One of the biggest challenges with building project schedules is that often you don’t know the details of a piece of work but you need it on your schedule regardless. Yes, you know you need to say remediate an area once you’ve installed the watermain underground. But early in the project, the finer details of what that remediation might look like are scarce. Enter Rolling Wave Planning. If you work in IT or software development, everyone knows about Rolling Wave Planning. It’s the foundation of iterative methodologies like SCRUM or Lean. But maybe you didn’t know we can also apply it to construction projects. What is Rolling Wave Planning? Rolling Wave planning is a planning technique that involves elaborating more detail in your schedule as more information is available, or as you get nearer to the execution of the work. The idea is to plan in waves and clarify assumptions and approach as the execution of that a piece of work gets nearer. At the onset of a project, we won’t know everything about late work at a detailed level, but we will have a general idea of about the work. Not only that, everything on a construction project may […]
Impacted As-Planned Delay Analysis There are various ways to perform a delay analysis on a CPM schedule. The Impacted As-Planned method is one of the most straightforward analysis techniques. We will start with the As-Planned schedule; this is typically your last approved baseline or the project schedule as it was planned to be executed. The Impacted As-Planned technique is called an additive technique because you will be adding delays to the As-Planned schedule to determine the impacts of those delays. Why do you add delays to the As-Planned? Think of it this way. It’s like you are saying; “Before I started ANY execution on the project, if I had known about these delays in advance, what would the impact have been to the project?” This type of analysis is often done after-the-fact, after the project is completed to determine how delays affected the outcome of the project. When to perform an As-Planned Analysis Before the project starts, if you wish to predict or forecast the effects of potential delays on the schedule. It could be part of a risk assessment. If the schedule hasn’t been properly updated during execution or is inadequate, you might be limited to using the As-Planned […]
I do like the ease of use of Primavera P6’s SQLite database. Although there are a few of P6’s features that are excluded when using the SQLite database in a standalone install, SQLite is so easy to use since the actual database is just a file and requires no database engine. But like everything, once in a while, things go left and you may need to install a new instance of the Primavera P6 SQlite database. Or it may just be that you want an extra database for testing or playing around. Whatever the case, creating a new SQLite database for Primavera P6 is fairly easy and straightforward. You don’t need to be have a database administrator credential to do it either. Watch the video below for a step-by-step walkthrough of how to create a new SQLite database for Primavera P6.
A Global Change in Primavera P6 Professional can be a very powerful and handy tool, as we’ve discussed before. It’s not uncommon to use a Global Change to copy an existing P6 field to a custom UDF (User Defined Field). It is usually a straightforward enough affair. However, if you are trying to copy Original Duration to a UDF using a Global Change, things can go awry. In fact, you might not get the results you were expecting at all. And the reason for that is all about how P6 stores data in the P6 database. Original Duration is a field that we common see as a number of days. But in it’s most raw form (in the database), Original Duration is actually stored in terms of hours. It is then converted to days based on our User Preferences and then displayed on-screen. This poses a problem when we try to use a Global Change to copy Original Duration. So relax and enjoy the video as I take you through the steps to get it working properly.
