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Primavera P6

Resource Management with Primavera P6

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Primavera P6, developed by Oracle, is a powerful project management software for scheduling, planning, and controlling complex projects. It offers a comprehensive suite of tools that goes beyond simply creating WBS, task lists, linking up and timelines. A key strength of Primavera P6 is its robust resource management functionality, allowing project managers to effectively assign, track, and optimize the utilization of various resources throughout the project lifecycle.

Resource management is a key element of successful project scheduling. It ensures that the right resources are available at the right time and in the right quantity, to carry out the planned activities. It also includes the planning, allocating, and optimization of all project resources, including human resources (personnel with specific skills and experience), materials (equipment, supplies), and budget.

This article’s main objective is to delve into the best practices of resource management facilitated through Primavera P6. By leveraging the capabilities of Primavera P6, project managers can streamline resource allocation, improve resource visibility, and enhance collaboration across project teams.

Understanding Resource Management

Resource management refers to the process of planning, allocating and monitoring the necessary resources required to complete a project successfully. The resource types in Primavera P6 can be broadly classified into 3 types:

Resource Type Description Examples
Labor Labor resources refer to skilled personnel equipped with expertise relevant to project specific requirements. Engineers, Project managers, software developers, electricians, carpenters, etc.,
Equipment Equipment resources include the various machinery, tools, vehicles, and other physical assets required to carry out project requirements. Cranes, excavators, network equipment, other tools, etc.,
Materials Material resources comprise raw materials, supplies and other consumables that are pre-requisite for construction, manufacturing, or assembly process. Cement, steel, lumber, piping, paint, electrical components, etc.,

Resource Allocation and Assignments

Resource assignments refer to allocating project specific resources to the various project tasks in relation to their availability, skill sets and dependencies. A Project Manager uses a wide variety of methods such as resource calendars, availability matrices, and scheduling tools in effectively assigning resources to a project.

Allocating resources to activities in Primavera P6

Primavera P6 can facilitate allocating the necessary resources to project activities with precision and accuracy. The process involves:

Defining Resources:

The first step is to start by defining the resources needed for your project, including labor, equipment, and materials in the application. Resource details such as rates and availability can also be imputed.

  • Click on the left pane that has resources. Then click on the top right corner, + symbol or right-click on the empty white space to add/create the resource.
  • Adding the resources and creating a list:

Here, we have added resources for all the 3 resource types (labor, material, and non-labor).

Labor caters to distinct types of resources as briefed in the above table. In our example, for information purposes, we have added carpenters, steel fixers and electricians.

The term “material” refers to any of the many supplies—such as paint, steel, cement, and others—that are needed to finish the job.

The term “non-labor” refers the different tools needed to do the task, including heavy machinery, electric routers, putty machines, etc..

  • If you observe carefully, there are no units added to the material. To add units, click on Admin – Admin categories – Add the required units (as shown in the below images).

Assign Resources to Activities:

Associate resources with specific activities by assigning the required quantities. This establishes the resource requirements for each activity. For this, there are a couple of options:

  • Select the activity, go to the bottom pane, and add the resources.

  • Include a resource column and link each resource to every activity that is necessary,
  • Choose the necessary activities, then use the right-click menu to link resources to those activities.

Assigning resources based on availability, skill sets, and constraints:

  • Availability: Check resource calendars in Primavera P6 to ensure personnel or equipment are not double booked. In the image below, the resources are assigned based on their availability to ensure that they are allocated to project activities as and when needed. This prevents overallocation and delays on account of that.

  • Skill sets and expertise: Consider the necessary skill sets and expertise required for each task when assigning resources.

  • Constraints: Consider the factors such as working hours, shift schedules, geographical locations, budget considerations, etc. when assigning resources.

Tips for optimizing resource assignments to maximize efficiency and productivity

  • Prioritize critical tasks and allocate resources to the critical tasks first to make sure that the key project milestones are commenced on time, to avoid delays.
  • Regularly monitor resource utilization and availability to identify the potential conflicts or overallocations and take proactive measures to address them.
  • Use Resource Histograms and Reports to visualize resource utilization, identify bottlenecks, and make data-driven decisions to optimize resource assignments.

  • Implement contingency plans for resource shortages or unexpected changes to ensure project continuity and minimize disruptions.

Main Approaches to resource allocation

There are 2 main approaches to resource allocation – Top-down estimation and bottom-up estimation

  • Top-down estimation: This uses high-level project scope, objectives, and timeline as a base. The project duration and resource requirements are derived from these high-level constraints. This provides a preliminary framework for resource allocation and assignments, enabling project managers to allocate resources effectively and establish realistic project schedules from the outset.
  • Bottom-up estimation: This estimates the resource requirements individually for each activity. With these as base, estimates are aggregated to determine the overall project resource needs.

Primavera P6 accommodates both approaches. It is often beneficial to combine them, starting with top-down constraints and then refining resource allocation through bottom-up activity-level estimates

Resource Leveling

The process of modifying a project schedule to reduce changes in resource requirements over time is known as resource leveling. The primary goal of leveling is to guarantee that resources are distributed evenly over time and that there are no conflicts or overallocations. Resource leveling reduces delays, minimizes burnout, and enhances project stability by leveling off peaks and dips in resource consumption.

Importance in balancing resource demand and capacity

There are several compelling reasons to prioritize resource leveling in your projects:

  • Decreased Resource Overallocation: When a single resource is given more work than they can manage, it is known as resource overallocation. This is a result of unbalanced schedules. Leveling distributes the workload more fairly, which helps avoid this.
  • Increased Productivity and Efficiency: A steady workload promotes increased productivity and efficiency at work. Without having to worry about unexpected peaks in activity, team members can concentrate on finishing tasks.
  • Improved Project Predictability: Leveled schedules show resource usage in a more realistic manner. Better project planning and risk reduction are made possible by this.
  • Decreased Project Delays: Project delays are frequently caused by resource overallocation. By guaranteeing that resources are available when needed, leveling helps avoid this.

