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Recommended way to update the progress in P6

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Chary Chary
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Dear all,

I am new to Primavera. With all the manuals I am sort of still lost on what is the meant procedure to update status / progress of activities in Primavera and you can change several things and the tool will re-calculate the other (e.g. updating duration % complete will update remaining duration)

Is my understanding correct, that procedure looks like this

Step 1

Think of Data Date for which you are updating progress

Step 2

Start activity, if it is started and update the actual start date, if different from the planned start date

Step 3

Update % complete

Step 4

Unless activity is set to be Duration % complete, then update remaining duration (otherwise remaining duration would have been updated when you were updating % complete )

Step 5

If activity has finished, click the “Finished” tickbox and select the actual finish date, if applicable

Step 6

Do a schedule run with the data date, thought of in Step 1

Replies

Zoltan Palffy
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I do what i can

mohd irfan
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Thanks Zoltan,you are good.
David Kelly
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Chary,

 

Explaining P6's behaviour to MSP users.

 

P6 is designed as a multi-used system.  MSP is a single user system. In MSP when you open a project, you read all of the data into RAM in your computer, and you lock the disk file that contains the project. This means when you make a change in the MSP data, the dates and durations can be calculated in real time as all the data is already in RAM.

 

In P6, when you open a project it might be quite large -  I regularly see 20k+ activities. The ONLY LOCKED RECORD(s) ARE THE ONES HIGHLIGHTED in your layout - all of the others are available in on the file server for other users to update.  If you scheduled in real time as MSP does, every time you added an activity, or a perrcent complete, or a relationship, you would have to read all of the project data from the file server to your workstation, perform the forward/backward pass, and write all the data back to the file server. Effectively you would get no work done because of the LAN traffic.

No multi-user project management systems can schedule in real-time. 

AND in answr to your original question, how to record progress in P6, my facetious answer is you don't. P6 has no facilities for Estimate and Approval. In an ideal world you report progress to the system that did the estimate and approval steps, and the same electronic process that transferred properly estimated work that was approved for construction into P6, now transfers the work that is left.......

 

 

Zoltan Palffy
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see attachment I guess you better tell oracle that they have an error in their course 102 trainning manual. This is page 284 which states to update the actals THEN change the  data date.

Also them that page 252 of their sure track manual is wrong 

also see link at the bottom of this page

https://tensix.com/2016/12/dcma-14-point-assessment-invalid-dates/

it says 

The steps in Primavera P6, in particular, are:

  1. Enter the status of tasks
  2. Move the data date forward
  3. Recalculate the schedule, which moves all remaining work to the right of the data date

Never surrender never give up. (name the movie) 

see attachments 

Chary Chary dont go down the wrong path 

see attachments

4723
page_284.jpg

 

4724
page_252.jpg

4720
p6_cover.jpg
4722
page_252.jpg

Robert Bell
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You too! And thanks for the debate!
Zoltan Palffy
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Robert 

I guess the way that I do is just more logical to me and to many others.  I have taught scheduling to over 300 people and this the method that I use.

But hey if your way works by all means use it.

Have a good one !

Robert Bell
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Indeed! Oh well we can agree to disagree. I have no issue with the perhaps more commonly used method you describe and I know more than enough people who agree with and use my method that I'm not sensitive about it. I am surprised such a simple change in sequencing is apparently so hard to understand but perhaps that is bred out of many years following a particular methodology.

Zoltan Palffy
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Robert 

Thats another person who agrees with me. 

Zoltan Palffy
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Chary Chary 

You do not have the basic understanding of cpm scheduling. THE ONLY WAY IN THE WORLD to get any DATES is for the program to peform the forward and backward pass which is the scheduling calcualtions. This is the basic and whole concept behind cpm scheduling. 

You update the actual dates and any remaining durations

Then change the data date 

Then re-calaculate the project to get the new forecasted dates.

 

Chary Chary
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Johannes, thanks.