This is a comprehensive video guide to installing Primavera P6 Professional 15.1 in standalone mode with Microsoft SQL Express 2014. If you want a fully functioning P6 Professional standalone install, then this video guide is for you! Why Install Primavera P6 15.1 with Microsoft SQL Express? I’ve covered a little about why you might want to use SQL Express in this installation video, but let me recap for you. Primavera P6 Professional 15.1 standalone now installs with a simplified database backend – SQLite. SQLite is about as simple as it gets; it’s serverless, completely self-contained, requires no configuration and it basically just looks like a big file on your hard drive. There are no background services to start and stop and no users to manage. If you’re interested, you can dive into all of it’s simplistic awesomeness here. It makes good sense for Oracle to move to SQLite for the standalone version of Primavera P6 Professional 15.1 But, there’s a catch. Burried in the P6 documentation, I’ve discovered that a few much-loved features vanish from P6 when you install it using SQLite. What are they? Primavera P6 Features that are disabled with SQLite: Claim Digger – P6’s somewhat clunky project comparison tool. It […]
A standard project schedule based on the CPM method (critical path method) is considered a static network of logically linked tasks that create a timeline estimate of when a project will be complete. As with any type of estimate, the ability of the team to accurately estimate both the sequence of planned activities and the time required for each tasks contains numerous uncertainties similar to those that are seen during the project cost estimate process
Critical paths and critical activities are amongst the hottest topic in the scheduling world. Defining critical and near critical activities and monitoring them will result in keeping the schedule on track. In this article, we’ll look at critical and near critical activities from P6 standpoint and leave technical discussions about what activity should be considered critical and be monitored closely from project execution standpoint for another opportunity.
Pivot tables allow us to manipulate and display complex data sets into user friendly formats. This can be extraordinarily helpful when trying to extract data from massive database extracts or when reformatting internal data for distribution to other users. However this is the greatest use I have found for pivot tables when trying to align various complex systems. For the purpose of this exercise, we will say we are attempting to align a Change Control Database and an Earned Value System. The data sets used in this example are greatly simplified, but no matter how large or complex your systems may be, these same techniques will allow you to find the deltas between your systems.
Have you wondered why when using Physical as your selection for % Complete Type, the % Complete value does not roll-up to WBS elements (or Activity Code) groupings unlike Duration % Complete and Units % Complete? For Duration % Complete, P6 automatically calculates % Complete based on remaining duration and planned duration for activities. Therefore Duration % Complete can roll-up to the WBS and Project levels. Just like Duration % Complete, P6 also automatically calculates Units % Complete based on resource Actual Units and At Completion Units.
In my previous tutorial, “5 benefits to performing a quantitative schedule risk analysis,” I talked about how a quantitative schedule risk analysis can add value to all aspects of your project schedule. In this tutorial I would like to further expand on the benefits of using Pertmaster (or Primavera risk) to develop the model and run a basic schedule risk analysis. There is other software out on the market however I prefer to use Pertmaster for the software’s capability to import from Primavera.
Unlike engineers who typically study engineering or banking professionals who study finance, project control professionals are a group of individuals who come from a diverse background. In my career I have worked with engineering, business, finance, economics and political science college graduates. I have also worked with individuals who had no college degree having worked their way up through the trades such as pipe fitters or electricians. While this diverse background makes the field an interesting place to work I have found many common traits among control professionals I look to as mentors and experts in the field.
Before I get into the context of commitments, expenditures and payments, I want to address cash flow. Often times the commitments expenditure and payment plans and curves are referred to as a cash flow. This is not a cash flow. A typical cash flow is made up of: Cash out: This includes items such as bid costs, engineering & design costs, material purchase orders, labor, overhead, and subcontracts. Cash in: This includes items such as billings, retentions, claims and change orders. Many factors influence the cash flow including project duration, contractual retention clauses, payment schedules, contract types (milestone, progress etc.), credit arrangements, and equipment rentals. The reason a commitment, expenditure and payment curve is not a cash flow is because
A picture says a thousand words. And a good color-coding system can do the same on the Primavera P6 Gantt Chart. Did you know you don’t need to stick with Primavera P6’s default Gantt Chart color scheme? The options are many and in this video tutorial, you’ll learn how to color-code bars based on criteria YOU set. You’ll learn about 2 ways to set the criteria: using Activity Codes or by User Defined Fields. If you want your Primavera P6 Gantt Chart to tell a visual story, then this tutorial is for you! Watch and learn the steps.
