You are on page 1of 162

Aurora / Aurora-CCPM test Server

Stottler Henke Associates, Inc.

Launch Aurora

To run Aurora under Mac OSX (10.6.6), download this file (Read-only access) to a location on your hard drive. This file should automatically be saved as "lightWssoClient.jsp.jnlp"; double click the file to run it. In some cases, you may have to select Java WebStart as the default program to open .jsp files before you can run Aurora on your Mac. If you are not able to launch Aurora, please see the Requirements and Troubleshooting sections near the bottom of the page. If you find yourself running out of memory on GUI operations (e.g. arrange), please use the link below.

Launch High-Memory Aurora

This may or may not work on your machine, but if it does it will allow you to work with larger files. If you encounter the symptoms below, your computer cannot handle the high-memory configuration.

Symptoms: The tell-tale error is that Aurora will not start, instead giving the error Could not create the Java virtual machine. If your computer has enough memory, but is near the limit, it is also possible that Aurora will start, but the GUI will look strange (scroll bars won't display properly, text will get dropped, etc.).

Tutorials

See the following webpages and videos for demonstrating how to use and on the use of Aurora

Tutorials Videos

Requirements

This Server has only been tested on Windows XP, Windows Vista & Windows7, running Java 6 (Also referred to as 1.6) I.e., the latest version of Java. (Aurora-CCPM should run with many earlier version of Java also as long it is Java 5 or newer) To determine the version of Java being run on your WIndowsXP computer, from the Start menu on the desktop, select the Run option, in the Run dialog type cmd. This will open an command window. In the command window type Java version. This should respond with either no version of java installed or something similar to Java(TM) 2 Runtime Environment, Standard Edition (build 1.5.0_11-b03), Java HotSpot(TM) Client VM (build 1.5.0_11-b03, mixed mode, sharing). If the version number is 1.5 or something higher, Proceed to the next section, "Starting Aurora-CCPM" Else if the version number is NOT 1.5 or higher, you may still have the correct version of Java installed. To check, go to the Start menu on the desktop, select the Control Paneloption, then select Add or Remove Programs Under the Currently installed programs. Look for items that start with J2SE Runtime Environment 6.0 or Java(TM) 6. If you still don't have Java, then,
1. Download the latest version of Java from http://www.java.com/en/download/ 2. Install Java by opening the downloaded file. 3. Following the instructions provided by the Java installer and select all the default options. 4. At some point during the installation all browsers will need to be closed. 5. Reboot you computer, after the reboot open this web page again and you should be able to launch Aurora

Troubleshooting Verifying Java WebStart

The links below allow you to test your computer and your browser's compatibility with Java WebStart. Follow the links in order. If the first tests work, continue testing with the more complex examples that are larger and closer to Aurora in size.

http://www.java.com/en/download/help/testvm.xml http://www-pw.physics.uiowa.edu/das2/javaPlatformTest.jbf.html http://java.sun.com/javase/technologies/desktop/javawebstart/demos.html https://j3d-webstart.dev.java.net/test/

Webstart works but Aurora does not

If the above tests show that Java WebStart works in general, but you are still having trouble launching Aurora, please try the following: 1. Display the Java Console. Helpful information is displayed in the Java Console, if it enabled. To enable go into the Java Control Panel, and click on the Advanced tab. Enable the option according to the screenshot below.

2. Clear the browser cache The browser cache is the location on your hard disk where Web pages and files (such as graphics) are stored as you view them. This speeds up the display of pages you frequently visit or have already seen because Internet Explorer can open them from your hard disk instead of from the Web. When you first try to access Aurora, you may encounter Java Web Start errors such as cannot find the file specified or Unable to launch the specified application. These errors may be related to information stored in the browser cache. You can overcome these errors by emptying your browser cache. To be safe, perform the next step before trying Aurora again. 3. Clear the Java Web Start Cache

Click on Java under Windows Control Panel.

Then go to Settings under Temporary Internet Files on the first tab. (The following screenshots are for Java ver. 1.6)

Once there, click on the "Delete Files..." button

In the next screen, click "Ok" to delete the temporary files. Your Java Web Start cache is now empty.

At this point, try launching Aurora again. 3. Using Aurora from Behind a Proxy Server/Firewall Java Web Start software must be configured with the correct proxy settings in order to launch applications from outside your firewall. Java Web Start software will automatically try to detect the proxy settings from the default browser on your system. Java Web Start technology supports most web proxy auto-configuration scripts. It can detect proxy settings in almost all environments. If the proxy settings are not correct, a typical error is "Cannot Load Resources."

If the proxy setting cannot be automatically detected, then you will need to set them manually:
1. Go to the Java Control Panel. This is accessed by going to the Control Panel -> Java 2. On the first tab of the Java Control Panel, click on Network Settings.

Change to "Direct Connection." This helps to clear any confusion the proxies may have in the later stages of the startup. Finally, if the above does not work, then uninstall Java 6 and install Java 5 instead, as Java 6 has stricter security settings by default and that may be causing conflicts.

Using a basic template to create a new schedule


Getting started with Aurora can be a little confusing at first. This tutorial will show you how to use a basic template to create a simple schedule. Once you learn how to create a simple schedule, you will have the basic understanding to create as complicated a schedule as you require. The basic steps are as follows: o Download the template with one pre-loaded Activity o Copy the sample Activity to create as many Activities are you require o Add constraints to establish the relationships (predecessor and successor) between Activities o Add Resource Requirements to your Activities o Schedule your network using Aurora Lets get started. Download the Basic Template (Basic Template.cmp) file by right-clicking on the link and selecting Save Link As and load it into Aurora (File menu -> Open). Ensure that the extension on this file is .cmp when saving. When you open this file, you will notice that there is a new project called Basic Template with one Activity under it.

What we will be doing in this tutorial is creating new activities and establishing constraints on them to create a simple schedule. We will use the first Activity (labeled with a 1 in the screen shot above) and will copy it to create a sample network. We will create all the Activities that we need first (9 total) and then we will build the relationships between them. Activity 1 will be the starting node and Activity 9 will be the ending node. Neither of them will have any time duration, as they are simply the nodes where the projects begin and end. Only the Activities between them will have time durations. Click on the Activity to highlight it and press the copy button at the bottom of the left-hand pane.

After you press the Copy button, Aurora will create a new Activity that is identical to the original and the screen should look like this when you click and highlight the new Activity.

You can now change the name and IP Number to be T1 and 2 as shown below:

Go to the Schedule Attributes tab in the middle pane and change the Active Duration to 1440 minutes.

Then, go to the Duration Info tab, and change the value for Safe Duration to 1440 minutes, and the Aggressive Duration to 720 minutes.

You may now continue in this manner to create more Activities. For this exercise, you will need to create a total of 9 Activities with the following durations: Active and Safe Activity # Name IP Number Aggressive Duration Durations 1 T0 1 0 0 2 T1 2 1440 720 3 T2 3 2880 1440 4 T3 4 5760 2880 5 T4 5 4320 2160 6 T5 6 1440 720 7 T6 7 7200 3600 8 T7 8 4320 2160 9 T8 9 0 0 The first two columns (Name and IP Number) will be entered in the Properties tab in the middle pane. The durations will be entered in the Schedule Attributes tab in the middle pane. Once you have created all the Activities, your window should look like this:

Add Constraints to your schedule


Now we are ready to add some constraints (predecessors and successors) and make this look more like a schedule than a set of tasks. Constraints are added by clicking on the Activity in either the left- or right-hand pane and then clicking on the Constraints tab in the middle pane. Lets start with Activity 1. We would like Activity 1 to be the predecessor to Activities 2, 3, 4, and 5. The easiest way to set constraints is to click on the Predecessor and then add in the Successors using the Constraints dialogue. Click on Activity 1 in the left-hand pane and then click on the Constraints tab in the middle pane. Again, highlight the activity in the middle pane and click the Add button to open the Constraints Wizard dialogue.

