The Microsoft Project Add-In, named IPM Utilities, is a set of tools created to streamline interactions between certain IPM procedures and your Microsoft Project schedule. Other useful features are included as well, and grouped separately in the 'Other Utilities' section; these are not directly involved with IPM.
The IPM Utilities are installed for all users on a computer, and the installation will require administrative privileges. The download information for the most recent version can be found below.
The 32- and 64-bit versions of Microsoft Project are supported. The ribbon menu does not exist in Project versions before Project 2010, so the interface will appear differently.
The IPM Utilities are free, but they must be activated after a thirty-day trial period. This means you need to register the software with the free serial number 33d5-a6ed. The software registers automatically if you use the top button on the activation screen: “Active Now using your issued serial number”.
This form is responsible for storing your field settings for the IPM Utilities. The Settings Profile Tag text box at the top of the form is used to maintain your settings between multiple Project files. Entering in a unique, identifying tag for the settings you have entered will tag that Project file with your profile, and in the future will load the corresponding settings. This makes transitioning between multiple Project files seamless once they have been tagged with different settings profiles. The text you enter must be 10 characters or less.
The Settings form requires the user to select several fields from their Project file through the drop-down boxes provided in the Field Settings section. Each field select should correlate with its description. These options should correspond to what has already been assigned in IPM, allowing the automated processes to interact with the schedule appropriately.
If these settings are not updated or not correct then you may experience errors while operating the utilities.
This process uses a Microsoft Excel file exported from IPM to update the status of designated tasks in your Microsoft Project schedule. To accomplish this, follow these steps:
This utility exports the current status of your Microsoft Project file to a predetermined format that can then be imported into the cost system. Any inactive tasks in your schedule will be ignored. The typical process is dictated below:
The export process first validates your schedule data to ensure it can be transferred to the destination cost system without issues. Below is a listing and explanation of these errors.
This utility is responsible for carrying BCR changes from Microsoft Project over to IPM. It accomplishes this by exporting all of the necessary information from each activity that is marked with a BCR number in the Change Control field identified in your settings. The export is created in a comma-separated values text file (.csv) in the same folder location as the Project file. This file can then be uploaded into IPM.
Before the utility will allow the creation of the export file for IPM, it will first verify the integrity of the changes being made. The validation process will check for several things, but some checks are given a lower priority than others. These low priority checks will be listed as Warnings, while the urgent checks will be listed as Errors. Please see below to determine the criteria for any errors or warnings you may receive. Note that inactive tasks are not subjected to these logic tests, but they may still be exported if the BCR field values correspond.
This utility provides the capability to convert images created in the software Milestones Professional from their default file format to the .png image format. This allows the files to be uploaded into IPM while retaining their high quality image resolution.
Begin by using the Browse button at the top of the form to select the folder containing the Milestones Professional files you would like to export. Use the Search button at the bottom of this section to find all of the Milestones Pro files available. If you enable the “Search SubDirectories” check box, the process will look not only in the folder you selected, but also all folders contained within the initial folder. If the search process either takes too long, or you see all of the files you need already, you can use the “Stop” button to cease the search process.
Once you can see your Milestones Professional files in the list, select which ones you would like to export using the “Select” column. The “Select All” check box will deselect/select all files in the list.
Now, use the Browse button at the bottom of the form to select your export location. This is the folder where the resulting .PNG image files will appear. With the appropriate files still selected, use the Export Selected File(s) button to begin the export process. Once completed, you may access the newly created PNG files in the folder specified.
This process uses a Microsoft Excel file exported from IPM to update your Microsoft Project file with earned value data.
The information being imported to your Project file represents all the EV data that was identified during the IPM baseline process. Work Package ID, Milestone ID, Milestone Weight, EVT, and schedule Exemption information is updated to the schedule to ensure a solid linking connection to the cost data.
NOTE: It is very important that this process is executed if schedule changes are to be uploaded to IPM, overwriting the schedule that is already there. Avoiding this step can cause EV information identified in IPM to be lost.
Clicking on this utility exports your Microsoft Project file's calendar to a “*.CSV” text file that is saved in the same location as the Project file. This text file is then uploaded into IPM to determine the non-working days for the schedule.
This form is responsible for storing the settings for all of the Other Utilities. These are the general-purpose tools not directly related to IPM.
You may manage different settings profiles by using the File options: Create, Save, Rename, and Delete. These profiles are stored on your machine; they are independent from the Microsoft Project file you are using.