Do your milestone activities have valid relationship? Have you ever checked Primavera P6 schedule log to trace invalid relationship between milestone activities? This tutorial describes on how to check the invalid relationship between milestone activities in a primavera project schedule. What’s a Milestone Activity? Milestones are zero day activities which help to mark important events in the project schedule. Choosing the type of milestone affects the display of activity sequencing and should be based on sound reasoning. Milestone activities have certain relationships which are valid. When we use milestone activities in our schedule, we need to follow the below rules. Start milestone should be driven by its predecessor with FS or SS relationships. Start milestone should drive its successors with SS or SF relationship. Finish milestone should be driven by its predecessor with FF or SF relationships. Finish milestone should drive its successors with FS or FF relationship. Valid Relationships Between Milestone Activities The true relationship between two start milestone activities is SS. The true relationship from start milestone activity to finish milestone activity is SF. The true relationship between two Finish milestone activities is FF. The true relationship from finish milestone activity to start milestone activity is FS. How […]
Cost management is a very detailed process and includes many aspects that exist as their own detailed topic. This post attempts to evaluate the cost management process at the highest level. Consider it an introduction to cost for those with little to no exposure. An integrated cost management structure is implemented on a project in order to facilitate and control the decisions a project team makes relative to cost generating activities. Cost management is not simply the task of reporting expenditures, but rather the process of developing, controlling, and analyzing budgets, forecasts, and cost reduction opportunities.
Given a Lump Sum type contract as a framework and high level resource’s CTR calculations for developing a P6 baseline schedule, Earned Value rules and planned dates calculations can be adjusted for plotting the S curve inside Primavera P6. This technique works when P6 Admin Settings are based on Planned Dates and Budgeted values only. Also this model does not use Expenses for costing the schedule.
Be sure to read Understanding Performance Factor Part I first which defines the earned value plan that is used to measure performance against. Measuring against the plan: So you have been told it should only take you 120 seconds to brush your teeth each morning. Now it is time to see how you perform. A stop watch is used to time how long it takes you to complete these sub-tasks, and ultimately accomplish the complete task of brushing your teeth. There are three possible outcomes that can occur:
The Performance Factor (PF) is a numerical ratio used to measure the actual performance of an individual or team while completing a task. There are various forms of PF associated with cost, schedule and quantities. In this particular write-up and example, we will use hours in association with completing a task. The equation for calculating this PF is: PF = Earned Hours / Actual Hours To help remember this formula, try and associate it with the phrase “earned over burned.” In other words, the amount of earned hours divided by the amount of burned (actual) hours spent. The PF is in the form of a numerical decimal value which is often converted into a percentage.
In Primavera P6, it is important to compute Project % Complete so that we can monitor overall project performance at both WBS and Project level. It is, however, not possible to measure Project % Complete if the project has no budget assigned. Therefore, instead of assigning precise budget, Project % Complete can be computed by considering one unit of work as one dollar (or any currency). The exercise in this tutorial will explain all the required steps to do this Step 1 – Build your Project First of all, you need to build your project as you normally would. Step 2 – Maintain your project a baseline Maintain a baseline for your project as you normally do.