You will notice that Activity 1 is not selectable and is marked in red; this is because you cannot add a constraint that loops back onto itself. What you want to do is select Activity 2 and then click the Next button.

This will bring us to the second page of the Constraint Wizard, that will ask you to define the relationship between the two constraints you have chosen (Activity 1 and Activity 2).

The first property in this new display (below the constraint type combo box) allows you to select the temporal constraint type. The default Normal selection indicates that this temporal constraint relates the start or end time of the first activity to the start or end time of the second activity. Selecting Normal in the temporal constraint type combo box enables the activity relationship property combo box directly below it, by default set to Finish <= Start. This property defines the exact nature of the temporal relationship between the two activities. Finish <= Start translates into the plain English statement the first activity must finish earlier than or at the same time as the start of the second activity. Mathematically this can be represented by the equation: finish(first) <= start(second) Note that the first activity is the activity you set out to edit. Since we are editing Activity 1 and would like to make Activity 2 the successor, we would like to make this section read as Finish <= Start to indicate that Activity 1 will finish before Activity 2 starts. For this tutorial, you will want to keep the rest of the options at the default selections and then click Create Constraint. Congratulations, you have added Activity 2 as a successor to Activity 1. The PERT display on the right-hand panel will now update with an arrow connecting Activities 1 and 2.

Now, go back to the left panel, and select Activity 2, then under the Constraints tab, you will see that it has a Predecessor of Activity 1. Click on the Add button.

Select Activity 6 in the next screen, and hit Next.

In the next screen, create a constraint so itll look like the diagram below:

You will want to continue in this way to create constraints for every activity following the layout of this diagram:

When you are done, your PERT display may look crowded and you may want to rearrange the display by pressing (auto-arrange) in the bar above the right-hand side panel. You can then

press (auto-fit) to fit the elements to the display size. You should get something similar to this view when you are finished:

Adding Resource Requirements to Your Schedule


In the sample schedule that you have created so far, you have created Activities and established the relationships between them. Now, you can go back to the individual Activities and add Resource Requirements. In the left-hand panel, click on Activity 2. In the middle panel, click on the Requirements tab. Once youre there, click on the Add button to open the dialogue box. For this sample schedule, we are going to use the A set of Requirements for all the Activities that require resources (Activities 2 through 8).

Once you hit ok from this dialogue box, you will have added a resource requirement. You will now see an added line in the Requirements tab that should look similar to below:

Depending on the Activity, you may need to change the quantity required. In this case, however, for Activity 2, we can leave the quantity at 1 and continue. You will need to add resource requirements to Activities 2 through 9 according to the following table: Activity # Resource Set Quantity Required 2 A set 1 3 A set 2 4 A set 2 5 A set 2 6 A set 2 7 A set 1 8 A set 2 The reason why we do not add Required Resources to Activities 1 and 9 is because they function as milestone endpoints for our schedule. You will also notice that both Activity 1 and 9 have a duration of 0 minutes. This is also due to the fact that they are milestones and are merely a starting and ending point for the schedule.

Using Aurora to Schedule


Before we schedule the network, we will need to update the settings in Aurora. These settings may need to be changed each session, since they will not be saved into your file. Open the Schedule settings by going to the file menu: Schedule -> Settings

In the dialogue box that appears called Scheduler Settings, you will want to highlight the scheduling parameter: Critical Path Prioritizer and click the up arrow 5 times to move it to the top of the list. Then click Close at the bottom of the dialogue box.

Access the Schedule function by again going to the file menu: Schedule -> Schedule

This will bring up another dialogue box. You want to select Safe and check the box for Show Summary Report when Scheduled and hit OK.

Aurora will now schedule the project and provide a Scheduling Summary Report window and a Pre-Schedule Analysis Problem Report window. If you have made the network as described above in the tutorial, you should see a Summary Report similar to this:

You can now close the Scheduling Summary Report window and the Pre-Schedule Analysis Problem Report windows. To see the schedule in Gantt Chart form, you can go to the Display menu and select Display -> Gantt Chart.

Evaluate and View a Schedule in Aurora


This article will help you evaluate and view a schedule in Aurora.

Aurora provides many different views to help you evaluate your schedule.

To see all the possible displays, you can go to the Displays menu. The possible displays are:

o o o o

PERT Chart Spatial Plot Histogram Plot Ergonomic Plot

o o o o o

Gantt Chart Chain Plot Fever Chart Split Display Tabular Editor

Displays that will be covered in this tutorial are:

Gantt Chart

o o

Histogram Plot Tabular Editor

Gantt Chart
The Gantt chart (based on a design developed by Henry Gantt in 1910) plots activities in a schedule by the temporal order in which theyll be carried out. The X-axis represents time (increasing from left to right), and activities are drawn as rectangles with start points and lengths corresponding to their start dates and completion times respectively. Activities that overlap in time (i.e. activities that occur simultaneously for some or all of their duration) are stacked vertically, leading to a general trend (with the default display settings) of activities being drawn from the charts upper-left towards its lower-right.

To access the Gantt Chart display in Aurora click on the Displays menu -> Gantt Chart as shown below.

You will notice that Aurora will create different tabs across the top bar as you open more windows. Use these tabs to switch between the different displays. The Edit tab is where you created the schedule parameters and where you can edit them as needed.

To rename or close these tabs, right-click on the tab you wish to close and you can choose to Rename or Close the selected tab.

Resizing the View To zoom in and out of the view, place your mouse either above the chart display in the date section, or to the left of the chart (the areas designated in red in the following screenshot), click and drag to resize. These slider bars will only appear after you have clicked in the area above or to the left of the Gantt Chart and will disappear after you are done resizing your chart. You can see these bars in action in the following short Gantt Chart Video.

In the Gantt Chart view, there are several buttons that may help you view your schedule more efficiently.

-- Shows a legend for the plot elements and constraints

This button will toggle the Legend for the Gantt Chart. The Legend window can be moved around by clicking and dragging the title bar.

-- Configure how constraints are displayed

This button will bring up the Constraint Display Configuration window.

Clicking Show all constraints will link the tasks together in your Gantt Chart so you can more easily see how tasks are related to one another.

You may also notice that the Legend will also display the different types of constraints and the corresponding colors on the chart.

Histogram Plot

Resource plots show how the resources in your model are utilized over time. The histogram resource plot is most useful for visualizing the partial utilization of resources that can be split up, e.g. a work crew consisting of multiple people each of whom can carry out a different task.

To create a histogram plot, select Histogram Plot from the Displays menu item in the main Aurora window. The newly created plot will initially be empty; youll need to specify exactly which resources or resource sets youd like to see displayed. The Histogram Plot Configuration dialogue box will appear to allow you to add resources to the display.

Resources in the right-hand pane of this dialogue will be displayed in the histogram plot. To add a resource, select it in the left-hand pane and click the Add button at the bottom of the pane. Note that you can also add entire resource sets in the By Resource Set tab, or choose resources by the activities that utilize them in the By Task tab.

When youve added all the resources youre interested in plotting, click OK in the dialogue to draw the plot.

