As many times as I have conducted Primavera P6 training, I am always surprised by the under use of one of the basic P6 tools.
A Scheduler painstakingly builds a schedule to reflect reality and then after the project starts, neglects to take advantage of the opportunity to be proactive in managing negative float and variance trends. The tool is the P6 Baseline. Sure, most Schedulers create a baseline at the onset of a project and, if following best practices, assign it to the Project Baseline to make it globally available for all users to view. Assigning to the Project Baseline ensures that any P6 User comparing the “BL Columns and Gantt Bars” is viewing data from the original Baseline.
But how about Updated Baselines for trend analysis?
With all the focus on managing negative float within a schedule, the Finish Date variance trends sometimes get lost in the shuffle. It is extremely important to understand that, even when an activity has positive float, if the Finish Date Variance is trending in a negative path, the activity may soon have negative float. The ability to see the negative trend and adjustment the schedule accordingly can prevent the activity from ever having negative float.
Consider the following:
Utilizing data in the table below, at what point would you recognize that the Foundation activity had a negative float issue? CYCLE 5??
|Update #||Update Date||Activity||Float||BL1 Finish Date Variance|
If you were capturing updated baselines each cycle and monitoring the negative Finish Date Variance trends, it is likely that you noticed a potential problem on Cycle 3. Being the proactive person you are, you take action to mitigate the negative trend activity from ever getting into negative float territory.ly
So what is the suggested best practice?
- Capture a baseline each time you update the schedule and assign it to the Primary Baseline
- Use variance analysis layouts to monitor trends using Activity Table columns such as BL1 Finish Date and BL1 Project Finish Date Variance.
- Consider capturing past period Finish Date Variances in User Defined Fields to watch for trends occurring over multiple Update cycles.
- Design P6 Report Writer reports to use color coded conditionally formatted cells to highlight negative float/negative finish date trends as red and positive float/negative finish date trends as yellow.
- Take action on the scenario where positive float activities have multiple Update Cycles with negative Finish Date Variances.