Actual cost calculations in Primavera P6 Professional do not always update during scheduling to match the resulting Activity % Complete values. That is a problem, so let’s investigate the P6 actual cost calculations.
If you want the Actual Cost of an activity to update when the activity duration progresses, toggle on the resource assignments calculation setting “recalculate actual units and cost when duration % complete changes.”
But notice the caveat ‘Duration % Complete’. Be warned that this setting does not promise to update Actual Cost when activity ‘Physical % Complete’ changes or ‘Units % Complete’ changes. I have found though that the Actual Cost does update on a Physical Percent Complete Type activity when I manually adjust the remaining duration status of that activity, but not when I enter an expected finish date.
Another caution, investigation reveals schedule computation also does not update Actual Cost despite ‘Duration % Complete’ changes when the Activity Type is Level of Effort (LOE). So, for this setting to work the Activity Type must be Task Dependent and the Percent Complete Type set to Duration.
Another setting to consider is the Schedule Option ‘recalculate assignment costs after scheduling’. This automates Recalculate Assignment Costs to compute after each schedule computation.
This article demonstrates the utility of the schedule options setting ‘recalculate assignment costs after scheduling’ to update actual costs for both Physical and Duration activity Percent Complete Types.
Before we begin, let me introduce the Activity % Complete value. The Activity % Complete value sets according to the activity Percent Complete Type assignment. If the Percent Complete Type is Duration the Activity % Complete field populates with the Duration % Complete value.
Likewise, if the Percent Complete Type is Physical the Activity % Complete field populates with the Physical % Complete value. This blog Primavera P6 and Activity % Complete explains this in detail.
We want the Actual Cost to update whenever Activity % Complete changes. This can be achieved by manually clicking Tools | Recalculate Assignment Costs after scheduling. This works, but you must remember to perform the recalculation after each schedule operation.
A more efficient way is to toggle on the Schedule Options setting ‘recalculate assignment costs after scheduling’. When this Schedule Option is toggled on, P6 automatically performs a Recalculate Assignment Costs procedure immediately following scheduling computation. Let us demonstrate the impact of these actual cost calculations.
We want to first show the limitations of the ‘Recalculate Actual Units and Cost when duration % complete changes’ setting. We therefore begin our presentation by setting the Calculations tab Resource Assignments setting ‘Recalculate Actual Units and Cost when duration % complete changes’ toggle on, Figure 1.
This way we can verify or not that this Resource Assignment’s setting is enough to handle all Activity % Complete situations when the Actual Cost requires recalculation. In Figure 2 we make sure that the Schedule Option ‘Recalculate assignment costs after scheduling’ is toggled off for our investigation.
Again, we want to confirm the insufficiency of solely turning on Resource Assignments ‘Recalculate Actual Units and Cost when duration % complete changes’ to update Actual Labor Cost in our demonstration. In Figure 3 we observe that Project Management Activity % Complete is 10.71% and the Actual Labor Cost is $5,100.
Also, that Mobilize Activity % Complete is 50.91% and the Actual Labor Cost is $26,000. We continue and update the steps status of Mobilize to achieve an Activity % Complete of 92.73%, Figure 4.
Then we set the expected finish date to 15-Jan-2024, again, Figure 4. Entering the finish date does not automatically update the remaining duration. We must proceed and schedule the project for that computation to happen. Also, P6 Professional automatically updates the Activity % Complete of Project Management when we schedule the project. So, no need to update Project Management. We continue and schedule the project, Figure 5.
The updates are presented in Figure 6. Comparing to Figure 3 we observe that the Project Management Actual Labor Cost remained fixed at $5,000 even though the Activity % Complete went from 10.71% to 16.07%.
Similarly, the Mobilize Actual Cost stayed static at $26,400 yet its Activity % Complete went from 50.91% to 92.73%. Now if we had manually inserted an updated Mobilize remaining duration status, we would have seen a change. But entering an expected finish date status and scheduling did not affect the Mobilize Actual Labor Cost.
We continue and verify the Actual Costs by selecting Tools | Recalculate Assignment Costs, Figure 7.
This brings us to the Recalculate Assignment Costs dialog, and we click Recalculate.
Inspecting the results, Figure 9, we find that the Project Management Actual Cost increased from $5,100 to $7,650.
So, clearly, P6 did not update the Actual Labor Cost when the LOE Project Management Activity % Complete previously changed. Further, we see that Mobilize Actual Labor Cost went from $26,400 to $39,600, and conclude, P6 did not adjust the Actual Labor Cost when the Percent Complete Type, Physical, Mobilize Activity % Complete formerly changed. In our demonstration we had to manually select Tools | Recalculate Assignment to have the Actual Labor Cost match schedule progress, the Activity % Complete values.
This clearly shows the shortcomings of the Calculations tab Resource Assignments setting “recalculate actual units and cost when duration % complete changes”. Despite having this setting toggled on we still had to manually click Tools | Recalculate Assignment Costs to align all Actual Labor Cost with respective Activity % Complete values.
Now we want to demonstrate how to both definitively and effectively confirm that all Actual Labor Costs match their associated Activity % Complete values. To present this we go back to the update just prior to scheduling the project, Figure 10.
This time we toggle on the schedule option ‘Recalculate assignment costs after scheduling’, Figure 11.
Again, we calculate the schedule for the second week of updates, Figure 12.
This time we find that when Project Management Activity % Complete went from 10.71% to 16.07% the cost increased from $5,000 to $7,650, as expected, Figure 13.
And we observe, again, Figure 13, that when Mobilize Activity % Complete went from 50.91% to 92.73% the Actual Labor Cost increased, accordingly, from $26,400 to $39,600. This is what we want. The Actual Labor Cost updates appropriately when the scheduling process changes the Activity % Complete values.
To achieve the Actual Labor Cost changes, we expected from proportionate changes in Activity % Complete we had to turn on the schedule option ‘Recalculate assignment costs after scheduling’. Setting Calculations Resource Assignments to ‘Recalculate Actual Units and Cost when duration % complete changes’ was not sufficient for all Activity Types. It did not work for the LOE Activity Type.
And it did not properly calculate Actual Labor Cost for the Percent Complete Type, Physical. The solution to this actual cost calculations issue is to either, manually ‘Recalculate Assignment Costs’ in Tools after scheduling or set the Schedule Options to ‘Recalculate assignment costs after scheduling’.
We think it best to automate the process. So our recommendation is to toggle on the schedule option ‘Recalculate assignment costs after scheduling’. In this way the scheduler can capture the Actual Cost associated with respective scheduling duration progress.