An example histogram plot showing one resource is displayed above. The X-axis represents time (increasing from left to right), and each resource is assigned to its own row. Within a row, utilization amount is represented on the vertical axis, with the top of the row indicating the maximum amount of the resource. The background color indicates the availability of the resource: a white background indicates that the resource (or some amount of the resource, depending on the span of the color) is available, while a blue background indicates that it is unavailable. Black boxes represent activities utilizing a resource, with the width of the box indicating the span of usage time and height representing the amount of the resource in use.

Clicking on boxes in the histogram display will show the activities that utilize the resource during the periods spanned by the box. Double clicking on an activity will bring up a dialogue displaying its properties.

Tabular Editor
The Tabular Editor is a powerful tool that gives you an easy way to view and edit a large number of properties at once. It functions similarly to a spreadsheet and is an editable table of activities and properties. To open the Tabular Editor, go to the Displays menu and select Tabular Editor from the options.

As shown in the above screen screenshot, each row will contain all the properties of the specified Activity. The columns can be sorted by click on the heading of the column. A small arrow will display next to the heading indicating that the table has been sorted according to that heading.

Each column can be resized by floating the mouse cursor over the line between the headers until a double-sided arrow appears, clicking, and dragging to the desired size.

By cutting and pasting properties between cells, you can quickly and easily change a large amount of data at once. Since Aurora does not provide drop-down boxes and some of the fields require exactly the right text in order to work correctly, it is sometimes desirable to open the Activity properties window and enter data there. You can do this by clicking on the button. This will open a dialogue box with the Activity properties. Then you can go back to the Tabular Editor, copy the data, and then paste it in the appropriate column for as many other Activities as you wish.

Advanced Gantt Chart


This tutorial will help you use the more advanced features in Auroras Gantt Chart view. Auroras Gantt Chart view is highly customizable and can be a powerful tool to help you understand your schedule.

Topics that will be covered in this tutorial are:

Showing constraints between tasks .................................................................................... 1 Customizing the Display...................................................................................................... 5 Configure Label Placement and Content ............................................................................ 5 Exercise: Changing Labels ................................................................................................. 8 Configure Gantt ................................................................................................................. 10 Single Element Display ..................................................................................................... 13 Exercise: Single Element Display ..................................................................................... 13

If you would like to follow this tutorial exactly as shown in the screenshots, download the Basic Template 9 Items UNSCHED.cmp file and load it into Aurora. All screenshots have been taken using this very basic file.

Short flash videos have been provided for some of the segments. Click on the Video link after the titles to view them.

Showing constraints between tasks

Short Flash Video

Open the Gantt Chart display in Aurora by clicking on the Displays menu -> Gantt Chart as shown below.

This is the default view that Aurora will show you.

To show the constraints between tasks, click on the Configure how Constraints are Displayed button.

This will bring up the Constraint Display Configuration dialogue box.

You can use this dialogue box to show the relationships between tasks on the Gantt Chart. For now, we will select the Show all constraints radio button at the top and click OK.

You will now notice that Aurora has added arrows to the Gantt Chart that show the relationships between the tasks.

To help decode what the colored arrowed mean, you can have Aurora show the Legend by clicking on the Display Legend button .

The Legend helps you understand that red arrows denote a Temporal FinishStart relationship and that teal indicates a Start Driver relationship, which indicates a resource-constraint.

Now you know what the different arrows mean, but its still difficult to see where they are with the current display. To help with this issue, the next section of this tutorial will now show you how to edit the way the Gantt Chart displays to make information easier to see.

Customizing the Display

In Aurora, by customizing the Gantt Chart view, you can more easily see the information that you need.

In the toolbar directly above the Gantt Chart, these two buttons will help you customize the way the chart appears:

Configure Label Placement and Content Change the placement and content of labels as displayed on the Chart

Configure Gantt Configure how the Chart area looks

Configure Label Placement and Content


As you can see in the screenshot below, the default in Aurora is to display the Start Hour and End Hour on either side of the bar that represents each Activity and the Primary Key Fn centered above the bar. Note that the Primary Key Fn typically denotes the IP Number of the Activity. The IP Number is also what is displayed on the PERT Chart in the Edit tab.

These three fields can be customized by clicking on the Configuration dialogue box.

button and changing the fields in the Label

As you can see in the screenshot, the Label Configuration dialogue box provides you with a visual way to edit the labels and placement. The default bluehighlighted boxes (labels) can be moved by clicking and dragging with the mouse and also resized by clicking and dragging the corners (note that the cursor will not change when you hover over the corner). The labels will snap to the grid and can be rearranged anywhere inside the dialogue. The Create, Edit, Remove, and Copy buttons allow you to create new labels and delete unwanted labels as needed.

You can see the settings for each of the labels by clicking on them to highlight them in the upper half of the dialogue box. The Settings section will change

with each label that is highlighted. You can change the function and alignment of each label using the drop-down boxes.

Now lets do an exercise to change the Gantt Chart to clean up the display.

Exercise: Changing Labels


For this exercise, we will be changing the way the Gantt Chart displays by using the Label Configuration dialogue.

To help clean up the display and make it more readable, lets start by getting rid of the Start Hour label on the left. The way this schedule was created, the Start Hour is typically midnight and we can declutter the display by getting rid of that label.

Start by highlighting the Start Hour label in the Label Configuration dialogue. You will notice that the Settings section of the dialogue box will update to display the information for the Start Hour label.

Now click on Remove button to delete this label. It will disappear from the display. You will note that the Gantt Chart will update itself as you are making changes in the dialogue box. If you decided to hit cancel, the Start Hour label would reappear. The changes you make will not go into effect until you hit the OK button at the bottom.

We will now change the End Hour to read the total number of hours per Activity. Click on the End Hour label and choose Hour Duration from the Functions drop-down menu.

If you would also like to change the display font, you can click on the button and select a different font. We will not be changing the font in this exercise, but if you so desire you may.

If you hit OK in the Label Configuration dialogue box, you will see that the Gantt Chart view updates according to the edits you have made.

Configure Gantt
Now that we know how to change the labels and their placements, lets see what else we can do with the Gantt Chart display using the Configure Gantt button which looks like this: .

Clicking on this button will bring up the Gantt Plot Configuration dialogue.

We will only cover the Plot Definition tab in this tutorial.

Plot Definition
This tab shows you all the settings for the Gantt Chart Plot Area.

You can set how your Gantt Chart displays, including selecting the specific colors for each item in the display. For now, we will just remove the vertical lines from the Gantt Chart display. This will make it a bit easier to see the arrows that show the constraints between Activities.

Uncheck the Vertical Lines box and click OK at the bottom of this dialogue.

You will notice that now the Gantt Chart display is now much cleaner looking.

Still having trouble seeing how Activities relate to one another? You can try the Single Element Display to see a single Activity and its predecessors and successors.

Single Element Display


The Single Element Display will display any single, selected Activity and show its predecessors and successors.

Click on any Activity in the Gantt Chart view to highlight it. A highlighted Activity will have a bold dashed line outlining it.

When you have highlighted the desired Activity, click on the Single Element Display button bring up a display similar to that shown below.

. It will

As you can see, it is showing the workflow around Activity 6. The red arrows denote work flow and teal arrows denote resource-constrained work flow.

Exercise: Single Element Display


Taking a look at your schedule in Auroras Gantt Chart view, you wonder why there is a two day lag between when Activity 2 ends and Activity 6 begins.

If you look at the PERT Chart, you will also see that Activity 2 is the only predecessor to Activity 6. According to this workflow, Activity 6 should start right after Activity 2 ends.

