UK Oracle User Group

Using Activity Steps

24 December 2015

Find out how to take advantage of this functionality and how to set it up in this recent blog post by Bill Pepoon...

Activity Steps offer several advantages. One, you can break down a complex activity into a series of, well, steps that better describe the scope of work. The activity name does not need to go into a great deal of detail because the steps offer additional explanation. Two, it becomes much easier to update a complex activity with steps because rather than trying to come up with a percent complete for the overall task, each step is updated individually, thereby generating an overall percent complete. Have you ever decided that an activity was 37.25% complete? Me neither, but Activity Steps can do that.

Third, Activity Steps do not requite logic so it is a great way to track work that cannot easily be sequenced. Let us say there are several air handling units in the building and you have been told that only one will be installed at a time due to the available manpower. But no one knows the order in which the AHUs will be installed. No problem. We can list the AHUs as Activity Steps; the work cannot proceed out-of-sequence since there is no predefined sequence.

In order to use steps we must first tell P6 that we are planning to use steps. This is done in the Projects detail window, under the Calculations tab:

Activity Steps_1


This box is normally unchecked by default when a new project is added to the database so it is very important to take care of this right away. Next, activities that will be using steps must have “Physical” as the % Complete Type:

Activity Steps_2


Note that other activities in the project can still use “Duration” or “Units” as the % Complete Type. Now we are ready to add Activity Steps. In the next screenshot I have added a series of steps for the activity Build Retaining Wall:

Activity Steps_3


Each step is assigned a Step Weight, which then determines the Step Weight Percent. The total of all the steps will automatically equal 100%. The columns shown above do not show up in a typical layout so it will be necessary to add them by right-clicking in the Steps tab. You will find them in the General category of columns.

When updating an activity with Steps you must first record an Actual Start date. The Step % Complete column is used for activities that have started but are not complete. Otherwise, checking the Completed box closes out the Step.

If you expect to use the same Steps on other activities (or other projects) then it is a good idea to create Activity Step Templates:

Activity Steps_5

Activity Steps_6


These templates can then be inserted into the Steps tab for activities.

Perhaps the only disadvantage of using Activity Steps is that the Step Names cannot be displayed in the Activity Table – only the number of Steps – so a printout does not convey as much information as what is visible in the Steps tab. Still, I see the Steps as something used by the scheduler to status the activity more accurately.

So the only question is, how will you use Activity Steps?


Source: Primavera Scheduling

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