Research shows PPM and EVM improve project performance
Using Portfolio Management techniques and software increases the chance that your project will hit its budget, schedule and quality targets, and deliver all-important business benefits, according to new research by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
This is the third time that PwC have carried out their Insights and Trends: Current Portfolio, Programme, and Project Management Practices study, based on responses from over 1500 respondents in 38 countries. The most recent report shows that while the use of Portfolio Management hasn’t grown since 2007, it is important for project performance. Which makes us want to ask: why aren’t more companies adopting Portfolio Management?
The benefits of Portfolio Management
With business results being so critical today, Portfolio Management is a way to gain competitive advantage. It’s a good way of improving project success rates, and the PwC study reports that nearly two out of three organizations that use Portfolio Management say that more than 90% of their projects hit their targets for scope, quality, cost, benefits and schedule. That’s impressive – and it’s even more interesting to find out that 70% of organizations that don’t use Portfolio Management find that less than 10% of their projects hit their targets.
You might assume that the companies getting the best results with Portfolio Management are those doing easy projects as part of straightforward portfolios, but that isn’t the case. PwC looked at portfolios with a range of investment values, durations, number of projects and people involved. The benefits of Portfolio Management hold true even in portfolios with an investment of more than US$60bn, 10 years of effort, over 100 projects and more than 200 people involved.
On top of that, project management teams believe that their companies perform better as a result of using Portfolio Management. More respondents say that they are effective and efficient in companies where Portfolio Management techniques are in use than in companies without Portfolio Management.
If your business is struggling to make that extra leap when it comes to performance, Portfolio Management could be the answer.
Portfolio Management software improves performance and satisfaction
We’ve seen products like Primavera software increase in sophistication over the past few years so it’s heartening to see that research backs what we have always known – Portfolio Management software improves portfolio performance and increases the feeling that a company’s project management practices are benefiting the organization.
Over half of companies using Portfolio Management practices are also using software to support their efforts, most of whom are choosing commercial, off-the-shelf products rather than developing their own tools internally. In fact, where companies choose to build their own tools, the improvement in performance is mixed: mid- to large-scale portfolios don’t get the benefits, and the study concludes that software developed in-house only benefits small portfolios.
The other key finding regarding Portfolio Management is that an Enterprise Project Management Office really makes a difference. Where Portfolio Management and the associated software are managed by an Enterprise PMO, the performance of portfolios is consistently twice as high as those where portfolios are managed by other groups. In other words, having an enterprise PMO to increase the adoption of software tools, to support project managers and to improve standardization across the company, gives you double the performance improvement than if you leave portfolio management to disparate groups or individuals. That’s impressive!
EVM contributes to project success
Earned Value Management is still not used widely, despite being a great way to improve project success. About 40% of the PwC survey respondents use EVM, most of these being based in the United States. Interestingly, that’s not because everyone else doesn’t believe in the value of EVM. Lack of expertise and experience in the tools and techniques is the main reason why companies don’t adopt it. And that’s easy to put right! Nearly 70% of companies don’t have EVM certified professionals, but training project team members is a relatively low-cost and easy thing to do.
The survey highlighted some of the benefits of EVM:
- 62% say that EVM contributes to project success
- 73% say that it’s a useful tool to predict success
- Over half believe that it enables project leaders to assess project status.
In companies where EVM tools are used, projects meet their scope criteria 82% of the time, quality criteria 84% of the time and benefits targets 80% of the time. However, the study concludes that while EVM gives businesses tangible improvements in performance, it does rely on qualified and knowledgeable staff. They have to collect, validate and interpret the data to be able to use it to make informed decisions about the projects. And then they have to use robust project management practices to get their projects back on track. Without project team members who know how to get the best out of EVM, and who know how to manage projects and risks proactively, you won’t see improvements or a return on your investment from implementing it.
Portfolio Management and EVM are two tools that are often considered complicated to implement and requirement management overhead. This latest research from PwC shows that you can gain significant organizational benefits from deploying both Portfolio Management and EVM, and that people are the key to getting it right. Supporting your teams to adopt these new ways of working will improve project success rates, increase satisfaction with your project management capabilities and ensure that your business has that extra competitive advantage.
What’s New in Primavera P6 R8.3?
P6 Professional Release 8.3 includes a new enhancement entitled “Discussion”, which enables project team members to communicate information pertaining to specific activities. Project team members and project managers can ask questions, respond to questions, and include general information about an activity. These messages/discussions are saved with the activity on the new “Discussion” tab in activity details allowing project contributors to view the entire discussion thread. Additionally, a column entitled Unread Comments can be added to the activity table to alert Project Managers that messages are awaiting their disposition.
This Primavera P6 tutorial on Discussions is the first of several demonstrating the features of P6 Professional 8.3.
Enhancements in this release include:
- Visualizer for enhanced graphical reporting
- Stack columns and use word wrapping on the Gantt Chart
- Use notebook topics or a list of steps as bar labels or columns on the activity table
- Apply different fonts to individual fields & labels
- Color code and use various shapes for bars & endpoints
- Draw bars on top of each other
Discussions in P6 Professional Release 8.3
Step 1: Add the Discussion tab to activity details by accessing the Layout Options Bar, selecting Bottom Layout Options, and moving the Discussion to the displayed tabs.
Step 2: View the components of the Discussion tab. The left side of the tab displays the discussions including the user that posted the question, when the message was posted, and the actual message. Use the right side to enter and post the message.