So why is there a 2 day gap between when Activity 2 ends and Activity 6 begins? To figure this out, you can look at the Single Element Display.

By looking at the Single Element Display for Activity 6, you can tell that predecessors 2 and 5 must happen before 6, but now you know that 5 is a resource-constraining Activity (denoted by the teal arrow) so Activity 6 cannot start until Activity 5 has released enough resources. Similarly, you can also see that although Activity 7 is the workflow successor to Activity 6, both Activities 3 and 8 depend on the resources used by Activity 6; Activities 3 and 8 must wait for 6 to finish before they can start.

Preparing Files for Import by the Aurora Translator

The following short tutorial will help you correctly prepare your files for import into Aurora. While Aurora itself is a fully-capable scheduling program, the Aurora Translator can sometimes encounter difficulties when it comes to converting from other formats, e.g., MS Project. Here is how to correctly format your file so that the conversion will be seamless.

Formatting MS Project files:


1. Open or create file in MS Project 2003 or 2007

These versions of MS Project will give you the most compatibility with the Aurora Translator.

2. Verify that all activities or tasks within a project are linked together a. All tasks must have a predecessor (with the exception of the first task) b. All tasks must have a successor (with the exception of the last task) All activities or tasks must be linked to one another and originate from an initial task, usually the Start Project task. Similarly, the tasks should all have another task following it, with the exception of the final task. If you are using a multi-project network, then you must verify that each of the tasks in each project has a predecessor and successor (with the exception of the initial and final project tasks). This can be easily verified in the Gantt Chart view by selecting the Predecessors column header, right-clicking then selecting the Insert Columns option, then selecting Successors.

3. Verify that all the tasks with 0 duration (also called milestone tasks), do NOT have a resource associated with them. This can be expedited by clicking on the menu bar, Project -> Sort -> Sort By and selection Duration in the dialogue box. To return to the default Task Name sorting later, click on the menu bar, Project -> Sort -> by ID.

Aurora XML Import / Export Example with Primavera P6


The original file, titled Warehouse Project exported from P6 as MSP 2007 XML Was created in Primavera P6, then exported into Microsoft project XML, via Primavera P6. Then the file is imported as an Aurora using the built in Import capability, accessed via File->Import from MS Project XML:

Before the import is completed, Aurora provides the following options:

Add common start & end task; Aggressive durations set to _____% of current duration; Round-trip planned.
Explanation on the options:

Check the box to Add common start & end task. This exists because Aurora requires one common start and one common end node. If the model being imported already contains such, then do not select this option. The _____ option allows the aggressive durations to be calculated as a percentage of the safe durations. The Roundtrip option retains the hierarchical structure of the original file when the file is exported out of Aurora
For this example, the following selections are used:

After this import, Aurora hides the Summary Tasks. In the Duration Info tab for tasks, the Aggressive Duration is 67% the original Safe Duration.

Clicking on CCPM on the task bar on the top of the screen brings up the following screen. Click on More options to show the Buffer Length calculation options. For this example the 50% sum of aggressive durations option is used.

Clicking 3. Insert Buffers will schedule the project. Below is the result of what the example project looks like after it has been scheduled in Aurora:

Click on the image for a hi-res version

Export the file back into Microsoft In Aurora, go to File->Export to MS Project XML to save the current project as a XML to be read by Primavera P6 (or Microsoft Project).

For this example, the results are shown in Microsoft Project. In MS Project, Go to the Open option under File.

And select file format as XML:

Open the newly saved file XML file, import as New Project.

Below are screen shots of the example file in Aurora and MS Project
After having gone through 67% Aggressive durations, Roundtrip Planned, and Scheduled with 50% Sum Aggressive Durations.

Figure 1 Aurora Screenshot (click on the image for a hi-res version)

*Note that the tasks are ordered by Start Time in both Aurora and MS Project. To learn how to arrange by start time in MS Project, scroll to the bottom of the page.

Figure 2 MS Project Screenshot (click on the image for a hi-res version)

Example Results
The following table of data takes some tasks and compares values in the original MS Project XML file, Aurora file, and final exported values. The exported values in MSP match perfectly with Auroras Aggressive values. Task Primavera P6 Aurora Safe Aurora Aggressive 5 hours 22 minutes 32 hours 10 minutes 16 hours 5 minutes MSP Duration after exported out of Aurora 0.67 days 4.02 days 2.01 days 34.84 hours 2.68 hours

#6 Excavate #20 Cure Slab #31 Cure Footings FB Corrugate roofing clean up* FB Erect Steel Columns-Slab Concrete* Project Buffer *=Feeder Buffers

1 day 6 days 3 days n/a n/a

8 hours 48 hours 24 hours 34 hours 51 minutes 2 hours 41 minutes

n/a

72 hours 22 minutes

72.36 hours

How to sort by start date in MS Project:

Aurora XML Import / Export & Translator tutorial


This document explains how to export a Microsoft Project file into Aurora, the different import options available in Aurora, and the process to export a file out of Aurora and re-import into Microsoft Project. Note that the Microsoft Project XML format is a defacto industry standard that many other Project Management packages support, for example Primavera P6 & Deltek Open Plan. So the information here can be used when utilizing any software that supports Microsoft Project XML. For example, if using Primavera P6, one can use the export to Microsoft Project XML option to transfer information to Aurora, then use the import from Microsoft Project XML option to transfer information to Aurora.

To export a file from Microsoft Office Project to be edited in Aurora, you must export the file as a MS Project XML.
In Microsoft Project, go to File -> Save As

Then select Save as type: XML Format

This will save the file into a format readable by Auroras built in Import function.

To import a XML file saved from MS Project into Aurora:


Open up Aurora, then go to File->Import from MS Project XML:

Locate the XML file you saved earlier via Microsoft Project, then click Open.

Before the import is completed, Aurora provides the following options:

Add common start & end task; Aggressive durations set to _____% of current duration;

Round-trip planned.

Explanation on the options:

Add common start & end task. This option exists because Aurora requires one common start and one common end node. If the model being imported already contains such, then do not select this option. The Aggressive duration set to ____% of current duration option allows the aggressive durations to be calculated as a percentage of the safe durations. The Round-trip planned option retains the hierarchical structure of the original file when the file is exported out of Aurora

Export an Aurora file back into Microsoft Project


In Aurora, go to File->Export to MS Project XML to save the current project as a XML to be read by Microsoft Project.

Then in Microsoft Project, go to the Open option under File.

And select file format as XML:

Find and open the newly saved file XML file, then import as New Project. This will reopen the file in MS project and contains all the modifications made in Aurora.

*How to sort by start date in MS Project:

Below are examples demonstrating the import and export capability in conjunction with different analysis in Aurora:

Import with regular scheduling Import with Critical Chain scheduling Import with Round-trip option and regular scheduling Import with Round-trip option and Critical Chain scheduling

Importing into Aurora with regular scheduling


For this example, click OK on the Aurora Import Options menu without checking any of the options.

Once the XML file has been imported into Aurora, go to Schedule -> Schedule

Check both options Show Summary Report When Scheduled and Suppress Warnings, then hit OK.

This is what the example file looks like in Aurora, scheduled (without Critical Chain)

A view of the project Gantt chart

A view of this project after it is exported from Aurora and re-imported into MS Project: (Project is shown after Sort->By Start Date)

Importing into Aurora, then Critical Chain Scheduling


Again, do not check any options in the Import Options menu.

Once the file has been imported, you can perform a Critical Chain scheduling by going to CCPM -> Critical Chain

In the Critical Chain Settings, select 50% sum of aggressive durations for Buffer Length Method, then hit Insert Buffers under Calculations.