Many are familiar with the concept of project contingency, but may not know how the value is initially calculated, when it is drawn from, and how to effectively generate an appropriate draw down curve. First let’s review the general concept of project contingency and its purpose. When estimating the cost of a project, there exists a level of uncertainty ranging from cost of equipment, execution strategy, unspecified scope of work, or even local work conditions. Cost Contingency is defined as the amount added to an estimate to allow for items, conditions, or events that are uncertain but will likely result in cost increase. However, there are some key items that contingency is not typically intended to cover (although sometimes is):
If you are using earlier versions of Primavera P6, such as P5.x or P6.0, then you may not have the “Renumber Activity IDs” feature. How can you renumber your Activity IDs then? If you need to edit your Activity IDs, you can do so with the help of P6’s Global Change functionality. A Global Change is sort of like running an Excel macro, but not quite as powerful. However, you can make some large-scale changes to project data using Global Changes and renumbering IDs is a perfect fit for this feature. NOTE: A Global Change can edit your existing IDs by changing a prefix or suffix, but actually renumbering (say from 0,1,2,3 to 0000, 0010, 0020, 0030 etc. is not possible with a Global Change. To do that, you’ll need to use the Renumber Activity IDs feature or you’ll need to renumber and recode using Excel. Use a Global Change to Edit Activity IDs 1) Go to Tools –> Global Change. Create a New Global Change. Keep the Subject Area set to Activities. Give your Global Change a name – Renumber IDs 2) Choosing Activities to edit. When renumbering IDs, it’s common to match Activity ID coding to a WBS. […]
This is the final tutorial in our Master Class on Primavera P6 Activity Layouts. Our goal was to help learners become proficient with Primavera Layouts in order to convey the Project Plan to your team. In this tutorial we will demonstrate how to adjust and customize your page setup window. This functionally is important to highlight key project data which may include data date, layout title, company logos, and legends. Page Set Up Dialog Box To access the page layout dialog box, select the page set up icon from the print preview or from the “File” drop down menu. The dialog box has five major tabs: Page, Margin, Header, Footer & options. Page & Margin: All general page information including Page Orientation, Scaling, paper size and margin information is located in these two tabs.
In this tutorial we are going to go over how to adjust the Activity Table columns & customize the Gantt Chart Bars in a Primavera P6 Activity Layout. This functionally is important to display relevant project information to all vested stakeholders. Activity Columns: The activity columns are shown in the “Activity Table” view (for more details about the activity table see Part 3 of this tutorial). To modify which columns are shown in the “Activity Table” view, select the columns dialog box from the menu icon bar or from the “View” drop down menu. The dialog box is split into two main areas: Available Options and Selected Options. Available Options is a list of all available codes. The default grouping is by “Category” but this grouping can be changed to an alphabetical list. To change simply click the “Available Options” drop down list and change the group / sort criteria. If you are working in a large enterprise structure there may be hundreds of codes which may be difficult to navigate However Primavera does have a search functionality (Ctrl-F) to help find a specific code value. Once you find the code you wish to display, use the add button (right arrow) […]
In Parts 1 & 2 of this Master Class, we went over creating a new Primavera P6 Activity Layouts, assigning filters, grouping, sorting and adjusting the layout timescale. In this tutorial, we will go over the different user interface windows that are available to the user. The Top section allows users to view: Activity Table Gantt Chart Activity Usage Spreadsheet Activity Network The bottom allows the user to view: Activity Details Activity Table Gant Chart Activity Usage Spreadsheet Resource Usage Spreadsheet Activity Usage Profile Resource Usage Profile Trace Logic
In Part I of this tutorial we walked through how to create a new Activity Layout and write filters to get your desired data set. Part II focuses on arranging the data set within the Gantt chart. We will also explore grouping, sorting and adjusting the timescale and the views available to the user. Grouping To open the Group & Sort dialog box click the ‘Group & Sort’ button in the header. The dialog box has three primary areas (1) Display Options (2) Group By (3) Group By Options. Display Options: Show Group Totals checkbox turns totals for each grouping band on and off. In the example below, the left screen capture has group totals on (‘Office Building Addition’ Duration 328 Days) and the capture to the right has totals turned off (Just a green bar with no total). Grand Totals adds a “TOTAL” summary at the top of the layout. In the screen capture below the image on the left has “Grand Total” turned on and the image to the right has Grand Total turned off. Show Summaries collapses
Primavera layouts can be tailored to any number different views, ranges or color combinations to help the user present to the project team. The goal of a good layout is to convey the project plan to the key stakeholders giving them all the pertinent information. When creating a schedule layout it is important to identify who your target customer will be. If the layout will be issued to a project manager, it may need to include a total float column where as an external stakeholder may only need to see start / finish dates, duration and baseline variance. Creating a New Layout When creating a layout from primavera, I typically use an existing layout as a starting point. For this example we will start with “4-week look ahead”, a layout we created in a previous example. When you get to the “Save Layout As” dialog box you will have the option to save the layout one of four ways (EPPM specific in a standalone version, PPM, you will only be able to save it as current user).
