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Primavera P6 Schedule

Options
Posted on July 19, 2016 by Rose Echols

Before you just hit F9 <enter> … There are many options under the Schedule Options Tab that
you should review that may make a difference in the outcome of your schedule calculations. Below
is a brief review of the options.

General Tab

 Ignore relationships to and from


other projects – relationship can be formed between 2 or more projects when they are opened
together. This option, if checked, allows you ignore those relationship if the other project are not
opened. Keep unchecked if you want to maintain the relationships.

 Make open-ended activities critical – makes the late date equal to the early date for activities
that do not have successors. This can be very useful if the user would like to display and
analyze multiply critical paths without using constraints.

 Use Expected Finish dates – calculates the remaining duration for both un-started and in-
progress activities. Typically this is option is checked on.
 Schedule automatically when a change affects the dates – if checked the schedule will
update automatically if a change is made to timing of the schedule. This is similar to how other
scheduling products work. This could be very time consuming if the schedule is large with many
logic ties. Typically this option is not checked.

 Level Resources during scheduling – this option is used to level resources in a schedule and
should only be used in what-if scenarios. It can provide valuable information that can then be
used to change logic that would level resources. It is recommended that this option not be used
as common practice.

 Recalculate assignment costs after scheduling – resources can have different rates
assigned across time periods. This option will recalculate costs for a resource that has multiple
rates across the time periods based on the rescheduled activity if it falls into another rate band.
An example of using this option would be preparing a time-based estimate where the resources
have an annual escalation built into the rate table.

 Retained logic and progress override – when an activity has started before its predecessor
has finished an “out-of-sequence” progress occurs. There are 3 options to choose for
determining how P6 will calculate the finish date of the successor activity.

o Retained Logic (the recommended option) – the relationship is maintained between


predecessor and successor and unworked part of the activity will be scheduled to
continue after its predecessor is completed. The relationship forms part of the critical path
and predecessor has no float.

o Progress Override – the relationship is ignored between predecessor and successor and
unworked part of the activity will be scheduled to continue before its predecessor is
completed. The relationship does not form part of the critical path and predecessor has
float.

o Actual Dates – this option works when there is an actual start date in the future (which is
not really logical). The remaining duration of an in-progress activity will be scheduled to
progress after the predecessor’s actual start and finish dates. If there are no actual dates in
the future, then the schedule defaults to calculate with retained logic.

Note: Retained logic is the recommended option because it calculates the most conservative
schedule (longer duration). Also many government agencies require this options as part of their
specifications. This option requires a closer review by the Schedules to see if adjustments to the
relationships should be considered.

 Calculate start-to-start lag from – determines the start date for a successor that has a SS
relationship with a lag.

o Actual Start – the successor starts with the lag based on the actual start of predecessor.
This gives a less conservative schedule.
o Early Start – the successor starts with the lag based on the early start of predecessor. This
gives a more conservative schedule.

 Define Critical activities as – defines the criteria for critical activities in the schedule:

o Total Float less than or equal to – activities will be marked as critical if their total float
value is less than or equal to what that is defined here.

o Longest Path – critical activities are defined as the longest chain of activities in the
schedule. Use this option when multiple calendars are in use.

 Calculate float based on finish dates – when more than one project is opened, this options
determines if float is calculated on each individual project’s finish date or the longest project’s
finish date.

 Compute Total Float as – these options determine the float value that is displayed for WBS and
LOE activities only.

o Start float = late start – early start

o Finish Float – late finish – early finish

o Smallest of Start Float or Finish Float


Note: The total float bar only displays for the Finish Float

 Calendar for scheduling Relationship Lag – Specifies which calendar to use for calculating
relationship lags.

o Predecessor activity calendar – uses the predecessor’s calendar

o Successor activity calendar – uses the successor’s calendar

o 24-hour – uses a 24 hour calendar

o Project default calendar – uses the project’s default calendar defined under the Project
Default

Advanced Tab
The Advanced Tab offers a great way to further
analyze the critical path/s of the schedule. It allows you to calculate multiple float paths (the most
critical activities and subsequent sub-critical activities) and to display them in a banded picture that is
very useful for analyzing large projects. Choose between Total Float or Free Float:
Total Float: Based on the activity you want the paths to end on, P6 determines which predecessor
activity has the most critical Relationship Total Float on the backward pass. This process repeats
until an activity is reached that has no relationship. P6 begins the forward pass from this activity and
determines which successor activity has the most critical Relationship Successor Total Float. These
activities represent the most critical float path. The process begins again until the remaining sub-
critical paths are calculated. 1
Free Float: Defines critical float paths based on longest path. The most critical path will be identical
to the critical path that is derived when you select Define critical activities as: Longest Path on
the General tab. In a multi-calendar project, the longest path is calculated by identifying the activities
that have an early finish equal to the latest calculated early finish for the project and tracing all
driving relationships for those activities back to the project start date. After the most critical path is
identified, P6 will calculate the remaining sub-critical paths. 1

Choose an activity; typically the end of the project milestone or an interim finish milestone, that
marks the end of a Phase or major event. Choose then number of paths to calculate. For example,
if you choose 4, P6 will calculate the most critical activities and then the next 3 most critical paths
based on the activity you selected. To display the bands, choose Group and Sort, Group by Float
Path and Sort by Float Path Order. See example below:

View Log
Last but not least, it is always a good idea to view the log, after you have scheduled, to see a listing
of valuable information. The log will show all the options that have been selected in the General and
Advanced tabs, statistics on number of activities, activity status, relationships; error/warning log
which include activities with no predecessors or successors; activities that are critical, and many
other data points regarding you schedule. Many customers will use this log to analyze your
schedule, so it always a good idea to not only view the log as you develop the schedule, but
especially before it is ready for submittal to customer.