This week we've been busy importing numerous Microsoft Project files into Primavera P6 to analyse delay claims. The process has not been very simple because in the effort to avoid import errors, we have had to firstly correct the MPP file prior to bringing it into Primavera.

Here's a few hot tips for those of you out there who are constantly experiencing errors when importing:

Log Files

The error log file is key to understanding what goes wrong druing your import. However, the import log data can be very confusing. During an import several files are generated in the log file directory:

  • test.primavera
  • test.primavera.xsltLog
  • test.primavera.xml.DetailImportLog
  • test.primavera.xml.SummaryImportLog
  • mspTemplate.properties
  • xmlImportOptions.imp

Scrutiny of these files will help pin-point the errors and help you to resolve them.

Remove Blank Tasks

Microsoft project allows users to skip lines within the activity grid. The problem is that these are not "blank rows" at all, they become treated as errors by Primavera's import engine.

Remove Summary Logic

Planners should never use summary bar logic in the first place because it makes the logic difficult to follow. Whilst being a lazy way of planning a project, summary logic can in fact create a situation where the plan is artificially extended. But that is a topic for another blog post.

Primavera will take the summary task and create a WBS node so any logic that previously existed will be removed.

Remove the Project Summary Task

Users should ensure the Project Summary Task is not in use as this task is treated as the root node in the Primavera WBS tree. The Project Summary Task is show as Task '0' on the project schedule and is often used for reporting information in a Project Server environment.

Check the WBS Code Field

Microsoft Project's WBS field needs to be checked to ensure that there are no blank values for tasks in the schedule. Primavera will utilise the WBS field when it generates it's own WBS codes, so if any blanks are encountered it will naturally throw and error.

Milestones

When importing milestones from Microsoft Project to P6, they will all be treated as Start Milestones. So when an import is complete, users need to go through the P6 data and manually convert the imported Start Milestones into Finish Milestones. To help with this, consider using standard naming conventions for milestones by including the words "Complete", "Completed" or "Approved". 

You can then filter on these tasks in P6 and run a quick global change.

Baseline

After bringing your schedule into P6, resist the urge to re-schedule the project. Instead, create a baseline of the project plan so that you can review discrepancies between the data presented in Microsoft Project and the imported data in P6.

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