How to Use the Group, Sort and Layout Features in Primavera P6 Software

Project Planning and Control Using Oracle Primavera P6 - Version 8.2 EPPM WebUSING GROUP, SORT AND LAYOUTS in PRIMAVERA P6

Group and Sort enables data such as activities in the Activities Window, WBS Nodes in the WBS Window, projects in the Project Window, and many other data items to be sorted and organized under other parameters such as Dates and Resources or user defined Activity and Project Codes. This function is similar to Organize in P3 and SureTrak and Grouping in Microsoft Project and Asta Powerproject.

Layouts is a function in which the formatting of parameters such as the Group and Sort, Columns and Bars is saved and reapplied later. This function is similar to Layouts in P3 and SureTrak or Views in Asta Power Project and Microsoft Project.

A Layout may be edited, saved, or reapplied at a later date and may have a Filter associated with it. Layouts contain the formatting for all options of both the top and bottom pane.

Although Group and Sort is available in many forms, Layouts are only available in a few places including the following Windows:

This chapter will concentrate on how Group and Sort and Layouts are applied in the Activities Window but the same principles apply to the other windows. This chapter covers the following topics:

Topic Notes on the Function
  • Reformat the Grouping and Sorting of projects in the Projects Window or activities in the Activities Window by opening the Group and Sort form
  • Click on the  icon, or
  • Select View, Group and Sort by, Customize.
  • Create, save or edit a Layout
  • Click on the  icon, or

Select View, Group and Sort by, Customize.

Create, save or edit a Layout Select either:

  • From the menu View, Layout, Save Layout As…, or
  • From the Layout bar Layout, Save As….

The Layout bar location is indicated in the following picture:

layout window in primavera p6

Paul Harris writes training manuals for MS Project and Primavera P6 and Delivers Project Management Training Courses Throughout Australia and the world.  His books are available on Amazon and Kindle

How to Assign Constraints in Primavera P6 – Project Management Software

Assigning Constraints in Primavera P6 Version 8.2

eh.com.au warning symbol When setting constraints sometimes the constraint time will not be set at the start or finish of the activity calendar but set at 00:00 or some other irrelevant time. Therefore when setting constraints you should always display the time by selecting Edit, User Preferences …, Dates tab to ensure the constraint time is compatible with the activity calendar.

Project Planning and Control Using Oracle Primavera P6 - Version 8.2 EPPM WebNumber of Constraints per Activity

Two constraints are permitted against each activity. They are titled Primary and Secondary Constraint. After the Primary has been set, a Secondary may be set only when the combination is logical and therefore a reduced list of constraints is available from the Secondary Constraint list after the Primary has been set.

Setting a Primary Constraint Using the Activity Details Form

To assign a constraint using the Activity Details form:

  • Select the activity requiring a constraint,
  • Open the Status tab on the Activity Details form,
  • Select the Primary Constraint type from the Date drop down list to the right of Primary:

setting contraints in p6 1

Setting a Secondary Constraint Using the Activity Details Form

To assign a constraint using the Activity Details form:

  • Select the activity requiring a constraint,
  • Open the Status tab on the Activity Details form,
  • Select the Secondary Constraint type from the Date drop down list to the right of Secondary:

setting contraints in p6 2

The picture above shows that after a Primary Start On or After constraint is set there are only two Secondary Constraints available. After a constraint is set the date will have an asterisk “*” next to it.

  • Start Constraints will have the “*” next to the Start Date, and
  • Finish Constraints will have the “*” next to the Finish Date.
  • Unlike P3 and SureTrak one does not have to display the Late Dates to see a Late Constraint “*”.

Expected Finish Constraint

This constraint is set in the dates Status area above the Constraints area and will only work if the Tools, Schedule…, , Use Expected Finish dates check box is checked.

Paul Harris writes training manuals for MS Project and Primavera P6 and Delivers Project Management Training Courses Throughout Australia and the world.  His books are available on Amazon and Kindle.

How to Use Constraints in Primavera P6 V 8.2 Software

Project Planning and Control Using Oracle Primavera P6 - Version 8.2 EPPM Web

Using Constraints in P6 Version 8.2

Constraints are used to impose logic on activities that may not be realistically scheduled with logic links. This article will deal with the following constraints in detail:

  • Start On or After
  • Finish On or Before

These are the minimum number of constraints that are required to effectively schedule a project.

