09 May 2018
P6-QA and the Project Scheduler
Manually wading through a schedule and looking for errors is time consuming and prone to human error. Not only that, it's boring. No one wants to do it, but you need to check your schedule for errors!
Even worse then working through your own schedule for errors, is slogging through a contractor's. When you don't know how they have built the schedule, it can take days to make sure things hold together. Some of our clients have several layouts, reports and even special access databases and outside tools to do this which is very time consuming, error prone and boring.
Enter Emerald's P6-QA tool
The P6-QA tool has saved a lot of time helping our clients. It is a great help to both new and seasoned schedulers in finding and correcting errors before their schedule is sent for approval or when they are analyzing a contractor's schedule submission.
As you might have guessed from the tool's name, schedule quality checks are built into P6-QA. A scheduler is able to check things while building their schedule as opposed to after it's done. They are able to ensure that the schedule they are creating is solid and corrections can be made quickly. The P6-QA tool looks at items like duration lengths, resources and costs, and logic (both during schedule creation and after).
Business process checks can be set up based on what an individual company needs. For example, P6-QA can be configured to include: Naming Conventions, Duplicate Activities, Mandatory Codes, Missing Cost Accounts, Expense Categories, Resources, and Roles and Budgets, among other things. These checks are very useful in saving schedulers' time and frustration. When you run P6-QA, it immediately identifies discrepancies so you can fix them before anything major goes wrong. A scheduler can set business processes based on their needs and according to rules they set for their schedule or rules that meet corporate standards. The tool can also flag mandatory codes, cost accounts and expenses if they are missing. P6-QA can be set to identify different pieces of information concerning resources, roles and budgets to ensure they are assigned and the amounts make sense for costs.
Even after a schedule is approved and work on the project has begun, P6-QA continues to be useful by providing up-to-date information about the project after it has begun. P6-QA will continue to monitor the above criteria as well as progressing information. High float is monitored in accordance with the threshold set by the user and negative float is also flagged. These can even be tightened up as the project gets closer to execution or closer to completion.
Incomplete activities that should have completed prior to the data date are monitored and activities with actual dates after the data date and missed activities are also included. P6-QA also compares if the project's “Must Finish By” date is the same as the Baseline “Schedule Finish” date and calculates the Critical Path Length Index (CPLI). You can also add additional monitoring criteria if need be.
Once these criteria are developed and set and the desired projects are identified, P6-QA can be set to run hourly, daily, weekly or monthly, depending on the scheduler's needs. Each project can be set to a different time frame and can be run “on demand.”
I wish I had this tool at my last job as it would have saved our team hundreds of hours in review meetings from planning, to bid reviews, and throughout execution.