The Version 12 client (ProChain Pipeline and ProChain Project Scheduling) is upwards compatible from versions 9 to 11 and supports version 9-style scheduling. If you schedule or update using version 12 and then go back to version 9, some of the new information -- for example, checklists and fever charts -- will be lost. For most ProChain users, we strongly recommend upgrading to the current version. However, if you have many critical chain users and/or use ProChain Enterprise, you need to understand the differences between the versions and plan the upgrade. We encourage you to contact us for help planning.
The latest versions of ProChain support Microsoft Project 2007 and Project 2010, 2013, and 2016 (32- and 64-bit).
What parts of Microsoft Project does ProChain use and what parts does it replace? Are there any functions and features that it is incompatible with or does not support?
ProChain is an add-on to Microsoft Project. Installing ProChain will add the functionality required for Critical Chain project scheduling and management—none of the MS Project functionality is disabled. ProChain comes with a project scheduler (the MS Project scheduler and resource leveler is no longer used), a task update interface, analysis tools, views, and reports. Project networks and data are modeled, entered, stored, and exported just as they are when using MS Project without ProChain. The only modeling features that currently are not supported by the ProChain scheduler are split tasks, resource contours, recurring tasks, embedded and interlinked projects (replaced by ProChain Pipeline's program management functionality), and "inactive" tasks in Project 2010 or later.
No. Uninstalling will clean up old files and registry entries, but if left, won’t adversely affect anything. ProChain version 12 can co-exist with version 9 but provides an installation option to delete that version.
Yes, ProChain supports summary task links. In other words, the predecessors of the summary task will be scheduled before any of the summary’s detailed tasks, and the successors of the summary task won’t be scheduled until after all of the detail tasks. Note that the critical chain that ProChain identifies will not include summary tasks. If the critical chain does go through the summary task link, ProChain will identify only the relevant detail tasks. There biggest downside to using summary task links is that they can hide the true relationships between the detail tasks. This can make it harder to analyze the network and can make it difficult to find opportunities to shorten the schedule by changing task links.
I have a long vendor task in my project that has padding built into it, yet they are unlikely to deliver early. In other words, their 50/50 duration is pretty close to their low-risk or worst-case duration. How do I get ProChain to take this into account so that it doesn’t create a huge buffer to protect it?
ProChain sizes the buffer based on the amount of variability in the tasks it is protecting against—it’s a function of the variability in the tasks, not the duration of the tasks. For example, if the tasks are guaranteed to be delivered on schedule, no buffering would be needed. ProChain calculates the variability of a task as the difference between the low-risk duration (the Duration1 field is the default) and the Focus duration (the Duration field). If you do not enter a low-risk duration (or you enter an invalid one) then ProChain will assume that the low-risk duration is twice the focus duration. Let's look at an example. If you have a 10w duration task and you leave the low-risk duration at 0, then ProChain will use 20w as the low-risk duration. The variability will be 20w – 10w or 10w. 50% buffers (using the percentage sizing method) will result in 5w of buffering associated with this task. If you are pretty sure that the vendor won’t slip by more than 2w, you would set the Duration1 field to 12w. The variability is 2w and the result will be 1w of buffering—a reduction of 4w compared to not entering a low-risk duration.
To tell ProChain to schedule from backward from a due date, you should put an FNLT constraint on the last task and set the Project Start Date early enough that it will not influence the schedule. Note: ProChain always schedules the project from the Project Start Date, no matter which Schedule From option you have selected in Microsoft Project's Project Information.
ProChain considers any task that does not have a successor to be a deliverable that needs to be protected by a project buffer. By using the Network Analysis tool, you can easily see all of the "tasks without successors."
This is done to get more accurate estimates. Remaining duration is what is needed to calculate new projected times and buffer consumption. Trying to factor in your effort so far only complicates the estimate, and % Complete is subject to different interpretations. There is also a human tendency to say that you are 90% complete very quickly, and then spend just as long or longer finishing up the last 10%.
If I send a ProChain-scheduled project file to somebody who has Microsoft Project but doesn’t have ProChain, will they be able to open the file, or use the views and reports that come with ProChain?
They will be able to open the file. They can also use any views and reports that have previously been used with that file, because Microsoft Project components like ProChain views and reports are automatically copied from the GLOBAL.MPT file into the individual project file when they are referenced. However, ProChain-specific functions like fever charts and resource graphs will not be available.
Microsoft Project provides an “undo” capability that can be used to undo the ProChain functions, including reschedules, schedule updates, and filtering. This capability is supported by ProChain.
Please contact us with your circumstances. We offer open courses at our Woodbridge, Virginia location that may be more cost-effective. For the current schedule, please visit the training section of our website.
Yes. For example, the Quick Start course is worth 30 PDUs. Please contact us to find out more.