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15 years and counting – find out why Ian McQueen chooses to use Asta Powerproject on civil infrastructure projects in Australia


Article by Mark Chapman, Head of Innovation for Elecosoft.

Some of the most experienced planning professionals in Australia choose to use Asta Powerproject. I recently caught up with Ian McQueen, Managing Director of D&D Projects Pty Ltd to find out why he plans with Asta. Ian has 45 years of experience in the industry and was arguably one of the first Asta Powerproject users in Australia back in 2008. We spoke about his 15+ years’ experience of using Asta Powerproject on a wide range of projects across Australia, including the Dinmore to Goodna Ipswich Motorway Upgrade, Bruce Highway projects, Surat Basin Rail Project and W2B Pacific Highway Upgrade.

Ian, I've heard that you've been using Asta Powerproject for your projects in Australia for a long time. What prompted you to start using it initially?

Yes, Mark, that’s correct. I decided to use Asta Powerproject back in 2008. At the time, I was working as a planning consultant on a major motorway upgrade project in Southeast Queensland. The project involved a team of contractors and design firms, initially using their own preferred planning tools. A senior manager on the project insisted that we keep the project planning, monitoring and reporting as robust as possible, without complication and use a user-friendly scheduling tool. I had seen reviews and demonstrations of Asta Powerproject and suggested we explore it further. We eventually implemented an enterprise version of Asta Powerproject and conducted comprehensive training for our team of over 70 engineers and managers.

That’s great Ian, I certainly appreciate the work involved in doing that! How did Asta Powerproject perform on the project?

It performed remarkably well. Despite none of us having prior experience with Asta Powerproject, we quickly established the baseline program, loaded resources, and generated reports and charts that satisfied all stakeholders, including the client. Asta Powerproject’s onboard filters and defined fields were particularly useful in handling the complexities of the crucial design and construction interface. Even with the challenges posed by record floods in 2011, the project was a success in terms of cost and time.

That must have been a great project to work on. Do you think Asta Powerproject helped the team to achieve that?

Certainly, Mark. One thing that differentiates Asta Powerproject from other packages is that it a purpose-built construction management application. Its specialised features, functionality and intuitive build catered perfectly to our needs. The software supports project teams to create schedules for small, medium, large and complex projects much more efficiently than other tools and being able to see changes live in a multiuser Enterprise set up is great for large projects such as ours. Additionally, its compatibility with other popular scheduling tools like P6 and MSP prove invaluable. It enabled us to seamlessly integrate programs from different formats.

“Asta Powerproject enables me to confidently plan with ease and efficiency, allowing greater time to engage and collaborate with stakeholders to produce plans to my client’s complete satisfaction time and time again.”
I have been passionate about the strengths of Asta Powerproject since I started using it but in your opinion Ian, are there any specific features worth mentioning to people that are not familiar with it?

Yes, the Library Explorer is a versatile toolbox that gives easy access to various settings. Combined with the Project View it is so easy to navigate through a project schedule and to assign resources, codes, costs and calendars. The drag and drop editing, along with copy-paste functionality between Asta Powerproject and Excel or other tools, simplifies the workflow significantly. The precise time calculations, even when tasks have different calendars, ensure accurate scheduling. The right-click and Properties function provide intuitive and efficient editing capabilities throughout the application.

Are there any unique features that make it different from the other scheduling tools?

Probably too many to mention, but the Path To/From feature in Asta Powerproject makes it easier to follow and drill down to driving tasks anywhere in the schedule, and buffer tasks can be central to controlling contingency. Including Task Work as part of the customisable Table Views is a useful feature that benefits project teams. Asta Powerproject’s capability to create custom views, combining various tables, bar charts, and histograms, offers enhanced flexibility and efficiency.

Asta Powerproject’s link category system assists in effective scenario planning and “what if” analysis. The concept of slope of the link proves handy in assessing tasks’ priority relative to each other and the calendar editor is great for applying predefined work patterns and handling exceptions. Resource management in Asta Powerproject is both quick and powerful, distinguishing between permanent and consumable resources and allowing for detailed resource analysis supported by the highly effective histograms.

Are there any features that Asta doesn’t have yet that you would like to see?

In my opinion it’s arguably already more capable than the other main scheduling tools but I do have a wish list that I’ve shared with the development team. Some of the features that are in Asta Powerproject are suggestions that I have made over the years. It’s great to have an industry focussed and responsive company like Elecosoft that actively works with their users.

Thank you for sharing your insights, Ian!

You’re welcome, Mark. Asta Powerproject has been instrumental in the success of many projects I have worked on, and I believe it could be an asset for many professionals in our field.

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About the writer

Mark Chapman has 30 years’ experience in the construction industry internationally. Driven to create sustainable real value for project stakeholders using best practice and emerging technology, Mark has focused on construction technology for the last 5 years pioneering new workflows & rethinking decades old processes.
Using his extensive experience of building and leading a team that were supporting up to 80 projects and tenders per year across Asia Pacific, Mark has found many opportunities for how technology can support projects to reduce risk and improve both time and cost performance.
Recently joining Eleco as Head of Innovation Mark is now bringing those solutions and developing a far-reaching roadmap to a strong portfolio of software in a company with a strong customer focus, and aligned values, to create more certainty for all stakeholders in the built environment.

About the reseller

Solid Support provides Asta Powerproject Software Sales & Support in Australia and New Zealand. With many years’ experience of providing our software solutions to the construction industry in Australia, we understand the best ways for you to maximise the benefits and return from your investment through Training, Implementation and Technical Support / Helpdesk.

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