Using Microsoft Project Schedules in ALICE Core

Microsoft Project’s native file format is not yet supported for direct import into ALICE Core. To utilize a Microsoft Project schedule in ALICE Core, the user needs to convert the Microsoft Project file to .xer or .xml format in P6 and then import the converted file into ALICE. 

This article will describe the process for converting a Microsoft Project schedule for use in ALICE. It will outline the conversion process for import and export, special considerations, and manual adjustments required if available.

Workflow to Import a Microsoft Project Schedule into ALICE

  1. Prepare the MSP file for conversion based on the recommendations in the below section, Preparing a Microsoft Project schedule for conversion to P6
  2. Export .xml from Microsoft Project.

  1. Import .xml into P6 using P6 Import wizard.

  1. Apply the necessary mapping and fixes in P6 per below.
  2. Export .xer or .xml format from P6.

  1. Import .xer or .xml into ALICE.

Preparing a Microsoft Project Schedule for Conversion to P6

There are several differences in how Microsoft Project and P6 handle schedules depending on the schedule and the version of P6 being utilized. Additional steps may be required to accurately mirror the Microsoft Project schedule in P6 before importing the P6 file into ALICE. This section will describe known differences and solutions for this conversion process.

Calendars

  • Certain non-working days or exceptions (e.g. Holidays) in MSP do not get mapped as non-working days into P6. 
    • Solution: The user should check after import into P6 that the calendar has all correct working and non-working days and correct them, if not.

WBS

  • Check that the WBS names do not contain spaces before export. WBS names with spaces at the front of the name will import into ALICE incorrectly.
    • Solution: Remove Spaces using the WBS tab in P6 or in the native Microsoft Project file
  • The order of the WBS is not always maintained when importing into P6.
    • Solution: After import to P6, re-order the WBS manually using the WBS tab.
  • Summary tasks or WBS headers with no sub-tasks will be converted by default to activities in P6, depending on the settings applied.
  • Microsoft Project allows logic to be assigned at the WBS summary level. It automatically propagates this logic to the lower level activities inside this WBS summary task. P6 does not maintain this functionality. 
    • Solution: Precedence logic applied at the WBS or summary task level should be individually applied to the sub-tasks either in Microsoft Project, P6, or ALICE.
  • Poor WBS numbering in Microsoft Project will not map correctly into P6
    • Solution: Renumber the WBS in Microsoft Project

Microsoft Project UDFs and Text Fields

  • User-defined fields in Microsoft Project do not get imported by default into P6.
    • Use the P6 import wizard to map the unique fields into P6 during import.
    • More details here

In-Progress Activities and split tasks

  • P6 handles split, in-progress tasks differently than Microsoft Project, and these activities will change upon import to P6.

Durations

  • If the user notices a discrepancy in duration after importing to P6, check that the Original Duration matches the Planned Duration. In some schedules, upon import to P6, these durations may be different with the Original Duration being the incorrect one. The Original Duration is what is imported to ALICE, so it must be accurate.


Workflow to Export an ALICE schedule for Import to Microsoft Project

  1. Export the schedule from ALICE in .xml or .xer format.
  2. Import the ALICE schedule into P6 in .xml or .xer format.

  1. Export the schedule to the correct Microsoft Project format.
  2. Open the schedule in Microsoft Project.
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