Primavera vs MS Project

As a project planner or scheduler within the construction industry, having the right tools that provide efficient and accurate analysis is of the utmost importance. Such is the only way to plan out a proper workflow, making for a solid and consistent stream of work leading to the project’s ultimate success.

Many programs cater to this, but two seem to be the favourites of the top construction companies and consultants: Primavera P6 and Microsoft Project (MSP). While both come with their own set of unique features, the ultimate goal is to enable construction planners and schedulers to keep track of all the different project teams and components in an organised fashion. Moreover, it allows them to monitor the timeline and predict any possible issues that may arise.

Deciding on the right software fits best in project planning or a requested service in terms of construction enhances the overall efficiency of processes and contributes to a high-quality outcome. In this article, we will list down the significant difference when it comes to comparing Primavera vs MS Project.

User Access

User access

Projects in the construction industry are usually conducted by multiple teams and coinciding times. This means that the project management software needs to cater to an abundance of groups and their tasks. Allowing access to respective project managers per section gives the overall project planner the choice to oversee individual partners’ progress easily.

Comparing Primavera P6 and MS Project, Primavera takes the lead when it comes to user access. The Primavera P6 software allows for a multi-user approach. This means that project planners can enable multiple people to access the software while also specifying and limiting the features that each user can work with.

On the other hand, Microsoft Project requires Microsoft Project Server to have multiple user access, which will require additional payments. The MS Project Server uses Microsoft SharePoint as its basis, and the data is stored in a central SQL Server database. The administrator controls the ability of other users to access the project.

Activity Baselines & Steps

Activity Baselines & Steps

When it comes to activity baselines and steps, the differences in Primavera P6 and MS Project capabilities are most prominent. Primavera P6 software allows for an unlimited amount of baselines for project tracking. Baselines are the main foundation of a project and serve as the initial check to ensure that everything is appropriately set-up before the project commences. MS Project only allows for 11 baselines to be active, limiting the number of project details that can be placed and tracked.

Primavera P6 enables project leads in simplifying the process of updating complex tasks in terms of activity steps. Through activity steps, complex activities are broken down into smaller parts while still adhering to the Gantt chart’s simplicity. Such a feature is not present in MS Project.

Finance & Risk Management

Finance & Risk Management

Projects as complex as those in the construction industry can face uncertainties that lead to delays. It is imperative that you address such delays immediately to avoid further financial risks. The best way to avoid delays is to take advantage of Risk and Issue recording, which helps project leads and managers understand the project’s limitations and identify potential risks. Such risks may be weaknesses in scheduling or activities that do not complement each other.

In this regard, Primavera offers such a system, allowing for easier tracking and addressing potential risks before it causes any significant issues. On the other hand, MS Project software does not come with such a feature leaving users with fewer options to calculate risk management accurately.

Primavera versus Microsoft Project, Which Is More Suitable For You?

Primavera versus Microsoft Project, Which Is More Suitable For You?

Primavera and MS Project’s main difference is that Primavera is a database-based software while MS Project is a file-based software. Also, Primavera is more powerful compared to MS Project in regards to reducing project risks.

Deciding on which software is more suitable for your specific project will depend on the organisation’s requirements.

Keep in mind that Primavera’s focus was always to be project management software for enterprises. On the other hand, MS Project was originally a desktop application that evolved into an enterprise application to cater to big projects.

Both Primavera and MS Project are project management software, but the minor differences between them cater to different types of projects. By analysing both Primavera and MS Project, it goes to show that Primavera is more well suited for large scale projects with many moving parts and involving multiple users. Ms Project, therefore more suited for single projects that do not require heavily detailed records.

Can Primavera export to Microsoft Project?

Can Primavera export to Microsoft Project?

As of Primavera P6 ver 18, data is exportable to Microsoft Project version 2002 onwards with limitations.

Primavera can export into MPX and XML file formats. The MPX file format export is for Microsoft Project 2002, while the XML is for Microsoft Project 2003 and onwards.

Some notable limitations when importing Primavera data into Microsoft Project includes:

  1. The MPX file format contains exporting of resource information except for resource curves.
  2. Resource information into Microsoft Project is not supported using XML format.
  3. Secure code and secure code assignments information export are not supported.
  4. Primavera P6 Professional does not export past period actual data into Microsoft Project.
  5. If you transfer data in XML format, you must map Cost-type custom fields in MSP to Cost-type UDFs in P6 Professional. Likewise, you must map Number-type custom fields in MSP to Number-type UDFs in P6 Professional. If there is a mismatch in the custom mappings you define, you will receive an error during import or export. You can define custom mappings when you create or modify a template in the Modify Template dialogue box.
  6. To export manual future period values, you require Microsoft Project 2002 or a more recent version. If you plan to exchange project data containing manual future period assignment values with Microsoft Project, you will achieve the most accurate conversion results using Microsoft Project 2003.

For more information on Exporting Project Files, please refer to the official Importing and Exporting Guide V18 and V19

Primavera P6 and MS Project converter

Should your company use both Primavera P6 and Microsoft Project, or if the method of exporting data from one software to the other is hindered by limitation, then it might make sense to use a data converter between the two. One reliable data converter for Primavera P6 and Microsoft Project is XerTransfer.

Supporting advanced data exchange of Tasks, Work Breakdown Structure, Task Relationships, Relationship Leads and Lags, Task Durations, Constraints, Activity Types, Calendars, User Defined Fields with a range of mapping options allowing users to selectively map specified data fields for conversion between Microsoft Project and Oracle Primavera P6.

XerTransfer Professional is their premium tool that offers the full range of data and reporting exchange and includes costs and resources conversation capabilities. XerTransfer is compatible with Microsoft Project 2013, 2016 and 2019 and Oracle Primavera P6 Professional.