Step 3: Enter the message & post. To add messages, the user must have Add/Edit Activities Except Relationships security privilege.
Step 4: Use the Show drop-down list to display all messages, sent messages, or received messages.
Step 5: Use the Sort drop-down to sort messages from Oldest to Newest or Newest to Oldest.
Step 6: Add the Unread Comments column to your activity table by accessing the Layout Options Bar & selecting the Columns option. This will alert the project manager to messages requiring disposition.
Step 7: The screenshot below indicates that one unread message exists.
The new Discussions feature will help facilitate better communication between project team members. This feature provides a centralized location for tracking all of the details and communications associated with an activity. Can you think of past projects that you have participated in where having the Discussions feature would have been helpful?
If you are interested in attending web based Primavera Release 8 training to earn PDUs, click here to view our training schedule and course descriptions.
An introduction to Resource Management in Primavera P6
Effective resource management can greatly impact the success of a project. Resource overallocation is a common problem and is one of the main areas of a project that you need to track.
Here are 4 steps to resolve resource overallocation:
- identify resources that are over-allocated (or under- utilized)
- pinpoint the timeframe of the over-allocation
- determine the activities contributing to the over-allocation
- resolve the over-allocation
P6 Professional includes 2 tools (among others) to support this process: Resource Usage Profile and the Resource Assignments window. This tutorial will outline the use of the Resource Usage Profile and the Assignments window to support effective Resource Management. We will assume that the role functionality is being utilized.
The Resource Usage Profile
Use the Resource Usage Profile to analyze quantity or cost usage for resources or roles. You can view a resource's or role's cost and quantity data for a specific project or for all projects across the enterprise (total allocation).
Define the profile to specify whether you want to display cost or quantity information and set the timescale for displaying data values. Choose to display past period actual or actual to date values in bars and curves. Then select the option to display vertical bars to represent costs or units allocated to your resources for each time-period, and include cumulative curves to represent accumulated units and costs over time.
The Resource Usage Profile can help you:
- calculate how many hours each resource is scheduled to work
- identify overloaded resources
- Track expenditures per time-period
- Determine resource usage by late dates
- create a "banana" curve to compare early and late dates
- display different colors or patterns on the histogram bars when showing the stacked histogram
In addition to customizing data, the look of the profile can be switched by specifying display options. For example, the bar color and background line type can all be changed. You can also save a customized profile for later use or share the Resource Usage Profile with someone else.
The Resource Usage Profile is only available in the bottom layout of the Activities window. The bottom layout window is divided into two panes.
- The left pane lists all the resources or roles stored in the hierarchy, based on your current view. In the stacked histogram view, the left pane lists all the resource or role filter/group names in the hierarchy.
- The right pane displays the values for the activities assigned to each resource or role in the histogram, or resource or role filter/group name in the stacked histogram.
Resource Assignments window
Use the Resource Assignments window to view the resource assignments for all currently opened projects. This window displays resource cost and quantity information in a spreadsheet. You can also group, sort, and filter resource assignments customize columns, and open & save resource assignment layouts.
The Resource Assignments window provides the ability to:
- use the Resource Usage Spreadsheet to show resource usage over time
- display spreadsheet fields for budgeted or planned, actual, or remaining values
- customize the spreadsheet fields
If you have the appropriate security privilege, you can manually enter/edit values for budgeted or planned and remaining (early) units. To show or hide the Resource Usage Spreadsheet, click the Layout Options bar, then choose Resource Usage Spreadsheet, or click on the Top Layout toolbar.
An example of the steps for using the Resource Usage Profile and Resource Assignments window
Step 1. Display the Resource Usage Profile by accessing the Layout Options Bar. Show the Resource Usage Profile on the bottom. On the left pane, select the resource to be examined. The profile for the selected resource will display on the right pane. The image below illustrates that Oliver Rock is over-allocated during the weeks of Feb. 21 & 28 of 2010.
Step 2. Identify the activities contributing to Oliver Rocks over-allocation by using the filter checkboxes on the left pane. Mark the box to Display Activities for selected Time Period and then select the desired time-period on the right pane. The image below displays the activities (see the activity table) to which Oliver Rock has been assigned during the week of Feb. 21, 2010.
Step 3. Select 2 activities (BA4020 and BA 4030) currently assigned to Oliver Rock and replace him with another resource qualified to fill the role of Cost Engineer. Highlight the activities (shift-click or control-click) and then select the Rsrc by Role icon on the command bar. This will display the roles assigned to these activities, and the resources that can fill this role. If you click on the resource, their profile will display, allowing you to determine if they are available during the desired time-period.
Step 4. The image below denotes that Paul Kim is available to replace Oliver Rock during the week of Feb. 21 & 28, 2010.
Step 5. Waylan Smithers is also available to replace Oliver Rock during the week of Feb. 21, 2010.
Step 6a. To replace Oliver Rock with Waylan Smithers, select Oliver Rock and click the red X to remove Oliver. Then, assign Waylan to these activities.
Step 6b. After assigning Waylan to replace Oliver, you can view Waylan’s profile to see that he now has work assigned during the week of Feb. 21.
Step 6c. View Oliver’s profile to see that he is no longer over-allocated during the week of Feb. 21, 2010. However, the over-allocation for the week of Feb. 28, 2010 still needs to be resolved. This issue can be resolved using the Resource Assignments window.
