The following is a continuation of a series that we are doing on lessons learned using Primavera P6. If you missed the early post, please click here.
By default Primavera P6™ allows for multiple user access to any schedule (dependent on user access and licensing) within the database. The access in which a schedule is opened is determined at under the File menu, Open, Access Mode (Exclusive / Shared / Read Only). If a project is selected from the Project Window, by highlighting the project, right clicking and selecting Open Project, the file is opened in ‘Shared’ mode. However, when statusing schedule performance it is best to access the scheduling using the ‘Exclusive’ mode to prevent other users from overriding progressed data.
Maintain Baseline (of previous update) in Primavera P6
Prior to updating schedule data, the previous version should be saved or ‘maintained’ as a Baseline to track schedule modifications (slippage, accelerations) and changes to the project’s critical path. Using the ‘Maintain Baseline’ options (as shown in Figure 3) provided by the application (Activity Window, Project, Maintain Baseline), Primavera P6™ renames the previous version or Baseline using the schedules current Project Name ‘- B1, B2, etc.’ As Primavera P6™ allows for innumerable baselines or versions the nomenclature should be renamed specific to the version being saved (i.e. – Update as of Data Date, Contract Schedule version 01, What-If as of Data Date, etc.).
Once the Baseline has been ‘maintained’, the current schedule should be renamed to a new version (i.e. EX00 should be renamed to EX01). It is helpful to indicate whether this file is a draft, final, what-if, etc. in the file name or by using a Project Code to indicate status.
Primavera P6™ allows the Scheduler the ability to copy the current schedule as a Reflection. The Reflection copy can then be altered or updated and then merged back into the current schedule. A word of caution when using this feature: the following data items, when deleted in the Reflection copy, will not be deleted in the current schedule during the merge: Activities, Relationships, Resource Assignments, WBS elements, Work Products and Documents, Project Expenses, Project Issues, and Project Risks. These data elements would need to be manually deleted from the current schedule following the merge. (Oracle Knowledgebase ID 908732.1)
As previously mentioned, Primavera P6™ allows for multiple Baselines associated to a single schedule. Each user can view and compare up to three Baseline versions to the current schedule as well as the overall project schedule (typically the Contract Schedule) using the Assign Baseline option (Activity Window, Project, Assign Baseline). It is recommended (as shown in Figure 4) that the ‘Project Baseline’ be the approved contract schedule and the User ‘Primary Baseline’ be the last update or previous version of the schedule which the Scheduler wishes to compare to the current schedule update.
ENTER DATA: Enter status (dates, percent complete, resources, costs)
“Schedule performance assessment starts by entering the actual start, finish, and milestone achievement dates in the project schedule (usually using scheduling software).” .
“If earned value techniques are used, the percent complete information is also documented for each activity. However, schedule performance is based on the remaining duration needed to complete the work of the activity; which is then used to evaluate the percent of schedule completion.” .
Prior to statusing the schedule in Primavera P6™, the Scheduler must ensure that time is shown (Edit menu, User Preferences, Dates, Time). If times are not shown, the software may enter incorrect start and finish times. The Scheduler should enter all actual start dates, actual finish dates, percent completes, remaining durations, resources and costs from the data provided by the team members. Each activity with an actual date (start and/or finish) should be marked as Start/Finish and the date Start/Finish should be entered. If Resource settings allow for auto-calculation the resource actuals will be updated, otherwise, enter the actuals for each resource assigned to the activity.
Once the actual information is entered, the schedule can be calculated using the new Data Date (Tools menu, Schedule). In P6™ there is an option to ‘Schedule automatically when a change affects dates’, it is recommended that this option be unselected when statusing the actuals to improve speed and efficiency of the program. Once calculated, the schedule should be reviewed to ensure the data was entered correctly (refer to the section Review and Analyze).
After the schedule has been reviewed and is acceptable as a project schedule update, the schedule may be saved as a Baseline (with ‘Status Only’ included in the title) prior to entering any new activities and revised logic.
There are other options for updating activity progress based on work performance. If work performance has occurred based on scheduled projections, P6™ allows the user the option to Apply Actuals (Tools menu, Apply Actuals) and Update Progress (Tools menu, Update Progress). Activity actuals and percent complete will be automatically statused based on projected performance up to the new Data Date. Note of caution that Apply Actuals and Update Progress options use Planned Dates (Planned Start/Planned Finish) versus scheduled Start/Finish or Early Dates which may be different. This setting can cause defined Actual Dates to be changed.
Enter revisions/forecast (activities, durations, logic)
“Schedule forecasting starts with the statused network schedule. If changes or trends have been identified, the plan and schedule for the work scope remaining is then developed using the methods of the schedule planning and development process. The project schedule forecast is then revised reflecting the current status integrated with the schedule for the remaining work scope. The revised schedule must consider the performance and productivity to date, resource allocation, any improvement or corrective actions proposed, and risk factors. Creating a revised schedule entails the schedule development steps, and therefore is done only infrequently when conditions invalidate the planned schedule because it can no longer be attained. If no changes or trends have been identified, and the project status is as planned, the schedule forecast is simply the existing schedule.” 
At this point, the Scheduler should enter any new activities, delete activities and revise logic and/or durations based on information provided by the team. The schedule should be recalculated with the new data date and reviewed to ensure the data was entered correctly. The schedule can be saved as a Baseline (with ‘Revision’ added to the title) to monitor variances to the ‘status only’ update as well as the previous update and Project Baseline schedule.
This section of the series ends here. Next up will be, “Review and Analyze”. If you don’t want to miss it, there’s a “subscribe” button upper right hand of this article.
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