The resulting, CCPM schedule produces a project that looks like the screenshot below:

A view of the project Gantt chart in Aurora

This is what the document looks like after it has been re-imported into MS Project:

Importing into Aurora with Hierarchy/Round-trip planned option and plain scheduling
This screenshot displays the hierarchy structure of the project currently in Microsoft Project, before exporting to Aurora:

Check the round-trip planned box in Aurora Import Options

Below is what the project looks like in Aurora, notice the summary tasks from Microsoft Project have disappeared, thanks to the Round-trip option

Then schedule using non-CCPM process:

The result Gantt display:

And the resulting view after the file is exported out of Aurora as a XML and imported into MS Project:

Importing into Aurora with Round-trip planned option and Critical Chain scheduling in Aurora

After this import, like in the previous example, Aurora hides the Summary Tasks. Clicking on CCPM on the task bar on the top of the screen brings up the following screen. Click on More options to show the Buffer Length calculation options. For this example the 50% sum of aggressive durations option is used.

Clicking 3. Insert Buffers will schedule the project with CCPM. Below is the result of what the example project looks like after it has been scheduled in Aurora:

Gantt display of the current project, with CCPM links turned on:

Below is a screenshot of the project after it has been exported from Aurora, back into MS Project:

This following screenshot shows how the feeding buffers that were added in Aurora are displayed in Microsoft Project:

Using a basic template to create a new Critical Chain schedule


Getting started with Aurora can be a little confusing at first. This tutorial will show you how to use a basic template to create a simple schedule. Once you learn how to create a simple schedule, you will have the basic understanding to create as complicated a schedule as you require.

The basic steps are as follows:

o o o o o o

Download the template with one pre-loaded Activity Copy the sample Activity to create as many Activities are you require Add constraints to establish the relationships (predecessor and successor) between Activities Add Resource Requirements to your Activities Schedule your network using Aurora Perform Critical Chain Analysis on a schedule

Lets get started. Download the Basic Template (Basic Template.cmp) file by right-clicking on the link and selecting Save Link As and load it into Aurora (File menu -> Open). Ensure that the extension on this file is .cmp when saving.

When you open this file, you will notice that there is a new project called Basic Template with one Activity under it.

What we will be doing in this tutorial is creating new activities and establishing constraints on them to create a simple schedule. We will use the first Activity (labeled with a 1 in the screen shot above) and will copy it to create a sample network. We will create all the Activities that we need first (9 total) and then we will build the relationships between them. Activity 1 will be the starting node and Activity 9 will be the ending node. Neither of them will have any time duration, as they are simply the nodes where the projects begin and end. Only the Activities between them will have time durations.

Click on the Activity to highlight it and press the copy button at the bottom of the left-hand pane.

After you press the Copy button, Aurora will create a new Activity that is identical to the original and the screen should look like this when you click and highlight the new Activity.

You can now change the name and IP Number to be T1 and 2 as shown below:

Go to the Schedule Attributes tab in the middle pane and change the Active Duration to 1440 minutes.

Then, go to the Duration Info tab, and change the value for Safe Duration to 1440 minutes, and the Aggressive Duration to 720 minutes. For critical chain, the rule of thumb is that the Aggressive Duration will be half of the Safe Duration.

You may now continue in this manner to create more Activities. For this exercise, you will need to create a total of 9 Activities with the following durations:

Activity # 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Name T0 T1 T2 T3 T4 T5 T6 T7 T8

IP Number 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Active and Safe Durations 0 1440 2880 5760 4320 1440 7200 4320 0

Aggressive Duration 0 720 1440 2880 2160 720 3600 2160 0

The first two columns (Name and IP Number) will be entered in the Properties tab in the middle pane. The durations will be entered in the Schedule Attributes tab in the middle pane.

Once you have created all the Activities, your window should look like this:

Add Constraints to your schedule


Now we are ready to add some constraints (predecessors and successors) and make this look more like a schedule than a set of tasks.

Constraints are added by clicking on the Activity in either the left- or right-hand pane and then clicking on the Constraints tab in the middle pane. Lets start with Activity 1. We would like Activity 1 to be the predecessor to Activities 2, 3, 4, and 5. The easiest way to set constraints is to click on the Predecessor and then add in the Successors using the Constraints dialogue.

Click on Activity 1 in the left-hand pane and then click on the Constraints tab in the middle pane. Again, highlight the activity in the middle pane and click the Add button to open the Constraints Wizard dialogue.

You will notice that Activity 1 is not selectable and is marked in red; this is because you cannot add a constraint that loops back onto itself. What you want to do is select Activity 2 and then click the Next button.

This will bring us to the second page of the Constraint Wizard, that will ask you to define the relationship between the two constraints you have chosen (Activity 1 and Activity 2).

The first property in this new display (below the constraint type combo box) allows you to select the temporal constraint type. The default Normal selection indicates that this temporal constraint relates the start or end time of the first activity to the start or end time of the second activity. Selecting Normal in the temporal constraint type combo box enables the activity relationship property combo box directly below it, by default set to Finish <= Start. This property defines the exact nature of the temporal relationship between the two activities. Finish <= Start translates into the plain English statement the first activity must finish earlier than or at the same time as the start of the second activity. Mathematically this can be represented by the equation:

finish(first) <= start(second)

Note that the first activity is the activity you set out to edit.

Since we are editing Activity 1 and would like to make Activity 2 the successor, we would like to make this section read as Finish <= Start to indicate that Activity 1 will finish before Activity 2 starts.

For this tutorial, you will want to keep the rest of the options at the default selections and then click Create Constraint. Congratulations, you have added Activity 2 as a successor to Activity 1.

The PERT display on the right-hand panel will now update with an arrow connecting Activities 1 and 2.

Now, go back to the left panel, and select Activity 2, then under the Constraints tab, you will see that it has a Predecessor of Activity 1. Click on the Add button.

Select Activity 6 in the next screen, and hit Next.

In the next screen, create a constraint so itll look like the diagram below:

You will want to continue in this way to create constraints for every activity following the layout of this diagram:

When you are done, your PERT display may look crowded and you may want to rearrange the display by pressing press (auto-arrange) in the bar above the right-hand side panel. You can then

(auto-fit) to fit the elements to the display size.

You should get something similar to this view when you are finished:

Adding Resources to your Schedule


This video illustrates the steps below, may be helpful to watch the video first, then follow the steps. Video (Flash)

Note: In the example Basic Template.cmp file you downloaded for this tutorial, the resources have already been defined. The following is for future projects that you may create.

Click on the Resources tab in the main edit area. Then click the New Resource button on the bottom of the screen.

Click on the resource that has just been added, and adjust its properties via the Properties/Constraints/Capacity tab. Here you can change things such as Name, Description, Resource Type, Quantity, and other options for this newly created resource.

Once you have created the resource, you can also create an Instance of the said resource, by clicking on the New Instance button next to the New Resource button.

Adding Resource Requirements to Your Schedule


In the sample schedule that you have created so far, you have created Activities and established the relationships between them. Now, you can go back to the individual Activities and add Resource Requirements.

In the left-hand panel, click on Activity 2. In the middle panel, click on the Requirements tab. Once youre there, click on the Add button to open the dialogue box. For this sample schedule, we are going to use the A set of Requirements for all the Activities that require resources (Activities 2 through 8).

