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Physical Percent Complete in Primavera P6 – the Missing Guide
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Program: Primavera P6 Professional Version: all versions Difficulty: Intermediate Time to Complete: 15 minutes

There are three different methods of calculating the actual progress of activities: Duration Percent Complete, Units Percent Complete, and Physical Percent Complete. The first two are explained in the previous articles and this article will cover the last one, Physical % Complete.

We will also discuss the ways of choosing the appropriate percent complete field in later articles, and will now focus on the nature and calculations only.

The Concept of Physical Progress
The progress of some activities is not measured appropriately by the means of duration or units. In such cases, we use the concept of physical progress. The physical progress of an activity is a manually-entered value determined by the user. The value can be based on either of these two:

On physical parameters that are not applicable inside the plan – the amount of concrete poured, the length of the pipes laid down, and the number of light bulbs installed, are examples of this kind. You can always use resources to implement these parameters, but they are not usually the only assignment (you also have human resource assignments, equipment assignments, etc.) and in such cases, the Units % Complete will be calculated based on a combination of the main parameter and all other assignments of the activity, which is not your desired result. So, you can measure this kind of progress by resource units and Units % Complete, only when that resource is the only one assigned to the activity. Otherwise, implementing these parameters will not be easy in an automated system and entering them manually is usually preferred. On expert judgement based on the physical progress of the final product or result – sometimes the physical parameters (as described before) are not suitable basis for progress measurement and expert judgement is preferred.

Either way, physical progress is determined outside the schedule.

Two Types of Physical Progress in Primavera P6
There are two methods of dealing with physical values in Primavera P6:
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Entering them manually; this is the default method and is done by entering whatever you wish in the Physical % Complete field of the activity. Using Activity Steps; this is done by selecting predefined manual values.

These two types are explained below.

Using Activity Steps
One of the measurement methods, also described in the Earned Value Management for determining the earned value, is using activity steps. Imagine an activity: designing the foundation of the equipment xyz. It’s common for the progress of activities related to “design” to follow steps instead of incremental values; for example:
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0% for not-started activities and those that are not completed and issued yet 80% for the completion and the first issue of the design

100% for the approved design

So we will have the following progress curve for the sample activity:

The first issue and the approval in this sample are usually called Activity Steps, or Progress Steps. One way of implementing this method is to limit ourselves to only entering these values; e.g. do not enter any physical progress before the design is issued. By the time we issue the design, we can enter 80% as the physical progress and again, we won’t increase it until it is approved, which makes our physical progress 100%. Primavera P6 has a feature which makes this kind of progressing easier. We can define the activity steps and use them for entering progress and thus to update Physical % Complete on the activitiy. This will prevent us from making mistakes by automatically limiting us to the predefined values. The first thing to do is to get the settings right or specifically the setting which enables progress via activity steps. 1) Click on the Projects item of the Enterprise menu to open the Projects window.

the “Activity percent complete based on activity steps” option should be activated to enable the activity steps. it’s still possible to enter manual values for activities which do not have steps. So. From now on. . However.2) After selecting the project in the upper part of the window. you can always keep it active. The following screen shows a plan with two activities. The next thing to do is to define steps for the activities. don’t worry too much about this setting. you cannot enter manual physical % complete values for the activities which have defined steps.

click on the Add button (bottom-left corner of the screen). select View| Show on Bottom| Details. it is time to define steps. If you don’t have the pane. right click on a tab and select Customize Activity Details then activate the Steps item. Our sample steps are 80% progress for the first issue and the remaining 20% for the approval. .The activity A1 is selected. 3) To add a new step. Now. If you don’t have the Steps tab. The settings we will deal with are in the Steps Tab of the Details pane.

4) Enter the name of the step and repeat clicking on the Add button and entering the names for the rest of the steps. .

Now the two sample steps have been entered. right click on the Step Name heading (or any other headings) and select Customize Step Columns. a dialog box opens and the Step Weight column can be added to the layout. each will increase Physical % Complete by 50%. . 5) In order to define other weights. These steps have the same weight now. By this.

6) Now predefined progress of each step can be entered in the Step Weight column as shown. .

Now we are finished defining the steps for activity A1. By this. . You might have many activities with the same steps. then right click on a blank space of the steps pane and select Create Template. Now let’s select activity A2. In this case. select all steps of activity A1 (click on a step. Now a saved template for these steps is created and available for further use. then press Ctrl+A keys to select all). the following dialog box appears: Enter a desired name (“General Design Steps” in this sample) and click on the OK button.

Click on the Add From Template button and the following dialog box will appear.7) This activity is supposed to have the same steps as activity A1. . We can use the previously made template to create them.

8) Double click on the General Design Steps item to continue. .

This means that the activity is started and ready to receive its physical progress. check the Started checkbox. Entering Physical % Complete 1) The first thing is to select the activity. and mark the activity as started. .The same steps are added to the activity. go to the Status tab of the Details pane.

