MS Project Tips and Tricks – Using Resource Calendars

99 Tricks and Traps for Microsoft projectUsing Resource Calendars in Microsoft Project Software

Each resource is created with its very own editable calendar.

Here are some important points:

v  Each new resource is assigned a copy of the current Project Calendar as its Base Calendar.

v  This Resource Base Calendar may be changed in the Resource Sheet or Change Working Time form to another Base Calendar.

v  Any change to a Base Calendar will be reflected in any Resource Calendar.

v  The Resource Calendar may be edited to suit the availability of the resource. Days may be made non workdays to represent holidays, etc.

v  Normally the duration of a resourced task calculated from the Resource Calendar.

v  A task will finish at the end of the longest resource assignment when there are two or more resources assigned to a task that have different end dates due to different Resource calendars or assignment durations.

v  When a Task has been assigned a calendar and the check box in the Task Information form Advanced tab Scheduling ignores resource calendars is checked the task duration is then calculated from the Task calendar.

v  The Finish date may be calculated differently after a task is assigned one or more resources when the Resources Calendars are not the same as the Task Calendar.

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Primavera P6 Training Brisbane – Scheduling the Project

Project Planning and Control Using Oracle Primavera P6 - Versions 8.1 & 8.2 Professional Client & Optional ClientScheduling the Project in Primavera P6

The software calculates the shortest time in which the project may be completed, Activities are moved forward in time until they meet a Relationship or Constraint or a calendar nonwork time. Un-started activities without logic or constraints are scheduled to start at the Project Start Date or as permitted by calendar nonwork times.

Scheduling the project will identify the Critical Path(s) when there is a Closed Network.

The Critical Path is the chain(s) of activities that takes the longest time to accomplish; a delay to any activity in the chain will delay the end date of the project. The calculated completion date depends on the critical activities starting and finishing on time.

If any of them are delayed, the whole project will be delayed.

Critical Path

The Critical Path is the shortest duration that a project may be completed in and a delay to any activity will delay the end date of the project, activities A1000 to A1030 and A1060 below also shown in red are on the critical path:

primavera p6 critical path

Total Float

Total Float is the amount of time an activity may be delayed without extending the project end date.

  • An activity with Total Float may delay another activity,
  • May be displayed in a column and in the Gantt Chart, as per the thin black bar below and
  • May be negative.

primavera p6 total float

Free Float

The Free Float is the amount of time an activity may be delayed without delaying another activity.

  • Displayed only in a column and
  • Is never in the negative.

primavera p6 free float

P6 does not display Free Float as a br.

Relationship Colors

Relationship colors in P6 may not be formatted as with most other software:

  • Solid Red are Critical and normally do not have Total Float,
  • Solid Black are Driving Non-Critical and their successors have Total Float,
  • Dotted Black are Non-Driving Non-Critical and their predecessors have Free Float.

primavera p6 relationship colours

Eastwood Harris Supplies Project Management Training Manuals, Project Management Training Presentations and Consulting on Primavera P6 and Microsoft Project 2010 across Australia.

Primavera P6 Software Tips and tricks – Setting Up a New Project

Set Up a New Project Using Primavera P6 Software

To review or modify some of the basic Project or EPS information entered when a project was created, ensure that the Project Details form is displayed in the bottom of the screen:

  • Highlight a project or EPS Node,
  • The project must be open to edit some project data,
  • You must also have the appropriate access rights to edit data,
  • Select View, Show on Bottom, Details and click on the General tab:

set up project in primavera p6

  • The Risk Level may be used to sort and filter Projects and EPS Nodes.
  • The Project Leveling Priority is used when leveling a project to reduce peaks in resource requirements. Value of 1 is the highest and 100 the lowest.
  • Check Out Status enables the user to determine if the project is checked in or checked out (New to Version 4.1). Checked Out By and Date Checked Out enables the user to establish if the project is currently checked out.

Eastwood Harris Supplies Project Management Training Manuals, Project Management Training Presentations and Consulting on Primavera P6 and Microsoft Project 2010 across Australia.

Primavera P6 Software Training Melbourne – How to Add Logic Links

primavera P6 Version 8.2_e-book training manualAdding the Logic Links Using Primavera P6 Software in Melbourne

The logic is added to the schedule to provide the order in which the activities must be undertaken.

The logic is designated by indicating the predecessors to, or the successors from, each activity. There are two methods that Primavera software uses to sequence activities:

  • Precedence Diagramming Method (PDM), and
  • Arrow Diagramming (ADM).

Most current project planning and scheduling software, including Primavera, uses PDM. You can create a PDM diagram using the Network Diagram function.

There are several types of dependencies that may be used:

1.       Mandatory dependencies, also known as Hard Logic or Primary Logic, are relationships between activities that may not be broken. For example, a hole has to be dug before it is filled with concrete, or a computer delivered before software is loaded.

2.       Discretionary dependencies, also known as Sequencing Logic or Soft Logic or Secondary Logic, are relationships between activities that may be changed when the plan is changed. For example, if there are five holes to be excavated and only one machine available, or five computers to be assembled and one person available to work on them, then the order of these activities could be set with sequencing logic yet changed at a later date.

Both Mandatory dependencies and Discretionary dependencies are entered into Primavera P6 as activity relationships or logic links. The software does not provide a method of identifying the type of relationship because notes or codes may not be attached to relationships. A Note may be added to either the predecessor or the successor activity to explain the relationship.

  1. External dependencies are usually events outside the control of the project team that impact the schedule. An example would be the availability of a site to start work. This is usually represented in Primavera by a Milestone that has a constraint applied to it. This topic is discussed in more detail in the next section.

The P6 software will calculate the start and finish dates for each activity.  The end date of the project is calculated from the start date of the project, the logic amongst the activities, any Leads(often referred to as Negative Lag)or Lags applied to the logic and durations of the activities.

Eastwood Harris Supplies Project Management Training Manuals, Project Management Training Presentations and Consulting on Primavera P6 and Microsoft Project 2010 across Australia.

Primavera P6 Training Brisbane – Adding Activities to a Project in Brisbane

primavera_P6_V8.2 training using metrics brisbaneAdding Activities to Primavera P6 Projects in Brisbane

Project activities must be defined before they are entered into the schedule. It is important that you carefully consider the following factors:

  • What is the scope of the activity? (What is included and excluded?)
  • How long is the activity going to take?
  • Who is going to perform it?
  • What are the deliverables or output for each activity?

The project estimate is usually a good place to start looking for a breakdown of the project into activities, resources, and costs. It may even provide an indication of how long the work will take.

Activities may have variable durations depending on the number of resources assigned. You may find that one activity that takes 4 days using 4 workers may take 2 days using 8 workers or 8 days using 2 workers.

Usually project reports are issued on a regular basis such as every week or every month. It is recommended that, if possible, an activity should not span more than two reporting periods.  That way the activities should only be In-Progress for one report.

Of course, it is not practical to do this on long duration activities, such as procurement and delivery activities, that may span many reporting periods.

Good practice recommends that you have a measurable finish point for each group of activities.

These may be identified in the schedule by Milestones and are designated with zero duration. You may issue documentation to officially highlight the end of one activity and the start of another, thereby adding clarity to the project schedule.

Examples of typical documents that may be issued for clarity are:

  • Issue of a drawing package
  • Completion of a specification
  • Placing of an order
  • Receipt of materials (delivery logs or tickets or dockets)
  • Completed testing certificates for equipment or systems

Eastwood Harris Supplies Project Management Training Manuals, Project Management Training Presentations and Consulting on Primavera P6 and Microsoft Project 2010 across Australia.