I know I already got answer from Zoltan, but I as newcomer to P6 I still find it confusing, that when you update remaining duration (or % duration complete), P6 would re-calculate finish date based on the previously entered DD (which is not the DD you have now in mind), which will push the finish date to incorrect earlier date and at that moment newcomer will be confused. And only when you hit  F9 and give Primavera a new DD only then will it put the finish date of activities in progress to a correct finish date.

I have put a video about this (see in my below messages).

I my company I now have to explain to people how to use P6, and I must say I still struggle to find a logical explanation for this behaviour and people often get confused. How would you explain this logic to somebody coming from Microsoft Project?

Robert Bell
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You run store period performance when the update is complete. So you have a data date in the correct place, with actuals in the correct place either way. Just because you move your data date, it doesn't mean you're not still going to enter the correct actuals. You wouldn't be running your store period performance before moving the data date so the end result is the same. It works.

To use my anology again, this is asking "how do you eat if when you picked up the knife, you already weren't holding the fork?"

Well, I picked up the fork next. Then I ate.

Johannes Vandenberg
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Hi Chary

I concur with Zoltan and Tom.

Updating procedure.

Step 1 If not already done, make a copy of the project and store for further reference in a separate directory and file. You need this if you are conducting forensic analysis.

Step 2 Create a new baseline of the “old” schedule and assign. This is handy when you update the schedule. You can see immediately the difference between planned and actual.

Step 3 Tick the started box when the activity has started during the period under review.

Step 4 Apply the actual start and finish dates and tick the finished checkbox when completed.

Step 5 When the activity has started but not completed, fill the percentage completion and / off the remaining duration when you use physical percent completion.

Step 6 Set the new DD and Press F9 and schedule when the updating is completed.

Step 7 Review and analyses the scheduled schedule.

Step 8 updates the schedule as and when required.

Step 8 If you have not all the activities updated because they were not available, you can always re-set the baseline to the old DD and you can proceed as from step 1.

Regards

Johannes

 

 

Zoltan Palffy
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so when do you run store period performance ? Becasue you are changing period PRIOR to accounting for your performance and it will not be captured. 

Sorry I have to agree with Tom on this based on and all of the books manulas and best practivies that I have seen and what I have done for 30 years. 

actuals and remaining durations

then change the data date 

recaluate

review 

Robert Bell
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Hi Tom,

The main point I have been pressing is basically your final statement. At least we agree on that. I understand your arguments and in some cases I can see that they might be valid. However, I believe that increased precision more often than not comes from a cultural change in a positive direction.

A project team that is both in control and that invest in reliable project controls will often know or record these details habitually, and with negligable impact to anyone's time. And if a schedule ends up being audited or undergoing a scrutinous adjuication process, having kept it true would be a big advantage.

Personally I have never found bringing progress back a drain on my time, and since forecast dates are often (not always) reported to me instead of remaining effort, it saves me doing a lot of needless mathematical conversion from date to remaining days.

Like I keep saying I don't think it ultimately matters which way its done. I am saying that whichever way you do it, it can be done.

Tom Boyle
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A few comments from the gallery:

1.       Competent planners/schedulers are very limited resources.  It’s best not to waste their time with extra clicks, keystrokes, and old-eye references to hand-written notes.

2.       Depending on the fundamental purposes of the schedule update, increased precision in actual start/finish entries is not necessarily adding value.  In many cases, extreme precision (e.g. Actual Finish = 2 hours before end of the workday) would be considered counter-productive.

3.       Shifting the DD before updating forces all dates to the right, such that every single actual date must be manually entered to bring it back to the left of the DD.  Updating on the basis of the previous DD at least gives the scheduler the opportunity to actualize dates on the basis of his prior forecast.  This saves a lot of time if your project is a)large, and b)not completely out of control.  Both approaches will get you to the same endpoint, so which one is “correct” depends on 1 and 2.

