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1.Getting Started

Welcome to the NetPoint® User Guide with NetRisk™ Risk Analysis. NetPoint® is a powerful and easy-to-use project planning and scheduling application. NetRisk™ Risk Analysis is a state-of-the-art GPM-based risk modeling and risk analysis module that runs within NetPoint®. Combined, NetPoint® with NetRisk™ offers seamless scheduling and risk analysis using the same graphical and intuitive interface. NetRisk™ Risk Analysis is available as a supplementary module to NetPoint®. If you’d like to add a NetRisk™ Risk Analysis license to NetPoint, please contact NetPoint® sales at http://staging1.pmatechnologies.com/contact.

NetPoint® with NetRisk™ Risk Analysis makes use of the Graphical Path Method® to introduce a number of innovative concepts to the practice of scheduling and risk analysis. To ensure that all capabilities are fully understood and utilized, we encourage you to use this guide as a reference, to browse through online resources, and to consider signing up for training services. For more information about training, please visit: http://staging1.pmatechnologies.com/services.

Terms of Use

©2008-2015 PMA Technologies, LLC. All logos, trademarks, page headers, images, splash screens, and graphics displayed in this document are service marks, and/or trade dress of PMA Technologies, LLC. Except as explicitly permitted herein, any of the mark is not permitted to be circulated in any form or by any means by any individual or any entity.

NetPoint, the NetPoint logo, GPM, Seeing is Planning, and Life’s a Project are registered marks of PMA Consultants, LLC; PolyTime and Truth in Scheduling are registered marks of PMA Technologies, LLC; Graphical Planning Method, Graphical Path Method, and NetRisk are trademarks of PMA Technologies, LLC. U.S. Patents 8249906, 8400467, 8531459, 8751280. Patents Pending.

USE AND DISCLOSURE RESTRICTIONS: The NetPoint and NetRisk Software (“SOFTWARE”) described in this document is the property of PMA Technologies, LLC (“LICENSOR”). It is furnished under a license agreement and may be used and/or disclosed only in accordance with the terms of the agreement.

No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, manual, photocopying, recording or otherwise, except as permitted by the author or LICENSOR. Neither the authors nor LICENSOR accept any responsibility for any errors or omissions or for any consequences that may result from any errors or omissions.

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1.1.About this Text

Within this guide, you’ll find steps and notesSteps are numbered instructions at the beginning of each chapter or section that indicate how to carry out a particular function. Notes serve to summarize the windows and fields, and they contain screenshots and important notes that expand upon the steps.

Certain categories of words in this user guide are color-coded to distinguish them from the rest of the text. Blue is used for the names of icons, commands, and buttons, such as OKGreen is used for menu paths, like View > Toolbar > Dock to TopGray is used for the names of windows, tabs, and text labels, like the Codes Manager or the Properties tab.

When additional or related information is available, a link will appear italicized and in blue. Clicking the link will jump you directly to that section.


NOTE: The features covered in this manual correspond with version 5.0.0.65. Please check the version and release date of your software by clicking Help > About NetPoint… from the menu bar, or contact NetPoint support if you need additional help or have other questions.

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1.2.System Requirements

A successful collaborative planning session requires that participants remain engaged and focused. Using NetPoint on a well-equipped computer to drive the planning session will help to avoid costly delays in information processing, and will help maintain a smooth tempo of plan development and flow of information.

Installing/Updating

To install or upgrade NetPoint, administrator rights are required. Within 30 days of installation, license activation is required to grant continued access to NetPoint. If you do not have administrator rights, please contact your IT Department or system administrator. Once installed, administrator rights are NOT needed to run the NetPoint software. For more info, see Installing/Upgrading NetPoint.

Operating System

NetPoint is compatible with Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10, including 64-bit versions.

Hard Disk

To install NetPoint, a minimum of 200MB of free storage space is recommended.

Virtual Memory

NetPoint requires a minimum of 1GB of RAM, but 4GB of RAM is suggested for better performance.

  • Up to 250 total objects: at least 1GB
  • 250 to 500 total objects: at least 2GB
  • Over 500 total objects: at least 4 GB

Supported Schedule Size

Supported schedule size depends on the number of total objects (activities, links, milestones, etc.), the computer’s processor/clock speed, and how much RAM it has. With a well-equipped machine, a delay of about 0.5 seconds can be expected for a schedule between 500-1,000 total objects, which is considered to be a tolerable upper limit. You can continue to work with a schedule until about 2,500 total objects with a delay of 1 second.

Tip: When working with larger schedules, we recommended hiding the resource histogram, as displaying it can add processing time.