How to use Primavera P6’s resource leveling feature to resolve resource overloads and conflicts

  1. Primavera P6 can help you to determine resource overallocations and conflicts within the project schedule using the resource utilization profiles or resource histograms. By showing locations where resources are overused or in high demand, these visual representations offer insights into how resources are used throughout project activities. From the below image, one of the resources assigned is over utilized.

  1. Furthermore, within Primavera P6, you can also define leveling parameters or specify your desired leveling approach (e.g., minimize resource spread or project duration extension). You can also set leveling priorities, such as prioritizing critical path activities or activities with high costs.
  2. The application provides 2 options to level the resources. Click on level resources or go to tools and select level resources. Click “Level” to initiate the process. Primavera P6 will analyze your resource assignments and project logic, then automatically adjust activity start and finish dates to achieve a more balanced resource utilization.

  1. As a last step, it is recommended to evaluate the leveled schedule within Primavera P6. Due to unforeseen events or project limits, there might be a requirement to make manual adjustments on the schedule.

Resource Histograms and Reports

Resource Histograms:

Resource histograms are bar charts that display how resources are used over time in the project. Referring to the quote “Picture Worth a Thousand Spreadsheets” these illustrations can help determine resource demand fluctuations to help with workload prediction and avoiding bottlenecks. On the other hand, they can also be used to identify instances in which resources are underutilized, which enables improved planning and possible reallocation. Situations where a resource is given more work than it can manage can also be shown via histograms. Furthermore, you can also compare the resource allocation that was initially anticipated with the data on actual usage. This enables you to recognize any plan changes and other issues that require attention.

Resource Reports:

Histograms give a broad picture of the data, but resource reports are much more detailed and allow you to dive deeper into data. These reports include comprehensive details regarding:

  1. Resource Assignments, where you can see the precise task and duration of each resource’s activity.
  2. Resource Costs, where you can analyze costs associated with resources, such labor, supplies, or equipment rentals.
  3. Resource availability, where you can evaluate the project’s resource availability at every stage.

Project managers can make well-informed judgments about resource allocation and project scheduling by using both histograms and reports.

ScheduleReader: A Powerful Companion for Resource Management

To examine and evaluate project schedule data exported from Primavera P6, ScheduleReader is a great platform. Primavera P6 has its own visualization tools, but ScheduleReader has more features for visualizing resource management, such as:

  1. Views: You can filter and examine resource data using the special “Resource View” that ScheduleReader has. It shows resource assignments, use, and availability for all project activities. To maximize resource utilization, project managers can see how resources are allocated and make well-informed decisions.

  1. Stacked Histograms: Project managers can detect overallocation of resources, maintain task balance, and optimize resource consumption by using the graphical representations of resource usage provided by ScheduleReader’s histograms and stacked histograms.

  1. S-curves: These cumulative curves show the overall number of resources used over time and reveal general resource trends. They help project managers track project performance trends and make proactive adjustments to ensure project success.

  1. Reports: Numerous resource management reports are available through ScheduleReader, including reports on resource availability, cost, allocation, and use. These reports give project managers thorough insights into indicators pertaining to resources, enabling them to make well-informed decisions and schedule modifications.

Furthermore, you can additionally create unique reports and customize them based on individual preferences.

You can download and evaluate ScheduleReader for free during the 15-day trial period

Best Practices for Resource Management in Primavera P6

To summarize, the following practices can be considered to help you achieve more efficient resource management.

  1. Defining clear resource standards lays the foundation for efficient resource management in Primavera P6. Implement naming conventions and coding structures to reduce confusion, make it easier to filter for resource types (such as carpenters and electricians), and facilitate reporting. You can do this by creating a naming scheme based on the requirements of your project. Here are a few examples:
    • Department Codes + Resource Names: (e.g., ELEC_Alex Pain, CARP_JaneDoe)
    • Skill Codes + Resource Names: (e.g., WELD_Jone Lukas, PLUMB_RosLee)
    • Combination: (e.g., ELEC_101_AlexPain, CARP_B2_JeenaDan) – Use department or skill codes followed by a unique identifier or skill level code.
  1. Categorize the resources into categories (labor, material, and equipment) to guarantee precise cost estimations and reporting. You can give precise definitions and criteria for every resource type. For instance, “Material” might refer to any consumables, while “Labor” could refer to all project personnel involved.
  2. Maintain accurate resource data for efficient resource allocation and project planning. Perform regular updates and establish a weekly or monthly update cycle for resource data and designate roles and responsibilities for data upkeep.
  3. Preserve historical information about resources, such as past project assignments, skill requirements, and expenses. This can be saved for reference later, for estimating resources and planning projects in the future.
  4. Foster collaboration and communication for effective resource management. You can validate resource allocation by making certain that all parties are informed about the distribution of resources and possible conflicts. This enables changes to be made before problems occur. You can do this by including team members and stakeholders in the validation of resource allocations, scheduling frequent meetings, or making use of Primavera P6 collaboration tools such as ScheduleReader.  ScheduleReader is an innovative software that can help the broader project team review schedule data exported from Primavera P6. The application supports a wide array of functionalities, such as special views, histograms and stacked-histograms, s-curves, reports and more, that can assist project professionals visualize and analyze the allocation of resources in the project schedule.

ScheduleReader is available in a 15-day free trial version for testing and evolution purposes.