Y2K: Cinderella: Fred Triggs' second Article -Topic 4b

This is a reprint of Freds 'Post Pumpkin' stuff. Format has been slightly altered to assist mailers.

Fred Triggs wrote:

Firstly let me thank you all for the "Golden Pumkin Award", I must however, pass the credit on to my colleague, Dennise Knowles, to whom I have delegated the labourious task of doing all the evaluations.

Herein is the latest batch of evals. Hope its of use. If anyone else is doing evaluations on other products I would be most intested.

These cover several project tools including MS Project, Open Plan, Primavera and Milestones.

I suppose I should say something like;

This text is offered as is and are not meant to be definitive. Foster Wheeler accepts no responsibility for any errors and omissions. The interpritation and use of these evaluations are entirely at the users risk.

The only other thing worth mentioning is why the hell didn't Microsoft build a spell checker into their latest mail package?.........


Microsoft Project 4.0 for Windows

Open Plan v5.0



There are a number of software packages in use around the company which are used to help plan projects. It is very important that these packages support 'year 2000' dates and are capable of dealing with projects which either have future dates in the 21st century or are due to begin in the 21st century. To find out more about your particular planning tools capabilities with reference to dates in the 21st century, please click on the appropriate icon below.

Microsoft Project 4.0 for Windows

Microsoft Project can deal with year 2000 dates and will allow four digit years to be entered, it also has a date span from 'January 1st 1984' to 'December 31st 2049'. Thus even if the date is entered with a two-digit year field e.g. '03/03/01', the year will still be assumed to be a 21st century year, as the year 1900 is not within Microsoft Projects valid date range.

It is advisable to enter dates with a four digit year to avoid confusion, however for the purpose of examples within this documentation, the format 'dd/mm/yy' has been used. The format of timescales within Microsoft Project can also be changed to allow for dates to be displayed. In order to change the format of these timescales, first click with right hand mouse button on the timescale, then choose timescales from the pop-up menu. A screen will then be displayed, showing all the different options for the major and minor scales of the timescale. There are a number of options given. These options are: units, count, label, align and tick lines, all of which can be used to alter the appearance of the timescale. All of these options are available for both the major and minor timescales and can handle any year 2000 issues correctly. A summary of the options is given below.


This option is used to change the units displayed on the timescale. The type of units available are Years, Months, Weeks etc.


This option is used to change the frequency of the units on the timescale; for example a count of one would display 'Jan Feb Mar Apr' etc. whereas a count of two would display 'Jan Mar May Jul' etc.


This option is used to change the format of the date on the screen. Some of its options include 'January', 'Jan', '01' etc.


This option is used to change the justification of the dates. It has three options, these are 'right', 'left' and 'centre'.

Tick Lines

This option allows you to choose whether or not to have tick lines(separating lines) in the timescale.

Microsoft project also recognises leap years and will not allow a start or end date to be entered as an invalid date, e.g. '29/02/97' is not valid. The timescale which runs along the top of the Gantt chart will also not display February 29th, unless it is a leap year. Microsoft Project also has a facility called duration, which will calculate the time a task will take to complete. This package also deals well with leap years as can be seen from the following:

Start Date     Finish Date     Duration
'20/02/00' '01/03/00' 9 days*
'20/02/01' '01/03/01' 8 days*
*These durations are calculated using working days only; in this case Monday to Friday were chosen as the working days.

Sorts can also be performed within Microsoft Project on the date range and these will sort correctly even if the dates span over the century change over.

A filter can also be used in order to abstract the information required, this can be done by choosing the 'Filtered for:' option from the 'Tools' menu and then choosing the type of filter you wish to use. Microsoft Project can filter the data very effectively on dates even if the data to be filtered has a mix of the two centuries.

Microsoft Project also contains a number of built in macros, there are two macros in particular which use dates, they are 'AdjustDates' and 'DateRangeFromToday'. These two macros are described in more detail below.


This macro will prompt the user for a new start date and will then adjust all other dates within the 'project' to fit in with this new date. For example if a project is set up with an original start date of '01/01/2000' and the first task is due to finish on '29/02/2000' then if the original start date is adjusted to '01/01/2001' then the first task will now be due to finish on '01/03/2001'.


This macro will prompt the user for a number of days either before or after today's date; e.g. if today's date is '01/01/2000' and the user enters a 'number of days after' of 10 then only those tasks with a start date of between 'today's date' and 10 days later(inclusive) will be displayed on the screen.

Each of these macros can also handle dates after the year 2000 and are not affected if the dates concerned span across the two different centuries.

OPEN PLAN Version 5.0

This package is DOS based and is used to plan and manage projects. It does this via the use of a base database which can either be dBASE or Foxpro, but as dBase is more widely used within the company than Foxpro, it is dBASE which OpenPlan has been tested against. This does not necessarily mean that OpenPlan will not work with Foxpro, it simply means that it has not been tested with Foxpro yet.

When the data comes from a dBASE database, the format of the date fields very much depends on the way in which the date fields have been set up within dBASE. More information concerning the setup of dates within dBASE can be found in the database section of this Year 2000' documentation.

Open Plan will allow centuries to be displayed, but in order to do this, the century option must first be switched on. This can be done by choosing "configurations" from the systems menu then "general installations" from the configurations menu. Towards the bottom of the general installations screen are two options, one which allows you to change how the dates are displayed and another which gives you the option of turning the century option on or off. In order to display dates with a four digit year, this century facility must be switched on, this can be done by pressing enter when the 'Y/N' of the set century option is highlighted.


This software recognises year 2000 dates and will perform correctly duration calculations across the century changeover. Dates are entered via the use of a calendar from which the user can simply point and click on the dates required. The date bar will also display 21st century dates and the software will recognise leap years in particular the year 2000 leap year. If year 2000 dates are entered manually with only a two digit year then the date will be assumed to be 1900 so it is important that all dates within Primavera are entered with a four digit year. Primavera is also capable of recognising leap years, in particular the year 2000 leap year.


This software recognises year 2000 dates and will allow dates with 4 digit years to be entered by changing the format of the date. The date bar will also display dates well into the 21st century and the software will recognise the year 2000 leap year. Dates which are entered with only a two digit year will be assumed to be 1900 and it is therefore important to make sure that dates in the 21st century are entered with a four digit year.

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