How good is scheduling in Oracle Prime Projects?
BY STIJN VAN DE VONDER
The Primaned team has written quite some blog posts about Oracle Prime Projects over the last couple of months. We did not hide that we thought it might very well be the PM tool of the future. Our enthusiasm is based on the comprehensiveness of the tool and its alignment with our vision on integrated project controls. It is so much more than a scheduling engine. When introducing the tool to clients and prospects, the reception is very good and our enthusiasm seems to be shared. However, mainly because of the nature of our client base, there is one thing they all want to know and ask us time and again.
How good is its scheduling compared to my good old Primavera P6?
It’s time to address that question in a blog post.
Functionality of Prime Schedule App
People sometimes seem to assume that the scheduling app in Oracle Prime is a light-weight version of Primavera P6. These expectations are probably based on what they see in many Enterprise Project Management tools. These tools are reported to include GANTT chart functionality, but their scheduling engines are so light that they are deemed unfit for project controls which heavily relies on CPM scheduling.
Well, Oracle Prime is not light-weight. Its scheduling functionality is very similar to Primavera P6, which is widely regarded as one of the most powerful scheduling engines around. Many functionalities why professional planning engineers love Primavera P6 work exactly the same in Oracle Prime. Group & sort, calendars, activity codes, adding relationships, F9, the data date, entering progress, etc. Oracle Prime has a very robust and proven scheduling engine.
The differences in functionality
They are very similar, I stated. So, there obviously are some differences? Indeed, some P6 functionality has not been implemented in Prime. One difference jumps out. Expenses and resource costs cannot be loaded on the schedule in Oracle Prime. At least not for the time being (release 18.2). While the vast majority of P6 users does not cost-load their schedules, it is tough nut to crack for our Earned Value specialists. Cost control (and also basic Earned Value Analysis) is designed in a different way in Prime. It works by cost loading the scope or bill of quantities (and not the schedule) as is explained in more detail here. Cost control within Prime has a well-thought approach and is much broader than in P6, but Oracle seems to be struggling to integrate it with schedule-based cost control as we are used to do in Primavera P6. I do expect the typical schedule-based S-curves to appear soon, however.
On the flipside, Oracle Prime also introduces some novelties in its scheduling app. For example, in Oracle Prime role leveling exists next to resource leveling. Also the scenarios are a very nice improvement. They are somewhat a combination of reflections and claim digger in Primavera P6, but with the advantage that you can have different scenario’s open as different tabs. This movie explains all about it. Also managing bars is much easier in Oracle bar with intuitive drag-and-drop functionality as shown below.