Importing your Microsoft Project schedule to ALICE Core

Microsoft Project (MSP) schedules can be imported into Core, enabling users to leverage the schedule assessment, recovery and optimization capabilities of ALICE. Read on to learn more about the technical details of the MSP import. For a refresher on how to create new projects based on MSP or P6 files, click here.

Data Mapping between MSP and ALICE

Many scheduling fields are shared between MSP, P6, ALICE, and other scheduling tools. Below are a few data structures unique to MSP and how ALICE addresses them upon import. 

Project Properties

MSP does not have a Project ID, ALICE uses MSP’s Project Name to populate this field.

Task ID

MSP has an ID and a Unique ID field for each task. ALICE uses MSP’s Unique ID field to populate its Task ID field. 

Elapsed duration

If elapsed days are for task duration in MSP, a 24 hour calendar is applied to that task in ALICE

Manually scheduled tasks

  • MSP users are able to hard code a start date for a given task within MSP. MSP will call this a “manually scheduled” task. ALICE will take those hard dates and add them as a must start on constraint in ALICE. 
  • In the event that the manually scheduled task has another constraint assigned to it, the “must start on” constraint would override it. 

Split tasks

  • MSP allows for tasks to be split an infinite number of times.
  • ALICE only supports splitting tasks into 2 sections each. 
  • If the task is in progress, and has more than one split, ALICE will combine the sections after data date into 1 section, sections before the data date shall be another section.
  • If the task is not in progress, ALICE will honor the first split.

Inactive Tasks

  • MSP users can mark tasks as "inactive". This does not delete the tasks but ignores them in scheduling. 
  • ALICE does not import “inactive” tasks and will notify the user, if applicable, at import. 

Milestones

  • Milestones do not have start or finish distinction in MSP.
  • ALICE uses the following conditions, in order, to determine the milestone type:
    • If a milestone includes a start constraint, or ALAP constraint, set it as a start milestone.
    • If a milestone includes a finish constraint, set it as a finish milestone.
    • If the milestone doesn’t have a start or finish constraint, and does not have predecessors, set it as a start milestone.
    • If none of the above applies and milestone does not have successors, set it as a finish milestone.
    • If none of the above applies, set as a finish milestone.
  • In MSP, users can select “Mark task as milestone”. This would be a task with all of the properties of a task (resources, durations, calendars, etc.) but it would be rendered as a milestone in the gantt chart. 
    • ALICE imports this type of task as a task plus a finish milestone. All of the task properties will remain with the task. The milestone is added as a successor to the task with a FS relationship. The milestone will have the same name as the task and will inherit the successors of the task. 

Project WBS

  • In MSP, users can create summary tasks instead of WBS levels. Unlike ALICE or P6, these summary tasks can include:
    • A duration that is different from the sum of its subtasks
    • Relationships
    • Custom properties
    • Resources
    • Primary constraints
  • ALICE will convert the summary tasks into WBS levels and subtasks as follows: 
    • ALICE uses the MSP Project Name or Title as the root WBS level
    • ALICE propagates the following fields from the summary task to the subtasks
      • Relationships
      • Custom properties
      • Resources
      • Primary constraints
  • ALICE uses MSP’s WBS ID field for ALICE WBS sorting 

Resources

  • Resource Types
    • The MSP resource type work is imported into ALICE as labor.
    • The MSP resource type cost is imported into ALICE as equipment.
    • The MSP resource type material is imported into ALICE as material (no change).
  • Resource Assignment
    • MSP assigns resources in percentage terms. 
    • ALICE converts those percentages to decimals, where 100% of a resource in MSP is equal to 1 of that resource in ALICE.  

Unsupported Data 

Elapsed Hours

  • MSP allows users to use a lag duration unit called “elapsed hours”, which overrides that lag’s calendar to a 24/7 calendar. Neither ALICE nor P6, support calendar exceptions for lag values. 
  • It is possible for the user to successfully import a schedule that uses elapsed hours in MSP. In order to do so the user must replace the lag value with a task of the same duration and assign that task a 24/7 calendar in MSP prior to import.

 

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