Robert Bell
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Also, your source states that you should "Record Actuals", whereas you tend to just hit the DONE button. I would argue that my finalised schedule, based on real information as opposed to assumptions, is a higher quality output.

Robert Bell
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Well once again you are making an assumption here which is not the planner's place to do so. It is for the project manager to decide how accurate they wish to be but mine are without question, accurate far more often than simply hitting the actualise button and hoping for the best.

You don't seem to realise than once you've clicked on the Started and Finished buttons, you can then set the date. You have to do this either way if you want to be accurate, instead of pretty close. Like I said before, you're arguing that you have to pick up the knife before the fork. It just doesn't matter. I'm surprised you've used P6 for so many years and didn't know that you can manually change dates. It is more common for activities to happen on a different day to what was planned since nobody has yet invented the crystal ball.

As for your statement - "There should be no such thing as briefe state of flux". Can you explain to me how you get your schedules updated in the blink of an eye? If, like every other planner on earth, your update takes a short amount of time to input the progress then this counts as a brief state of flux. During your update period, be that minutes or hours, you should not be issuing information.

You perhaps need to try to describe in logical steps how my "process is flawed" because so far you have only said the words "your process is flawed". This, in and of itself is not an argument. Just as on Microsoft Word I can make my text bold and then underline it and vice versa, in P6 I can change my data date and input my progress in either order. It is, as I have said, simply a matter of preference.

Zoltan Palffy
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Look at this from planning planet look at the steps 4 update actual BEFORE step 5 changing the data date and recaculate the schedule. Look at the source Oracle Primavera® P6™ Project Management Reference Manual pages 262-263

I can find many many more to support my theory. 

 

09.3.1 INTRODUCTION

The aim here is to UPDATE the CPM schedule to show (1) what has been achieved and (2) when it has been achieved

For each activity in the CPM schedule the information to be captured is as follows:

  • Actual Start (AS)-  when the activity actually started
  • Actual Finish (AF)- when the activity actually finished
  • Remaining Duration (RD)- the expected remaining duration for activities which have started but not yet finished 
  • Physical % Complete (PC)- how "complete" the work activity is 
It is generally agreed that regardless of the software used, there are 8 steps normally and customarily used to update, progress or status a CPM schedule.  That process is described as follows:
  1. Establish a standard update procedure that includes which method you will use to record progress (See Module 07-2 - Develop the Planning & Scheduling Policies & Procedures Manual
  2. Create a baseline plan
  3. Record progress on activities automatically or manually 
  4. Apply project Actuals - (Start Date, Finish Date, Percent Complete, Remaining Duration, Actual Costs and any necessary new schedule activities)
  5. Calculate the schedule (and level resources if required) 
  6. Compare the current schedule to the baseline plan and identify variances
  7. Analyze data through layout graphics, dashboards and reports
  8. Make adjustments and communicate the schedule update
Source: Oracle Primavera® P6™ Project Management Reference Manual pages 262-263
Zoltan Palffy
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Where do you think that the PM is getting I guarentee they are not 100% accurate just like mine they are close. 

You also asked "why would you want to forecast new dates for soemthing already done".

I'm not.

Yes you are becasue you change the data date and hit F9 prior to actualizing the activity. 

There should be no such thing as briefe state of flux. Record your progress chnage the data date and hit F9 no mussy no flux.  

I have not given up I will find the best practices from AACE and indusrty leaders and show that your porcess is flawed.

Robert Bell
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Ok you you've stated that - "if it is actually complete I can go ahead and use that march date as my actual and be fairly accurate".

How is this accurate then? All you're doing is actualising dates based on the forecast dates of last month and making an assumption that this is pretty close. When I update, I get these dates directly from the project manager. That way the information owned by them is provided by them and they know in advance of our meetings that they need to source the real actual dates, not assumption pretty close dates. Actual dates should be actual, not pretty close.

You also asked "why would you want to forecast new dates for soemthing already done".

