Open Workbench to Microsoft Project File Conversion

Tutorial

OPEN WORKBENCH TO MICROSOFT PROJECT FILE CONVERSION
By: Rich Guard Tutorial

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Open Workbench to Microsoft Project File Conversion
Tutorial

Converting Open WorkBench – Formatted Project Schedule Data to a Clarity MicroSoft Project – Formatted Schedule

Converting an Open Workbench (OWB) project schedule from either a stand-alone (.rmp) file format, or an OWB project file that has been stored in a Clarity project repository, to a Microsoft Project (MSP) schedule format at first glance seems like a simple task. Continue into the file conversion process with this first impression in place, and soon you will be surprised, very surprised. “Surprised? What kind of surprises?” Well, when a project manager initially opens a project from Clarity into MSP, he or she may see that:     The project finish date has changed, or The total hours of work for the project, a phase, activity, or task has increased or decreased, or The task start date or finish date for one or more key tasks is earlier or later, or Tasks are now project milestones.

These are a few of the many unanticipated changes that may appear when a project manager first opens his or her converted project schedule. Xinify‟s Best Practices Using MSP with Clarity training and mentor-coaching enables the CIO or PMO Director to minimize the effects of these risks to project data by focusing the project manager on the key task at hand: Aligning the converted project schedule with the final revision of the pre-conversion schedule without chasing answers to endless questions that typically ask some form of “Why did it do that?” And, in following the suggested alignment process the project manager will begin to gain more and more insight into just that question: “Why did it do that?” See the bottom of the last page of this tutorial for more information on how Xinify can support and assist you and your organization through the conversion transition.

Overview

This article is a brief guide and tutorial to converting an Open Workbench project schedule to a Clarity Microsoft Project schedule. The article contains the essential steps needed to convert the project schedule, and align the resulting converted Microsoft Project schedule with the pre-conversion Open Workbench project schedule: (a) preparation and file conversion, (b) project data verification, and (c) aligning the post-conversion project schedule data with the pre-conversion project schedule data.

Preparing and Converting Your Open WorkBench Project File to MicroSoft Project

A project file that was created in Clarity or Open Workbench and then saved to a Clarity project repository (database) in the Open Workbench format can be converted to a Microsoft Project formatted file using Clarity, Schedule Connect and Clarity Integration, and Microsoft Project. The project data file conversion process is a ONE-WAY translation process. Warning: Repeated conversion of the same project file, from Open Workbench to MSP and then MSP to Open Workbench over many conversion and re-conversion cycles, risks corrupting the project data file. The following steps accomplish this one-way conversion. The conversion procedure is followed by a project manager‟s inspection of the project data as displayed in MSP, and re-alignment of the project data where needed.

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Open Workbench to Microsoft Project File Conversion
Tutorial

1. Define a shared file directory on the network in which a single Open Workbench .rmp file will be saved for each project file to be converted. 2. Create a backup copy of the FINAL revision of your Open Workbench project plan. For each file to be converted, save a .rmp file of the project file to the directory in (1). 3. On the Clarity Project Properties: Main - General page, change the Scheduler Format field from Open Workbench to Microsoft Project and click Save. Notice that near the top of the portlet the scheduler is displayed as Open in Microsoft Project. Contact your Clarity Administrator if you do not see “Open in Microsoft Project”, after changing and saving the scheduler format field on the Clarity Project Properties: Main - General page. 4. Before you begin working with your project in Microsoft Project, complete the tasks outlined in the section of the Clarity 7.5.2 Reference Guide titled “Setting-up Microsoft Project”. 5. On the Clarity Project Properties: Main - General page, verify that the dropdown to the right of “Open in Microsoft Project” is set to Read/Write, and click Go. This will launch Microsoft Project and concurrently open the selected MSP file. 6. Once the project file completely opens and displays in MSP, use the Clarity Integration Toolbar to Save the converted file back to the Clarity database. The project file has now been converted to MSP format. 7. Now, open the project in MSP again, and begin the post-conversion data verification process.