This activity does not have steps. the activity A3 is marked as started. Simply click on the cell and enter the value.2) In this example. so the Physical % Complete can be entered manually. .

For those activities which have steps (A1 and A2 in this sample). go to the Steps tab of the Details pane after marking the activity as started. In order to do so. Just check the Completed checkboxes of the completed steps. . you cannot enter manual values and should use the steps instead (only if you have activated the steps as described in the beginning of this very article).

e. the cost of a WBS element is the sum of the costs of its children and its Start is equal to the minimum of the starts of its children. The way each value is rolled-up depends on the type and nature of the value and even some of them do not accept roll-ups by their nature.Physical % Complete for WBS Elements WBS elements usually roll-up the information of their underlying activities. and there is no way of equalizing them and providing a summarization. The Physical % Complete is one of those fields that are not rolled-up. The suitable field for this purpose is Performance % Complete which will be discussed in later articles. because it’s based on external parameters.g. The thing you should have in mind is that you are not supposed to use activity percent completes for the WBS elements. even if they have rolled-up values (like Duration % Complete and Units % Complete). unknown to the software. Summary .

You can have another Global Change to calculate this value and present it as Physical % Complete. Another example is when you need a Duration Percent Complete similar to that of Microsoft Project. which is based on the At Completion Duration instead of Original Duration. An appropriate Global Change can calculate the value automatically and enter it in the field. which calculate progresses and put them in the field. does not incorporate steps and is based on dates and units (see Schedule % Complete article for more information).Oracle Primavera P6 Tutorials from Beginner to Advanced Site Search          Home Tutorials Articles Quick Tips Videos About Write for Us Advertise Usage . But if you believe they are large for your project or you want to be as precise as possible.    Posts Email Planner Tutorials Hub . It’s a way of entering manual progresses based on expert judgment or other external factors. you should avoid activity steps and decompose the activity into more simple activities which are possible to be tracked based on duration or units. One last thing you should have in mind is that the planned progress. Final Note An interesting use of Physical % Complete is that you can have appropriate Global Changes in place.The concept of the Physical % Complete is straightforward. These variations are usually too little to be taken into consideration. Suppose you have more than one resource assigned to each activity and are supposed to use one of them for the progress. which is provided by the Schedule % Complete and planned value fields. These values can be dynamically determined in each control period or follow a predefined set of values (activity steps). This can cause some amounts of false variation between your actual progress and planned progress.

Or better yet. As a best practice. The concensus and best practice is that the use of relationship lag should be minimal if it’s used at all. When lag time is used on a schedule. What’s wrong with using Relationship Lag in my schedule? The use of Relationship lag is widely discussed on Scheduling and Project Controls discussion boards. using Relationship leads or lags add significant schedule risk to a project. it is very rarely documented why the delay was added. The main reason is the lack of visibility of lag delays on project schedules. by Michael Lepage inShare5     Program: Oracle Primavera P6 Professional Version: any Difficulty: Intermediate Time to Complete: 15 minutes It’s not easy to find Relationship Lag in Primavera P6 project schedules. follow PMI’s standard and use full activities to represent lead/lag delays. causing construction managers to scratch their heads. Time IS money.How To Find Relationship Lag in Primavera P6 On 05.12. This approach makes leads/lags very visible on a schedule and also allows for more flexibility.07. But understanding how leads or lags are used on your project is an important part of really knowing your schedule. . Lag time is hard to identify and document – it isn’t obvious when looking at the Gantt Chart or when analyzing a schedule’s dates. In Tutorials. There aren’t really any features to highlight lag. a document prepared by scheduling experts at the Project Management Institute. We need a process to root out any relationship lags in P6. any lag should always be documented in a Notebook topic on the activity. after all. Why? According to the Practice Standard for Scheduling.

we really need to be able to find out if a schedule uses relationship lag. Unfortunately. we can create a nice report that shows only Activities that have relationships with leads or lags. Building a Reusable Relationship Lag Report in Primavera P6 It’s pretty easy to build reports in Primavera P6.It’s common for less experienced planners to submit schedules with lag. And the reporting features are able to report on a project’s relationships. Using Filters. one that is easy and reusable. inside the Activity screens in P6. there seems to be no way to sort or filter activities by Lag. So we’ll need another approach. In Primavera P6. Here’s how: Step 1 – Create a New Report .

Click the Add button on the Command Bar to add a new report to your database.Navigate over to the Primavera P6 Reports screen. Step 2 – Choosing the Report Subject .

When the Report Wizard comes up. select the “Activity Relationships” subject area and click next. click Next to create a new Report. Step 3 – Choose Columns . On the following screen.

**NOTE: I’ve discovered that both the “Predecessor ID” and “Successor ID” columns will always be renamed by Primavera to “Activity ID”. If you click OK after selecting columns and go back to the column choosing screen. I can’t change them either….Select the columns as shown.c’est la vie! Step 4 – Turn Off Group and Sort . these two columns are renamed to “ID”. Click OK.