Once you hit ok from this dialogue box, you will have added a resource requirement. You will now see an added line in the Requirements tab that should look similar to below:

Depending on the Activity, you may need to change the quantity required. In this case, however, for Activity 2, we can leave the quantity at 1 and continue. You will need to add resource requirements to Activities 2 through 9 according to the following table:

Activity # 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Resource Set A set A set A set A set A set A set A set

Quantity Required 1 2 2 2 2 1 2

The reason why we do not add Required Resources to Activities 1 and 9 is because they function as milestone endpoints for our schedule. You will also notice that both Activity 1 and 9 have a duration of 0 minutes. This is also due to the fact that they are milestones and are merely a starting and ending point for the schedule.

Using Aurora to Schedule


Before we schedule the network, we will need to update the settings in Aurora. These settings may need to be changed each session, since they will not be saved into your file.

Open the Schedule settings by going to the file menu: Schedule -> Settings

In the dialogue box that appears called Scheduler Settings, you will want to highlight the scheduling parameter: Critical Path Prioritizer and click the up arrow 5 times to move it to the top of the list. Then click Close at the bottom of the dialogue box.

Access the Schedule function by again going to the file menu: Schedule -> Schedule

This will bring up another dialogue box. You want to select Safe and check the box for Show Summary Report when Scheduled and hit OK.

Aurora will now schedule the project and provide a Scheduling Summary Report window and a Pre-Schedule Analysis Problem Report window. If you have made the network as described above in the tutorial, you should see a Summary Report similar to this:

You can now close the Scheduling Summary Report window and the Pre-Schedule Analysis Problem Report windows.

To see the schedule in Gantt Chart form, you can go to the Display menu and select Display -> Gantt Chart.

Perform Critical Chain analysis on a schedule


Now, we will go through using Critical Chain in Aurora.

The following video illustrates the steps that will be performed below, it may be helpful to watch the video first, then follow the steps. Video

Open the dialogue from CCPM -> Critical Chain

Select More options under the Buffer Length Method to see additional options.

Under Critical Chain Selection the button for Random should already be checked. When performing Critical Chain, there is sometimes more than one candidate. This would be a more advanced concept and will not be covered during this tutorial. You should leave the selection at Random.

In Buffer Length Method, since there is only one set of durations, the best option is the top one of 50% sum of aggressive durations. Note that the percent can be changed to any number that you would like using the number entry box to the left, but for this example. We will leave it at 50%.

Under Calculations you may choose to do all three steps individually by clicking on the three buttons in succession, but you can also click Insert Buffers and all three steps (Find Critical Chain, Find Chain Feeders, and Insert Buffers) will be performed automatically. After you click Insert Buffers another dialogue window should pop up. Once Aurora is done calculating (it should take only a few seconds) you can close all the dialogue windows and take a look at the updated schedule.

You should now note that the Total Wall Clock Working Duration has changed. You may also note that Aurora has inserted a number of Feeding Chains and identified the number of Critical Chain Elements.

The new Gantt chart should look similar to this screenshot:

Note that the feeding buffers show up in blue in the Gantt chart view. By going back to the Edit tab, you will be able to see the feeder buffers and project buffers in the Network Diagram.

Evaluate and View a Schedule in Aurora


This article will help you evaluate and view a schedule in Aurora.

Aurora provides many different views to help you evaluate your schedule.

To see all the possible displays, you can go to the Displays menu. The possible displays are:

o o o o o o o o o

PERT Chart Spatial Plot Histogram Plot Ergonomic Plot Gantt Chart Chain Plot Fever Chart Split Display Tabular Editor

Displays that will be covered in this tutorial are:

Gantt Chart

o o

Histogram Plot Tabular Editor

Gantt Chart
The Gantt chart (based on a design developed by Henry Gantt in 1910) plots activities in a schedule by the temporal order in which theyll be carried out. The X-axis represents time (increasing from left to right), and activities are drawn as rectangles with start points and lengths corresponding to their start dates and completion times respectively. Activities that overlap in time (i.e. activities that occur simultaneously for some or all of their duration) are stacked vertically, leading to a general trend (with the default display settings) of activities being drawn from the charts upper-left towards its lower-right.

To access the Gantt Chart display in Aurora click on the Displays menu -> Gantt Chart as shown below.

You will notice that Aurora will create different tabs across the top bar as you open more windows. Use these tabs to switch between the different displays. The Edit tab is where you created the schedule parameters and where you can edit them as needed.

To rename or close these tabs, right-click on the tab you wish to close and you can choose to Rename or Close the selected tab.

Resizing the View To zoom in and out of the view, place your mouse either above the chart display in the date section, or to the left of the chart (the areas designated in red in the following screenshot), click and drag to resize. These slider bars will only appear after you have clicked in the area above or to the left of the Gantt Chart and will disappear after you are done resizing your chart. You can see these bars in action in the following short Gantt Chart Video.

In the Gantt Chart view, there are several buttons that may help you view your schedule more efficiently.

-- Shows a legend for the plot elements and constraints

This button will toggle the Legend for the Gantt Chart. The Legend window can be moved around by clicking and dragging the title bar.

-- Configure how constraints are displayed

This button will bring up the Constraint Display Configuration window.

Clicking Show all constraints will link the tasks together in your Gantt Chart so you can more easily see how tasks are related to one another.

You may also notice that the Legend will also display the different types of constraints and the corresponding colors on the chart.

Histogram Plot

Resource plots show how the resources in your model are utilized over time. The histogram resource plot is most useful for visualizing the partial utilization of resources that can be split up, e.g. a work crew consisting of multiple people each of whom can carry out a different task.

To create a histogram plot, select Histogram Plot from the Displays menu item in the main Aurora window. The newly created plot will initially be empty; youll need to specify exactly which resources or resource sets youd like to see displayed. The Histogram Plot Configuration dialogue box will appear to allow you to add resources to the display.

Resources in the right-hand pane of this dialogue will be displayed in the histogram plot. To add a resource, select it in the left-hand pane and click the Add button at the bottom of the pane. Note that you can also add entire resource sets in the By Resource Set tab, or choose resources by the activities that utilize them in the By Task tab.

When youve added all the resources youre interested in plotting, click OK in the dialogue to draw the plot.

An example histogram plot showing one resource is displayed above. The X-axis represents time (increasing from left to right), and each resource is assigned to its own row. Within a row, utilization amount is represented on the vertical axis, with the top of the row indicating the maximum amount of the resource. The background color indicates the availability of the resource: a white background indicates that the resource (or some amount of the resource, depending on the span of the color) is available, while a blue background indicates that it is unavailable. Black boxes represent activities utilizing a resource, with the width of the box indicating the span of usage time and height representing the amount of the resource in use.

Clicking on boxes in the histogram display will show the activities that utilize the resource during the periods spanned by the box. Double clicking on an activity will bring up a dialogue displaying its properties.

Tabular Editor
The Tabular Editor is a powerful tool that gives you an easy way to view and edit a large number of properties at once. It functions similarly to a spreadsheet and is an editable table of activities and properties. To open the Tabular Editor, go to the Displays menu and select Tabular Editor from the options.

As shown in the above screen screenshot, each row will contain all the properties of the specified Activity. The columns can be sorted by click on the heading of the column. A small arrow will display next to the heading indicating that the table has been sorted according to that heading.

Each column can be resized by floating the mouse cursor over the line between the headers until a double-sided arrow appears, clicking, and dragging to the desired size.

By cutting and pasting properties between cells, you can quickly and easily change a large amount of data at once. Since Aurora does not provide drop-down boxes and some of the fields require exactly the right text in order to work correctly, it is sometimes desirable to open the Activity properties window and enter data there. You can do this by clicking on the button. This will open a dialogue box with the Activity properties. Then you can go back to the Tabular Editor, copy the data, and then paste it in the appropriate column for as many other Activities as you wish.