If you have had a chance to use Primavera P6 v8 or later you may have noticed a “progress line” tool. I was recently asked by a colleague if I had used the the tool and at the time I was unaware the tool even existed. After a bit of reading and trial and error I am really happy with the functionality and the visual representation of progress against the baseline line. The purpose of this tutorial is to give a brief overview of the P6 Progress Line tool, settings and how to use it in your everyday schedule presentation. What is the P6 Progress Line Tool? The progress line is basically a visual representation of the activity progress against the baseline plan – either stated in terms of variance to the Project Baseline or the Primary Baseline. The line can be drawn based on two different calculations methods. (1)As a variance against the baseline start or finish date or (2) stated in terms of progress percent complete or duration complete against the baseline. Using the Progress Line & Options To turn on the progress line select ‘progress line’ option from the “View” menu or select the progress line icon […]
Introduction: It is always possible that we need to change all the Activity IDs in Primavera P6 and this task can be incredibly time consuming if we try to do it manually one Activity at a time. P6’s has a feature called “Renumber IDs” which can help to reorder IDs, but in many situations it is inadequate. It does not change a complex Activity ID which common in project scheduling these days. Activities IDs are not just a number that you can simply adjust by renumbering. They are complex entities that mix different part of a schedule. When someone see an Activity ID, he/she must understand that the ID codes information about which area the Activity belongs to, which discipline, which craft, which phase, etc. For instance, CTACAMR080 is an activity ID showing this activity is for Construction (CT), ongoing in area AC, is dedicated to MR Equipment list, etc. Now suppose that you want to change this kind of Activity IDs and use CO as a symbol for construction instead of CK. It is not possible to do that in P6 alone. These changes are common in flux project environments and schedulers need to know how to respond to […]
Activity Codes are one of the most important attributes which are very useful for planners and help them to prepare many reports and feedbacks for the project management team and client. It is very important to know the ways you can assign these codes to your activities and then you are able to prefer one way which is more suitable for you. In this tutorial we are going to describe four different ways you can use to assign Activity Codes to the Activities of your project Steps for using Fill Down Function in activity columns This is one of the simple ways for
Your project contains live data and through its lifecycle, you may need to apply significant changes on activities, resources or costs. You want to store specific data before doing a what-if analysis, you have to increase costs by 10%, you need to modify the activities coding, etc. The P6 Global Change functionality is aimed to safely perform these changes on all or part of your planning. The P6 Global Change functionality will help you save time throughout your project life, when the schedule is built-up, when key decisions have to be taken, or for the project experience feedback. Setup In this tutorial, we will use a P6 Global Change in order to quickly complete the Activity Code assignments on the existing activities, through the entire planning. The activities are categorized according to the standard phases: Engineering, Procurement, and Construction. Therefore, we have assigned to them the values ENG, PRO, CON of the Activity Code named “123456 – EPC PHAS”. Now we need to
Introduction Activity Codes are one of the most useful tools in Primavera P6 that help planners in reporting and controlling areas.There are three types of Activity Code that you can assign them to your activities. When you open the Activity Code window (from Enterprise menu), on top of the window you have three different choices: Global, EPS and Project. But what are the differences between these three and which one is suitable for your usage? In below tutorial you can find out the answer. Global Activity Codes When you choose Global and define activity codes in this section, your codes can be used globally which means you can use these codes for other projects as well. So if you’re sure that the codes you’re going to define will be used in other projects in your EPS, it’s better to define them in this category. Obviously Global codes are more common if you have similar projects in your EPS and you need to share some codes between them. Steps to create a Global Activity Code In below example there are two different projects in an EPS and in both projects there are different types of activities. So “Types” could be defined […]