Here’s a look at how you can create an S-Curve in Primavera P6 Professional. S-curves are great graphical project management tools for project planning and measuring project performance. They can show the progress of work over time and form a historical record of project trends and variations.
An s-curve helps monitor the success of a project because actual, real-time data elements of the project like costs, hours or units can be compared with projected data. The degree of alignment between the two graphs reveals the progress of whichever element is being studied. If corrections need to be made to get the project back on track, the s-curve can help identify them.
Primavera P6 supports two ways of generating S-Curves, in the Resource Usage Profile bottom layout in the Activities view and also in the Resource Profile area of the Tracking view. Let’s take a closer look at both:
S-Curves generated in the Resource Usage Profile Bottom Layout
When we open the Resource Usage Profile, the default which is set in Primavera P6 is a histogram. The histogram is based upon period values dictated by the timescale setting in the bottom tier, if your timescale is set to weeks, the histogram will display the current period, summarizing the resource that you choose to display for the current week.
The S-Curve differs from the histogram as it is built on cumulative data, with the line rising each week, reflecting the accumulation of the resource over time. To change the histogram default, we right-click in the chart area of the Resource Usage Profile area and the menu, select the ‘Resource Usage Profile Options’ as in Figure 1.
In the ‘Resource Usage Profile Options’, we de-select the ‘By Date’ option in the ‘Show Bars/Curves’ group and select ‘Cumulative Option’, as in Figure 2.
By changing the ‘Budgeted Color’ to orange and the ‘Actual Color’ to blue when we click ‘OK’ our curves are easy to distinguish from one another as in Figure 3.
What are the S-Curve lines telling us?
The Budget Units and Remaining Early Units lines are slightly different for the selected resource, as The Early Remaining Units line is below the Budget Units line. This suggests that the remaining work for this resource is predicted to cost less in hours than originally budgeted.
The underlying activities are Physical % Complete types and indicate that compared to the original plan, the work is going faster than expected. We have been able to manually adjust the remaining duration to reflect a more realistic amount of time to complete the work, which is less time than was originally planned.
Look at the blue Actual Units line, which suggests that the resource is overspending compared to the original plan because the blue line is well above the orange Budget line. This shows that more hours are being spent on the current activities than planned, suggesting the work is time-critical and is being managed accordingly.
The predicted Remaining Durations have been reduced on the in-progress activities. This has caused the green Remaining Early Units line to drop below the budget, indicating that the upfront overspending is having the desired effect and the work will likely complete early; assuming this trend continues.
What about an Aggregated S-Curve?
If we select individual resources, the Resource Usage Profile will show us what is happening for that particular resource on the project. It won’t inform us too much about the project as a whole. This is because while one resource may be very productive and show favorable S-Curves, other resources may not. An aggregated S-Curve of all the resources working on the project will enable us to gain a clear project status.
If you hold down the Ctrl key, we can select multiple resources assigned to our project. The S-Curve will show a summary of our selected resources with each resource that we add to the selection, as shown in Figure 4.
Creating an Aggregated S-Curve using the Tracking View
By using the Tracking view, we can create an aggregated S-Curve by grouping resources instead of individually selecting them. For example, we have grouped by Resource Type by selecting the Labor grouping band in the Resource List In the tracking view as shown in Figure 4.
The S-Curve represents all the labor resources for our current project as we set the list filter to ‘Current Project’s Resources’.
Primavera P6 Professional supports the S-Curve which can be used for progress and performance evaluations, cash flow forecasts, quantity output comparisons as well as schedule range possibilities.
When creating an S-Curve in Primavera P6, the Resource Usage Profile settings can be saved to a layout in either the Tracking view or the Activities view. This means that you will be able to open and report these S-Curves whenever you need them.