Are you looking to experiment with schedule changes in a way that allows you to later decide whether or not to make those changes permanent? If so, you may want to become familiar with a pretty cool feature in Primavera P6 Professional called Reflection.
Reflection is a feature in Primavera P6 Professional that provides you a way to examine the impact of scope changes, and then specify whether or not you want those respective schedule adjustments to become permanent. A Reflection is like a “sandbox” for making ad-hoc adjustments to your schedule, but one that is linked to your current project. After analyzing the impact of your scope changes you can choose to make those changes permanent by posting some of all of them back to your source schedule.
This article demonstrates the basic reflection procedure for first analyzing the impact of schedule changes and second, if appropriate, making those changes permanent.
In Figure 1 we have our demonstration project.
Note the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) element ‘Installation Piping’. We want to investigate the impact of increasing scope to include the installation of a piping thrust block. Reflections are a great way to insert WBS elements, activities, and activity relationships in a temporary “sandbox” to visualize the effect of the thrust block insertion on our schedule. Again, later we can make those changes permanent, if appropriate.
First let’s create a reflection of our piping repair project. We right click on our repair project and select Create Reflection… from the popup menu, Figure 2.
This generates a new what-if project distinguished by a folder with a question mark, Figure 3.
Right click on the question mark folder and select open from the resulting menu. We now have our same schedule in our reflection “sandbox”, Figure 4.
Note that the word ‘reflection’ was appended to the name of our project, Figure 4.
Let’s now insert our additional deliverables, i.e. WBS elements, Figure 5.
In Figure 5 we insert two WBS elements: piping and thrust block. Note we have to out dent thrust block to make it a sibling of piping. In Figure 6 we have our updated WBS.
The Installation Piping WBS element has two children: piping and thrust block. Great! Our WBS is completely updated.
Next we move and/or assign the appropriate activities to the Piping WBS element. Then we insert all the activities required to produce the thrust block, Figure 7.
Note that we adjusted the auto-number default increment to 2 before inserting these activities. In Figure 8 we have all our thrust block activities with appropriate original durations and relationships.
This insertion of the thrust block affected the end date of our schedule by three days, not significant. After analyzing the impact of the inserted thrust block activities we decide to make the changes permanent. To do this we right click on our what-if project file and select ‘merge reflection into source project’, Figure 9.
This brings up the preview changes dialogue, Figure 10.
Here we see the ID/Codes of the WBS elements we added. We also see the activities reassigned to ID/Code 13.2.1. Further, we see the thrust block activities that were added. Note the toggle options below.
You may generate a baseline of the original source file. You also may create an XER copy of the original source file in the windows operating system. Last, after merging, we have it toggled to keep the reflection file. If we agree with the changes in the preview click merge to copy the additions to our source file. The resulting schedule is in Figure 11.
The last change we make is renaming ‘installation piping’ to the more appropriate ‘installation piping & thrust block, Figure 12; Primavera P6 does not appear to capture reflection name changes to WBS elements.
Reflections are a great way to examine schedule scope changes without permanently affecting your source schedule file. It works particularly well for the insertion of new WBS elements, activities, and activity relationships.
Note that reflections do not delete WBS elements or activities during the merge process; it lists them in the preview though. Also, reflections do not work well with renaming and/or changing the ID/Code of WBS elements. So reflections have some limitations, but are, never-the-less, helpful for analyzing the impact of activity and activity relationship adjustments prior to permanent source schedule file changes.