it runs a Monte Carlo type analysis on programme activities. It allows you to set up Max, Min and Most Likely durations for each activity then schedule the programme several thousand times using "random" durations based on the Max, Min, Most Likely figures that you input.
The completion dates are recorded and you can establish what percentage completed by date x, and what percentage completed by date y etc. This allows you to estimate a probability of achieving a certain date.
It is difficult (time consuming and complex) although not impossible to use on a large construction project, and is useful for maintenance shutdowns or disruptive works on the railway where you wish to demonstrate, say, a 95% probability of finishing on time. If you do use it on construction projects it is a useful tool to show your client the 90% probability (safer) dates, whilst driving to achieve the 80% probability (harder to achieve) dates.
I hear people thinking "garbage in, garbage out", but it has been surprisingly accurate where I have worked with it.
From my experience using Pertmaster and @Risk in North America. It is always controversial since it gives probabilistic results! on both; the schedule and the estimate.
It is mainly used for political purposes to hold a stick at a project manager showing a probabilistic end date of less than 70% to put more pressure on him/her! Of course the reaction is a complete denial questioning the inputs to the risk model that led to those bogus results.
So, IMHO, Pertmaster is mainly used to send political messages more than just the technical purpose of running Monte Carlo simulation and get PARETO charts and S curve!
May be this is different in UK and Europe since I am mainly talking about my experience in North America (Canada, USA)
Powerproject has a similar add in for Risk Analysis but I have never used it.
As someone has mentioned- garbage in garbage out - so everything depends on the quality of your programme and its inherent logic.
Thanks for all of the input. It is a pity there isnt more about the risk management in Vico. Ill have a go at downloading it before too long and feed back what I find.
The abillity to view the results in Power Project is limited, but the hard work is done, enabling you to view the result in Excel if you are that way inclined. In the Powerproject v Primavera debate, this has to bode well for Power Project.
I have also known it to be used to entice contractors or Project Managers to improve results in the UK, but only (in my experience) by a very large American project management organisation.
It is also interesting that the two alternatives are parts of another planning package rather than an out and out programme risk management package.
As per my experience Pertmaster runs fine but not upto the mark.It doesnt nail down the issues for Upstream Projects rather than it just nail downs upto 75% accurate in EPCI projects. In EPC projects Pertmaster never works on the said time-cost analysis or else so, because there is always lack of resources on EPC Projects.
We are looking an alternative better than Pertmaster. Right now i am/we are working on interfacing 4D - CAD with PRIMAVERA.
If any one finds a better option than Pertmaster i would interested in knowing it