Step 7. Group and sort the Resource Assignments window by Resource. This will enable you to view the activities assigned to each resource and the distribution of the labor units over time, based on the timescale selected in the Resource Usage Spreadsheet. You will be able to view the total labor units per week for each resource to identify areas of over-allocation and availability. The image below illustrates that Oliver Rock is over-allocated during the week of Feb. 28, 2010. You also see the activities contributing to the over-allocation. Reassign the work on activity BA6070 Review Bids for Flooring to Waylan Smithers.
Step 8. Highlight the activity that will be reassigned to Waylan. Click the Browse button on the General tab in details to select a different resource. When the Select Resource ID Name dialog box appears, click on the Display options and select Current Role to view the resources that can fill the role of cost engineer.
Step 9. The image below displays the resources that can fill the role of Cost Engineer. Select Waylan Smithers to replace Oliver Rock.
Step 10. After assigning the work to Waylan, you can see that most of Oliver Rocks over-allocation during the week of Feb 28 has been resolved.
Step 11. We can also view Waylan’s allocations to see that he has been assigned more work during the week of Feb. 28, 2010.
Are you new to the Resource Management functionality in P6? MSS has created a free video guide that covers 5 Resource Management topics in Primavera P6 Release 7. Click on this link to access the free video guide.
Risk Management in Primavera P6 Release 8.2
Risks are uncertain events/conditions that have the potential to negatively (or positively) impact project objectives. Primavera P6 Release 8.2 Professional includes an integrated Risk Management feature that enables you to identify, categorize and prioritize risks, assign a responsible person for managing the risk, assign risks to one or more activities that may be impacted by the risk, and conduct qualitative analysis on each risk. Additionally, you have the ability to record a risk response.
P6 generates a “Risk Score” based on information that is entered for each risk. The “Risk Score” can then be used to help you evaluate the significance of the risk. This tutorial demonstrates the process of using the Risk Management functionality in P6 R8.2.
Step 1. We will document a possible risk to our project involving the Design and Engineering process. We want to document that if the customer changes the design of our Office Building Addition, the project may incur additional costs as well as schedule delays. The image below illustrates the Design and Engineering WBS element (work breakdown structure). As you can see below, this portion of the project is currently scheduled to start on Jan. 11 and finish on Feb. 9, and the total budgeted cost is $3120. We can also view the activities comprising this WBS element and their corresponding dates & budgeted cost. Please note that we have added the “Risks” tab in our Activity Details.
Step 2. Access the “Risks” icon on the directory bar and click the add icon on the Command Bar to begin the process of documenting the potential risk. The details pertaining to the risk are added using the detail tabs. The “General” tab is used to identify the risk category, risk type, owner or person responsible for resolving the risk, and status. The Exposure Start and Exposure Finish dates correspond to the start and finish of the activities in the Design and Engineering WBS. These dates represent the earliest and latest dates this risk may occur. The Pre-Response Exposure Cost represents the possible cost this risk may impose, and the Post-Response Exposure Cost is the cost the risk may impose based on your risk response. We will discuss the calculations behind these values shortly. Notice that you can also provide the date the risk was identified as well as the resource that identified the risk.
Step 3. The impact tab enables you to identify both pre-response and post-response parameters. Notice that you can select the Probability that the risk will occur, the impact that the risk may have on the schedule, and the monetary impact on the project if this risk occurs. The Risk Score is calculated based upon the values selected for the above mentioned parameters. The impact tab can also be utilized to document a response plan as well as response impact parameters to arrive at a Post-Response Risk Score.
The Help menu indicates how the Risk Score (both Pre-Response and Post-Response) is calculated:
The overall risk score based on the values you select for three fields: Probability, Cost, and Schedule. Two of these fields, Cost and Schedule, are known as the impact fields.
The Probability field and each impact field have these possible values: Very High, High, Medium, Low, Very Low, and Negligible. The application uses the highest value selected for the Cost and Schedule fields as the overall impact value. The application determines the Score by plotting the overall impact value with the value entered for Probability, as shown in the table below.
For example, if you enter the value Low for Cost and the value Medium for Schedule, the application uses Medium, the higher of the two, as the overall impact value. The application then uses the table below to determine the Score value by plotting the overall impact and Probability values. The columns in the table represent the overall impact values (Negligible through Very High), while the rows represent the Probability values (Very High through Negligible). The application determines the Score as the number that corresponds to the intersection of the applicable Impact column and Probability row. So, to continue our example, if you entered a value of High for Probability, the Score would display as 14, the number shown where the Impact Medium column intersects the Probability High row.
Impact Very Low
Impact Very High
Probability Very High
Probability Very Low
The Help menu identifies how the Pre-Exposure and Post-Exposure cost values are calculated. These values can be viewed on the General tab (see the image for Step 2 above):
The application calculates the potential cost of a risk. The potential cost displays in the Pre-Response Exposure Cost and Post-Response Exposure Cost fields on the Risks, General tab. (The Post-Response Exposure Cost field displays only after a response is made to a risk using the Post-Response fields on the Impact tab.) The following discussion refers to both the Pre- and Post-Response Exposure Cost fields generically as Exposure Cost fields because both are calculated using the same equation.
The value for the Exposure Cost field is based on the values selected for the Probability and Cost fields, located on the Risks, Impact tab, and on cost figures associated with the activities assigned to the Risk or to the project, if no activity assignments have been made.