Distinctions Between Using Open WorkBench and Microsoft Project with Clarity

1. Before you begin working with Microsoft Project files that are or have been stored in a Clarity repository, here are a few Do‟s and Don‟ts to be aware of: Do‟s in Microsoft Project        Open the plan by launching Microsoft Project from Clarity (via the Project Overview page), and make on-going changes to the plan. Once you open the plan from Clarity and want to save changes, select “Save to Clarity” from the Integration toolbar. To release the lock on a project in Clarity, close the project in Microsoft Project. If more than one person has plan modification rights, retain the lock on the project to prevent data loss. Add a resource/role in the Roster, Staff page and then assign them to tasks in MS Project. The filter options are better on the Staff page. Always use the Open from Clarity and Save to Clarity options when working online. The Open and Save commands in Microsoft Project do not save to the repository. Use 32 characters or less for Project Titles.

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Open Workbench to Microsoft Project File Conversion
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Distinctions Between Using Open WorkBench and Microsoft Project with Clarity

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Don‟ts in Microsoft Project   Don‟t change the project calendar. Changes will not be saved to the repository.  Don‟t create new resources or change resource profile information.  Don‟t assign resources to summary tasks.  Don‟t create dependencies to summary tasks.  Don‟t use reserved fields. (See Page 39).  Don‟t enter a value of more then 99,999,999.99 for any numeric field in the repository. (Microsoft Project uses a max of 8 digits).  Don‟t use password protection for the project plans.  Don’t use the “Save As To Clarity” function (on the Integration Tool Bar drop down) to create and save a new project from Microsoft Project to Clarity. All projects have to be created in Clarity first using your organization’s project creation process.  Don’t use Recurring Tasks. Recurring Tasks are not supported by the Clarity Microsoft Project Interface, and should not be used. If they are used, they would be converted to ordinary tasks, once saved to and exported from Clarity.

2. And, here are a few Microsoft Project features and/or functions that cannot be used in conjunction with Clarity. a) Modifying Project Calendar i) The project calendar is controlled via Clarity. ii) You may adjust the project, or a resource‟s calendar to determine „what-if‟ scenarios. However, any changes you make to calendars will not be saved back to Clarity. b) Creating New Resources i) Any resources that you need should be added to the staff roster of your project in Clarity. ii) Do not be tempted to create new resources in Microsoft Project. iii) When saving the schedule to Clarity, if the system encounters a resource that doesn‟t exist in Clarity, a warning message will appear and you will be unable to save your project. c) Assigning Resources to summary level tasks i) Clarity does not support resources assigned to summary level. d) Creating dependencies at summary level i) Microsoft Project supports dependency links between summary levels, Clarity does not. ii) You must create any dependencies at the lowest level of the WBS.

3. In addition to the settings above, Clarity reserves certain fields in Microsoft Project. These fields must not be modified to ensure that the interface works properly. For more information about field mappings, please reference the Clarity.7.5.2 Reference Guide. These major field mappings are as follows:

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Open Workbench to Microsoft Project File Conversion
Tutorial

Distinctions Between Using Open WorkBench and Microsoft Project with Clarity

MicroSoft Project Grantt Char Field Text1 Text2 Text3 Text4 Text5 Flag1 Flag1 MircroSoft Project Resource Properties Resource name Initials Text3 Email MicroSoft Project Assignment Properties Text3 Number1 Number2

Clarity Values Holds thes during the Clarity External Task ID (WBS#) Holds the Clarity Guidelines URL to MicroSoft Project from the Clarity system Clarity unique ID for the task Clarity uses this during the load and saving of a schedule Used to store the Charge Cose (Cap vs Exp) Used to indicate whether WBS object is a “Key Task” in Clarity Used to indicate whether WBS object is a “Key Task” in Clarity Clarity Maps to the resource name in Clarity Maps to the Clarity Resource ID for the resource Clarity Unique ID for the resource Email Clarity Maps to the unique ID for this assignment within Clarity Maps to the resources task Pending estimate within Clarity Maps to the resources task Pending Actuals within Clarity