NetRisk

With NetRisk, a delay of about 1 second can be expected in the Schedule view of the NetRisk Manager for a schedule with 500 total objects, which is considered to be a tolerable upper limit. A delay of 2 seconds can be expected for saving a schedule with a simulation of 1,000 iterations for 100 activities, for each simulation saved. For this reason, the number of saved simulations should be monitored on larger schedules.

Monitor & Projector Resolution

NetPoint requires a minimum screen resolution of 1024×768 and a 16-bit color setting. Higher resolution and a 32-bit color setting result in a better graphic image.

NOTE: A lower resolution may result in the inability to reach the OK and Cancel buttons in some dialog windows.

Concurrent License Monitoring

Concurrent license access is monitored by Sentinel HASP®, a third party product by SafeNet®, which is installed on your server and runs a service that monitors HASP licensing on your Network. In addition, each NetPoint workstation must be configured to the license server as described in the NetPoint Workstation Activation & Workstation Configuration to License Server document.

3rd Party Applications

For import/export, any necessary privileges will be set automatically upon installation.

Application Supported Versions
Primavera P6
6.0 and higher
Microsoft Project
2007, 2010
Microsoft Excel
2010, 2013
Microsoft Outlook
2007, 2010, 2013

NOTE: To benefit from Microsoft Outlook integration, NetPoint requires 32-bit installation. To check in Outlook 2010, click “File > Help”, and then look for the bit number in the right-most sections under “About Microsoft Outlook” after the “Version”. To check in Outlook 2013, click “File > Account”, click the big “About Outlook” icon, and then look for the bit number on the first line at the very end.

NOTE: To benefit from Microsoft Excel integration, NetPoint requires 2010 or higher.

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1.3.Installing/Upgrading NetPoint

To install or upgrade NetPoint, administrator rights are required. If you do not have administrator rights, either an administrator must login to perform the installation or you must be granted administrator rights on your local machine. If this is the case, please contact your IT department or system administrator.

Once installed, administrator rights are NOT needed to run the software. For import/export, any necessary privileges will be set automatically upon installation. To check what version you’re running, go to Help > About NetPoint… from the menu bar and check the release date at the top.

NOTE: For NetPoint to launch properly, Windows must have a “My Documents” folder defined within the user directory, as this is where NetPoint will stores recovery files. Otherwise, NetPoint will not be able to successfully initialize.

Steps

1. Click or paste the download link into your system’s web browser. For installing or upgrading a licensed version, enter the credentials in the security window and click Log On.NOTE: The trial does not require credentials and should begin downloading automatically. security-window
2. In the confirmation pop-up, click Run. popup
3. When the download finishes, click Actions. view-download
4. When the filter window opens, click Run Anyway. filter
5. If the User Account Control window opens, click Yes. control
6. NetPoint setup will begin. A series of notifications will appear.Click OK for each one. 10686-6
7. In the NetPoint Setup window, click Next. 12834-4
8. Check the option next to I accept the terms in the License Agreement and click Next. 12384
9. Leave the location as default or browse for a new one, and then click Next. 12834-2
10. Configure the shortcuts or leave them as default, then click Next. 12834-3
11. Begin the installation by clicking Install. 12834-1
12. During installation, NetPoint will open momentarily for entering some system defaults. Enter your name and email and click OK. defaults
14. Check the option next to Launch NetPoint and clickFinish. 12834-0

Notes

Choosing a Default Calendar

By default, all activities and milestones in NetPoint are assigned a calendar when they are created. Click the down arrow button and choose a country to use as the basis for the workweek and holidays for the default calendar. From within NetPoint, custom calendars can be created with custom workweeks and holidays, and any of these can be set as default for the schedule. See Project Calendars and Setting Default Properties for more details.

Choosing a Default Time Unit

If your version of NetPoint includes PolyTime, you will also be able to set a default time unit for new schedules. Click the down arrow  button and choose a time unit to apply to all objects in the schedule. Unlike calendars, the time unit cannot differ from activity to activity. From within NetPoint, a different time unit may be chosen at any time during planning. See PolyTime for more details.

Entering Default User Information

NetPoint has the capability to send email notifications. Enter the name and email address that will be used to identify the sender. From within NetPoint, a different name and/or email may be used each time an email notification is generated. See Resource Notifications for more details.

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1.4.Licensing

NetPoint uses Sentinel HASP®, a third-party product developed by SafeNet®, to enforce software protection and concurrent licensing.

In the case where a company has opted for concurrent licensing, the HASP utility it is installed on a local server associated with the company’s network to allow end-user IT administrators to monitor and manager the licenses. For example, they can see which licenses are in-use and by whom or detach a license from the network for off-line use.

This chapter details instructions for the following:

  1. Activating your license
  2. Concurrent licensing
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1.5.Automated Software Updates

NetPoint comes equipped with the ability to notify users of software updates and give them the option to install them. By default, NetPoint is configured to check for updates through a PMA-hosted server; however, you can instead choose to host your own server or “disable” the feature.