In the Parameter dropdown. Step 5 – Setting a Custom Filter for Lag Click the “Filter…” button. Step 6 – Saving the Primavera P6 Lag Report .Click the Group and Sort button and set it to <none> or leave the Group By field blank. Set the conditional dropdown to “is not equal to” and type ’0′ in the Value column. find and select “Lag”. Click OK to save your Filer. Click OK. This combination will filter for both leads (ie: negative lags) and lags.

On the following screen. Before you click Run Report. It may not run if you do not have a project open first. Step 7 – Open a Project and Run the Primavera P6 Lag Report . Click Next.Click Next. click Next again and Save your report. It’s ideal to Save your report first before running it. Click Finish to close the Wizard. name your report “Relationship Lag Report“.

The APEX schedule organizedby the default “classic WBS layout”.How to Convert a Project’s WBS to Activity Codes in Oracle Primavera P6 On 12.11. .xer) : Apex xer. by Mimoune Djouallah inShare11     Program: Version: Difficulty: Time to Complete: 1 hour Download Tutorial Assets Download the files to complete this tutorial on your own.zip P6 SDK Excel Tool : Dictionary6v7. and more importantly the Work breakdown structure is based on geographic area in the construction phase. it is assumed you have already worked with the Primavera P6 SDK.xls (Please note that this tool was created by Oracle Primavera and we do not provide support on its use) WBS to Activity Code xls : WBS-To-Activity-Code-P6. a planner have received a primavera schedule using WBS. and systems in the commissioning phase.    Project Plan (. In Tutorials. as in the oil and gas industry it is very useful to have different layouts to present the schedule to different audience.xls The idea of this tutorial was inspired by a question in LinkedIn forum.13. Step 1 – Open the schedule. the tutorial will use the APEX sample schedule to convert a WBS to activities codes.

Make sure that your WBS structure is well organized (*). copy and paste the two columns to the worksheet “WBS dictionary” of the ”WBS-to-Activity-Code-P6.Step 2 – Export WBS Dictionary to Excel In P6. goto the WBS screen. It means every level . Customize the columns so only WBS code. Highlight all WBS rows. and WBS name are displayed.xls” file (see Tutorial Assets).

in columns add WBS and Activity ID. In this regards P3 was more rigorous. as the structure of the WBS is defined first. sub-project. items. discipline. it is generated automatically. It is very easy to edit the WBS Code. In this example. Step 3 – Export WBS Activity Assignment to Excel Remove the Group and Sort by WBS.AM”. area. The excel formula in “column F” generates a unique list of the number of characters sort in ascending order. phase. to have the same number of character for every level. levels are usually defined as project. In P6. WBS code with four characters -eg “APEX”. use CTRL+SHIFT+ENTER to execute it). L1. L2 are just used as an example. if not. this is level 2. this is level 1. in a real project.must have the same exact number of characters. Of course. etc. it is an array formula (that’s why there is curly braces between the formula. . WBS Code with 7 characters – eg “APEX.

by default.Copy and paste the two columns to the excel worksheet “Activity codes per Activity” in columns A and B. . if no code is available. a ” -“ is assigned. Excel columns C through G will be generated automatically. Step 4 – Create Activities Codes Dictionary and Import to P6 First define the new project activity codes in P6 that will represent the WBS.

. goto the “activity code dictionary” worksheet. the excel file will generate an activities codes dictionary that we have to load back in P6 on this worksheet. Using an excel pivot table.Back in your excel file.

xls – instructions on using this file can be obtained from http://support.Using the dictionary excel utility (Dictionary6v7.oracle.com. . Search for “dictionary6v7. click on “Get Activity Codes” (you need the SDK to be installed and configured).xls”).

./p> Copy and paste the activities dictionary from the excel file. so P6 will not show the ugly “no code” when you organize by activity code for activities without a code assigned. for every level add a dummy “-“ without a code description.

Make sure you import to the right project.Now you can import back to P6 the activities codes dictionary (click “Set Activity Codes” on the Login tab). . Now your project is loaded with the activity codes dictionary.

Step 5 – Import activities codes assignment to P6 Make a new Excel export. . Open the exported excel file. Select the newly defined activities codes (L1-L5) as columns in your layout.

Use a Vlookup formula to retrieve the values of L1. L3. L4. Import the updated export file back to P6. In the Excel file. L5 from the excel sheet Activity codes per Activity. . L2. The WBS is now transfered to the L1-L5 project activity codes. there is sample vlookup sheet to show how the formula works.

. Unfortunately. Now. but once you start tailoring the schedule. with a new layout the schedule is organized by activity codes. in a way that make a sense to them. many planners use only the WBS as it is very easy and intuitive. printing for a different purpose and audience. activity codes should be used as Primavera only permits one WBS per project. Wrap Up Primavera P6 has very strong activity codes capabilities.Step 6 – Enjoy.

. you can use alternative method. explained here.(*) : if your WBS has not the same number of character for every level.