In Primavera P6, it’s very helpful to be able to sort, filter, and organize the schedule by responsibility, phase, or any number of specific project attributes. This is why we create activity codes when we develop the baseline schedule.
I prefer to develop the activity code prior to adding any activities, usually right after I develop the activity calendars. Part of planning the project is planning the schedule and planning the schedule includes setting up how you will need to organize, sort, and filter activities for presentation and analysis.
I almost always use “Project” level activity code, just as I use “Project” level calendars. This helps keep the database of whomever you send the schedule to from becoming unmanageable. They can always use settings when they import, but very few do. Using “Project” level activity code keeps the activity code with the project and does not allow the data to populate the “Global” activity codes, which can be changed by someone else and you wouldn’t be aware…
Some specifications list the activity code/category requirements and others do not speak to it at all. When planning the schedule, you can see a few distinct categories it would be helpful to develop activity code for. Usually this is phasing, responsibility, type of work, weather sensitive, to name a few. Your project may also have the need for categories such as equipment type, location, or cost/funding category. I use as many activity codes/categories as I can. I also create activity codes/categories for analysis and change orders/modifications for future use. (See Figure 1 above).
To develop the activity code structure, simply go to Enterprise/Activity Codes. At this point you can choose to develop Global, EPS, or Project level activities. Depending on which level you select, you may not have any category/activity code to assign code values to. (See Figure 3). Simply select “Modify” and then “Add” the activity codes/categories. (See Figure 4).
You can also adjust the number of characters and organize the activity code/categories at this box. You can always come back and make revisions if necessary. (Revisions here take immediately effect in the schedule).
You can then close out of the “Activity Code Definitions” box and select an activity code/category to assign specific values to.
Once you complete the development of the activity code structure you will be able to assign these as you add the activities.
Figure 6 (Note Phase and Responsibility have not been assigned yet. Floor does not apply to this work)
As I add activities, I assign most activity coding. I’m able to use the activity coding to sort, filter and analyze the schedule for crew or resource stacking and maintaining milestone target dates or whatever I need to focus on. I can also use the activity coding to filter for each responsibility which allows distribution to specific subcontractors along with the entire schedule to make their review and update processes easier…
If you only have two mechanical “trade crews” available, this use of activity code is good for showing how many Mech “trade crews” are schedule for the same time periods so you can see you’re over allocated the end of December 2019 and the end of February 2020.
If you need to show specific activities for delay impact presentation or risk analysis presentation, this use of activity code is helpful for showing the specific activities and grouping them by type of work, or WBS, or whatever provides an informative presentation.
This use of activity code is helpful for verifying the correct calendar is assigned and looking at which months the work is scheduled for. It’s better to know now that you will need to employ cold weather practices for the concrete and masonry work.
Figure 10 – Organized by Type – Filtered by Analysis 04 to limit the number of activities per summary
This use of activity codes is useful for organizing by the assigned “Type” activity code. In addition, simply add a filter for Actual Duration, AD > Original Duration, OD and you can easily see which type of work has been or is taking longer than planned. I can go a step further and group the schedule by “responsibility” or “trade” to better show activities and which subcontractor/trade is responsible.
There are many reasons to assign the activity codes as you add activities.
Plan your schedule….
Paul Epperson CCM, PMP, PSP, PMI-SP
Paul has extensive experience as a Construction Manager. Over time, he became convinced that there is a critical shortage of skilled planning and scheduling professionals in our industry. In 2009, he backed away from his work as a Construction Manager and began focusing on planning and scheduling. He now serves our industry as a subject matter expert in this area.