Hosting Options

PMA-hosted Option

The default option is ideal for individual licensees and for organizations that do not need to control when and how updates are administered to their end users. For example, if end-users can elect to update as soon as a new version is available (at their own discretion), organizations should not feel the need to establish their own update server.

Self-hosted Option

Self-hosting is ideal for organizations that prefer to control exactly when and how updates are administered to their end-users. For example, if an organization prefers to evaluate new versions prior to distributing them to their end users and/or wants to ensure that end-users can’t ignore updates.

Disabling

To disable update notifications, please send us an email.

The Update Process

The default application shortcut is configured to launch the NetPoint updater executable, which checks the remote server for newer versions of NetPoint. If one is available, the user is given the option to update or ignore. If accepted, NetPoint is updated as follows:

  1. Recovery files are saved
  2. The release notes are downloaded and opened
  3. The new installation files are downloaded
  4. The new installation files overwrite the old installation’s files

Once the process is complete, a final message opens that confirms the successful update and prompts the user to click OK to open the application.

If the update fails for any reason (files could not be written or the internet connection is interrupted), a message opens that alerts the user that the update has failed and prompts them to run the update again with administrator privileges.

When self-hosting, the server administrator can then decide when to put the updated files onto their self-hosted server for final distribution to their end-users.

Software Update Eligibility

If a customer has not paid their annual software maintenance fees, they will not be eligible to receive software updates. In that case, a message will open that prompts them to contact NetPoint support, and they will be re-invoiced if necessary.

NOTE: To improve its products and services, PMA may collect data from end-users through the software update system, including but not limited to: license keys, email addresses, update statistics, and usage statistics. By using this system, end-users agree to these terms.

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1.6.Project Folders

NetPoint® makes use of a project/folder-based structure, which organizes your schedule files (such as reports, templates, simulation data, recovery files, and iObjects) automatically together. Instead of opening and closing schedule files, you will be opening and closing project folders, which then load into NetPoint whichever schedule file they contain.

All new schedules must have a project folder created for them. This is done automatically when saving a schedule for the first time. All legacy schedules need to be imported and converted to projects before they can be opened. Once converted, however, schedules are opened and saved just like before, with only minor differences to the interface.

This section details instructions for the following:

  1. Navigating in windows explorer
  2. Converting files to folders
  3. Opening and unzipping
  4. Saving and renaming
  5. Sharing and sending
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1.7.About the Interface

The following aspects of the user interface are unique to NetPoint.

Autosave Windows

Many windows do not contain OK and Cancel buttons. Any changes made take effect when the window is closed do not require confirmation. To close these windows, click the Exit icon  and any changes will be automatically saved. The only way to cancel any changes is to use the Undofeature.

Undo Unavailable Icon

Some actions found in menus or windows are excluded from being undone. This is because some actions take place silently, and there would be no clear indication on the canvas if they were undone. To protect you from undoing an action and not realizing it, the Undo feature will skip over these actions. Any menu or window excluded from the Undo feature will be identified with the Undo Unavailable icon Undo Unavailable Icon.

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1.9.Toolbar

The toolbar contains icons that access commonly used commands and objects. It includes system icons, object icons, and mode icons.

 

RELATED RESOURCES

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1.10.Toolbar

The toolbar contains icons that access commonly used commands and objects. It includes system icons, object icons, and mode icons.

 

RELATED RESOURCES

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1.11.Right-Click Menus

Right-clicking on the canvas or on an object will bring up a menu with additional options, some of which may only be found in the menu itself.

RELATED RESOURCES

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2.Setting up a Schedule

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3.Setting up a Schedule

Before drawing activities and building a schedule, it can be helpful to configure the plan appropriately. Whether you’re starting with a blank canvas or importing activities from another application, the page size, time unit, and project dates should all be optimized beforehand. Once set, they can be modified at any time during planning.

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3.1.PolyTime/Variable Time Units

Time units are the intervals on which activities and other objects are based. For example, an activity’s duration may span one day or any whole unit increment thereof. The schedule time unit may be set to a unit as small as minutes or as large as years. The time unit may not differ from activity to activity—once set, it applies to all objects within the schedule. Durations, dates, and float values are all calculated according to the schedule’s time unit.

Small time units—like minutes and hours—are useful for projects with short durations or for showing an extremely high level of detail. Large time units—like months and years—are useful for projects with long durations or for showing an extremely broad level of detail. If the schedule is blank (i.e. no activities or other objects have been drawn), the time unit can be changed to a higher or smaller unit. The calendar dates and project dates will automatically update to a reasonable range. However, once an object has been placed on the canvas, the time unit may be changed only to a smaller unit. The calendar dates and project dates will remain fixed. This restriction is enforced because converting to a larger time unit would involve either rounding or truncation and would potentially result in changes to dates and durations (which would result in altered gaps, floats, drifts, etc.).