Start On or After (also known as an “Early Start” or “Start No Earlier Than” constraint as it only affects the Early dates calculation) is used when the start date of an activity is known and does not have a predecessor. Primavera will not calculate the activity early start date prior to this date.

Finish On or Before (also known as “Late Finish” or “Finish No Later Than” constraint as it only affects the Late dates calculation) is used when the latest finish date is stipulated. Primavera will not calculate the activity’s late finish date after this date.

The following table summarizes the methods used to assign Constraints to Activities or how to add notes to activities:

Topic Notes for Creating a Constraint
  • Setting a Primary and Secondary constraint with the Activity Details form.
Open the Status tab on the Activity Details form.
  • Setting Constraints using columns.
The following columns may be displayed and the constraints assigned or edited:

  • Primary Constraint
  • Primary Constraint Date
  • Secondary Constraint
  • Secondary Constraint Date
  • Expected Finish Date
  • Dragging an Activity in the Gantt Chart.
  • Dragging an Activity in the Gantt Chart.
Dragging an Activity in the Gantt Chart will open the Confirmation form where the user is able to confirm the setting of a Start On or After constraint.
  • Adding Notes, these could be about constraints or other activity information.
The Activity Details form has a Notebook tab, which enables Notes to be assigned to Notebook Topics.

Primavera P6 software will permit two constraints to be assigned to each activity. Asta Powerproject, P3, and SureTrak also allow two constraints but Microsoft Project only permits one except when a Deadline constraint is applied.

A full list of constraints available in Primavera:

  • <None>
This is the default for a new activity. An activity by default is scheduled to occur As Soon As Possible and does not have a Constraint.
  • Start On
Also known as Must Start On and sets a date on which the activity will start. Therefore, the activity has no float. The early start and the late start dates are set to be the same as the Constraint Date.
  • Start On or Before
Also known as Start No Later Than or Late Start, this constraint sets the late date after which the activity will not start.
  • Start On or After
Also known as Start No Earlier Than or Early Start, this constraint sets the early date before which the activity will not start.
  • Finish On
Also known as Must Finish On, this constraint sets a date on which the activity will finish and therefore has no float. The early finish and the late finish dates are set to be the same as the Constraint Date.
  • Finish On or Before
Also known as Finish No Later Than or Late Finish, this sets the late date after which the activity will not finish.
  • Finish On or After
Also known as Finish No Earlier Than or Early Finish, this sets the early date before which the activity will not finish.
  • As Late As Possible
Also known as Zero Free Float. An activity will be scheduled to occur as late as possible. It consumes Free Float only and does not have any particular Constraint Date. The Early and Late dates have the same date.
  • Mandatory Start
This relationship prevents float being calculated through this activity and effectively breaks a schedule into two parts. This is also sometimes called a Hard Constraint.
  • Mandatory Finish
This relationship prevents float being calculated through this activity and effectively breaks a schedule into two parts. This is also sometimes called a Hard Constraint.
  • Expected Finish
An Expected Finish sets the Early Finish to the Expected Finish constraint date and calculates the Remaining Duration from the Early Start date for an un-started activity, or Data Date if the activity is in-progress to the Expected Finish date.

Earlier Than constraints operate on the Early Dates, and Later Than constraints operate on Late Dates. The following picture demonstrates how constraints calculate Total Float of activities (without predecessors or successors) against the first activity of 10 days’ duration:

An activity assigned an As Late as Possible constraint in Primavera P6, Primavera Contractor, Primavera P3, and SureTrak software will schedule the activity so it absorbs only Free Float and will not delay the start of any successor activities, this is normally called a Zero Free Float constraint. In Microsoft Project, an activity assigned with an As Late as Possible constraint will be delayed to absorb the Total Float and delay all its successor activities which have float, not just the activity with the constraint.

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

What are Leads and Lags in Primavera P6?

Project Planning and Control Using Oracle Primavera P6 - Version 8.2 EPPM Web

Project Planning and Control Using Oracle Primavera P6 - Version 8.2 EPPM Web

Understanding Lags and Leads in Primavera P6

A Lag is a duration that is applied to a dependency to make the successor start or finish earlier or later.

  • A successor activity will start later when a positive Lag is assigned. Therefore, an activity requiring a 3-day delay between the finish of one activity and start of another will require a positive lag of 3 days.
  • Conversely, a lag may be negative when a new activity may be started before the predecessor activity is finished. This is called a Lead or Negative Lag.
  • Leads and Lags may be applied to any relationship type.

