Project Managment

Job Costing – the quest for accuracy a.k.a., “what really happened on the site?”

Job Costing is the third crucial element in the "Golden Triangle" of Construction Operations: (Estimating / Project Management & Execution / Job Cost Accounting). We need to do all three extremely well in order to justify the risk we routinely take in the contracting business. For this article, I'm going to focus on the heart of that risk, self-performed labor. How well does your company account for what happens onsite? The answer is inexorably tied to our old friend and nemesis, level of detail. If cost codes are too high-level, (i.e., "concrete formwork" for a company that does a lot of it), you're mixing oranges, apples, and likely squashes and rutabagas into a mix that becomes so bland that the individual important flavors are unrecognizable. In plain english, that information is useless because it covers too many different types of work, all with different productivity factors. If cost codes are too detailed, (i.e., "staking slab forms", separate from "placing slab forms", separate from "stripping slab  forms"), you're gathering minutiae, and even worse, placing the guys in the jobshack doing timesheets in the position of having to lie to you. Why's that, you ask?  Because they can't possibly cost code to [...]

Multiple Float Paths in P6

We got a call yesterday from a company working on an Army Corps of Engineers design-build project with a tight schedule. The Corps' project manager expressed concern that the project would finish late. With the most recent (fourth) pay app, negative float was appearing, primarily due to delays in receiving approvals for the mechanical design.  We were already working with this Contractor on another USACE design-build project schedule, so Bob called me to request a couple reports for analysis of the schedule. He requested a critical path Gannt chart report, and asked me if I had any ideas for another report that would help their team review the schedule. I chose a multiple float path report. When I first noticed the multiple float path option in P6, it seemed like a complex software feature that would be difficult to understnad and work with. That couldn't be farther from the truth. The P6 multiple float path feature simply starts with the Critical Path (FP1), then calculates additional float paths in descending order of importance, based on calculations derived from the project's logical network. So FP2 and FP3 are not as crucial as FP1, but more than those assigned larger float path [...]

Upcoming Training P6 in Honolulu: January 10-11, 2011

Our next P6 Training opportunity available for open enrollment is scheduled for January 10-11 in sunny Honolulu, Hawaii. Please register soon if you're interested in attending, to guarantee the class will happen. Cost for the two days training is $1,295, with a $100 Early Bird registration discount if registration is received by December 31st. Discounts are also available for 3 or more attendees. Please contact us via email at, or Mark Stenstrom, our sponsoring Oracle | Primavera Certified Business Partner:

P6 Training

Our latest initiative has been developing comprehensive training for Oracle | Primavera Project Manager, (known throughout the industry as "P6"). We've focused specifically on using P6 to develop project schedules to the particularly rigorous specifications of the Army Corps of Engineers and NAVFAC. Please contact us if your firm is interested in government work, and learning the skills required to get your schedule and accompanying Pay Requests approved with minimal headaches.