What is Primavera

There are a lot of project management software tools to choose from, and there are a few that truly seem to dominate the space, like Oracle’s Primavera P6. How can you find the project management solution that fits your organization, project and the way your team works? The first thing to do is understand what these tools are and the feature set they offer.

Primavera P6 is the product of the multinational computer technology corporation Oracle. For such a well-known brand, it’s a product that doesn’t have great name recognition, even among those in the industry.

It’s time to change that. Let’s take a closer look at Primavera P6 to see what it can do and if it’s right the right choice for your project management needs.

What Is Primavera P6?

Oracle Primavera P6 is a project, program and portfolio management tool that is used for planning, managing and executing your project work. It is designed to handle large and small projects in a number of diverse industries, such as construction, manufacturing, energy, and IT. It’s been doing so for more than 30 years in projects across the globe.

Primavera P6 can trace its origins to 1983 when it was first established under the name Primavera Systems. In the next 15 years, it would rapidly gain in popularity. By the late 90’s, advancements in server technology drove the company to split Primavera systems into two versions of the software: a desktop application (which is preferred by contractors, suppliers and manufacturing companies) and a web-based enterprise option.

In 2008, Primavera Systems was bought out by Oracle, who then developed the tool into the version that is used today.

The modern incarnation sells itself as a tool to increase your efficiency when planning, which reduces the risk of schedule overruns. One way it purports to do this is by providing visibility into the work, so potential bottlenecks can be identified and resolved before they cause delays. It claims to work on projects of all sizes.

Who Uses Primavera P6?

P6 is used by project managers who are in charge of delivering a project, program or portfolio of projects.

It’s not only used by project managers, though. Any project professional can benefit from P6, such as engineers, schedulers and others who are instrumental in planning, management and reporting on the project. Whoever uses the software, it is usually recommended that they take a training course. The tool is built to help manage complex projects and therefore using it can be complicated as well.

Primavera P6 Features

Let’s zoom in closer on Primavera P6. First, it’s a tool that works on an enterprise structure. That means it goes from the highest level of management on down the line of project members. In terms of the key features, they are as follows.

  • Timelines: A traditional gantt chart to schedule tasks on a bar graph
  • Risk Management: Identify, track and resolve risks before they become issues
  • Information Dashboard: A dashboard to track key project metrics
  • Reporting & Analytics: Ability to generate status reports for stakeholders
  • Resource Analysis & Allocation: Keep track and reallocate resources as needed
  • Calendar & Activity Views: View project tasks set over a calendar view
  • Portfolio & Program Management: Able to manage multiple projects in a program or portfolio at once
  • Contract Management: Manage multiple projects, get info from database fast
  • Scheduling Alerts: Keep the project on track by always knowing what’s due when

Primavera P6 Plans and Pricing

The P6 Professional Project Management (PPM) from Primavera will cost $2,570 for an annual subscription. That price includes $2,020 plus an annual maintenance fee of $550 for upgrades, fixes, patches, etc. The renewal of the maintenance cost is not required, but it’s suggested.

There’s also the enterprise option, Primavera P6 Enterprise Professional Project Management (EPPM). This version of Primavera P6 is accessed via the web, rather than being a desktop software application like the P6 PPM option. This option will run you $2,750 for a perpetual license, which includes an annual maintenance fee of $605.

Last, there’s the Oracle Primavera Cloud, which is a much cheaper and much less-feature rich offering at $125 a month. It also has the added benefits of faster delivery and fosters collaboration to improve efficiency and quality. The cloud-based tool will also connect teams over any device and update activities and tasks instantly.

Pros and Cons of Primavera P6

There are some things that Primavera P6 does well, along with some features that have some drawbacks. If you’re still on the fence, here’s a look at its pros and cons.

Pros of Using Primavera P6

  • It’s flexible when it comes to organizing lots of activities, with one platform that allows users to prioritize, execute and monitor their work
  • A multiuser system lets teams work at the same time on the same project across the organization.
  • Real-time reporting provides meaningful data delivered fast, either on-demand or scheduled.
  • The dashboard allows users to manage a single project or even a portfolio, with great flexibility.
  • Primavera P6 integrates with Oracle and other third-party products.
  • P6 can be used on multiple devices, such as tablets and mobile devices for access anywhere and at any time.
  • P6 works on Windows as a desktop (or web app with the Enterprise option).

Cons of Using Primavera P6

  • It’s very expensive; you’re going to spend close to three grand a year for something you can get elsewhere for less financial investment.
  • The complicated interface of Oracle’s Primavera P6 also looks outdated and not up to the design and ease of use of its competition.
  • There’s a steep learning curve; unlike other tools it can take up to 40 hours to get comfortable on the device and that’s with the use of specialized trainers.
  • Primavera P6 is for Windows only, which puts Mac users out in the cold, making the tool immediately limited and denying whole industries that run on Apple products.
  • P6 is cumbersome for smaller and simpler projects, seemingly interested only in the larger project sector.
  • The customer service could be better, at least there is a lot of chatter online from customers who feel the support needs to improve.
  • Primavera P6 lacks a portfolio roadmap, which is a problem for managing portfolios, even though the product does have some features directly targeting this market.

ProjectManager Is the Best Primavera P6 Alternative

If Primavera P6 doesn’t seem like the right choice for you, then you may be interested in an alternative. ProjectManager is a cloud-based project management tool that is less expensive and easier to use than P6, with all the same features you need to manage your project, program or portfolio. Instead of an expensive licensing fee, you can pick the subscription tier that fits your budget.


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