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Additional Considerations and Integration Notes:  Plan to the level at which you intend to track work. Use tasks that reflect real work to which resources will track time.  Clarity does not mark tasks complete if the total hours have been reached or ETC is manually changed to zero.The Work Complete is then 100%, but the completed task must be manually changed to 100%.  Setting task duration to zero will automatically converts it to a milestone.  Microsoft Project will allow you to save multiple baselines, and while earlier versions Clarity only supported one (latest) baseline for your project Clarity version 7.5.2 supports the setting of multiple baselines.  Remaining Work/ ETC on tasks that were due during timesheet period will be pushed out to the next period. If those tasks are completed, Project Managers need to review the Actual Work (Actuals) posted, zero out and remaining work, change the Finish Date to the date work was completed, and mark task Status as complete.  When a task is started (actual hours have been charged to the task), Clarity automatically sets your % Complete to 1%.  Do not delete tasks with Actuals posted to them. This will cause the tasks to return to your plan under the Deleted Tasks summary task.  If you do delete a task, you can drag and drop the task out from under the Deleted Tasks summary and put it back into the schedule.  Clarity does not accept tasks with work and no resource or role. Wait to add the work estimate until you know a role or resource.  Do not “Cut and Paste” in Microsoft Project, use Drag and Drop to move tasks around. Cutting and pasting creates orphan tasks, will add duplicates of the tasks when you open via Clarity and creates new tasks ID‟s.  Do not add Predecessors or Resources at the Summary Level.  Clarity assumes the length of work being done is equal to the length of the task. If you have a task that covers two months and is Fixed Units, but a task resource completes (track actuals) for in one week; Clarity will correct the task length to the dates work was performed. WWW.XINIFY.COM 1 (888) 4XINIFY

Open Workbench to Microsoft Project File Conversion
Tutorial

Clarity and Microsoft Project Data Verification

1. Modify an MSP Task Usage view to display these columns: Task Name, Type, Assignment Units, Work Contour, Work, Remaining Work, Start, Finish, and Duration. 2. Adjust the MSP Task Usage view Timescale array so that the Details column displays Work and Actual Work, and so that the array displays three tiers: Top: Month; Middle: Weeks; Bottom: Days. 3. Launch a stand-alone instance (not connected to ANY Clarity database) of Open Workbench, and open into Open Workbench the project .rmp file that you saved to your network shared drive earlier. 4. Create a Open Workbench view that displays in the Task Window these columns: Task Name, Resource Name, Fixed Duration?, Resource Availability (formatted in Percent), Loading Pattern, Total Usage, Estimate to Complete, Start Date, Finish Date, Duration, and stack Total Usage over Actual Usage (formatted with a daily Timescale). 5. The following MSP view columns and Open Workbench view data elements display project data that is comparable:
a. b. c. d. e. f. g. h. i. j. k. l. m. n. o. p. MSP Views Task Name Resource Task Type Assignment Units Work Contour Work Work Actual Work Actual Work Remaining Work Remaining Work Start Finish Duration Work (Timescale) Actual Work (Timescale) = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = OWB View Task Name Resource Name Fixed Duration? Resource Availability (formatted in Percent) Loading Pattern Total Usage Assignment Total Usage Actual Usage Assignment Actual Usage Estimate to Complete Assignment Estimate to Complete Start date Finish Date Duration Assignment Total Usage (Timescale – stacked format) Assignment Actual Usage (Timescale – stacked format)

6. Using these two views, inspect the project data column-wise row-by-row to determine the accuracy of the converted file. Where there are differences, note the differences only. We will analyze and adjust the data displayed in the MSP view so that it reflects the data displayed in the Open Workbench view in a future step. 7. From the Microsoft Project Menu Bar, select Project > Project Information, and verify:  Start Date  Finish Date  Schedule from = “Project Start Date” 8. Inspect the WBS-levels and names. 9. Inspect the list of resources assigned to MSP tasks. 10. Before beginning to work with the MSP Task Type, read and understand the material outlined in the section “Understanding Microsoft Project Task Types” of the Clarity.7.5.2 Reference Guide. Contact a Clarity Implementation Consultant for assistance, if needed. WWW.XINIFY.COM 1 (888) 4XINIFY