Advanced Gantt Chart


This tutorial will help you use the more advanced features in Auroras Gantt Chart view. Auroras Gantt Chart view is highly customizable and can be a powerful tool to help you understand your schedule.

Topics that will be covered in this tutorial are:

Showing constraints between tasks .................................................................................... 1 Customizing the Display...................................................................................................... 5 Configure Label Placement and Content ............................................................................ 5 Exercise: Changing Labels ................................................................................................. 8 Configure Gantt ................................................................................................................. 10 Single Element Display ..................................................................................................... 13 Exercise: Single Element Display ..................................................................................... 13

If you would like to follow this tutorial exactly as shown in the screenshots, download the Basic Template 9 Items UNSCHED.cmp file and load it into Aurora. All screenshots have been taken using this very basic file.

Short flash videos have been provided for some of the segments. Click on the Video link after the titles to view them.

Showing constraints between tasks

Short Flash Video

Open the Gantt Chart display in Aurora by clicking on the Displays menu -> Gantt Chart as shown below.

This is the default view that Aurora will show you.

To show the constraints between tasks, click on the Configure how Constraints are Displayed button.

This will bring up the Constraint Display Configuration dialogue box.

You can use this dialogue box to show the relationships between tasks on the Gantt Chart. For now, we will select the Show all constraints radio button at the top and click OK.

You will now notice that Aurora has added arrows to the Gantt Chart that show the relationships between the tasks.

To help decode what the colored arrowed mean, you can have Aurora show the Legend by clicking on the Display Legend button .

The Legend helps you understand that red arrows denote a Temporal FinishStart relationship and that teal indicates a Start Driver relationship, which indicates a resource-constraint.

Now you know what the different arrows mean, but its still difficult to see where they are with the current display. To help with this issue, the next section of this tutorial will now show you how to edit the way the Gantt Chart displays to make information easier to see.

Customizing the Display

In Aurora, by customizing the Gantt Chart view, you can more easily see the information that you need.

In the toolbar directly above the Gantt Chart, these two buttons will help you customize the way the chart appears:

Configure Label Placement and Content Change the placement and content of labels as displayed on the Chart

Configure Gantt Configure how the Chart area looks

Configure Label Placement and Content


As you can see in the screenshot below, the default in Aurora is to display the Start Hour and End Hour on either side of the bar that represents each Activity and the Primary Key Fn centered above the bar. Note that the Primary Key Fn typically denotes the IP Number of the Activity. The IP Number is also what is displayed on the PERT Chart in the Edit tab.

These three fields can be customized by clicking on the Configuration dialogue box.

button and changing the fields in the Label

As you can see in the screenshot, the Label Configuration dialogue box provides you with a visual way to edit the labels and placement. The default bluehighlighted boxes (labels) can be moved by clicking and dragging with the mouse and also resized by clicking and dragging the corners (note that the cursor will not change when you hover over the corner). The labels will snap to the grid and can be rearranged anywhere inside the dialogue. The Create, Edit, Remove, and Copy buttons allow you to create new labels and delete unwanted labels as needed.

You can see the settings for each of the labels by clicking on them to highlight them in the upper half of the dialogue box. The Settings section will change

with each label that is highlighted. You can change the function and alignment of each label using the drop-down boxes.

Now lets do an exercise to change the Gantt Chart to clean up the display.

Exercise: Changing Labels


For this exercise, we will be changing the way the Gantt Chart displays by using the Label Configuration dialogue.

To help clean up the display and make it more readable, lets start by getting rid of the Start Hour label on the left. The way this schedule was created, the Start Hour is typically midnight and we can declutter the display by getting rid of that label.

Start by highlighting the Start Hour label in the Label Configuration dialogue. You will notice that the Settings section of the dialogue box will update to display the information for the Start Hour label.

Now click on Remove button to delete this label. It will disappear from the display. You will note that the Gantt Chart will update itself as you are making changes in the dialogue box. If you decided to hit cancel, the Start Hour label would reappear. The changes you make will not go into effect until you hit the OK button at the bottom.

We will now change the End Hour to read the total number of hours per Activity. Click on the End Hour label and choose Hour Duration from the Functions drop-down menu.

If you would also like to change the display font, you can click on the button and select a different font. We will not be changing the font in this exercise, but if you so desire you may.

If you hit OK in the Label Configuration dialogue box, you will see that the Gantt Chart view updates according to the edits you have made.

Configure Gantt
Now that we know how to change the labels and their placements, lets see what else we can do with the Gantt Chart display using the Configure Gantt button which looks like this: .

Clicking on this button will bring up the Gantt Plot Configuration dialogue.

We will only cover the Plot Definition tab in this tutorial.

Plot Definition
This tab shows you all the settings for the Gantt Chart Plot Area.

You can set how your Gantt Chart displays, including selecting the specific colors for each item in the display. For now, we will just remove the vertical lines from the Gantt Chart display. This will make it a bit easier to see the arrows that show the constraints between Activities.

Uncheck the Vertical Lines box and click OK at the bottom of this dialogue.

You will notice that now the Gantt Chart display is now much cleaner looking.

Still having trouble seeing how Activities relate to one another? You can try the Single Element Display to see a single Activity and its predecessors and successors.

Single Element Display


The Single Element Display will display any single, selected Activity and show its predecessors and successors.

Click on any Activity in the Gantt Chart view to highlight it. A highlighted Activity will have a bold dashed line outlining it.

When you have highlighted the desired Activity, click on the Single Element Display button bring up a display similar to that shown below.

. It will

As you can see, it is showing the workflow around Activity 6. The red arrows denote work flow and teal arrows denote resource-constrained work flow.

Exercise: Single Element Display


Taking a look at your schedule in Auroras Gantt Chart view, you wonder why there is a two day lag between when Activity 2 ends and Activity 6 begins.

If you look at the PERT Chart, you will also see that Activity 2 is the only predecessor to Activity 6. According to this workflow, Activity 6 should start right after Activity 2 ends.

So why is there a 2 day gap between when Activity 2 ends and Activity 6 begins? To figure this out, you can look at the Single Element Display.

By looking at the Single Element Display for Activity 6, you can tell that predecessors 2 and 5 must happen before 6, but now you know that 5 is a resource-constraining Activity (denoted by the teal arrow) so Activity 6 cannot start until Activity 5 has released enough resources. Similarly, you can also see that although Activity 7 is the workflow successor to Activity 6, both Activities 3 and 8 depend on the resources used by Activity 6; Activities 3 and 8 must wait for 6 to finish before they can start.

Preparing Files for Import by the Aurora Translator

The following short tutorial will help you correctly prepare your files for import into Aurora. While Aurora itself is a fully-capable scheduling program, the Aurora Translator can sometimes encounter difficulties when it comes to converting from other formats, e.g., MS Project. Here is how to correctly format your file so that the conversion will be seamless.

Formatting MS Project files:


1. Open or create file in MS Project 2003 or 2007

These versions of MS Project will give you the most compatibility with the Aurora Translator.

2. Verify that all activities or tasks within a project are linked together a. All tasks must have a predecessor (with the exception of the first task) b. All tasks must have a successor (with the exception of the last task) All activities or tasks must be linked to one another and originate from an initial task, usually the Start Project task. Similarly, the tasks should all have another task following it, with the exception of the final task. If you are using a multi-project network, then you must verify that each of the tasks in each project has a predecessor and successor (with the exception of the initial and final project tasks). This can be easily verified in the Gantt Chart view by selecting the Predecessors column header, right-clicking then selecting the Insert Columns option, then selecting Successors.

