BOOK REVIEWS A. Larry Aaron CCE President, T&M Concepts Las Vegas, NV www.tandmconcepts.com The latest software for planning & scheduling professionals is Primavera(R) P6TM and the latest available training manual for P6 is "Project Planning & Control Using Primavera(R) P6 TM" by Paul Eastwood Harris. P6 is not easy to use due to its deep and complex capabilities and feature set, it requires training and this book is the best product to use. It is written by an experienced scheduler and P6 user, not an IT person, and it is written for the P6 student who understands how to manage projects but needs to learn how to use the software. This manual is a new compendium of tools, techniques, tips, and traps to using Primavera's latest software package. Harris has continued his tradition of writing clear and user-friendly books to help the planner/scheduler learn and use scheduling software effectively and efficiently. Using his successful format from his previously published manuals for Microsoft Project, P3, SureTrak, and Primavera Contractor, Harris covers the bulk of P6's feature set by flattening and shortening the steep learning curve of this complex software package. I have used Harris' books in my company's training classes for years because of his clear writing style, the depth of feature coverage, and the ability to use the book as a reference book in day-to-day use. "Planning & Control Using Primavera(R) 6.0" guides the student/user through a logical sequence of understanding the principles of project management, the steps required to set-up a project, and those required to update and maintain a project. Due to the complexity and feature set of P6, Harris' book is designed to be used in a 3-day training class. Harris is thorough in that he covers the basics of the software and its advanced functions such as User and Administration Preferences and Advanced Scheduling Options, the 3 types of calendars (unlike P3's 2 types), Roles and Resources and multiple ways of organizing the project (WBS, OBS, Contract, Phase, etc.). Harris also does a particularly good job in explaining the differences between 3 ways of stating percent complete: Physical Percent Complete, Duration Percent Complete, and Units Percent Complete and the 4 Activity Types. He has also introduces some new topics not covered in his pervious Version 5.0 book , including "Resource Optimization" which includes "Resource Leveling", "Multiple Project Scheduling", "User Definable Fields", "Global Change" and more information on "Managing the Enterprise Environment". Since scheduling requirements vary from project to project and company to company, Harris explains how to build and maintain schedules both with and without resources (manpower, equipment, money, materials). If you are embarking on migrating to Primavera's complex and IT intensive scheduling system, I urge you to consider using Paul Harris treatise on "Project Planning & Control Using Primavera(R) P6 TM" Paul Harris knows P6 and knows how to explain how to use it effectively and efficiently. Mr P.G.Noble Primavera Project Planning Consultant Noble Project Solutions Firstly, the efficient, next day service (from a buyers point of view) was commendable. I feel it's as close as you can get to buying it of the self and in fact, I regard it to be easier. You don't need to spend a few hours going into a shopping mall, getting stuck in traffic, finding a parking space and then eventually making it to the store, only to return home again. I was able to go about my daily duties and received the item the following day. I personally covered the book from cover to cover over the past few days, picking it up and putting it down at points in time easiest for myself. I found the material very easy to use and work through, very informative with detailed literature and drawings were necessary. It is well structured for putting together a project from scratch and it will be an excellent reference book for use at the office or place of work. The little extra tips you have highlighted in appropriate sections are extremely useful reminders. For me I needed to refresh my experience and exposure of the tool after having a 1year career break and your book has defiantly fulfilled that purpose for me. It has completely refreshed my mind with regards to the Primavera tool set and its little methods of working which you detailed extremely well. To be honest, I wished I had the material when I first started out, it would have saved allot of time, effort and questions. I have been on the official "Primavera" course and numerous "in house courses" over the years and I would say, in my opinion, your material is the easiest and most comprehensive I come across and sat through. I especially liked the references to previous version Primavera have released whilst going through the manual and the comprehensive list at the end, detailing changes each version brought to the user. Some industries don't use all the modification, so unless you activity search for yourself, you would be at a miss. Crucial if you going for a new position in a different industry. I would whole heatedly recommend the book and its contents to an organization, planners, contractors and anyone wishing to start their career in this complicated environment. Thanks to your understanding of the environment and your years of experience we all have a chance to accelerate our learning with your material. Mark Roberts Union Switch & Signal Pty Ltd Assistant Project Planner I've recently started with Ansaldo Signal - Union Switch & Signal as an assistant planner. I have previous experience using MS Project (98 & 2000), and have never seen Primavera before. Andrew Dick suggested I work through your user guide to get a feel for the software. Firstly I would like to comment on how well the book was written. Clear, concise instructions & explanations made it extremely easy to follow. Highlighting the differences & similarities with other planning software helped me relate it to my knowledge of Project. I also found it handy that the book listed all the ways of executing certain functions, not just one. After completing the book, I am quite confident with all the major functions. Obviously with a program as powerful as Primavera there is still a huge amount to learn, & I feel the user guide will be a good reference book whilst I become more proficient with the software, & more involved in the planning, reporting etc here at Union Switch & Signal.
Paul Harris holds an Honours Degree in Civil Engineering obtained in the UK and is a Certified Cost Engineer through AACEI International, a PRINCE2 Registered Practitioner, an Approved PRINCE2 Trainer and a "Managing Successful Programmes" Registered Practitioner. He has worked in the project controls industry for a number of years and has assisted many companies in a range of industries to set up and run project controls systems. His Melbourne, Australia based company, Eastwood Harris Pty Ltd, offers project controls consulting and training services worldwide with a strong focus on Microsoft Project and Primavera software.