Primavera P6 – Shortening the Schedule
You are scheduling a project using Primavera P6 and find, after updating, that the project is going to be late. Instead of rushing to management with the bad news, let’s first look at a few scenarios that would allow the project to be put back on schedule. In Primavera P6, we always have the option of producing “what if” scenarios that allows us to use approaches to shortening the project. Be aware that you should export and save the project plan before making any major changes.
In my 20-plus years of experience in the professional world, I can attest that management wants solutions, not problems. They want to hear what can be done, not what can’t. With Primavera P6, we have the option of presenting many possible solutions to management to assist with the decision-making process.
There are several ways that a project can be shortened, but do keep in mind there are tradeoffs from utilizing these methods, which we will discuss.
- Use relationships to overlap activities.
- This method is probably the easiest method but requires the use of more resources to accomplish activities that are now happening simultaneously. More resources means more dollars spent.
- On a positive note, there is a possibility that some of the simultaneous activities have economies of scale, meaning one resource can perform multiple functions at once such as a backhoe both excavating a pond and simultaneously filling a trench with the spoils. Management may have not taken into account these synergies within all activities when the schedule was first developed.
- Add resources to reduce durations.
- Adding resources may be infeasible due to the fact that the resources are not available and, as in the previous example, adds to the overall cost of the project.
- On the plus side, some under-allocated resources from your project or other projects within the company may be utilized which helps your organization’s overall economic health.
- Break down long activities.
- Breaking down long activities may enable you to overlap new activities that resulted from their parent activity. Again, referring to our first point, more resources are required which means more of the budget spent.
- As an advantage, shorter activities do give a more detailed picture of the project. Management has the benefit of being able to better analyze the activities and possibly “trim the fat”.
- Changing calendar assignments by either putting critical activities on a longer workweek or adding exceptions to non-work time.
- By changing calendar assignments, you are now working on days that were originally non-working days, therefore adding more resources to the project.
- From a positive standpoint, there may be additional room in the budget for these unexpected work days, however management would consider this a “last resort” as profit margin shrinkage would be a result.