3. Verify that all the tasks with 0 duration (also called milestone tasks), do NOT have a resource associated with them. This can be expedited by clicking on the menu bar, Project -> Sort -> Sort By and selection Duration in the dialogue box. To return to the default Task Name sorting later, click on the menu bar, Project -> Sort -> by ID.

Aurora XML Import / Export Example with Primavera P6


The original file, titled Warehouse Project exported from P6 as MSP 2007 XML Was created in Primavera P6, then exported into Microsoft project XML, via Primavera P6. Then the file is imported as an Aurora using the built in Import capability, accessed via File->Import from MS Project XML:

Before the import is completed, Aurora provides the following options:

Add common start & end task; Aggressive durations set to _____% of current duration; Round-trip planned.
Explanation on the options:

Check the box to Add common start & end task. This exists because Aurora requires one common start and one common end node. If the model being imported already contains such, then do not select this option. The _____ option allows the aggressive durations to be calculated as a percentage of the safe durations. The Roundtrip option retains the hierarchical structure of the original file when the file is exported out of Aurora
For this example, the following selections are used:

After this import, Aurora hides the Summary Tasks. In the Duration Info tab for tasks, the Aggressive Duration is 67% the original Safe Duration.

Clicking on CCPM on the task bar on the top of the screen brings up the following screen. Click on More options to show the Buffer Length calculation options. For this example the 50% sum of aggressive durations option is used.

Clicking 3. Insert Buffers will schedule the project. Below is the result of what the example project looks like after it has been scheduled in Aurora:

Click on the image for a hi-res version

Export the file back into Microsoft In Aurora, go to File->Export to MS Project XML to save the current project as a XML to be read by Primavera P6 (or Microsoft Project).

For this example, the results are shown in Microsoft Project. In MS Project, Go to the Open option under File.

And select file format as XML:

Open the newly saved file XML file, import as New Project.

Below are screen shots of the example file in Aurora and MS Project
After having gone through 67% Aggressive durations, Roundtrip Planned, and Scheduled with 50% Sum Aggressive Durations.

Figure 1 Aurora Screenshot (click on the image for a hi-res version)

*Note that the tasks are ordered by Start Time in both Aurora and MS Project. To learn how to arrange by start time in MS Project, scroll to the bottom of the page.

Figure 2 MS Project Screenshot (click on the image for a hi-res version)

Example Results
The following table of data takes some tasks and compares values in the original MS Project XML file, Aurora file, and final exported values. The exported values in MSP match perfectly with Auroras Aggressive values. Task Primavera P6 Aurora Safe Aurora Aggressive 5 hours 22 minutes 32 hours 10 minutes 16 hours 5 minutes MSP Duration after exported out of Aurora 0.67 days 4.02 days 2.01 days 34.84 hours 2.68 hours

#6 Excavate #20 Cure Slab #31 Cure Footings FB Corrugate roofing clean up* FB Erect Steel Columns-Slab Concrete* Project Buffer *=Feeder Buffers

1 day 6 days 3 days n/a n/a

8 hours 48 hours 24 hours 34 hours 51 minutes 2 hours 41 minutes

n/a

72 hours 22 minutes

72.36 hours

How to sort by start date in MS Project:

Aurora XML Import / Export & Translator tutorial


This document explains how to export a Microsoft Project file into Aurora, the different import options available in Aurora, and the process to export a file out of Aurora and re-import into Microsoft Project. Note that the Microsoft Project XML format is a defacto industry standard that many other Project Management packages support, for example Primavera P6 & Deltek Open Plan. So the information here can be used when utilizing any software that supports Microsoft Project XML. For example, if using Primavera P6, one can use the export to Microsoft Project XML option to transfer information to Aurora, then use the import from Microsoft Project XML option to transfer information to Aurora.

To export a file from Microsoft Office Project to be edited in Aurora, you must export the file as a MS Project XML.
In Microsoft Project, go to File -> Save As

Then select Save as type: XML Format

This will save the file into a format readable by Auroras built in Import function.

To import a XML file saved from MS Project into Aurora:


Open up Aurora, then go to File->Import from MS Project XML:

Locate the XML file you saved earlier via Microsoft Project, then click Open.

Before the import is completed, Aurora provides the following options:

Add common start & end task; Aggressive durations set to _____% of current duration;

Round-trip planned.

Explanation on the options:

Add common start & end task. This option exists because Aurora requires one common start and one common end node. If the model being imported already contains such, then do not select this option. The Aggressive duration set to ____% of current duration option allows the aggressive durations to be calculated as a percentage of the safe durations. The Round-trip planned option retains the hierarchical structure of the original file when the file is exported out of Aurora

Export an Aurora file back into Microsoft Project


In Aurora, go to File->Export to MS Project XML to save the current project as a XML to be read by Microsoft Project.

Then in Microsoft Project, go to the Open option under File.

And select file format as XML:

Find and open the newly saved file XML file, then import as New Project. This will reopen the file in MS project and contains all the modifications made in Aurora.

*How to sort by start date in MS Project:

Below are examples demonstrating the import and export capability in conjunction with different analysis in Aurora:

Import with regular scheduling Import with Critical Chain scheduling Import with Round-trip option and regular scheduling Import with Round-trip option and Critical Chain scheduling

Importing into Aurora with regular scheduling


For this example, click OK on the Aurora Import Options menu without checking any of the options.

Once the XML file has been imported into Aurora, go to Schedule -> Schedule

Check both options Show Summary Report When Scheduled and Suppress Warnings, then hit OK.

This is what the example file looks like in Aurora, scheduled (without Critical Chain)

A view of the project Gantt chart

A view of this project after it is exported from Aurora and re-imported into MS Project: (Project is shown after Sort->By Start Date)

Importing into Aurora, then Critical Chain Scheduling


Again, do not check any options in the Import Options menu.

Once the file has been imported, you can perform a Critical Chain scheduling by going to CCPM -> Critical Chain

In the Critical Chain Settings, select 50% sum of aggressive durations for Buffer Length Method, then hit Insert Buffers under Calculations.

The resulting, CCPM schedule produces a project that looks like the screenshot below:

A view of the project Gantt chart in Aurora

This is what the document looks like after it has been re-imported into MS Project:

Importing into Aurora with Hierarchy/Round-trip planned option and plain scheduling
This screenshot displays the hierarchy structure of the project currently in Microsoft Project, before exporting to Aurora:

Check the round-trip planned box in Aurora Import Options

Below is what the project looks like in Aurora, notice the summary tasks from Microsoft Project have disappeared, thanks to the Round-trip option

Then schedule using non-CCPM process:

The result Gantt display:

And the resulting view after the file is exported out of Aurora as a XML and imported into MS Project:

Importing into Aurora with Round-trip planned option and Critical Chain scheduling in Aurora

After this import, like in the previous example, Aurora hides the Summary Tasks. Clicking on CCPM on the task bar on the top of the screen brings up the following screen. Click on More options to show the Buffer Length calculation options. For this example the 50% sum of aggressive durations option is used.

Clicking 3. Insert Buffers will schedule the project with CCPM. Below is the result of what the example project looks like after it has been scheduled in Aurora:

Gantt display of the current project, with CCPM links turned on:

Below is a screenshot of the project after it has been exported from Aurora, back into MS Project:

This following screenshot shows how the feeding buffers that were added in Aurora are displayed in Microsoft Project: