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Converting Primavera P6 Schedules To Microsoft Project: A Case Study

Posted by Gary Harvey on Wednesday, December 8, 2021

We’ve recently been working with an Aerospace contractor who manages their project schedules using Oracle Primavera P6. On one of their programs, their customer must be provided with a copy of the P6 schedule in Microsoft Project native mpp format each month. To do this, we have assisted the contractor in setting up a monthly process for conversion and validation of the P6 schedule into the mpp format.

There are many differences between Oracle Primavera P6 and Microsoft Project, but there is also a core set of overlaps in scheduling functionality between them. If you are prepared to abstain from some features of P6 (e.g. do not use the Retain Logic option in the Schedule calculation) then you can get matching or very similar results from Microsoft Project.

The schedule in question includes about 6,500 activities, with resources not included in the conversion.

We evaluated a few different approaches to performing the conversion, including:

  1. Use the Export to Microsoft Project XML option that Oracle Primavera P6 includes
  2. Use Deltek Acumen Fuse option that allows you to save a project in formats different from its original format.

After evaluating the various approaches, we found the most reliable method is to use an add-in to Microsoft Project called XerTransfer.

The schedule needs to be exported from P6 to an xer file. Then open Microsoft Project and the XerTransfer addin is used to bring the data into Microsoft Project and save it as an mpp file. XerTransfer gives control over some aspects of the conversion and allows mapping P6 user-defined fields to custom fields in Microsoft Project. After that, Microsoft Project's Update Project option is run to status any remaining work to start after the status date – which is needed because P6 and Microsoft Project handle remaining work differently.

It is not a given that the results of the conversion will match 100%, so it is important to build in a mechanism for comparing results. We did this using the Forensics options in Deltek Acumen Fuse. The complete set of steps is as follows:

  1. Export the P6 schedule to an xer file
  2. Import the xer file into Deltek Acumen Fuse
  3. Verify (and resolve) any statusing anomalies before performing the conversion
  4. Perform the xer to mpp format conversion using XerTransfer
  5. Import the mpp version of the schedule data into Deltek Acumen Fuse
  6. Using the Forensics option, compare key aspects of the P6 and Microsoft Project versions of the schedule. For us, these are Total Duration, Early Finish and Total Float
  7. Using the Publish Current Report option on the Forensics tab provides a report of the differences between the two schedules via Microsoft Excel

Through testing various methods we were able to land on a final method of accurately converting and validating the P6 schedule data transformation into mpp format, and we were confidently able to present this method to the client for future need.

Have you tried using this method before? If not, what method of conversion do you use? Let us know in the comments below.

Looking for help with your Oracle Primavera P6 or Microsoft Project tools? We can help. Contact us for a free consultation - Schedule a Call With Us or Send Us an Email


Topics: Aerospace & Defense, Energy, Utilities, Oil & Gas, Earned Value Management (EVM), Integrated Program Management (IPM), Technology, Deltek PPM, Oracle Primavera, Government & Public Sector, Microsoft EPM, forProject Technology, Recent Articles

Gary Harvey

By Gary Harvey

Gary Harvey is the EPM & PPM Practice Lead at Pinnacle Management Systems; responsible for Pinnacle’s implementation methodologies and tools. Gary has over 40 years of project management experience and a wealth of knowledge related to software, spanning multiple industries including Aerospace & Defense, Chemicals, High Tech, Shipbuilding, IT, Mining, and Oil & Gas. He previously led development for Artemis, one of the first enterprise-scale project management systems to hit the market, and has served in a variety of capacities to lead and support the management of large projects, programs and portfolios.

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