The Collapsed Schedule View In Primavera P6
Sometimes, a high-level view of a P6 schedule’s tasks helps to highlight gaps in their deliverables’ work plans. Let’s take a look at this.
P6 Professional has a bar settings feature to “show bar[s] when collapsed, ” providing a high-level view of the efforts associated with deliverables at a given level. Relationship lines are not displayed for these collapsed activities. Setting up requires a few steps, but you can save the settings in a layout to quickly apply and remove the collapsed bar settings.
This article demonstrates a quick tip to set up for collapsed bars and save the settings in layouts for rapid setup and takedown of these settings.
Figure 1 shows our demonstration schedule.
Before we proceed, let us save the layout so that after showing the schedule summary, we can efficiently return our Gantt chart to its original settings. In Figure 2, we choose Layout | Layout | Save As…
We name the layout Expanded Layout, make it available to the Project, and save it, Figure 3.
Demonstration: Schedule Condensed View
We want to view the schedule grouping bands collapsed to level 2, and we want to view the Gantt chart taskbars. We proceed and choose View | Bars. Then, in the bars dialogue, we set the bars Grouping Band Settings to “show bar when collapsed” for the Actual Work, Remaining Work, and Critical Remaining Work bar definitions, Figure 4.
This way, the taskbars roll up on the Gantt chart to align with their respective deliverable in the activity table. Click OK. Next, we choose View | Collapse To… | WBS Level 2, Figure 5.
Our activity table and Gantt chart appear in Figure 6.
In Figure 6, the black Summary Bar clutters the Gantt chart with too much information. So, in Figure 7, we return to the Bars dialogue and disable the summary bar display.
The Gantt chart updates to Figure 8, which provides a readable Gantt chart view.
The condensed view in Figure 8 shows a work effort gap in the Site Restoration deliverable. Other periods of work activity are made manifest in Figure 8. Be careful when noting (non-critical) Remaining Work bars. For example, Figure 9 shows the Construction deliverable immediately after the data date has total float, indicating it can be delayed without postponing the project’s end date.
However, when we expand the Construction deliverable, Figure 10, we find the critical Below Grade deliverable’s work effort hidden beneath the Fence deliverable’s work effort.
P6 Professional overlays tasks lower on the Gantt chart on top of the higher-positioned tasks. The recommendation is to expand the seemingly non-critical deliverables to confirm that no hidden critical bars are associated with that deliverable.
Let us save our Gantt chart bars settings for quick setup and takedown. We select Layout | Layout | Save As…, Figure 11.
In Figure 12, we save the “Task Rollup View” layout and make it available to the project.
My practice when saving a layout is to save it twice to make it available to the Current User and Project: Current User so whenever you log in, you have access to the layout; Project so when you export your schedule as an XML file in a Zip file, all your Project Layout Files (PLF) are included in the Zip file.
To return to our original Gantt chart settings before our demonstration, we chose Layout | Layout | Open | Expanded View | Open, Figure 13.
This one operation results In Figure 14, our Gantt chart as before our demonstration.
If we want to show the task rollup layout again, we choose Layout | Layout | Open | Task Rollup Layout | Open, Figure 15.
Again, one operation efficiently returns our activity table and Gantt chart to the Task Rollup view, Figure 16.
This demonstrates the utility of layouts to go between views quickly.
The “show bar[s] when collapsed ” feature in P6 Professional provides a high-level view of your schedule. It is helpful to show gaps in a deliverable’s work plan. You can also see periods of activity better. Be careful not to infer too much. There may be a green Remaining Work bar that leads you to conclude you have total float along the path of a particular deliverable. But a critical bar is likely hidden beneath an overlayed non-critical taskbar.
So, the collapsed schedule view is not good for mapping the critical path. Save your expanded and collapsed views in layouts to rapidly switch between views of your schedule.