A student recently asked for guidance on translating Primavera P6 Professional schedules to Microsoft Project. There are difficulties in translating P6 schedules to Microsoft Project. One such challenge is the translation of P6 level of effort (LOE) activities.
Although we do not recommend translating Primavera P6 schedules to Microsoft Project, I thought it a useful exercise to experiment with this translation using a simple P6 schedule; it’s good at the least to be aware of some of the inherent problems from this Primavera P6 to Project translation.
Our discussion today is the translation of LOE activities. LOE activities are not associated with any one particular deliverable. If fact they generally span the entire length of the project, and in P6 are connected to the first activity with a start-to-start (SS) relationship and last activity with a finish-to-finish (FF) relationship. A primer on the basics of LOE activities is in the following blog Using Level of Effort (LOE) Activities in Primavera P6.
LOE activities are possible in Microsoft Project, but they are not a well-developed Microsoft Project feature. And, yes, there are difficulties with this translation.
This article demonstrates the challenges with translating a Primavera P6 LOE activity to Microsoft Project.
We begin with our demonstration Primavera P6 Professional schedule, Figure 1.
This schedule has a project management defined activity that spans the length of the project. Figure 2 displays this schedule translated into Microsoft Project.
Our LOE activity looks great! But watch what happens when we adjust the duration of ‘install piping & couplings’ from 3-days to 8-days, Figure 3.
Our project management activity begins on September 11th and not September 4th; the beginning of the project. So it looks like we have some issues with the P6 to Project LOE activity translation; the project management start date is not holding.
Let’s now examine what is required to fix this LOE task in Microsoft Project. The first item on the agenda is removing the SS and FF project management relationships that worked so well in P6. To do this open the project management task information dialog and display predecessors, Figure 4.
Remove both the SS and FF relationships by selecting (None) for each in the Type field, Figure 5.
Now copy the start project task start date, Figure 6.
Paste special, Figure 7, into the project management start date cell.
Toggle ‘paste link’ and select OK, Figure 8.
Microsoft Project is all about linking the start and finish dates of the LOE task. Now copy the project completion finish date, Figure 9.
Again, paste link this finish date, Figure 10.
The resulting translated schedule with updated LOE project management task is in Figure 11.
Now watch what happens when we decrease the duration of ‘install piping & couplings’ from 8-days to 3-days. The project management task compresses accordingly, Figure 12.
Great! So now we have a responsive project management task in the converted Microsoft Project schedule.
Well, our project management LOE Primavera P6 Professional to Microsoft Project translation did not work so smoothly. Our translated Project file did not result in a responsive project management task.
To generate a workable project management task we first deleted the project management SS and FF relationships. We then linked the appropriate ‘start project’ start and ‘project completion date’ finish dates to the start and finish of the project management activity. So with some effort we managed to adjust our translated LOE task to make it more compatible with the Microsoft Project LOE definition.