Once a schedule has been created, baselined and started, you begin the process of tracking progress. In support of this effort, it’s not uncommon to want to report all activities taking place in say, the next 4 weeks.
David Allen’s popular book on organization entitled “Getting Things Done” encourages you to focus on listing the next steps required to keep your project’s progress moving forward. The beauty of Primavera P6 is that it can display everything that commences or is in progress over the next 4 weeks. These are the next step items of your project schedule.
Primavera P6 Professional has filter features that enable you to write a filter routine for displaying these next step items. So whether you are just reporting what’s next in the near future or you want to track schedule progress, the P6 filter feature will support your effort.
This article demonstrates how to create a four week look ahead filter in support of reporting next step items in your schedule and/or tracking progress.
Figure 1 below shows a demonstration project.
This is a schedule that has been progressed one month, January. The blue bars on the Gant chart indicate completed work, while the red and green indicate future critical and non-critical work, respectively. To create a filter select the filter icon, Figure 2.
This brings up the filter dialog, Figure 3.
This dialog has three sections: Default filters that come standard with P6, Global filters created by the system administrator, and User Defined filters. We want to create a user defined filter, so highlight in the User Defined section and select + New. Now we want to capture all activities that start in the next four weeks, so the first line of our filter is as in Figure 4.
The parameter we are tracking is ‘Start’. The equivalency is “is within range of”. The low value is Data Date (DD). The DD is the last date we recorded progress up to. The reason we select DD and not current date (CD), which is today’s date, is that we want our updates to measure progress since the last day progress was recorded on our project.
If that is our intent then we want our four week lookout to commence on the DD and not the CD, which may be different from the DD. The high value is DD plus the modifier 4W for four weeks. Let’s test our filter, Figure 5.
In Figure 5 we see that all activities that start in the next four weeks, February, are displayed. The only issue is that activities that started in January, but continue in February are not displayed. We thus need to add another line of code to our filter routine.
In line two of our filter we capture all activities that started in January, but are in progress during the next four weeks, February. As displayed in Figure 6, the parameter is ‘Activity Status’, the equivalency is “equals”, and the value is “In Progress”.
With this additional line of code we test our filter, Figure 7.
What happened? Now our filter is displaying no activities. The problem is that the first parameter, which is the default, is “All of the following”, Figure 8.
This puts and ‘And’ after each line of code. The ‘And’ means that both the first line of code and second line of code must be true in order for that activity to be displayed. Well, no activities meet this new filter criteria because there can be no activities that both are in progress and start in the next four weeks. In Figure 9 we have the code with the first parameter as “Any of the following”.
As displayed in Figure 9 this puts an ‘Or’ between the first and second line of code. Now our code captures all activities that start in the next four weeks or are in progress. Figure 10 displays the resulting schedule report.
The filter feature in Primavera P6 Professional is a robust and flexible tool for creating filter code that supports schedule reporting and progressing.
The key point to remember is to note whether your fist parameter is set to “All of the following” or “Any of the following”. This determines whether all lines of code must be true to meet the filter criteria or only any line of code must be true. This indeed should be the first setting you look at to verify as you begin to trouble shoot your filter code.
Another slight variation of our look ahead code is to make the high start value March 1st, 2015. This will capture all in progress or starting activities from the DD to the beginning of March. Make sure to set the user preference to display the time, so you can verify that your high value is March 1st, Start of Business (SOB) and not Close of Business (COB).