When generating Activity IDs and describing Activity Names in Primavera P6 Professional, there are best practices that make for a better, more efficient, and understandable schedule.
Understanding the proper convention for Activity IDs and descriptions for Activity names in P6 Professional is essential. You will often have to interface with the Activity IDs and Activity Names during the project’s schedule planning and progressing phases. Your Activity ID code also assures that all the tasks in your schedule are in the proper ascending order. Proper Activity ID nomenclatures and Activity Name definitions are fundamental to scheduling best practices.
This article presents quick tips on the best practices for specifying Activity ID codes and Activity Name descriptions in Primavera P6 Professional.
The Activity ID settings for a selected project in the Enterprise Project Structure (EPS) are displayed in Figure 1.
The P6 Activity ID has three parts:
- Activity ID Prefix
- Activity ID Suffix
The prefix can be any lettering or numbering system you employ. We will discuss prefix recommendations in detail later. The suffix is added to the prefix to make the ID unique. Make sure your suffix is an order of magnitude greater than the increment. The increment should be greater than one.
Invariably, what happens after you insert all your tasks into the schedule: your upper manager asks you to include additional tasks. If you do not have an increment of two or greater, you will have no room in the numbering scheme to add the extra activities. An increment of ten is recommended. If you do not have enough room for additional tasks, use the Edit | Renumber Activity IDs tool to reset your Activity ID numbering scheme. Read the blog ‘Renumbering Activity IDs in Primavera P6 Professional‘ for details on renumbering activity IDs.
When setting Activity IDs, do not use “Smart IDs,” which are meaningful prefixes that indicate other tasks’ attributes, such as location, department, or subcontractor. If you want to specify additional attributes, use Activity Codes instead to identify these characteristics.
Figure 2 shows a list of Activity IDs with “Smart IDs.”
In the Figure 2 Activity list, LVL# refers to the level or location of the work. The C and F specify the work crew: C concrete and F finishing crew. When too much information is embedded in these Activity IDs, it becomes challenging to have P6 list them in the proper ascending order.
How can we keep Activity IDs simple and still include important task attributes? Figure 3 has the same information but is separated out among Activity IDs and Activity Codes.
In Figure 3, the Activity IDs have a simple prefix and more details listed in associated Activity Codes to specify the location of the work and the work crew. So, it is better to include Activity Codes when possible.
Below are key points to consider when writing an Activity Name:
- Use the verb-noun naming technique.
- Keep the description as short as possible while still being meaningful.
- Keep the scope description adequately narrow to allow for accurate progress reporting.
- Always use standard, well-known abbreviations.
Figure 4 displays the Activity IDs and Activity Names for the tasks required to construct a deliverable Thrust-block. Note the Verb-Noun naming convention.
So, the Activity Name describes what you are doing (Verb) and then what you are doing it to (Noun). Observe that the Activity Name descriptions are short but meaningful, and the scope is adequately narrow to support accurate progress reporting. Too broad a scope makes it difficult to specify a precise percentage of work completed when the project begins. And make sure all stakeholders understand the activity abbreviations.
Your Activity IDs and Activity Name descriptions form the backbone of your schedule. It is important to remember best practices when generating Activity IDs and writing Activity Name descriptions.
Use Activity Codes to include additional activity attributes in the schedule. Do not use “Smart IDs”.
Short, clear, and concise Activity Name descriptions keep the scope narrow but the name meaningful.
Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) elements, i.e., deliverables, are defined using Nouns and Adjectives, but the efforts or tasks producing these deliverables follow the Verb-Noun convention. This lets you distinguish between your project deliverables and the activities required to produce them.