The drop-down options should have Project custom fields that correspond to each description. These custom fields are used during the Inspect Schedule Status checks.
The last option, “Restore user filter after Inspect Schedule runs/closes”, indicates whether the Inspect Schedule tool will reapply whatever filter you had on your project before running it.
This utility contains a a series of schedule health checks broken into three categories: DCMA 14-point, EVAS, and IPM. The IPM checks are designed to OPDEC's IPM software and its custom requirements, while the 14-point and EVAS checks conform to DCMA's requirements.
The DCMA checks typically exclude tasks meeting the following criteria: Summaries, LOE, Completed, and Milestones. Also, specifically for MS Project, we are excluding inactive tasks. For convenience, the tasks not excluded by this criteria will be referred to as “incomplete tasks”. The criteria we use to define our exclusions are listed below.
For some of the checks, we must look at tasks with an Actual Finish date. These tasks follow all of the same criteria as “incomplete tasks” except the 'Completed' criteria above. For convenience, these tasks will be referred to as “total tasks” below.
Some of the DCMA checks require that we include some of these tasks, and these exceptions will be noted in below.
The BEI is always shown along with the Hit Task Percentage (HTP). The HTP is displayed in the Exempt column of the utility for this check. The calculation steps for the HTP are listed below.
The EVAS checks include most of the Artifact 11 checks (categorized as requiring only the IMS) items with a few exceptions. Excluded are the checks requiring unavailable EV Percent Complete or BCWP values (“06A504a”, “06A504b”, and “10A302b”) as well as check “06A211a” which requires external contractor information.
For convenience, when referencing “incomplete tasks” in the descriptions below, we are referring to tasks that meet the following criteria:
This utility provides the capability to step through each task of predecessor to successor relationship, viewing detailed information about each task along the way.
Upon opening the utility, the task you currently have selected will be displayed in the middle section of the screen. Its predecessors are shown above, and its successors are shown below. Navigate through a relationship by selecting the Predecessor/Successor Task Name link or double clicking anywhere in the row to load the selected task as the current task. You may also select a task in the Project window in order to load it as the current task. Selecting the left arrow will navigate back to the previously selected task, while the right arrow will move the selection to back to your most recent position. You may also enter in the task ID or UID in the boxes at the top of the form and press the ENTER key to navigate to the specified task.
All duration fields displayed are converted to day measurement units (as defined by your Hours Per Day setting in Project). Most fields shown in the Navigate Tasks window are self-explanatory; however, there are two that may require further elaboration: Gap and OoS.
The Gap field displays the duration between the relationship end of a predecessor and relationship start of its successor. The Out of Sequence (OoS) field will be filled with a red flag icon if the task's status is illogical. The criteria of the Out of Sequence check can be changed on the Settings form. The “Compare Actual dates on Out of Sequence checks” option toggles whether the OoS and Gap columns will make date comparisons between the Actual Starts/Finishes provided to ensure they are in sequence, or just accept any Actual Start/Finish provided to a predecessor/successor. When the option is checked, you have the more precise result.
This utility consists of two tabs: Set Milestones and Release Milestones.
The Milestone Field setting indicates which field you have allocated to identify the milestone tasks. This should be an empty text field that only has values (the value itself can be anything) entered for milestone tasks. This process does not use any settings from the Settings form.
After selecting a constraint date and constraint type, click the Set Milestones button to apply those constraints to all milestone tasks.
Simply click the Release Milestones button on this tab to set the constraint type of the identified milestone tasks back to 'As Soon As Possible'.
Clicking the Find UID button or using the keyboard shortcut (Ctrl+Shift+F) will launch the Find UID utility. This utility will select the task UID provided, and scroll the focus of Project to the task.
Clicking this utility simply applies the All Tasks filter to your Project file, opens all outline levels, and scrolls the file's focus to the first task.
The Help button will launch this website in your default web browser. For any additional help, please email email@example.com
The About button will display basic information about your version of the installation as well as contact information if you have any questions about the utilities.
The Download Update button will display a form that compares your installed version of the IPM Utilities to the version that is currently available for download. If there is a more recent version of the IPM Utilities available, the form will enable the option to download it. If not, the download button will be disabled.
Additionally, you may enable/disable automatic reminders about new available updates through this form by toggling the check box on or off. If kept enabled, the utilities will remind you of any available updates when you try to use a utility.