I'm not. The schedule update process always puts it into a brief state of flux where it transitions from it's previous position to its current position. Whether you hit F9 before or after you enter your actuals is irrelevant in this regard because either way you should not be circulating information from the schedule until this process is complete. That's just doing a half job. So until the time when the update is deemed complete and issued to the wider project team, how can you label a mid point as forecasting new dates? I could say that when you enter some actual dates, you're forecasting the work you haven't yet reached incorrectly, but clearly you're just half way through the update process. This is the same when you move the data date.

The data date is simply a line representing the present, as far as the schedule is concerned. What exists on either side of that line should reflect the truth. Whether you F9 before or after entering actual dates, this picture can easily be created. The only question is how easily you want to get there and what suits you best.

Zoltan Palffy
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Robert if you chnage your data date and recalaute the schedule all of your work that was actually doen during the update period now has been pushed to the next updaintg period. This means that  any of the actual dates will not even be close. If you update the schedule with actual prior to changing the data date any actuals wil be harder to obtain. If done prior to changing the data date at least you are in the correct month or update period to record your actuals. You will eventually get there but you are putting the cart before the horse.

Record progress 

change the data date 

recalculate the schedule 

Analyse 

 

If I am updaing actuals for March. I will copy the February update. This will give me approximate dates when things should get done in March.  If it is actually complete I can go ahead and use that March date as my actual and be fairly accurate to when it actually occured. IF you move the data date first this will move everything that was scheduel to be an actual in March to APRIL so your won't be close in figuring out what he actual date is. 

Changing the data date is used to forecast new dates for what is not done. Why would you want to forecast new dates for soemthing that is already done. You are doing that by chaning the data date first. Record actuals frist then change the data date.

 

I have been doing it this way for 35 plus years and it has been accurate 

 

Robert Bell
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Hi Chary,

Basically I do step 4 first (if we put to one side any pre baselining). Looks like the person you've been speaking to does something in between although he still enters his forecasts after the new data date is set which is the main reason I change this first.

To be honest I don't think it matters hugely which way round you do it as long as you are vigorous in making sure the final output is as intended. I don't think it can be said that any approach is "100% incorrect". This is like saying you MUST pick up your knife before your fork. It's a matter of personal preference and I believe doing it this way is the quickest, easiest method that carries the least risk of erroneous values.

Chary Chary
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Robert,

Would you be able to describe step by step the procedure you are advocating? (I think I heard somebody telling me, that he actually follows this process )

I assume it would be something like that

Step 1: Think of data date

Step 2: Start activities, which are started and set the actual start date, if different, from planned

Step 3: Finish activities, which are finished and set the actual finish date, if different from planned

Step 4: Press F9 and set the new Data Date

Step 5: Observe activities in progress (started, but not finished) to extend for the duration which is equal to  [new Data Date] – [old Data Date].

Step 6: Update remaining duration on activities in progress and observe finish date to be-recalculated to where it has to be.

Step 7: Press F9 again and review the schedule 

Robert Bell
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Sorry Zoltan, I appreciate the response but you haven't convinced me as none of what you have said is a logical argument against doing it my way. You've just stated that your way is correct.

I didn't say that I actualised my dates based on where the new data date has pushed them to. I said I updated my data date first. My actuals are the same whichever way round it is done because I have annotated a hard copy following my progress meetings prior to sitting down at P6 to do anything in virtual space. I have no "future actuals".

As for forecast dates I would argue that sometimes remaining duration is what is reported but equally often is forecast finish dates, such as when a contractor may be starting on site. Again I don't think that makes any difference.

It just seems to me that progressing the DD and then inputting your progress will allow you to see your current position as you go instead of having a data date potentially moving things around and having to go back through to check that the forecasts are where they should be.

It wasn't a person that taught me this, it was the process followed by a large defence agency. Granted I have only worked in a few places so far but of the places I've experienced they had by far the most robust and well thought through set of procedures.

