Primavera P6 Professional EVM Features
Increasingly of late, we’ve been getting enquiries about the capabilities of Primavera P6 Professional as far as performing Earned Value Management (EVM) is concerned. Can it do it? If so, can you help us use Primavera P6 for Earned Value Management? Can I develop a DoD or DoE certified EVM system using just Primavera P6?
The short answers to these questions are, “yes, Primavera P6 does support basic Earned Value Management, yes, Ten Six can help you use P6 for Earned Value, and “Probably not” for that last question. As EVM certification goes rather beyond what Primavera P6 can deliver, without considerable back end customization and development. That’s not to say however, that Primavera P6 cannot make an excellent Earned Value Management tool within its own scope. Rather, it is simply to say that EVM certification is not trivial, requires a lot of very specific report formats, processes, criteria, audit trails and protocol that are simply not necessary or practical for private sector projects.
Note: if you’re facing the need for DoD EVM certification, you would be wise to augment your project office tool set with a system such as Deltek Cobra; which was designed to meet all the criteria required for an EVM certification; and can integrate with your existing Primavera P6 system to boot.
Primavera P6 Professional and the EPPM (Web version) have the basic Earned Value capabilities that are a terrific starting point for a company that is moving towards a more advanced project management process. After all, Earned Value Management is by definition more advanced project management; a natural next step in a company’s evolution toward high quality project management and risk mitigation. That’s why the Government insists on the use of Earned Value Management as part of almost every significant contract it awards these days. It’s just good business to manage projects to the level of competency demanded by Earned Value Methodology.
Before we look at Primavera P6 EVM functionality, you should find out if your company’s current project management processes and disciplines are mature enough for EVM. Check out this list; if you can honestly say yes to all these questions, you may be ready to start introducing EVM to your project team.
Do you have a formal process in place for creating or starting
Do all your projects have a product or deliverables
Do all your projects have a baseline?
Is there a process in place that formally manages changes
Do you have a formal process and specific time for
Are the activities in your projects at a level of detail
Are all your projects resource loaded with labor,
Do your resources all have rates associated with them?
In addition to capturing actual start and complete dates
So how did you score on this list? If you are already doing all of these things, then Primavera P6 is already calculating Earned Value for you in your schedule. You just haven’t formally looked at the data yet.
Out of the box, Primavera will calculate good earned value metrics as long as you have a decent WBS, a resource loaded schedule, a formal baseline assigned and a way to put actual costs against the various activities in the schedule.
Take a look at the following example. You can see the earned value metrics present where status has been applied to the project. The project was baselined, resource loaded and actual labor units and costs have been applied to the resource assignments to show any cost variances.
Where to look for EVM Metrics in P6
The Project, Activities and WBS views of Primavera P6 Professional contain an Earned Value category of columns in their respective Columns dialogs.
These columns provide all the necessary data to track earned value metrics for your project. In the above example we have renamed the fields (using the Edit Columns feature) to use the more common abbreviations for earned value data. This also allows the columns to be narrower for easier presentation in the table view.
The Primavera P6 EVM Process (In a nutshell)
With each update you make in Primavera P6, the EVM data is advanced along with the data date. So typically the process would be:
- Backup the scheduled with an export or by creating a copy of the project.
- Enter status for your activities including actual start and finish dates, percent complete info and/or remaining duration (depending on the Percent Complete Type used). At this point in the process, Primavera P6 calculates the earned value figure for the activity in real time as the percent complete value is increased or the activity is marked as complete.
- Advance the data date to the end of the next period and then recalculate using the Schedule button. When the data date is moved, P6 calculates the Planned Value for the in-progress and completed activities in that period. Planned Value is that amount that we expect to have earned by this point in time. It’s based upon the budgeted resource costs for the activity from its start date to the current date.
- Load the cumulative actual labor unit, non-labor and material costs against the resource assignments for the activities. This part may be handed by a third-party application that integrates P6 with your finance system. At this point, you have all the necessary information to calculate any cost variance that may exist based upon the earned value achieved and the actual cost of work performed to date.
- Summarize the schedule to update the summary tables.
- Run your EVM Reports as required.
As you can see, other than entering actual resource costs into Primavera P6, there are really no complex or special extra steps to tracking Earned Value in Primavera; particularly if you already have a robust project management process that follows good industry best practice guidelines.
Earned Value Management Culture
The real challenge is in understanding the meaning of the Earned Value metrics that Primavera P6 is generating. To do this, you need to start bringing EVM culture into the daily running of your project office. Even though earned value metrics involve no more than 5th grade math skills to master, the perception of EVMs complexity often far exceeds the reality. And this is where Ten Six Consulting can help. We’ve recently launched a new training product that provides a starting point for companies that wish to move towards an EVM culture, but aren’t quite sure how to start that process.
Our Primavera P6 Professional EVM training course covers some of the basic principles of earned value management, including the benefits it offers and understanding the basic metrics of earned value. We then show how to operate Primavera P6 Professional to generate meaningful EVM data and reports that will help the company get their EVM culture started.