The application calculates the Exposure Cost value using this equation: Exposure Cost = Planned/Budgeted Total Cost * (Probability Midpoint * Cost Midpoint).
The Planned/Budgeted Total Cost is the sum of the Planned/Budgeted Cost values for each activity assigned to the risk (or the planned project cost, if no activities are assigned to the risk).
The Probability Midpoint is the midpoint of the Probability field value for the selected risk. The Cost Midpoint is the midpoint of the Cost field value for the selected risk. The way each is calculated is discussed below.
Note: The Cost and Probability midpoint for the value Negligible is always zero, so the value of Negligible is not relevant to the following discussion.
The equation for the calculation of Probability Midpoint and Cost Midpoint varies, depending on which values are selected for the Probability and Cost fields:
- When using a value between highest and lowest:
- When a value of High (50% to 70%), Medium (30% to 50%), or Low (10% to 30%) is selected for the Probability field, then the Probability Midpoint is calculated using this equation: Probability Midpoint = (lower range for selected value + higher range of selected value)/2. So if the Probability value is Medium (30% to 50%), then the Probability Midpoint is calculated as follows: (30+50)/2 = 40%.
- When a value of High (20% to 40%), Medium (10% to 20%), or Low (1% to 10%) is selected for the Cost field, then the Cost Midpoint is calculated using the same equation as Probability Midpoint. So if the Cost value is Medium (10% to 20%), then the midpoint is calculated as follows: (10 + 20)/2 = 15%
- For highest values:
- When the value Very High (70% or higher) is selected for the Probability field, then the Probability Midpoint is calculated as the midpoint between the lower value and 100%. So the Probability Midpoint for the value Very High (70% or higher) midpoint is calculated as follows: (70 + 100)/2 = 85%.
- When the value Very High (40% or higher) is selected for the Cost field, then the Cost Midpoint is calculated using this equation: ((the lower range for the selected value * 2) + the high range for the selected value)/2. So the Cost Midpoint for the value Very High (40% or higher) is calculated as follows: ((40 * 2) + 100)/2 = 90%.
- For lowest values:
- When the value Very Low (<=10%) is selected for the Probability field, then the Probability Midpoint is calculated as the midpoint between zero and the upper value. So the Probability Midpoint for the value Very Low is calculated as follows: (0 + 10)/2 = 5%.
- When the value Very Low (Up to 1%) is selected for the Cost field, then the Cost Midpoint is calculated as the midpoint between zero and the upper value. So the Cost Midpoint for the value Very Low is calculated as follows: (0 + 1)/2 = .005%.
So if the Planned/Budgeted Total Cost is $700,689.00, and the Probability Midpoint is Medium (40%), and the Cost Midpoint is Very High (90%), then the Exposure Cost would be calculated as follows: $700,689.00 * (.4 * .9) = $252,248.00.
Step 4. You can use the Activities tab to identify activities that may be impacted by this risk.
Step 5. Use the Description tab to further describe the risk.
Step 6. Use the Cause tab to document the cause of the risk.
Step 7. Document the effect of the risk.
Step 8. Additional Notes can be entered.
Step 9. In the Activities window, you can view and/or assign risks to activities using the Risks tab in activity details.
Do you need P6 training?
MSS Inc. is now offering the Oracle University Primavera training curriculum in a live virtual training environment. The training courses will be taught in a web-based format where you will have access to P6 software to use during the course. The curriculum will be taught by a live instructor. You will no longer have to travel to get Oracle certificates of completion. No one wants to pay to for training AND travel & lodging expenses. Visit our online Primavera training webpage to learn more about the course and view the next course dates.
Green Project Management Software
Going ‘green’ is not just a business fad. Managing projects while using up the least amount of resources possible is something that many project managers are familiar with now, not because of environmental or sustainability policies, but because that’s the way business runs today. Senior executives set ambitious targets for company growth while only being able to invest small amounts, and we achieve these targets through continuous improvement and getting the best value possible from the resources available.
While we might have ended up in this situation as a result of the difficult economic climate, the bottom line is that not being wasteful and focusing on incremental improvements is a very green way of doing business. So shouldn’t we be identifying areas where we can be even more ‘green’?
What makes a project ‘green’?
Oil and gas project management, or other project management initiatives in energy and heavy industry, are not always seen as environmentally-friendly by consumers, but you don’t have to be constructing wind farms or installing solar panels to be ‘green’.
Project managers have the opportunity to focus on the environmental impact of all projects, and even small things make a difference. For example, using project management software to capture discussions electronically instead of printing out dozens of emails and filing those. Cutting down on travel reduces the carbon footprint of a project team, and there are many software tools available for web, video and audio conferencing.
These might not sound like much, but across the lifecycle of a project, and across multiple projects in an organization, the savings add up – as do the opportunities to communicate to consumers about the company’s environmental initiatives.
The new ISO 21500 standard on project management has also incorporated some elements of sustainability thinking, such as including the environmental impact of a project in the evaluation process and considering ecological constraints when producing the initial project charter. If your company aims to adopt this standard, it would be beneficial to identify areas where you can encourage your project team to think in a green way, starting from now.
