Multiple Float Paths in P6

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 values.

Execution is simple:

  1. Select Tools / Schedule, the Schedule icon, or hit the F9 function key.
  2. Select Options button on the right, then the Advanced Tab.
  3. Check the  “Calculate multiple float paths” option.
    1. Accept the Total Float setting
    2. Optionally browse to select a specific Activity ID, (by default P6 will calculate to  Project Completion)
    3. Default number of float paths is 10, which is generally plenty.
  4. Select Schedule Now to calculate the schedule.
  5. To Print the report:
    • Select Group and Sort
    • Select Float Paths and hit OK
    • Collapse the “No float path” group at the bottom of the report
    • Print Preview, tweak as desired, and Print

What you have is all critical, and near-critical activities, neatly grouped in logical groups of descending importance to the project’s critical path.