Zoltan Palffy
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Robert

You are 100% incorrect. You dont say this is my date and then is my progress. Besides that of you are recording actuals the actual have to be PRIOR to the DATA DATE. You dont drag anything back anything.

Besides if you have an actual it will be closer to the date that is ALREADY there NOT a NEW one based ona new data date.

NO need to set forecast dates remaing duration and logic does that. 

Whoever taught you that taught you incorrectly. I challenge you to pick up and cpm book and look at how an update is done and see if I am right or wrong. 

Robert Bell
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Zoltan, why do you need to update the progress before moving the data date? I was taught to do this the other way around and it works well for me. If you change the data date first and then drag back your actual progress then you can easily input remaining durations and expected finish dates safe in the knowledge that it won't move again after you F9. I tend to F9 regularly as I update so that I can pick out any conflicts with the information that's been given to me as I go, for example if a forecast finish is incompatible with a FF link that I need to discuss with the PM.

Doing the progress and then the DD would surely require a second pass to set forecast dates....?

Zoltan Palffy
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you have 2 options 

option #1

input all of your update (ignore any chnages to any dates becasue you have not yet performed foward and backward passes) then change the data date and your done.

option #2

turn on automaticl scheduling and EVERYTIME you update an activity the schedule will recalculate 

I do not know why this bugs you so much I donr even look at ANY dates until ALL of the update is done and I have changed the data date and have recalcualated the schedule 

really its no big deal 

Chary Chary
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Zoltan,

Thanks!

Am I the only one who finds this confusing that, upon change of % complete or remaining duration P6 would 1st re-calculate finish date based on the latest Data Date it has known (and at that moment would confuse un-experienced user) and only after user presses F9 would use the new Data Date.

I am sure there is a lot of history in this tool, but from a new-comer's point of view, if Primavera can’t accept a new Data Date in advance, then at least it would be logical, that no re-calculation of any date would be done at all, until F9 is pressed.

Regards.

Zoltan Palffy
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just ignore that date do ALL of your updating then change the data date and recalcualte the schedule. You should nto be looking at ANY finish dates until AFTER you recalculate the schedule. 

Chary Chary
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Zoltan,

Thanks for detailed answer once again.

<< 

Answer: NO if you change the remaining duration primavera will NOT chnage the finish date until you recalculate the schedule unless you have scheduel automatically whne a change affects dates. If this is on TURN THIS OFF by going to Tools then Schedule then Options and uncheck this box. 

You do ALL of your updating BEFORE you chnage the data date and reschedule the project.

>> 

I do not think I have the option activated. See below

Google Logo

 

But I still have this behavior, that when update remaining duration P6 would recalculate the finish date based on the current Data Date and then, when I run schedule again with a new Data Date, it would put it back.

What do I miss?

Alexandre Faulx-B...
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Hi Zoltan,

didn't you forget to save the baseline? Project, Update baseline is 200% mandatory, and will be done BEFORE updating the project for the first time

displaying time along date is only necessary for very short duration activities

Have a good wekk-end,

Alexandre

Zoltan Palffy
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Q1:  Getting actuals

Where would you put in the cycle receiving actual units (either from automatic timesheets system or entering them manually)? 

Answer: If available I would the timesheet system but that will only give you hours.

You still have to MANUALLY enter the start date and finish date for each activity. Thers is no way for the timesheet system to know when an activity has actually started and or finished. You will also need to manually update the remaing duration.

Q2: Updating remaining duration

When you update remaining duration, then you update it based on the Data Date you have in mind, however at that moment P6 only still knows the previous Data Date, hence Primavera will change the Finish Date (provided you are on schedule, then Finish Date will now be earlier).  Later, once you do the schedule run and you will put the new Data Date, it will re-calculated the finish date back to where it should be. This challenge is described here:

Answer: NO if you change the remaining duration primavera will NOT chnage the finish date until you recalculate the schedule unless you have scheduel automatically whne a change affects dates. If this is on TURN THIS OFF by going to Tools then Schedule then Options and uncheck this box. 

