Foolproof Steps to a Strong Integrated PM Solution – Pt. 2

Thu 25 Aug 2022 posted by Project Partners


In this two-part blog series, we will share the approach and effort to integrate Oracle Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management (EPPM) schedules with different Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, and the benefits realized from these solutions.

Last week we reviewed why and how a strong integrated project management solution is important for any project-centric organization. Missed this information? Click here to read Part 1.

The 8 Key Elements

The key elements to a fully integrated project management solution include the following:

  1. Follow standard best practices for systems design and implementation. Ensure that all project stakeholders are included in the requirements gathering and design and testing phases. There will be some standard solutions design, but each organization may have specific process design requirements to consider.
  2. Once the system is implemented, ensure a collaborative approach to the planning effort. Get input from all project stakeholders to confirm ownership of the scheduled activities and the estimates to complete the work. If the resources working on the project do not agree with the schedule logic and calculations or if it is unclear what the activities are, they will not be sure which activities they are charging to while executing the work.
  3. Once the schedules and estimates are added to P6, conduct a schedule review with the team and make any final adjustments. Create a baseline in P6 to use for comparison as work proceeds. 
  4. Ensure the project and activities are transferred to the ERP system before the team is ready to begin project work. Activities/tasks must be in the system to allow time/cost capture. Ensure that the team members reporting hours on the project are clear about the task definition and completion criteria.
  5. Use the P6 progress update solutions to capture schedule progress and % complete on the planned work?. These progress updates should align with the costing cycles within the ERP system.
  6. Implement an error handling solution that provides users with information about the success or failure of the data transfer. Users should have visibility of any errors during the integration and a process to escalate for error resolution.
  7. Any system should include a monitoring and adjusting period to implement any improvements to the solution either through business process changes or the technical design.
  8. Remember that any new system will take some time for user adoption. Some handholding may be required initially, but after time should be reduced.

The Use Case

Over the past 15 years, our company has worked with hundreds of organizations to implement integrated Primavera P6 EPPM (P6) solutions. Recently, we worked with a large water district with over a $400 million annual capital project budget to implement a two-way integration from P6 to their financial systems. This company’s projects and activities (tasks) originated in P6 and were sent to the financial system to create cost collection tasks.

Before we arrived, this company was already using P6, so they were familiar with P6’s capabilities of assisting with project planning, execution, and control functions. However, they did not realize the true benefits without the actual costs from the financial system. With the addition of the integration features provided by Project Partners, the project managers have increased visibility to project performance; the missing information is now available directly in the scheduling system.

For this company, P6 is used to create projects and activities and assign roles and resources to activities: 

  1. P6 users set the baseline and transfer the project information to the ERP (where new projects are created via integration).
  2.  The financial team reviews the projects.
  3. The financial team completes the setup before the project tasks are available to charge costs.

For this utility company, actual costs for labor are compiled bi-weekly. Other charges on the project are processed daily and are made available for daily transfers back to P6. The P6 scheduling team ensures that progress updates are aligned with the actual cost reporting periods. Finally, all the progress reporting and actuals are processed.

P6 will display the planned, actual, remaining, and at-completion costs at resource, activity, WBS (Work Breakdown Structure), and project level, as well as the variance between the planned (baseline) cost and the projected at-completion cost for all levels. This information is updated regularly to ensure access to timely project information.

In this use case, the actual units (hours) and costs are transferred from the ERP system to P6. The project manager can then update the remaining units and costs to reflect the hours needed to complete the activity.


Integrated solutions are routinely implemented in project-based organizations. The addition of near real-time actual costs on projects allows project managers to focus on project execution and control without running reports in the ERP system and merging the schedule data with the actual costs. So, the information is readily available in P6, where project managers can perform scenario planning to see how adjustments to the schedule or the budget (planned) hours and costs can help to get the project back on track.

Continue reading about our Primavera integration solutions:

About the Author

Terri Maginnis is the Practice Director in the Project Partners  Primavera / PPM Division. She has 30+ years of project management, scheduling, business process improvement, and solution architect experience that spans multiple sectors including AEC, power/utilities, information technology, transportation, health care, DOD/military construction, and higher education. Terri began her project management career as a U. S. Navy Civil Engineer Corps officer and started using Primavera as a general contractor in 1989. In 1998, she established an Information Technology Project Management PMO for the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) working on the corporate database project, a custom CRM rollout, and several investment office projects. She also set up an ITPMO for Hewlett Packard’s ProCurve Networking Division’s IT organization. She began Primavera consulting in 2006 and has designed, implemented, and trained solutions for 100+ companies in the use of Primavera products for business process improvement.