How to Schedule Multiple Projects with Different Data Dates in Primavera P6 Professional
Written on . By Tracy Mah
A new Primavera P6 scheduling feature has been added to versions 20 and up. The feature gives you the ability to choose whether to use the same or different Data Dates when scheduling multiple opened projects.
What is Data Date in Primavera P6?
The new data date in Primavera feature allows for more flexibility when working with multiple projects. In the Activities Window of Primavera, the blue vertical line on the Gantt Chart is called the Data Date. The Data Date divides the past actuals from the future work in the schedule. The Gantt Chart in Figure 1 shows Activities on the left side of the Data Date line that represents the past work that have been completed. Activities on the right side represent the remaining tasks that the resources have not yet worked on.
The main purpose of using a scheduling program like Primavera P6 is to help forecast when each work task should start and finish based on the relationship logic, activity durations and calendars in the project. Scheduling the project means Primavera will calculate the start and finish dates of every single activity from the Data Date on. The Total Float values are also calculated for every activity then the Critical Path of the project can be determined.
It is important that the project in Primavera closely represents what is actually occurring on the job site. Statusing or updating is the process of inputting the actual start and finish dates for activities that have been worked on by resources. The Data Date tells P6 when to start the schedule calculations that predicts the sequence of the remaining work.
The Data Date is manually set by the project manager or scheduler during the update cycle. A project can be updated daily, weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. It is not uncommon that different projects would have different data dates.
Data Date Options in the Schedule Dialog Box in Primavera P6 versions 19 and Older
Figure 2 shows the Schedule dialog box in Primavera P6 versions 19 and older. Notice it shows two opened ‘Project(s) to schedule’ with only one option for a Data Date.
If the opened projects have different Data Dates, then the displayed Data Date on the Gantt Chart is the project whose Data Date is the earliest. Figure 3 shows the Data Date is Day 1 from Project B.
When scheduling the projects, it will prompt: “Not all opened projects have the same Data Date. If you choose to continue, each project will be scheduled based on its own Data Date. Otherwise, you can set the Data Dates in the Projects View. Do you want to continue?”
Traditionally, in older versions of Primavera (version 19 and older), if P6 Users wanted to analyze 2 or more projects at the same time. Then all of the projects by default are scheduled according to their individual Data Dates for the schedule calculations. If a Data Date needs to be changed, then it can only be done by going to the Projects Window, highlighting the project and selecting the Dates tab.
Data date in Primavera P6 Version 20 and up Dialog Box Options
Primavera P6 scheduling features on versions 20 and up offer improved control was added when scheduling multiple projects. Figure 4 shows the choice of whether:
- Each project should be scheduled according to its own Data Date, or/
- Specifying a particular Data Date to schedule all of the opened projects with.
For a comparison analysis, three scenarios are shown:
Scenario 1 – All Projects use their own Data Date
The results are the same as Figure 3 from the older version of Primavera. For Project A, all of the red remaining critical activities are scheduled to start from Project A’s Data Date of Day 27. For Project B, all of the remaining activities are scheduled to start from Project B’s Data Date of Day 1.
Scenario 2 – Select the Data Date of Day 1 for All Projects
Figure 6 shows the results for both projects with their schedules calculated from the Day 1 Data Date. Notice how Project B does not change from Figure 5, however, all of Project A’s red remaining critical activities have moved to Day 1 instead of Day 27. The blue completed activities do not move because those activities are completed with actualized start and finish dates.
Scenario 3 – Select the Data Date of Day 27 for All Projects
Figure 7 shows the results for both projects with their schedules calculated from the Day 27 Data Date. Notice how all of the red remaining critical activities for Project A are now scheduled to start on Day 27. None of Project B’s activities have been started or completed, therefore, all of its remaining future tasks get pushed out to start on the Day 27 Data Date.
How to change the Data Date for an individual project?
When the option to select a certain Data Date is applied to all of the open projects, then all of those project’s Data Dates are set to that date. If the Data Date needs to be changed for any of the projects, it must manually be done in the Projects Window in the Dates tab. The steps are shown in Figure 8. Go to the Projects Window, select the project, click the Dates tab then the Data Date field is where the date can be changed.
The added ability to choose a Data Date when scheduling more than one opened project is a great new feature. It improves the ability for project managers to analyze different scenarios with their projects. It does not matter if they have the same or different Data Dates. Lastly, the choice to change the Data Date in the Schedule dialog box makes it easier to access rather than using the Projects Window, Dates tab.
If you are using an older version of Primavera and want to upgrade to the newest one, please send us your details at Contact Us. The IT consultants at P6 Consulting Inc. are experts with P6 installations, upgrades and troubleshooting.