Here are some important points to understand about Lags:

  • The lag duration is calculated on the lag as in Microsoft Project and other Primavera products. A lag is not assigned to one or both of the Predecessor and Successor activities as in Asta Powerproject.
  • Lags may be assigned one of four calendars from the Calendar for Scheduling Relationship lag drop down box in the General Schedule Options form. This form is opened by selecting Tools, Schedule… and clicking on the  tab. The four Lag Calendar options are:
  • Predecessor Activity Calendar,
  • Successor Activity Calendar,
  • 24-Hour Calendar, and
  • Project Default Calendar.

Lags are calculated by Primavera P3 and SureTrak software using the Predecessor Calendar. Microsoft Project 2003 to 2010 uses the Successor Calendar or may have an Elapsed Duration Lag. Earlier versions of Microsoft Project used the Project Calendar.

Asta Powerproject assigns the lag to either or both the predecessor or successor thus allowing either the Predecessor or Successor Calendar to be selected for each relationship.

You must be careful when using a lag to allow for delays such as curing concrete when the Lag Calendar is not a seven-day calendar. Because this type of activity lapses nonwork days, the activity could finish before Primavera calculated finish date.

You must be extremely careful when opening multiple projects when the Lag Calendar option is different for each project. This is because all the project options are changed permanently to be the same as the Default Project and therefore some of your projects may not calculate the same way as they did before opening the projects together.

Please read the Multiple Project Scheduling chapter for more details on this topic.

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

Understanding Constraints and Relationships in Primavera P6 8.2

Planning and Scheduling Primavera P6 Training BookUnderstanding Constraints in Primavera P6

Constraints are applied to Activities when relationships do not provide the required result and are often a result of External Dependencies.

Typical applications of a constraint are to constrain an activity to a date for:

  • The availability of a site to commence work.
  • The supply of information by a client.
  • The required finish date of a project.

Constraints are often entered against Milestone activities to represent contract dates and may be directly related to contract items using Notebook Topics.

Constraints are covered in detail in the Constraints chapter.

Understanding Relationships

There are four types of dependencies available in Primavera P6:

  • Finish-to-Start (FS) (also known as conventional)
  • Start-to-Start (SS)
  • Start-to-Finish (SF)
  • Finish-to-Finish (FF)

Two other terms you must understand are:

  • Predecessor, an activity that controls the start or finish of another immediate subsequent activity.
  • Successor, an activity where the start or finish depends on the start or finish of another immediately preceding activity.

The following pictures show how the dependencies appear graphically in the Bar Chart and Activity Network (also known as PERT, Network Diagram and Relationship Diagram Views):

The FS (or conventional) dependency looks like this:

contraintsand relationships in primavera p6

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

Related Article

How to Format the Relationships in Primavera P6 Version 8.2

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

Relationships lines may not be formatted like in SureTrak, but unlike Microsoft Project they do not adopt the color of the predecessor activity which is often misleading.

  • The relationships may be displayed or hidden by clicking on the icon on the Activity toolbar or by checking and un-checking the Show Relationships box in the Bar Chart Options form, General tab.
  • The color of the relationship represents:

Ø  Red – Critical and therefore a Driving relationship,

Ø  Solid Black – Non-Critical Driving relationship and therefore has Free Float,

Ø  Dotted Black – Non-Critical Non-Driving relationship and has Free Float, and

Ø  Blue – a selected relationship and may be deleted.

  • A relationship is displayed on the Baseline bar, as discussed in paragraph 8.3, when the Baseline bar is above the Actual and Remaining bars in the Bars form. To place the relationships onto the Early bar, which is more logical, you should move the Baseline bars in the Bars form to below the Actual and Remaining bars in the Bars form.
Relationships on the Baseline Bar

relationships in baseline bar

Relationships on the Current Bar

relationship in current bar

Adding and Removing Relationships

Graphically Adding and Deleting a Relationship

To add relationships move the mouse pointer to end of the predecessor activity bar, which will change the mouse arrow to a . Then simply hold down the left mouse key, drag to the start of the successor activity and release the mouse button.

To create other relationships such as Start to Start, drag from the beginning of the predecessor to the beginning of the successor bar.

To confirm or edit the link or add lag after a link has been added, the Edit Relationship form may be opened:

  • Select a relationship line by clicking and it will turn to blue and an arrow  will appear, then
  • Double-click to open the Edit Relationship form:

edit relationships in p6

  • Click on the delete button to delete a relationship.

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

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