Do you have a group of activities that are repeated in several places in your schedule? Do you have a series of activities making up an activity that you want to model, but not necessarily display on the Gantt chart? If so, then you want to become familiar the steps feature in Primavera P6 Enterprise Project Portfolio Management (EPPM) Web.
The steps feature in Primavera P6 allows you to model the complexity of an activity while maintaining a simple Gantt chart. In other words, activity steps allows you to break down an activity into smaller units while maintaining a single bar for that activity on the Gantt chart. These steps later assist in making a status of the activity when the project starts. You also can assign a weight to each step to apportion its value compared to the other steps. Step weights do not need to add up to any particular number either. They simply need to represent the portion of the total effort. Primavera P6 computes the weight percent for each step.
This article shows how to further describe a Gantt chart activity bar in Primavera P6 EPPM without breaking up the activity bar into smaller bars.
Setting Up for Activity Steps
Figure 1 displays an example Building Structural Phase construction project.
We want to add steps to the Mobilize activity and Lay Foundation activity. In order to drive progress using Activity Steps, two conditions must be met. First, the project’s calculations tab must have the “Activity percent complete based on activity steps” option checked. Second the percent complete type for the activity must be set to Physical.
Follow these steps to change the project’s calculation settings to allow Steps to drive progress on the activity.
1) In the EPS view right-click on the project file, and from the resulting menu select ‘Set Project Preferences’, Figure 2.
2) In the corresponding Project Preferences dialog select Calculations and then toggle on ‘Calculate Activity % Complete from activity steps’, Figure 3.
Say OK to the ‘Confirm Recalculation’ dialog.
3) Highlight Mobilize and from the bottom General tab change the Percent Complete Type to Physical, Figure 4.
Repeat this for the Lay Foundation activity. This will prepare these two respective activities for progress tracking based upon the steps that are completed.
Adding Steps to an Activity
Now to add steps to an activity first select the activity you want to describe in more detail. For our example, highlight the Mobilize activity in the Structural Phase project, Figure 5.
Select the Steps tab in the bottom view. Next click the Columns drop down menu and select Step % Complete, Figure 6, and Step Weight Percent, Figure 7.
Next click the + add icon, Figure 8, and add the Acquire Job Site Trailer step with a step weight of 10.
Continue by adding the Acquire Job Site Furniture step with a step weight of 4. Save the steps, and you will be able to view the Step Weight Percentages, Figure 9.
Complete the steps definition by adding the steps and step weights as displayed in Figure 10. So your steps definition of the Mobilize activity is done.
Creating a Step Template
You can also create a step template that you can later assign to a respective activity. From the Administer drop down menu on the right select Enterprise Data, Figure 11.
In the Enterprise Data dialog select Step Templates from the Activities group. Select the + add icon in Step Templates. Type in the name Mold Concrete. Then in the Steps bottom view, Figure 12, use the + add icon to insert the following steps: Set Forms, Lay Rebar, and Pour Concrete.
Now highlight the Lay Foundation activity in the Activities view. Select the Steps bottom tab and Add from Template icon, Figure 13.
Assign the Mold Concrete template, Figure 14.
The lay foundation activity will be assigned the steps as displayed in Figure 15.
Activity steps is a very powerful feature in Primavera P6 EPPM. It provides greater detail to an activity without having to insert multiple bars in the Gantt chart to fully describe that activity. You can define numerous steps for a respective activity. Additionally, the steps can be assigned a percentage weighting. Updating the status of the activity is as simple as marking the activity as started using the status tab and then checking off all the steps that are 100% complete in the steps tab.
Primavera P6 EPPM will automatically update the Gantt chart activity status bar, using this information. You also can define step templates for steps that are repeated among different activities. Steps is just one feature that separates Primavera P6 EPPM by its ability to maintain a simple Gantt chart, and yet describe a complex activity.