Identifying opportunities for project savings
If you consider green initiatives on projects as an opportunity to reduce spending and make the most of scarce resources, you have to start with knowing where to look. The software you already have to manage your oil and gas projects, or other industry projects, will probably hold the key. These project management software tools allow you to track budgets and see which projects are consuming the most resources. Where is the money going on each of your projects? If you can identify the overheads for managing a project, you can benchmark individual projects against each other and the results can be interesting. You might find, for example, that one project team is already doing all that they can to cut out travel, and they may have some useful lessons to share with other teams who have higher expense budgets.
Some of the potential savings will not be so easy to spot. Switching to energy efficient light bulbs in your office will create a cost saving not associated to one particular project. Moving to a cloud-hosted document storage solution or an enterprise project management tool may reduce the need for project team members to store the documents they receive via email on local servers. If the need for server storage can be reduced across the company, the carbon footprint of the business can also be reduced – although you wouldn’t pick this up by looking at project budgets. Be creative about where you look for the environmental benefits on projects, and how you implement them.
Sharing the news about ‘green’
Use your project management software to produce reports about green initiatives on projects. You could give projects a rating depending on how well they are adopting environmental and sustainability approaches. You could also incorporate adherence to any corporate policies on these subjects as part of the project prioritization process for new projects.
Any projects set up to specifically delivery environmental benefits, such as switching delivery vans to hybrid fuel or electric power, can also be tracked and managed through your project management tool suite, as any other initiative would be.
There are a number of ways that your software suite can support you and other project managers to be environmentally friendly, without radically changing the way you work. Consolidated reporting across multiple projects can provide a company-wide view of the savings made through a program of ‘green’ initiatives. You can use the reports to help manage communications with project stakeholders, both internal and external.
That’s important, because a new study by AP-GfK shows that people are caring more and more about environmental issues. Being able to show – even if it is just a small paragraph in an internal company report – that your projects take sustainability into account can be an advantage in an ever more competitive business climate.
Overall, considering the environmental impact of projects and project management practices makes good business sense. All types of resources are scarce – some getting even more so – and one of the most effective ways to make business sustainable is to make the best use of what we have available. That’s good for the environment, and good for company finances!
MSS Inc. can help you with Green Project Managemement
The New Year is finally in full swing and one topic that will be seen and heard alot of in the project management world is going "green". One way MSS Inc. can help your organization go green is by reducing your project management software training footprint with our new live virtual Primavera training classes. Your organization will no longer need to print out expensive manuals, consume gas while traveling, or waste valuable company resources. Click on the link to find out more about our new Live Virtual Primavera training classes!
Role Limits in Primavera P6
Resource Management is integral part of successful Project Management. Primavera P6 is well equipped to help you manage resource across multiple projects. The P6 Resource Management module includes the Resource Usage Profile, which can be utilized to effectively analyzing resources and role utilization.
The Resource Usage Profile enables you to view resource or role usage within a single project or across the entire enterprise helping you to identify resource and role over-allocation and underutilization. When used in conjunction with the Role functionality in P6, the Resource Usage Profile can be utilized to determine whether you have the capacity to fill various roles required for future projects. “Role Limits” can be established to help you to identify areas of role over-allocation or underutilization. This tutorial identifies the two available methods for establishing Role Limits to support effective Resource Management.
What is a Role?
Roles are project personnel job titles or skills, such as mechanical engineer, inspector, or carpenter. They represent a type of resource with a certain level of proficiency, rather than a specific individual. Roles can also be assigned to specific resources to further identify that resource's skills. For example, a resource may have a role of a engineer and manager.
You can create a set of roles to assign to resources and activities in all projects in the enterprise. P6 will let you establish an unlimited number of roles and organize them in a hierarchy for easier management and assignment. The set of roles you assign to an activity defines the activity's skill requirements. You can also define unique price per unit rates for each role for accurate cost planning.
Roles can be temporarily assigned during the planning stages of the project to see how certain resources affect the schedule. Once you finalize your plans, you can replace the roles with resources that fulfill the role skill levels. Five proficiency levels can be assigned to roles: Master, Expert, Skilled, Proficient and Inexperienced. Roles can be assigned in the Resource Details window or from the Roles dialog box.
Resource/Role Usage Profile
The step by step process below will help illustrate the options for displaying Role Limits in the Resource/Role Profile to assist you with effective resource/role planning.
Step 1: Open a project (or multiple projects) and select a layout. The image below displays a layout with no bottom layout.
Step 2: Display the Resource Usage Profile by accessing the Layout Options Bar, Show on Bottom, Resource Profile.
Step 3: The Resource Usage Profile is now displayed in the bottom. The profile for the resource, Oliver Rock, is currently displayed. The profile can be modified to view resource or role profiles.
Step 4: To display the Role Profile view, access the left pane display options, select the Role View.
Step 5: Select the Role that you would like to view. The image below is displaying the profile for the Purchasing role. We can see that the Purchasing role is over-allocated during the weeks of January 17, 24, and 31. The over-allocated units are displayed as RED. The black horizontal line depicts the limit for this role. Anything beyond the black line is considered over-allocated.
Step 6: Users can select which method they prefer for viewing Role Limits on the Resource/Role Profile by accessing the Edit menu, User Preferences, and the Resource Analysis tab.
Step 7: The Resource Analysis tab, in User Preferences, identifies the two methods for identifying/viewing Role Limits. You can select to display the Role Limit based on a Custom Role Limit or based on the Calculated primary resources’ limit.