Open Workbench to Microsoft Project File Conversion
Tutorial

Clarity and Microsoft Project Data Verification

11. When you thoroughly understand the role the MSP Task Type parameter plays in generating the MSP schedule, inspect and compare the MSP Task Type column with the OWB Fixed Duration column, noting differences when they appear. The recommended Task Type default is Fixed Work. 12. Inspect the Assignment Units column. Assignment Units is the MSP task and schedule parameter that determines how much of a resources availability will be assigned to the task (i.e., a resource who is Available 8 hours per day whose Assignment Units value for a task is 25%, is assigned 2 hours of Work on the task). 13. Inspect the Work Contour column. Work Contour is the MSP task and schedule parameter that determines how Remaining Work is distributed across the remaining duration of the task. Open Workbench and Clarity Loading Patterns are mapped to Microsoft Project Work Contours as: When opening from Clarity:  Fixed (Clarity) becomes Contour (msp)  Uniform (Clarity) becomes Flat (msp)  Front (Clarity) becomes Front (msp)  Back (Clarity) becomes Back (msp)  Contour (Clarity) will map to whatever the Work Contour was in Microsoft Project when the project was saved (i.e. Turtle, Bell, etc.) When saving to Clarity:  Back (msp) becomes Back (Clarity)  Front (msp) becomes Front (Clarity)  Flat (msp) becomes Uniform (Clarity)  Contour (msp) becomes Fixed (Clarity)  Any other Work Contour becomes Contour (Clarity) 14. Inspect the MSP Work column. Work is the MSP task and schedule parameter that quantifies and designates the work effort associated with resources assigned to tasks. 15. Inspect the MSP Actual Work column. Actual Work is the MSP task and schedule parameter that quantifies and designates the actual work tracked by resources assigned to tasks. 16. Inspect the MSP Remaining Work column. Remaining Work is the MSP task and schedule parameter that quantifies and designates the work effort that remains after Actual Work has been tracked by the resources assigned to tasks. 17. Inspect the MSP Start column. Start is the MSP task and schedule parameter that designates the start date of a task. 18. Inspect the MSP Finish column. Finish is the MSP task and schedule parameter that designates the finish date of a task.

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19. Inspect the MSP Duration column. Duration is the MSP task and schedule
parameter that quantifies and designates the length of a task in business days.

20. With the notes that you have listing the differences between your Open
Workbench project schedule and the Clarity MSP Project Schedule, we are now ready to begin making adjustments to the MSP plan so as to bring it into alignment with the project schedule. WWW.XINIFY.COM 1 (888) 4XINIFY

Open Workbench to Microsoft Project File Conversion
Tutorial

Aligning the MicroSoft Project Schedule with the Final revision of the Open WorkBench Project

1. Column-wise make the changes necessary to bring the Clarity MSP schedule into alignment with the Open Workbench schedule. Microsoft Project is a scheduling tool. Each time you press the Enter Key, MSP re-evaluates your plan and recalculates the project data. To avoid rework caused by this, think and work in columns, not rows. In order to take full advantage of the scheduling capabilities, it is important to avoid hard coding any dates. Hard coding dates will mask any schedule problems you encounter and complicate their resolution. Always use the following steps in the same order when working with your project plan. NOTE: None of the steps ask you to enter task-level (or summary-level) Start Date or Finish Date. 2. Review the tasks in the Work Breakdown Structure. Remove tasks that do not pertain to your project and add others that do. To remove a task, highlight it and press the Delete button. To add a task click on the task you want to insert before and press Insert. Don‟t use “Cut and Paste” to either add tasks from outside of the Microsoft Project plan, or move tasks within an Activity or to another Phase or Activity of the plan. Don‟t worry about the default answers for other fields; leave them alone until later steps. NOTE: DO NOT add meetings as recurring tasks. One reason not to use a recurring task is because of the number of lines it will insert into the project plan. If you have 5 people on your project and each month has 4 weeks, for the Team Meeting alone on a 10-month project you have 40 lines if you don‟t display the resources allocated. 3. Dependency Relationships are important for setting up your project so that predecessors and successors logically flow from tasks that need to be completed prior to later ones. There is no need to place a predecessor on all tasks. When setting up your project plan initially only place predecessors where they make the project logic flow correctly. Predecessors can be used at other times to adjust dates. Remember, the object is to avoid hard coding the dates to allow Project to work properly. 4. Determine the Work Effort for each of the tasks and enter it in the Work column field. Do this for each task of your project plan. Review for reasonability but do not fine tune. After all phases have been planned then check to see how close are you to the approved budget for this project. You may want to adjust some now but fine tuning the plan will be completed later in this process. If your total project hour amount is significantly different from the budget, check your scope and estimating assumptions to make sure you are in alignment. 5. Frequently, Save your Plan to Clarity. The more often you save it, the easier it will be to recover if you do something you want to back out. 6. Determine each task‟s Duration (the number of business days that each task is scheduled to take). Keep in mind the 80% productivity rule that says a given resource is only productive 80% of the time throughout the year. This accounts for vacation, sick time, holidays, interruptions, etc. and means that for an average 8-hour day, an individual really is only productive 6.4 hours. If you do not take this into account when developing your project plan and are expecting 8 hours of work every day for the duration of your project you are setting the project up to be late. This does not mean that an individual is charging only 6.4 hours each day. It means that over the course of your project, the resources will average 6.4 hours per day doing items associated with your project. On most days there will be interruptions. If you are using resources that perform Production or Customer Support activities the number of interruptions will increase and the productivity expectation will decrease. So a 40-hour task should take an individual 6.25 days to complete, not 1 week. If that individual is working Support the same task may take 2 weeks duration to complete. For the purposes of this document it is sufficient to enter duration amounts manually. WWW.XINIFY.COM 1 (888) 4XINIFY