You do ALL of your updating BEFORE you chnage the data date and reschedule the project.

You can use duration % complete instead of remaining duration but go to Edit then users preferences and click on the Time Units tab and under durations format make sure you are using 2 decimals. Why becasue if you have a 6 day duration activity and you make the duration % complete 30% it will make the remaining duration 4.2 das. If you do not have the decimal places turned on you wil only see that it is 4 days it will round it up or down. YOU DO NOT want fraction of days you want to use whole days. So if you use duration % complete to progress and activity make sure to check the remaing duration and manually round it up your down to a WHOLE day.

Chary Chary
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Zoltan,

Thank you very much for detailed explanation. Really appreciate this.

Questions

Q1:  Getting actuals

Where would you put in the cycle receiving actual units (either from automatic timesheets system or entering them manually)?

Q2: Updating remaining duration

When you update remaining duration, then you update it based on the Data Date you have in mind, however at that moment P6 only still knows the previous Data Date, hence Primavera will change the Finish Date (provided you are on schedule, then Finish Date will now be earlier).  Later, once you do the schedule run and you will put the new Data Date, it will re-calculated the finish date back to where it should be. This challenge is described here:

https://www.planacademy.com/expected-finish-in-primavera-p6-speedy-updates/

<< 

The common difficulty is figuring out what value to enter for the Remaining Duration. Because the Remaining Duration is added to the future Data Date (the new Data Date you’ll enter after you’ve done your updating), we won’t know the Activity’s new Planned Finish Date until after we schedule.

>> 

So, for me, coming from MS Project, this is a bit confusing to say the least.  Is there really no way around that, in the situation when I really want to use the remaining duration?

Zoltan Palffy
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Step 1 would be to copy the project you always want a snap shot of each time period so that if you need to go back to it that point in time you can.

Step 2 go to edit users preferences and go to the dates tab and at the bottom under time select 12 Hour

Step 3 click on the time units and under the durations format make the decimals places 2 

Step 4 If an activity has started check the box next to the word started then from the drop down select the actual start date and TIME. The time should be equal to the earlies start TIME in your calendars 7:00 am or 8:00 am typically.

Step 5 If the activity is not finished you can either update the % complete (this depends on what TYPE of % comeplete that you are using) or the remaining duration. If you update the % complete and are using the duration % complete type then it will be possible to get fractions of a day depending on the original duration and the % complete being used. For example if I have a 6 day activity and I am 70% complete it will make the remaing duration 1.8 days. I would suggest that instead of using % compelte that you manually input the remaining duration.

Step 5  If an activity has started AND FINISHED check the box next to the word started then from the drop down select the actual start date and TIME. The time should be equal to the earlies start TIME in your calendars 7:00 am or 8:00 am typically. Then check the box next to the word finished then from the drop down select the actual finish date and TIME. The time should be equal to the latest start TIME in your calendars 4:00 pm or 5:00 pm typically.

The times are important because if the are not correct this can casue a 1 days activity to span 2 days. Starting lest say at noon on day 1 and finishing on noon on day 2. So this would cause a 1 day activity to actually be shown as 2 days.

Step 6 press F9 and change the data date and check the TIME. The data date TIME should be equal to the earlies start TIME in your calendars 7:00 am or 8:00 am typically.

Step 7 press F9 and view your schedue log. Make sure that there are not any activities without predecessor (except the 1st one) and not any actvities without successors (except the last one). Check for out of sequence progress and make any necessary logic changes.

Step 8 Spot check a few activites make sure that they reflect what has or ha snot happend in the field. 

Step 9 Review the results and make sure that there are not any actual start and or finish dates equal to or later than the data date.

Step 10 Review the critical path and make sure that it makes sense.

Step 11 Prepare a Schedule Narrative that explains what has been done during this update period.