NOTE: Small time units can only be used if the duration of the project is reasonably short or if the size of the canvas is sufficiently large. Otherwise, the width of a time unit would be less than the width of a pixel on screen, and input from the mouse would no longer translate accurately on the canvas.

Steps

Changing the Default Time Unit for NetPoint

  1. See step 12 of Installing/Upgrading NetPoint.

Changing a Schedule’s Time Unit

  1. Click Schedule > Modify Schedule Properties from the menu bar and choose the Dates tab.
  2. Click the down arrow next to Time Unit and choose accordingly.
  3. When finished, click OK.

NOTE: When converting to time units smaller than days, some dates may appear to change; however, they are only realigning – all float calculations and values will remain constant. This is because with days, weeks, half-months, months, quarters, or years, dates are aligned to the end of the prior unit, whereas with hours, quarter hours, and minutes, dates are aligned to the start of the next unit. For example, a three-day activity that starts on May 1st will end on May 3rd at 11:59 pm. If converted to hours, however, the same three-day activity will now end on May 4th at 12:00 am.  This is done to align with other applications as well as user expectations.

Notes

Resource Considerations

When converting plans from a higher time unit to a lower time unit, or when exporting a plan that is in any time unit other than days, resource assignments may not be accurate. For example if 48 widgets are assigned per day and the time unit is changed to hours, then 48 widgets would be assigned per hour instead of 2 widgets being assigned per hour. The following approaches may be taken to correct the outcome: 1) wait to resource load the schedule until the file is converted or exported; 2) reassign every resource to every activity after converting or exporting to correct the values; or 3) delete the resource assignments prior to converting or exporting and start with a clean resource-assignment slate, but with resources defined.

Calendar Considerations

When working with time units of hours or smaller, NetPoint does not support “daily calendars” or “shifts”. For example, if a schedule in days is converted to hours, a working day is converted to 24 working hours. Similarly, a 1-day gap is converted to a 24 hour gap. As a result, hours, quarter-hours, and minutes are only recommended for schedules without non-work periods.

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3.2.Changing Date Formats

NetPoint will display dates according to whichever format has been set for the “short date” in Windows. As a result, a schedule created on a computer in, for example, the U.S., will automatically be updated when opened on a computer in the U.K. and vice versa, assuming each user’s computer has been configured to their country.

Dates will be updated for objects on the canvas, in the calendar strips at the top, at the cursor, and in all lists and date controls. In addition, the names of days and months will also be updated to the correct language at the cursor and in the calendar strips. However, no matter what format is chosen, the year will never be displayed for an object’s start and finish dates on the canvas. To change the format of dates that you’re seeing, you must change the format of the “short date” chosen for Windows.

NOTE: Displaying days and months with letters can only be done for latin-based languages. If a non-latin based language is chosen (e.g. Armenian (Armenia)), and the short date includes months with letters (i.e. more than two ‘M’s’), question marks will appear for an object start and finish dates on the canvas. Question marks will also appear for the names of months in the calendar strip and days at the cursor.

Steps

  1. Open the Windows Control Panel. Depending on your version of Windows, this can be done by clicking the Start button and selecting Control Panel, or by typing “control panel” in the search bar in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Click Region. The Region window will open.
  3. First choose the desired language/country under the Format dropdown.
  4. Next, choose the desired format next to Short date.
  5. Click Apply.
  6. Click with the mouse on the NetPoint canvas to confirm the changes.
  7. When finished, click OK.
  8. Click the Close icon to close the control panel.

 

 

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3.2.1.Calendars

Calendars are a way for specifying which periods an activity, milestone, or benchmark may or may not be taking place due to national holidays, weekends, scheduled days off, and/or weather (blocked weather days).

If desired, a specific calendar may be chosen as the default calendar, but it will only apply within the active schedule. The only way to reset the default calendar permanently is to reinstall NetPoint, at which point a different country may be selected. For more info on changing the default calendar or reinstalling, see Default Properties and Installing/Upgrading NetPoint respectively.

NOTE: If a milestone is assigned a calendar that’s different from that of its predecessors or successors, and the network is pulled backwards, gaps may open up as the chain crosses a weekend or non-working days. As such, it is recommended to always keep milestones on the same calendar as their predecessors/successors.

NOTE: When moving 1 or more objects with different calendars, the behavior will be different depending on whether using the mouse or using the keyboard/gestural controls. For more info, see Fine Tuning/Gestural Controls.

This chapter includes details for the following:

  1. Adding/modifying calendars
  2. Configuring holidays
  3. Assigning calendars
  4. Displaying holidays
  5. Shared calendars (global)
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4.Button Section

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