Oracle | Primavera Risk: Pertmaster S Curve Analyzer

The seventh step of a typical Oracle | Primavera Risk (Pertmaster) Monte Carlo analysis is to use standard risk reports for proactive planning and project management.  This distribution analyzer will allow users to compare cumulative probability curves side-by-side which is especially useful for scenario modeling.  It is unfortunate that most risk analyses stop before outlining proactive steps to fix a project schedule or budget.  The s-curves are used to illustrate how mitigation plans and workarounds can fix the project plan.

Video Walkthrough of the S-Curve Distribution Analyzer in Oracle | Primavera Risk (Pertmaster) (Duration: 14 min: 53 sec)

Adding Curves to the Distribution Analyzer

Method 1:

  • Follow the menu path Reports | Distribution Analyzer.
  • If the chart is empty, then a pop-up appears asking if the risk analyst would like to import a curve(s).
  • The file menu allows users to clear existing data from the graph.
  • Follow the menu path File | Import Data…
  • The top panel shows all open Pertmaster .plan files.  Users can check mark which files they would like to generate curves for.
  • A column will show if there is a valid risk file (risk simulation data) or if the Monte Carlo analysis has been run.  If the analysis has not been run, then it will analyzed automatically before importing the curves.
  • The bottom-left panel will find all common tasks that exist in the selected projects.  If 5 project are selected but one has no common task names, then the user will see no tasks listed.  If the user had two files open with task ID 0010 – Project complete, then this ID would be available in the common tasks panel.
  • Common tasks can be moved from the bottom-left box to the bottom-right box in order to import the curves.  The arrows between the two panels allow users to select the data and move it back and forth.
  • Before importing the curves, the users will select the type of data curve to import from the check boxes located in the middle of the screen.  The users can import curves for start date, finish date, cost, etc.
  • Click import data button.
  • A curve will be imported for each selected activity on all each project.

Method 2:

  • Open the histogram chart (Reports | Distribution Graph) and select any curve.
  • Click the add to distribution analyzer button in the bottom-right corner.  The option is also located under the “Tools” menu.
  • Add as many curves as desired.  Curves can also be added from different Pertmaster .plan files that are open.
  • Click the view in distribution analyzer button in the bottom-right corner.  This option is also under the “Tools” menu.

Distribution Analyzer Menu Bar

  • File – the menu contains options to import curves, clear the data, open a saved chart, save the active chart, and print.
  • Edit –  copy options are located in the edit menu.
  • Format – these options all relate to the graph looks, labels, colors, highlighters, etc.

Graph Interaction

  • Right-click on the graph to copy, format, or set annotations.
  • Right-click the statistics to format the columns or copy the data table.
  • Tabs are located in the bottom-left corner to isolate the type of curve shown.  Different types of curves (all curves) can be shown at once if the risk analyst does not wish to isolate cost, duration, and date curves.  If one type of curve such as cost is shown, then highlighters can show the delta between the curves on screen.  For example, the difference between two cost curves at an 80% confidence level may be 2 million dollars.

Why is the Distribution Analyzer Important

  • The typical risk and Monte Carlo Analysis shows why things will fail and not how to fix them.  Project teams, management, and owner companies are all very reluctant to accept bad news even if it is accurate.  It is important to make the audience understand there is a problem before they will look at fixing it.  Showing proactive scenarios will often soften the blow of the bad news.  Instead of showing bad news, we can show how our proactive scenarios have increased the probability of project success.  These charts become a sales tool for mitigation steps that may save the project.
  • Scenario modeling is probably the most compelling reason to user the Primavera Risk product.  The risk analyst can generate a curve with mitigation steps and without a mitigation plan to illustrate the impact of the mitigation strategy.  Cost or resources can be applied to the mitigation strategy to enable a cost-benefit analysis.  It is very difficult to ask for increased money or resources without data that backs the need.
  • Project teams can work on multiple scenario options interactively.  A good strategy is to slowly work backwards using a few mitigation steps each time to see the isolated impact of each step.  Run the analysis.  View the tornado chart.  Mitigate the items that can give the biggest benefit.  Rerun the analysis and repeat the process as the drivers may be constantly changing based on mitigation steps.