Open Workbench to Microsoft Project File Conversion
Tutorial

Aligning the MicroSoft Project Schedule with the Final revision of the Open WorkBench Project

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7. When using Clarity, the resources are already defined and you just need to add resources to your project. Once you have assigned the defined resources to the project, open the project plan in MS Project, and assign the resources to tasks. You will not be able to add new people to your plan without downloading them from Clarity. Continue to assign resources for all of your tasks. If there are tasks that you don‟t have resources for yet, Clarity has resource roles acting as place holders that specify the type of resource necessary. You will need real resources to perform the effort so identify this condition as a risk and escalate the issue. 8. Once all of your tasks have been assigned to resources we need to ensure that project resources are not overcommitted. The goal is to distribute the work and to keep everyone as close to 40 hours a week across all projects. At first this may seem in conflict with the 80% productivity factor (PF). The 80% PF adjusts the duration for specific tasks to be performed and takes into account start and stop times for interruptions across the life of the project. You will still be scheduling 40 hours of effort each week. One key point to remember is that many of your resources may be working on multiple projects. It is important to be aware and address over assignments across projects. When the project is loaded back into Clarity this is easy to identify using Capacity Planning Reports. Within individual projects make sure that your team members are communicating with you about their workload and discuss assignments with their other project managers. 9. There are several ways to resolve over-assignments and it really depends on the situation to determine which one or what combination will best fix the issue. Some of the methods are described below:     Increase the number of resources. This can add cost to your project but is usually the quickest means to reduce the workload of over burdened individuals. Increase the availability of the over allocated resource. If a resource is only allocated to your project part of the time, discuss the possibility of getting more of their time from other project managers. Reduce the workload for the over allocated resource. Giving more of the task‟s effort to a co-producer can do this. Cancel tasks. During the course of the project you may identify tasks that seemed necessary but are no longer required. Another option would be to formally remove scope by issuing a Change Request to eliminate or postpone work to anther release. Reassign tasks to other resources. Change the predecessors of the tasks that have the over-assignments to allow them to be accomplished earlier or later. You must keep in mind the Critical Path when doing this to ensure that the project schedule is not adversely impacted.

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10. The primary constraints to projects are deadlines and calendars. A deadline is MS Project‟s method of setting a target date for a task or milestone that allows the application to notify you if the date will be exceeded. This differs from a constraint date or hard coded finish date because it allows Project to schedule the tasks and just report on the problem. Constraint dates fix the duration of the task and stack the hours to complete it against that date. You are only notified that the date was missed after the fact.

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Open Workbench to Microsoft Project File Conversion
Tutorial

Aligning the MicroSoft Project Schedule with the Final revision of the Open WorkBench Project

11. By entering the constraints we have introduced a new set of variables for Microsoft Project to schedule. Go back to the resolve over-assignments section of this document, and follow the suggestions. Adjust the project plan to return the team members to appropriately assigned work weeks. 12. Review the Project Plan, Statement of Work (SOW) and Project Risks with your team, and the PMO staff. The SOW, Project Plan, and Project Risks should be built together and represent the whole project. The SOW will include a high level summary of the Project Plan, but it is a good idea to review it with your IT and Business Project Managers to help explain your basis of estimate and expectations. You should save and make a copy of your Plan before you baseline if you have not. 13. You are now ready to Baseline your project. Creating a Baseline for your plan takes a snapshot of the scheduled work and makes it the standard by which the project will be tracked. Make sure Save Baseline and Entire Project are selected and click OK.

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14. Save to Clarity.

For the Clarity customer who has invested but has yet to realize fully the power of Clarity, the MSP with Clarity Mentor/Coaching Program is the training and knowledge transfer solution that ensures Program and Project Managers are doing the right things and doing those things right. Unlike training course-only knowledge transfer solutions, the MSP with Clarity Mentor/Coaching Program combines classroom training led by experienced professional project managers followed by a series of one-on-one mentor/coaching sessions facilitated by an experienced mentor coach in which PM principles along with MSP and Clarity techniques and tips are applied to real-world, enterprise projects.

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