Without further ado, here are some of the best tips for maximizing efficiency when using Primavera P6 for planning and scheduling.

Shortcut #1: Copying And Pasting Select Amounts Of Data

Many times when you’re using P6 to summarize information, there can be a number of activities that you need to capture. Fortunately, you can copy and paste the data right into Excel. Here’s how:

With anything you see on screen, including any columns or data that you want to see in the column sides of P6, do a shift and control click to grab your cells. You now have the ability to copy and paste into Excel!

What if you only want to export certain aspects of the schedule and not the whole thing? That’s perfectly fine. Anything you see in a column, you can copy, paste and put into Excel.

NetPoint integrates seamlessly into P6 to make collaboration easier and schedule creation more efficient. Once your P6 data is in Excel, as a next step, you can simply import it into NetPoint. This is very practical for those of us who don’t want hundreds of activities brought into NetPoint.

An example of exporting a select portion of a schedule report.

People who don’t do this typically take much longer to move data from Excel sheets or other sources when they can simply copy and paste it in.

This begs the question: What are people doing instead and why are these shortcuts not something they already know about? One reason may be that a lot of people view a schedule and think, “Does this appear to be finishing on time? It is? Great. Then we’re good.” However, it’s usually not so good. For one, we can look at what someone said they were going to do last month, then compare it to this month and consequently realize that the activity level may be painting two very different pictures.

If things don’t get done in the following month as planned the previous month, any subsequent schedule can lose credibility. So it’s not enough to simply see what’s changed from one month to the next.

Can we use NetPoint to show progress schedules or comparison schedules to the baseline? Yes, we can do that too. At the moment, NetPoint will analyze the status of the baseline schedule and whether this is a good schedule.

Shortcut #2: Linking Activities Within The Schedule

Linking activities is a wonderful time-saver in P6. Perhaps you have 10 activities that you’d like to link in the schedule. When you finish one activity, you’ll start the next. You can have several other variations of relationships, but with the push of a button, you could just pick those 10 activities you originally designated and link them. Adding a lot of relationships doesn’t have to be a complicated endeavor.

What’s the benefit of linking activities? You can mitigate the risk of being too aggressive trying to get things done versus what you actually can get done. For example, in the course of forecasting your schedule, you may find that you’ll be far past the deadline for finishing a project. Clearly some adjustments need to be made by compressing each activity slightly, linking them to each other and arriving at a more reasonable timeline.

[HINT: P6 integrates with Netpoint making the planning more efficient and lowers risk.  Check out our presentation here.]

Shortcut #3: Creating Activity Codes

Want another fast way to put information into your schedule? Create a code for each activity in NetPoint. If you had 20 activities, for example, you could create and assign a code for each of those 20 activities. With the activities now sorted by particular codes, you can look back upon your summary and know when each activity started and stopped. It’s one way of assigning codes to activities very quickly, and showing how each activity relates to the “big picture” of your summary.

Of course, at any given time, you could have a lot more than 20 activities to deal with. It might be closer to 1000 activities in front of you. Hence the need to seamlessly condense your activities down to a more manageable number that is still easy to interpret as a summary, which NetPoint can help you accomplish.

One last note: A conversation that involves both P6 and NetPoint is not an “either/or” discussion. P6 users can continue to use P6. However, the opportunity to achieve even greater efficiency may be had when the P6 user combines it with the use of NetPoint. We encourage you to explore that possibility with a demo of NetPoint. Before long, you’ll learn how this “best of both worlds” approach can apply well to your team’s particular needs.

To view the enhanced capabilities of NetPoint in an interactive planning session for a pharmaceutical expansion program, click on the link below:

Successful Interactive Planning Sessions & Efficient Transition Between NetPoint and P6

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