BOEMax Tech Tips – Bi-Directional Cost and Schedule Integration with P6

One of the many challenges proposal teams face is ensuring their cost estimate and proposal schedule data are in alignment.  Bi-directional cost and schedule integration with Oracle Primavera P6 is just one of many functions built into BOEMax cost estimate software designed to simplify life for proposal teams.  This blog is an introduction on how this bi-directional cost and schedule integration can help proposal teams create quality proposal cost and schedule data.

About Bi-Directional Cost and Schedule Integration with P6

Being able to share data between application systems always helps to reduce the time spent creating data.  It also eliminates time wasted doing data comparisons or correcting disconnects.  When you are able to easily create and maintain a single source for the data this also helps to improve the quality of the data.  

During the proposal development stage, proposal teams often work with a variety of functional and technical experts to create their data.  Developing the proposal’s cost estimate and schedule is typically an iterative process. 

Some teams prefer to begin developing the schedule first while others prefer to begin fleshing out the cost estimate first.  Either way, at the end of the proposal development process, the two should be telling the same story.  The data must be fully traceable.  The schedule activity start and finish dates, durations, and resource loading should align with the cost estimate work package start and finish dates, durations, and resource assignment time phased values.  The bi-directional cost and schedule integration with P6 in BOEMax cost estimate software is designed to accommodate either approach.

How Does this Bi-Direction Cost and Schedule Integration with P6 Work?

Let’s say your proposal team prefers to begin on the schedule side.  Typical steps include:

  • Creating a new P6 project along with other required data such as the schedule calendar and list of available resources.
  • Entering the project’s work breakdown structure (WBS) and extending it down to the activity level.
  • Defining other code structures or flag fields to assign project specific attributes to the activities or resources such as a responsible manager, department code, or a schedule visibility task (SVT) notation.
  • Developing the schedule activity durations, network or work sequence logic, and resource requirements.
  • Performing critical path analysis, resource leveling, and schedule risk assessments (SRAs) to fine tune the schedule.
  • Performing schedule data quality assessments to ensure the schedule is properly constructed. These help to prevent errors when sharing data with BOEMax. For example, in P6, the proposal team would check for any logic errors and verify data has been entered for user defined fields. Another item to check is to ensure resources assigned to an activity have planned dates within the start and finish dates of the activity.

Once the proposal team creates their initial iteration of the schedule, they can import the data from P6 into BOEMax to create their schedule driven cost estimate data.  This data import includes the:

  • Work breakdown structure (WBS) hierarchy.
  • User defined code structure or field content.
  • Resource loaded activities. The schedule activities become work packages in BOEMax with matching start and finish dates and durations along with the resource assignment data. The proposal teams have the option of importing the resource assignment data exactly as time phased in P6 or they can apply a distribution profile to the total base resource value imported into the cost estimate software.

Once the schedule data is pulled into BOEMax, BOEMax automatically calculates indirect costs. The proposal team can then add their basis of estimate (BOE) details and narrative text in the cost estimate software.

As the proposal team works through the various iterations of the schedule and cost estimate, they can easily share data back and forth between P6 and BOEMax selecting which WBS elements they need to update. Using the main Estimate window in BOEMax, they simply click Import from Primavera or Export to Primavera in the top Ribbon Menu. BOEMax provides a series of windows to guide the user through the import and export process.

Steps to Enable Bi-Directional Cost and Schedule Integration with P6

There are a few up-front steps that need to be completed before a proposal team can take advantage of the bi-directional cost and schedule integration with P6. 

Step 1.  Determine what project unique code structures or flag fields you need to share between the schedule and cost data.  Some may be at the WBS or activity level and some may be at the resource level.  Plan ahead for what you may need for the proposal phase as well as the execution phase of the project.  For example, you may need a charge number or earned value technique reference once work begins after authorization to proceed.

Step 2.  Create the accounting/reporting calendar, rate, and resource structures in BOEMax.  You may want to establish calendar, rate, and resource structure templates a proposal team can copy to quickly create project specific calendar, rate, and resource structures.  You can also create common global structures the proposal teams can use. As you are assigning resources to the activities in P6 and developing the resource structure in BOEMax, be sure to align the named detail level resources with how they are identified in the accounting system. During the execution phase of the project, this makes it easier to align the actual costs incurred with the budget values. It is also useful to identify the summary element of cost (EOC) categories for the detail level resources in BOEMax. Common summary element of cost categories include labor, material, other direct costs, and subcontract.

Step 3.  Create a new BOEMax project to align with the new P6 project.  Assign the project specific or global calendar, rate, and resource structures to the BOEMax project.  As part of this process, a named WBS is also assigned to the BOEMax project.  The intent here is to at least create the named WBS with a level 1 element defined.  You can either import the WBS hierarchy from P6 or an Excel file, or manually enter the data into BOEMax.  It is best to import the WBS from P6 to ensure matching data in both tools.

Step 4.  Add project unique code structures or fields to the BOEMax project The intent here is to at least create the WBS, work package, or resource user defined fields you need in BOEMax.  You can either import the code structure data from P6 or another system, or manually enter the data into BOEMax. 

Step 5.  Create a map of the P6 and BOEMax fields.  You will need this to tell BOEMax which P6 field shares data with the applicable field in BOEMax when you import or export the data.  This is one-to-one relationship between the fields.

How Bi-Directional Cost and Schedule Integration Makes a Difference

The main benefit is the proposal team can ensure their cost estimate and schedule data are always in alignment.  They don’t have to waste precious proposal time comparing data between the cost estimate and schedule tools and making continuous manual adjustments to the data hoping they tell the same story. 

Instead, they can spend more time on creating an executable schedule, fine tuning resource requirements, and creating realistic staffing profiles that are aligned with credible cost estimates for executing the scope of work.  They can focus on creating a data driven basis of estimate that makes it easy for the customer to validate the cost estimate including fully traceable cost and schedule data. 

Even better, once the contract is awarded, project control teams can easily transition to creating and maintaining a schedule driven budget baseline in EVMax or MaxTeam using the P6 data.  The current schedule activity status in P6 provides the basis for claiming and calculating work package earned value as well as producing the estimate to complete (ETC) data.  The schedule data in P6 is the single source for the budget, status, and ETC data.

Call or schedule a demo today to see how the bi-directional cost and schedule integration functions in BOEMax can help your proposal teams create quality schedule and cost estimate data easier and faster.

Content updated June 2020.

Topics: proposal cost estimate, proposal software, schedule integration, BOEMax, tech tips

Author: Tom Shanahan