Proper scheduling demonstrates professionalism in construction planning and management, which makes a big difference in meeting deadlines and budgets while avoiding costly mistakes, time-consuming rework, and mitigating financial and legal risk.
Efficiencies in scheduling, however, can be in the eye of the scheduler. Some remain stubbornly locked into using outdated technologies because that’s how they’ve always done it. Others still cling to Excel spreadsheets and siloed, unreliable manual processes.
Then there are the ones who get the value of automated scheduling that keeps projects moving ahead efficiently and everyone united around the common goal of successful, on-time project delivery. These schedulers appreciate the benefits of construction scheduling software and eagerly anticipate ways to improve their processes as solution upgrades are rolled out.
As an integral part of Oracle's Smart Construction Platform, Oracle Primavera Cloud is perfect for scheduling projects of all sizes. With recent key advancements in Oracle Primavera Cloud, product directors Garrett Harley and Chad Wattendorf took a few minutes to discuss the benefits owners and delivery teams are now experiencing.
Effective, confident scheduling comes down to clear, transparent communication among all parties, says Wattendorf, director of product management for Oracle Construction and Engineering.
“We’re trying to make it as easy as possible to communicate a change in plan between the general contractor and owner and show the impact of changes that might be coming,” Wattendorf says. “A lot of times changes are being proposed and you don’t know whether they’re going to happen. You can model that very easily in Oracle Primavera Cloud, show the impacts and communicate that so it can be used as a decision-making tool as well. That’s a lot harder in other simple scheduling and project management tools, which aren’t designed for that. This is really about communication.”
Other scheduling environments require creation of multiple naming conventions to assure accurate communication, Wattendorf adds. One is the live schedule, another is the master schedule, another might be the subcontractor schedule, and so on.
“Now you don't have to do any of that; in Oracle Primavera Cloud at any point when you decide that this baseline or this scenario is the go-forward version of the schedule that you're going to work with, you just click a button and you say, ‘Make this my current schedule.’ And you're done.”
Harley emphasized how Oracle Primavera Cloud streamlined the process of figuring out impacts to the schedule and communicating those effects to stakeholders so that decisions are made faster. Streamlining also allows customers to manage and access the data they need as quickly as possible.
“The beauty of Oracle Primavera Cloud is that in reality, based on how the cloud stores and manages data, you could theoretically never baseline at all,” Harley says. “It comes back to streamlining the process, removing unnecessary steps, and eliminating unnecessary tasks that people go through all the time.”
Among the first round of enhancements is the ability to create an unlimited number of baselines and scenarios. Schedulers could create a baseline at any point and have that point to a time in the past. At any date in time since the project was created, you can point back to that and create the baseline that includes data at that exact time. And, now it’s possible to do the same with scenarios.
“That was one of the big reasons that we did all this work was so scenarios could have that flexibility as well,” Wattendorf says. “That's huge.”
Harley adds that too often, the only pictures of a project are taken at its beginning and end. The fact that Oracle Primavera Cloud allows for an unlimited number of scenarios and baselines to track a project’s history is incredibly powerful. Because there are multiple parties involved in a project, this function is extremely valuable should something go wrong, and a team of experts is brought in to forensically establish fault.
“In construction, we have this thing called a claim, which is basically something went wrong, we have to assign a liability party to this, and out of that liability, we need to understand what the damages are,” Harley says. “And we have to negotiate what those damages might mean contractually on whether I have a substantial claim or prove this isn't my fault."
Contractors are required by law to retain project data for seven years. Harley adds that if anything else happens and it is taken back into court, the schedule will be investigated.
“That’s why the enhancements to Oracle Primavera Cloud are so important. These tools can clearly establish the development path since the data can be interrogated at literally almost any point in time.”
Baselines and scenarios have been in Oracle Primavera Cloud for many years, Wattendorf says, noting that in and of itself is not what changed.
“What changed recently was that we re-architected baselines and scenarios for a variety of reasons,” Wattendorf says. “One, we wanted to make them functionally equivalent in the products. Whatever you can do with the baseline, you can also do with the scenario and vice versa. Two was for performance reasons. What we had experienced over time and heard from customers is that the baselines and scenarios are great, but when you're trying to load baseline data or run other processes that rely on baseline data or scenario data, it was taking longer than was expected. So, we re-architected for that reason.”
Baselines and scenarios were reimagined to reduce bloated databases that are hard to manage. With Oracle Primavera Cloud it's all part of one project.
“You go into your activities view and every version of that schedule is available right in the context of that project,” Wattendorf says. “It saves our customers a lot of headaches. And that's really powerful.”
The Oracle Smart Construction Platform combines our industry-trusted applications with a common data environment and an ecosystem of partners to help owners and delivery teams work together and continuously improve performance. The platform connects teams and data, synchronizes work, and empowers individuals to make informed, proactive decisions. Power performance with proven Oracle Construction and Engineering solutions for scheduling, portfolio management, construction project management, project controls, construction payment management, and more.