The most common way to measure schedule progress in Primavera P6 is to note how many days of work have been performed on an activity scheduled to last a specified amount of time. What if you wanted to measure progress based on a material unit of measurement, such as linear feet of pipe installed? Good news, Primavera P6 allows you to do this and measure progress based on a material unit of measurement.
Typically schedule progress is measured by how many days an activity has transpired; termed ‘Duration % Complete”. If your production rate is uniform throughout the activity then you can use the duration % complete type to find the remaining duration based on the actual duration.
The physical % complete type allows you to have non-uniform production rates; the remaining duration is not calculated from the actual duration. You must manually enter both a value that states the amount of work physically achieved, and the remaining duration. For example, we’ve built half the wall, and it will take another four days to finish.
Because it is the most flexible, physical % complete is the activity percent complete type that we want to use to support progress measurement based on a unit’s value. Even though our progress is measured on a material unit we still have to let P6 know the remaining activity duration. But we also enter the actual units and remaining units to drive the activity progress based on the specified material unit of measure.
The cost is also specified and/or driven by the material unit. Instead of assigning labor resources to the activity. The cost of the activity is a fixed unit price, e.g. $150 per LF of pipe installation, which includes all labor and equipment costs in addition to material.
This article describes one way to measure activity progress based on a material unit of measure in Primavera P6 professional. It uses the physical % complete type to specify the remaining duration and percent complete.
Our demonstration project, displayed in Figure 1, is a simple underground pipe installation project consisting of the Pipe Installation and Quality Assurance deliverables.
The first activity is the trench excavation. Here we want to measure activity progress based on the cubic yards of material excavated. Even though we are not installing material (we are simply removing material), we still call our resource a material resource. This is done so we can specify the unit of measurement in cubic yards, i.e. cubic yards of material excavated. Note the cubic yards unit of measure in the resource tab.
The budgeted units is 240 cubic yards, 240-CY. This is approximately an 80-foot long, 10-foot wide, and 8-foot deep trench. Note that for simplicity our schedule leaves out the installation of shoring, which is required for trenches six foot deep. Also, the budgeted units/time is 48-CY/day; we anticipate that we will excavate 48-CY of material each day. The original duration is five days, so it is estimated to take five days to excavate 240-CY of soil material.
We start describing the excavation progress by checking off that the activity is in fact started, Figure 2.
In the resources tab, Figure 3, we specify a remaining duration of 2-days. Primavera P6 then automatically computes an actual units and remaining units of 144-CY and 96-CY, respectively.
However, the reality is that we only excavated 120-CY of material in three days, so we manually specify 120-CY for actual units and remaining units, Figure 4.
The Units % Complete is then computed to be 50%. We therefore enter 50% in the physical % complete cell of the status tab, Figure 5.
Move the data date forward and recalculate the schedule and we have our first week’s progress defined, Figure 6.
For week two we simply check the status of the excavate trench activity as finished, Figure 7.
We note in the resource tab 240-CY actual units and 0-CY remaining units, Figure 8.
Good! So P6 automatically specified the actual and remaining units for the completed excavation activity. Also, note the units % complete of 100%, and the physical % complete of 100%. In week two we proceed with the lay pipe activity, Figure 9.
In the resources tab, Figure 10, we specify a remaining duration of 1-day. Primavera P6 automatically computes a 64-LF actual units and 16-LF remaining units.
Again, reality does not match the computation. In actuality, we completed 60-LF of lay pipe in 4-days, 15-FT/day, Figure 11.
We have 20-LF of pipe remaining, which we can complete in one day. Note the units % complete of 75%, which we insert into the physical % complete cell, Figure 12.
Move the data date, recalculate the schedule, and we have our second week progress specified, Figure 13.
For week three the status of lay pipe is checked finished, Figure 14.
The ‘lay gravel bedding and compact’ activity is started and completed in week three, Figure 15.
The ‘lay soil and compact’ activity, however, is not started as planned in week three. Move the data date forward and recalculate the schedule and we have our schedule after three weeks of updates, Figure 16.
The key to measuring progress based on a unit’s measurement is defining the resource as a material and then specifying a suitable unit of measurement for this resource. The resource is assigned to the respective activity. The assignment includes a budgeted units, max units/time, and budgeted units/time all using the specified unit of measure, e.g. CY or LF.
To update the progress specify the anticipated remaining duration, along with the actual units and remaining units. The units % complete is automatically computed based on this input, which you can then enter as the physical % complete. So the unit’s measurement is not divorced from the activity duration. You still enter a remaining duration, and track progress on the Gantt chart.
You are measuring progress based upon material work completion, but this unit measurement is mapped to the Gantt chart, which is a time scale chart. Thus, you enter a remaining duration and, additionally, specify the unit quantity remaining.
Your progress is therefore driven by the unit of measure quantity actual units and remaining units values. And, as mentioned, your cost is a fixed cost per unit of measure, and may include labor, material, and equipment costs.
So there you have it, one common approach to the problem of progressing your project based upon work physically achieved and doing so in a very discrete way.