP
Our professional services group (heaviest MSP users with ETC), estimates at the resource level in MSP. They do this by using fixed work type in MSP and then fixed loading pattern in Clarity. The work hours in MSP equate to the ETC in Clarity. They have to forecast at the resource level for resource planning and budgeting purposes. They use the forecast from MSP to create cost plans (from task assignments). This includes forecasting a bucket of hours against a generic resource. Most forecast monthly, but some enter a weekly forecast (work hours in MSP). They baseline their figures in MSP (overwrite the same baseline)
This group started with MSP, per my earlier note about they split OWB and MSP based on product line.
3. Is there any functionality that’s lost due to the integration with CA PPM based on your configuration, meaning views or schedule? Up until now, everything was working fine (14.2 MSP 2010 legacy driver). But in testing 15.1 (started with 14.3 and 14.4) with the new driver to use MSP 2016 (tested 2013 before that). , I have several defects with the work hours don't stay, baseline hours are changed (moved or flipped to decimals), the global view is different with 2016/new driver so they would need to reset all the tasks to fixed work, change their settings back to auto schedule and default to fixed work in MSP, and some views were lost, but most stayed. The biggest issue is that there are more forced constraint rules with the new driver, hours changing and baseline. We naturally cannot have our forecast wrong. There is an outstanding issue that if you forecast beyond the current year, the work hours are changed/moved, and we run multi year projects, so that hurts too. Because of the issues ,and because Microsoft is forcing us to get off of 2010 very quickly, we are in the process of evaluating changing these to OWB and stopping MSP for this group. Our other group who uses MSP will be fine, as they just do "normal scheduling" . Some of the defects are CA's and some are Microsoft. Be aware of the monthly patches that Microsoft pushes out. f your company is like ours and they are auto loaded, you may run into issues, depending on how you forecast your estimates, and they sometimes break things with CA's code or vice versa.
4. What was the decision factor in using MSP - Same. it was cultural only (user preference, share schedule with clients, etc).
5. CA provided recommended settings in order to use MSP with CA PPM, did those setting work or did you have revise to optimize your use of MSP - agree with Dale. you must follow their settings (The required). we had others that were for preference only.
6. Task level details around what happens when a task is supposed to be complete by a certain date and that date passes, what occurs for ETC for resources? yes, nothing happens. ETC is not impacted if a date slips. That is where baselines come into play with variance metrics, etc in Clarity and if MSP does not change dates. Our uses must reconcile their forecast (ETC) monthly against the actuals logged in Clarity (do this in MSP), and once they update the ETC in MSP, then the task dates change, if the ETC goes beyond the original date.
What is the name of your organization?
I work for Allscripts, which is in the healthcare IT industry.
Thank you Lynn!
Fantastic responses Lynn & Dale. Tammi - do you have the Green Papers CA published a couple years back on both schedulers? We found those to be fantastic, honest documents that really helped our business users understand the differences and inform their decisions. If you don't have them, possibly someone at CA can post a link to them. If not, I can dig for them and post them here. I'm not familiar how the new drivers have changed things for MSP so some of the Green Paper information could be out of date.
Other considerations: Training, Operations & Support Costs.
I love Dale's point above:
Belief that once trained in MSP, one knows how to plan a project (not true - we're getting better, but still see a number of plans that can't be scheduled due to dependency and dependency type errors)
My two favorite myths busted:
OWB is not free.
Familiarity with MSP's Office-like toolbars and knowing how to click and drag a Gannt bar is not scheduling.
Both tools have different care & feeding needs. MSP's larger install base and plethora of training tools makes it more familiar to users and easier to get them off the ground and comfortable. The complexity of MSP and how things map & function differently vs PPM lead to one FTE for Microsoft Project support at my last organization. Smaller up front costs (Training), larger long term costs (Licensing, Operations & Support).
OWB is not friendly to new users, especially if you don't have a good Views library framework established. For new PMs, we have a 2 day ILT course, the OWB CAPA content and another video based WBT. We can get contract PMs, OWB site unseen, up and running & comfortable scheduling in the time they commit to learning the tool with the resources provided. Once up and running ongoing operational cost & support is practically zero.
