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3 Primavera P6 Software Tips to Improve Project Success


Primavera P6 software has many different functions that improve the success of your project. However, some of these features are confusing and can cause problems if not used correctly. For example, forgetting to check one box for administrative controls could be disastrous for your entire calendar.

Alternatively, creating a new activity calendar under a global calendar when the activity does not actually fall under the respective global calendar could result in missed tasks for the responsible workers. While you can explore the features of Primavera P6 software at your own pace, try following these three tips to help you improve the success of your project.

Always Create a Baseline in Primavera P6 First

When you create a calendar in Primavera P6, you will need to create a baseline. You have the option of creating multiple baselines, such as original dates of project deadlines and expected durations. A baseline provides a quick way of determining which activities and tasks have fallen behind when compared to the project’s original plans.

Each person using Primavera P6 software can add up to three unique baselines for their interface. However, too many baselines can be more of hindrance than an aide due to the amount of memory used. When you create your baseline, check the box next to “At Completion Values.” This will ensure the baseline data is compared against actual start and completion dates of project tasks during set up. However, you may need to follow the next tip if you are inputting new schedules into an existing calendar.

Identifying Correct Current Schedules

When you query the status of a project and its associated activities, you may try to save the schedule as a baseline. Unfortunately, you may find yourself staring at a mixture of start and finish dates that are incorrect. To correct this problem, you need to create a User Defined Field as a Global Change. After accessing the Global Change, store the presumed “current” start dates as a User Defined Field. Create a Bar to show the real dates by selecting “Actual Current Dates.” The resulting schedule will show the correct dates, not the dates of the last saved baseline.

Save Time With Fill Down and XML Imports

Although Primavera P6 software saves you time and energy when creating new calendars, many project managers will be tempted to manually enter data into each field. You can make Primavera P6 auto-fill subsequent cells by selecting a source cell, then shift-click on the destination cells or rows.  Go to the Edit menu, and select Fill Down. Otherwise, you may hit Ctrl-E to complete the fill down.  Additionally, you can reduce your workload by importing a specific XML file for import. However, you need to know a few things. XML imports are limited to single projects. XER imports can support several projects. Web-based Primavera P6 EPPM only allows for the import of XML-based files.

Whether you are a novice Primavera P6 software user or an expert, you can benefit from learning these three tips. From the initial creation of your schedule to inputting data from contractors, you need to know how to ensure that your schedule reflects what’s actually going on to improve your project's success. Additionally, you can reduce your time spent creating a schedule by understanding how to allow the software to auto-fill some information for you.

Key Tricks to Remember

  • Do not input progress into a schedule without at least one existing baseline.
  • You can correct a jumbled schedule after saving a new baseline by accessing User Defined Fields.
  • Import anything you can to reduce the amount of time spent working on your schedule.

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