Step 8: The first example that we will explore is to utilize the Calculated Primary Resources’ limit. The image below depicts the Roles dialog box, which can be accessed from the Enterprise menu, Roles. The Purchasing Role is currently selected, and we can view the detail tabs on the bottom layout. The Resource tab in Role details displays those resources that can fill the Role of Purchasing. We can see that Jill Morgan and Oliver Rock can both fill this role. However, the Purchasing Role is the Primary Role for Jill Morgan, but not for Oliver Rock. When we base the Role Limit on the Calculated Primary Resources’ limit, P6 sums the resource limits for all resources for whom this is their Primary Role. This is the Primary Role for Jill Morgan so the calculated role limit will be based on Jill Morgan’s limit. If this was the Primary Role for other resources, P6 would sum their respective limits to arrive at the Role Limit. The next step displays where you can determine the resource’s limit.
Step 9: You can view the Resource’s limit by accessing the Resource window (Enterprise menu, Resources). Select the appropriate resource (such as Jill Morgan) and choose the Details tab. Notice that Jill Morgan’s calendar is the Standard 5 Day Workweek, therefore, Jill Morgan’s calculated limit is 8 hours per day or 40 hours per week.
Step 10: The image below displays the Role Profile for Purchasing based on the Calculated Primary Resources’ Limit (ie. Jill Morgan’s limit of 40 hours per week).
Step 11: We will now explore the second method for establishing and viewing Role Limits on the profile. Access User Preferences from the Edit menu & select the Resource Analysis tab. Choose to Display Role Limit based on Custom role limit.
Step 12: Access the Roles window from the Enterprise menu, select the Role and display the Limits tab in Role details. Notice that you can identify an effective date and max units/time for the selected role. This will function as the custom role limit. By default, role limits are calculated based on the limit defined for each role’s primary resource, which may not accurately reflect a role’s planned allocation. In P6 Professional click on the User Preferences and navigate to the Resource Analysis tab. This is where you can choose to display role limits based on the custom role limits you define on this tab. In the example below, the Custom Role Limit for Purchasing is 32 hours per day or 160 hours per week.
Step 13: The Role Profile displayed below is based on the Custom Role Limit of 32 hours per day/160 hours per week. Custom Role Limits can be very useful when planning projects in the future. For example, you may have future plans to hire additional resources to fill the role of Purchasing. You can incorporate those future hiring plans within the custom role limit so that you can better evaluate future project plans.
Are you a new P6 user? Do you need Primavera training, but do not have the time to take away from work, or the budget available for classroom training? MSS Inc. offers a low-cost online training course that is tailored to help users understand the fundamentals of project management in P6. Visit our Primavera P6 training page to read more about the course and get access to a free sample video lesson.
An overview of Trace Logic in Primavera P6
Trace Logic is a great tool available in Primavera P6 that allows you to step or “trace” forward or backward through a series of activities in order to view or focus on predecessor/successor relationships. Trace Logic can be displayed as a Bottom Layout in the Activities window. The Trace Logic tool displays relationships for an activity that you select in the Activity Table, Activity Network, Activity Usage Spreadsheet, or the Gantt Chart displayed in the Top Layout. The selected activity will be displayed as a box with a blue border that enables you to quickly focus on its predecessor/successor relationships. Critical activities will be displayed with a red border around the activity box. Lines connecting the activity boxes denote activity relationships.
Why would I use the Trace Logic feature?
Trace Logic can be used by project managers and schedulers to review an activity’s predecessors and successors. Trace Logic makes it easy to examine why an activity is scheduled to occur at a particular time helping you to determine if an activity’s predecessors were delayed or if existing constraints are still applicable. You can quickly evaluate if relationship types portray the sequence in which the activities should occur. For example, you may notice that a Site Prep activity can have a “start to start” relationship with its Excavation successor versus “finish to start”.
This tutorial provides instructions for displaying and customizing the Trace Logic.
Step 1: Open a project & select a layout. The layout selected below is “Current versus Baseline Bars”. Notice that BA2020 Excavation activity started late, has a work stoppage as evidenced by the “bar-neck”, and finished late when compared to its baseline. We will use Trace Logic to determine the possible impact on successor activities.
Step 2: Lets display the Trace Logic on the Bottom Layout by selecting “View”, “Show on Bottom”, “Trace Logic”.
Step 3: Once Trace Logic is displayed in the bottom layout, you can select an Activity in the top layout. The top layout displayed below is the Gantt Chart view (consisting of the Activity Table and the Gantt Chart). We can select an Activity by clicking on the activity in the Activity Table or on the Gantt Chart.
Additional top layout options include:
- Activity Network
- Activity Usage Spreadsheet
- Activity Table
The activity BA2020 Excavation has been selected, and the Trace Logic in the bottom layout displays the predecessors and successors for Excavation. We are able to trace the possible impact of the delay in the Excavation on its successors. Notice that the selected activity is displayed with a blue border in the Trace Logic. Also, notice that activities on the critical path (such as BA2030 and BA2040) are displayed with a red border around the activity box. You can use the zoom-in and zoom-out features to view the trace logic as well as the contents of the activity boxes.
How do I identify critical activities, critical relationships, and driving relationships?
The following visual indicators represent critical activities, critical relationships, and driving relationships:
- Activity boxes outlined in red are critical activities; activity boxes outlined in black are not critical activities.
- Solid red lines represent critical relationships, while solid black lines represent non-critical relationships.