As a OWB shop you're already familiar with the OWB stuff above but I thought I'd contrast 'em here for others. IMHO MSP has smaller upfront costs with larger operations costs. OWB is larger up front with minimal operational costs.
Our pilot group were armed with the Green Papers as well as training & operational cost estimates as they began their pilot.
Your specific use scenario (If I understand correctly, ETC for forecasting - "Project Server Style") may change things and make some of the MSP gotchas moot. If you can't find an organization that is already using it as you've outlined, have people go hands on and pilot. Keep the Green Papers close by to help answer questions as they arise. If the cost of their decision impacts you, make sure they understand and factor those in as well.
Thank you so much Dale, Rob and Lynn for responding, I was able to compile all of this information for our evaluation. I had an issue with the Legacy install after an uninstall, it seems to to think CA Clarity Addin is on my machine when it isn't. I even deleted the niku folder via regedit.
Do you have admin access rights to your machine? Have experienced similar issues during install/uninstall where users did not have admin access rights. Also, make sure during uninstall that macros are removed from MSP.
Yes I do, I was actually on the phone with someone from Rego and he couldn't get it to work as well. We did everything.
Make sure you open the Visual Basic screen from the MSP Developer menu, Click on View -> Project Explorer, then look in the ProjectGlobal (Global.MPT) -> Modules and remove all items that start with CA_ or Niku_.
Then you can re-add the addin and you should be good to go.
I have the green papers and yes we will pilot using one project, I am proposing a smaller project instead of a large project as requested originally. I think its safer this way.
We finished some testing and hit some of the below, has any else encountered them as well? Is this the normal behavior of MSP with CA PPM or are there some workarounds? Dale_Stockman vtleogal2 Robert_Ensinger
1. I was able to delete an assignment line with resource actuals. This action does not save, but there is no error message. When the file is re-opened, the assignment is back in the schedule - Should be part of training
2. I was able to add actual hours when the task was not open for time keeping - Should be part of training
3. I was able to add total ETCs and it populated the actuals on MS Project (Planning task). The task was set 100% complete, so it put hours to actuals . When it was set to 0% complete, the hours went to ETCs - Should be part of training
4. Making a task 100% complete removes it from the time sheet and zeros out ETCs. However, just closing it for time keeping does not remove it from the time sheet
5. In MSP if you change a task’s ETCs to anything including zero, it does not affect the following months ETCs. But if you delete ETCs in a month by hitting delete key, it pulls in all the subsequent ETCs and appears to contour them
6. Adding a new assignment to an existing task sometimes adds defult ETCs to that assignee. Why? - Due to availability?
7. I added a task with a start date of today, saved and it was added to my timesheet. I then moved the start date out to the future and it remained on my timesheet. I was able to put hours against the task and submit my time sheet
8. Sometimes you can modify ETC’s. Sometimes you can’t. You change them but they revert back to what they were. Not sure why?
Hi Tammi. My MSP 2016 trial edition has expired so unfortunately I can't test & reproduce. I observe that most of the things you mention above (all but #7?) are MSP Client based? It's my experience that there's usually an explanation. Example - can you check the Task Type on #6 and compare it to others that behave differently? On #7, I would expect the task to remain on the timesheet regardless of scheduling tool (we're still 14.3 old timesheets - dunno if the new one is any different). It might be worth testing moving the task in the UI and seeing if it behaves differently. We have a phrase 'The timesheet always wins' meaning that - once something makes it to a timesheet, it doesn't matter if it's moved, closed for time, zeroed out by the pm, etc.
We had to train on all the 'gotchas' that MSP did or didn't do that confused people - even when we were a MS Project Server shop!
MSP is hard! Have you attended any formal MS Project Training? You're getting down into the minutia that, IMHO, is not easily tackled without a formal class. I have some free to low cost suggestions if interested.
Thank you Rob, I had to do my due diligence. I expressed to the powers that be, training was needed in order for us to really make a go/ no go decision. They needed to see it from others, so thank you for responding and backing me up. i appreciate it.
If interested in hearing our experience with MSProject/CA PPM, would be happy to share.
If you have my call numbers, feel free to call - otherwise, contact me via email and we can exchange numbers.
Thank you Dale_Stockman I will love to hear more about your experiences. I should have asked you to present too, maybe you can at a later time since this is such a hot topic.
Retrieving data ...