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A recurrent trend of this column is discussing the legal ramifications of new means, methods and technologies. We also discuss CPM. So, how may P6 R8 change the legal landscape? 

P6 R8 is the latest release of Oracle Primavera's flagship CPM scheduling software. This product completes the half century and 360° migration from a centralized mainframe to a personal and back to a centralized server.

But there are differences. In the 1960s and 70s, the owner and contractor “shared” the mainframe. Each did not have its own database and each did not have a unique custom algorithm for calculating a schedule from the input pure logic diagram. The CPM calculation was simple, and could be done by hand.  

An owner, with a portfolio of many projects and programs, may choose software and option switches to support its special needs such as continuous (non-interruptible) work assignments and ten hour days, prioritizing for lowest unit cost of production and company standard.

Requiring the contractor to submit a schedule to run under such software settings is not suggesting the owner is directing the contractor to deliberately defer work on any activity until it can be performed continuously (and thus almost certainly delay the project), nor to work more than eight hours per day.

While the calculation algorithm of a specified P6 schedule may be tuned to favor better productivity on any activity over timely completion of the project, we presume the owner still prefers timely completion 

A problem often reported has been that with hundreds of options and switches for tweaking the schedule calculation algorithm, it is unlikely that the contractor and owner P6 software will exactly agree. The question has almost become, "how much divergence is permitted?"

But now, P6 R8 solves this issue. The specification need only require the contractor pay for one or more "named individual" visitor’s licenses, and then log in and prepare, present, and update their schedule on the computer of the owner or its engineer. 

One machine, one algorithm, one result. 

We have previously discussed a trend where contractors prepare and submit a P6 schedule to meet the owner’s spec, but then scheduled work on the site using other means. There is noting wrong with this. The owner gets what it wants – further assurance that the project is progressing and can finish on-time – and the contractor has its own tool to make this happen.  

As far as may go claims, that's the possible topic of another post of this blog.