- Solid lines represent driving relationships, while dashed lines represent non-driving relationships.
Step 4a: You can specify the number of levels of predecessors and successors that you want to view by accessing the View menu and selecting Bottom Layout Options. You can also right-click in the Trace Logic display and select Trace Logic Options.
Step 4b: Use Trace Logic Options dialog box to specify the number of levels of predeccessors and successors to display.
Step 5: The activity boxes in Trace Logic display the same information as the boxes defined for the current Activity Network layout.
You can control the contents of the activity boxes by selecting the:
- View menu
- Activity Network
- Activity Network Options
Step 6: The Activity Network Options dialog box allows you to select a “box template”, which will contain activity information. You can edit the box template to change the information displayed.
Step 7: To print the Trace Logic:
- access the Print Preview icon from the Toolbar
- select the “Page Setup options” tab
- mark the “Trace Logic” checkbox and any additional options
Step 8: Sample Trace Logic print preview.
MSS Inc. is a full service project management solutions firm and provides outsource planning, scheduling, and project controls for organizations in project intensive industries. We specialize in Primavera software and services and have expert consultants and implementation experts. Contact MSS Inc for a FREE software consultation today.
Author: Mary Williams President of MSS Inc.
Increase your productivity in Primavera P6
One thing that you can always be certain of with Primavera P6, you can always learn more. There will always be new features and functionality in each new release that you did not know existed. One question that we always hear from students in our classroom based Primavera training is if they can have more than one window or tabs opened while working in P6. Today we are going to illustrate how to use multiple windows/tabs and tiles in P6 Professional R8.2.
Did you know you could display vertical and horizontal tiles?
P6 Release 8.2 has two new features that will help improve your productivity. The first feature is the ability to open multiple windows/tabs (such as the Activities and WBS windows), and the second feature is the ability to tile the windows horizontally or vertically by opening multiple tab groups. In previous releases of P6, you could only work with one window at a time. For example, if you wanted to set up your Work Breakdown Structure, then you would have to click on the WBS button on the Directory Bar. If you wanted to work with activities, then you would need to click the Activity button. In other words, you could not work with and view both windows at the same time. Oracle Primavera solved this problem in their latest release, P6 Professional R8.2. You will now have the ability to work with multiple windows/tabs.
The benefits of these new features
Let me ask you this question. Would you like to work in the WBS and Activities windows at the same time? Your answer should be Yes! Let’s assume that you are in the process of creating the project plan/schedule for a new project. During the planning phase of a project, you will setup the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) to identify the major deliverables for your project. You will also setup the activities or tasks required to complete each deliverable or WBS element. If you were able to work in both windows, the set up of your project will be much quicker and efficient. No more toggling back and forth between windows and entering in wrong information because you are trying to remember different activity codes etc etc.
P6 R8.2 enables you to tile windows vertically or horizontally by opening multiple tab groups. Tiling is very efficient when you need to work within multiple windows and do not want to move back and forth between windows. For example, as indicated above, we may need to work with both the WBS and Activities windows. We can use the tiling feature to display both windows simultaneously.
You will have two tiling options:
- Tile horizontally: the workspace is split into top and bottom tab groups (for example, the Activities tab may be on the top and the WBS tab on the bottom).
- Tile vertically: the workspace is divided into left and right tab groups (for example, Activities on the left and WBS on the right). You can display as many window tabs as necessary in each tab group.
This tutorial will provide instructions on using tab groups to display both the Activities and WBS tabs both horizontally and vertically. This tutorial will be very helpful during the planning phase of your projects. Follow the link below to access the step-by-step tutorial.
MSS Inc. can help you learn how to use P6
It is our job at MSS Inc. to help project controls professionals, project managers, planners/schedulers, and executives to understand the functionality of P6 and how it can help them manage their projects better. Despite the fact that most people are moving to P6 Release 8.2, there is still a significant portion of P6 users that are staying with P6 Release 7. MSS inc. has created a Primavera P6 online video training course that helps teach users the fundamentals of setting up projects in Primavera P6. Everyone can benefit from having strong fundamentals! Click here to access a sample course lesson. It is a great, low cost alternative to attending classroom based Primavera training. Also, we want to hear what you have to say about about our tutorials! So do not forget to comment on our blog and Like us on Facebook.
Manage your projects with Primavera Software
Everyone in project intensive industries know that Primavera software is the standard for effective project portfolio management. However, do you know how it can help your organization manage its project portfolio more effectively? In this blog post, we will discuss 5 ways that P6 will help your organization streamline it's project management, reduce project costs and increase revenue.
1. Choose the right strategic mix of project portfolios
Lets face it, project managers and project controls professionals have tough jobs. They have to decide if it worth it for an organization to include a project in it's project portfolio. How can Primavera software help them make that choice? Easy. It comes fully equipped with a portfolio management module that prioritizes and assess the strengths and weaknesses of a project portfolio. Factors such as risk, ROI and resource management capabilites are all given to you in an easy to read graphic that helps you assemble the right mix of project portfolios.
2. Plan and Schedule Complex Projects
There are projects out there that require more than just your standard scheduling program. This is where P6 software comes in to play. Some organizatios manage thousands of projects at once and each project could have thousands of activites and unique requirements. That is a complex schedule! EPPM software helps organizations effectively plan and schedule projects with tools such as critical path scheduling and analysis, resource leveling, capacity planning, baseline analysis, and easy to read views of thework breakdown structure (WBS). All of these features are key to managing multiple complex projects.
