At some point in your project, you may need to stop work on an activity for a period of time and then resume at a later date. A specific activity or group of activities may be temporarily suspended, or even the project itself may experience a suspension in operations due to unforeseen circumstances. In Primavera P6, this can be shown by using the Suspend and Resume fields. This is generally done while performing status updates on an activity.
In this article, we will go over how to set suspensions and resumptions for activities, how to create and assign baselines to easily compare original dates against suspended dates, and how to show the suspension on the Gantt chart using necked bars.
In my project, I have an activity to lay a pipe in a trench that is in the process of excavation. The laying of the pipe activity, Pipe Installation, is set to begin a few days after the start of an activity of digging the trench, Trench Excavation. The plan is to start the trench excavation to the point where there is room to lay the pipe, and then work on the Trench Excavation and Pipe Installation activities simultaneously.
However, during the trench digging activity, the excavation crew encountered a large boulder that will take several days to remove.
In this scenario, I would want to indicate the continuation of Trench Excavation and the simultaneous suspension of the Pipe Installation, as this activity can’t begin until the boulder is removed. To do this, I’ll suspend the Pipe Installation activity and set it to resume after the Trench Excavation is complete.
First, I’ll show the current progress of the Trench Excavation activity by marking off the Started checkbox in the Status tab of the Details section.
On the second day of Trench Excavation, the boulder was discovered. Due to this, the activity of Pipe Installation now needs to be suspended for another week. Before suspending the activity, I’m going to quickly create a baseline of the project. This will help aid us in seeing the differences between the original dates and the suspended dates from both the table and the Gantt Chart.
Maintaining and Assigning Baselines
To create a baseline, go to Project > Maintain Baselines.
In the Maintain Baselines window, select Add to create a new baseline. I’ll choose to save a copy of the current project as a new baseline.
This will create a copy of the project as it currently is at this point in time.
With the baseline created, I’ll now assign the baseline to the project so I can see both the baseline project’s bars and the current project’s bars on the Gantt chart simultaneously. This will be useful to analyze the effect of the suspension on other activities and the project as a whole. To assign a baseline, select Project > Assign Baselines.
I’ll add the baseline I just created to the User Primary baseline and select OK.
This will help us see the effects of suspending an activity. After maintaining baselines, the baseline version of the activities will appear as thin yellow bars on the Gantt Chart. I can now use these bars to compare my previous baseline dates and durations to those that will occur after suspending and resuming the activity. Additionally, I’ve added a few additional columns: the BL1 Start and BL1 Finish columns will display the start and finish dates from the project baseline, whereas the Start and Finish columns will display the start and finish dates for the current project.
Since Trench Excavation and Pipe Installation had a Start-to-Start relationship with 1 day of lag, Pipe Installation has also already begun. I’ll update this by checking off this activity as Started, as well.
I’ll now need to suspend it so no further work is done until the boulder is dislodged. I can suspend the Pipe Installation activity by using the Suspend field in the Status tab of the Details section. First, I’ll enter in the date that this suspension is going to begin, which will be January 19th – the day after the boulder was discovered.
To see how this looks in the Gantt chart, I’ll schedule the project forward to a data date of January 25th by selecting Tools > Schedule.
After doing this, you can see that the red activity bar for Pipe Installation has moved past the scheduled baseline bar, as the activity has now been suspended out further. From the baseline bars, we can see that this suspension is currently pushing the project out past when it would have previously been completed.
Next, I can add in the date I expect the activity to resume using the Resume field in the Status tab. It’s expected that the boulder will be removed within a week’s time, so I’ll set this activity to resume a week later, on February 1st.
Once again, I’ll Schedule the project to see how this affects the overall project. I can do this using the keyboard shortcut by pressing the F9 key.
After scheduling, I can see that Pipe Installation has now been extended out in time and is set to finish on February 5th, 4 days after resuming work.
Looking at my Gantt chart, although there is a visible gap between the work done so far and the resuming work, it could be a little clearer that there is a period of non-work suspension here.
Using Necked Gantt Chart Bars
In order to differentiate the work time from the non-work time in the Gantt chart, I’ll need to adjust the bars, which I can do by right clicking on the Gantt chart and selecting Bars.
I’m going to make adjustments to the Remaining Work bar and the Critical Remaining Work bar. I’ll start by selecting Remaining Work from the list. Using the Bar Settings tab, I’ll create a “necked bar” by selecting the Activity nonwork intervals checkbox. This option allows you to show the selected bar’s nonwork intervals as a thinned neck – this will let us see the suspension and resumption of the activity on the Gantt chart.
I’ll do the same for the Critical Remaining Work bar and then press OK to apply these bars to the Gantt chart.
Now, the Gantt chart is displaying the delayed, non-work time of the Pipe Installation bar as a thinner bar between the thicker bar ends.
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Lauren Hecker is a Primavera P6 Professional Instructor and teaches onsite and virtual Primavera P6 Fundamentals courses. To see her next open enrollment course, please visit our calendar. To schedule an onsite or custom course, please contact us!