3. Resource management
I can think of two words that will scare executives, project managers and project controls professionals. Liquidated Damages. If your project is running behind schedule and does not finish on time, chances are that you are going to have to pay a hefty fee. One of the main reasons that projects do not finish on time is poor resource management. You have to have the resources available to complete the job. P6 EPPM software has a whole module dedicated to resource management. This module includes the ability to level resources and assign resources to activites. Providing the user with access to resource information will help them maximizing the use of a limited pool of resources to help facilitate the completion of projects on time and within budget.
4. Organization wide collaboration and communcation
One of the main factors that drives project success is effective communication amongst project stakeholders, managers and workers. Primavera software promotoes organization wide collaboration by improving decision-making at the highest level, streamlining project coordination and helping team members be more efficient. P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio management helps facilitate communicate from the top down making sure that all project team members have access to the most current project information and schedules, which will help eliminate the communication errors that cause project delays.
5. Reporting and Analytics
P6 Enterprise PPM's analytics and reporting features sets itself above other project management tools. It is able to report and analyize multpile project portfolios at once giving project stakeholders a bird's eye view of the status of their projects. Understanding the status and anlytics of a project is important because it enables an organization to discover exactly where the issues are that are negatively impacting a project, the data and indicators needed to overcome the issue, and the results of the solution to the issue. The project reporting and analytics are all rolled up into a customizable dashboard that lets the user view all of the important information in one spot.
How can MSS Inc. help your organization?
Primavera software is the most effective tool for managing mulitple project portfolios and ensuring that they are completed on time and within budget. Are you trying to decide whether to use P6 to manage your organization's projects? Contact MSS Inc. for a FREE software consulation and we will help you decide whether Enterprise Project Portfolio Management software is right for your company, work with stakeholders to create and implement a scalable solution based on the needs of your organization, and train your staff to be fully competent on the functionality of the software!
Primavera P6 Release 8.2: TSLD with Color Coded Activity Codes
Color coding information is one of the best ways to keep your documents, outlines and projects organized. I remember when I was still in a school and would highlight useful information in my school books and notes so that I would remember the importantance of that piece of information. This blog post is a continuation of our last post covering the Timscaled Logic Diagrams in Primavera P6 Release 8.2. In this blog post, we will discuss how to color code activity codes on the TSLD.
Primavera P6 users have always enjoyed the ability to group, sort, and filter project activities based upon activity codes. One of the great new features of Primavera P6 Release 8.2 is the ability to use color coded activity bars on the Timescaled Logic Diagram (TSLD) based upon Activity Code values.
Example of how to use the Color Coded Activity Codes in Primavera P6 R8.2
Let’s assume that your organization needs to organize your activities by “Responsibility” so that you can view, within one project or all projects, who is responsible for the activities. Additionally, you would like to be able to view a timeline of activities and determine when activities associated with each “Responsibility’’ will need to occur. The best way to accomplish this objective with Primavera P6 is to setup Activity Codes, which can be assigned to activities and then used to group, sort and filter activities in TSLD’s in addition to layouts and reports.
How do I setup Activity Codes in P6 R8.2?
Activity codes are setup using the Enterprise Menu in Primavera P6. When you setup an activity code, such as “Responsibility””, you establish the activity code values. For example, activity code values for “Responsibility” might be: JN (Joe Nolan), LH (Linda Haris), KL (Ken Lang – Design Team), GG (George Green – Sitework Crew). In Primavera P6 Release 8.2, you can also assign colors to each activity code value, which can be used in the context of the TSLD.
Activity codes can be setup at three levels:
- Global Activity codes are available for use across all projects in your P6 database. If we setup an activity code such as “Responsibility”, we would be able to open one, multiple or all projects and reorganize/group them by Responsibility. You can setup an unlimited number of activity codes.
- EPS level activity codes enable you to establish codes to be used for specific nodes on your Enterprise Project Structure. For example, you may setup your EPS to represent three different lines of business (such as Commercial Construction, DOT construction, Federal Government construction). One of those lines of business, such as the DOT, may require you to assign bid items to each activity and then submit reports organized by those bid items. You could setup EPS level codes for the DOT node and the codes would be available only to projects assigned to that EPS node. The codes would not be available to projects under the other EPS nodes. P6 lets you setup an unlimited number of EPS level activity codes.
- Project specific activity codes can also be setup for projects with unique project reporting requirements. There is a limit of 500 activity codes per project.
TSLD and Color Coded Activity Values for Responsibility
This Primavera P6 training tutorial provides instructions for color coding activity code values for “Responsibility” and using then configuring the Timescaled Logic Diagram to display the color-coded activity bars based on ‘’Responsibility’’. This will enable you to view the Responsible party for each activity on the timeline. Hopefully, viewing information in this format will assist you in planning and managing your project more effectively.
Did you find this blog tutorial to be useful? MSS Inc. wants to make sure that we are putting out tutorials that are relevant to our reader's needs. Primavera P6 Release 8 is full of functionality that will help you manage your projects more effectively. What topics in P6 do you find to be the most troublesome? Using the web tool? Resource Management? Cost Management? Communicate with us on our blog posts and on Facebook to discuss our tutorials and how we can put out tutorials that will benefit you the most. Visit us on Facebook to learn more about the world of Primavera software and project management.