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Case Study: Sharing Primavera P6 Data with Power BI

Communicating a detailed project schedule is not easy.

I have spent many hours creating a detailed project plan, carefully reviewing and resource loading the activities. Everyone agreed to the performance baseline as the project kicked off, the issue was that once the whirlwind of daily activities started they project team did not have the time to review the project plan as the inevitable changes took place.

The people busy doing the tasks are busy and they don’t have a lot of time to analysis schedules and figure out the tasks that affect them. In a typical manager’s week, they only have a couple hours of quite time and they typically want to make the most of it.

Power BI can be a great tool for taking Primavera P6 data and creating customized dashboards for the people who work on your project.

Since Power BI can be based on your Primavera P6 database, once you update your project schedule you can export the new data and everyone’s customized dashboard is instantly updated.

The Project

In order to demonstrate this technique, I have used a sample schedule that is based on the extension and modernization of a manufacturing facility operated by ACME Motors.

The scope includes the design, purchasing, construction and commissioning of the factory extension and modernization. The extension includes adding a new conveyor system and a new storage building and the modernization involves upgrading the electrical system and adding a new office building.

The project has five key people who are responsible for planning and executing the project.

My objective is to take the Primavera P6 schedule that I developed with the team and share the data with the five project members in a way that is easy for them to understand and easy for me to update on a weekly basis.

Having these key pieces of information available to each person is very useful is predicting project success. If the key success activities for four different project participants are well reviewed on a weekly basis and on track, there is a good chance of project success.

I will now outline what each project participant actually needs.

Dashboard Overview

 This view of the project allows all the members to quickly see the activities and resource usage plan for each construction phase of the project. The data can also the filtered by the person responsible of certain scopes of work.

The resource bar chart at the bottom give a quick view of where the project peaks will be. The gantt chart gives the viewer an idea of where the activities will take place in relation to the planned resources.

ACME Motors – Owner

The project owner is primarily interested in seeing how the budget is being spent and how the At Completion Cost is comparing with the Budgeted Cost.

I have created a dashboard that displays this data in both a table and a bar chart format for easy referencing.

The data can also be filtered by the responsible person for increased accountability.

Andy Mason – Director of Development

Andy Mason wanted to see the At Completion Cost and Hours in a table form and the Actual / Budgeted and At Completion Cost as a bar chart.

The dashboard also includes a matrix visualization to quickly see what part of the budget is the largest.


Joe Nolan – Construction Manager

Joe Nolan is an old school construction manager. He has a lot of trouble reading a gantt chart and figuring out what is deadlines are.

He wants to be able to quickly see where his deadlines are in a calendar format. He also likes to see the number of deadlines he has per month as well as per phase.

As the project schedules changes over time he can quickly update his site calendar and get a sense of where the bottle necks on the project are likely to be.

If one of the subcontractors is not mobilizing people as quickly has Joe thinks, he can point to the bar chart and demonstrate how the work is stacking up.

Meg Foley – Purchasing Manager

Meg is the purchasing manager for the factory and all new projects. Her primary concern to be sort the project data by stages in the procurement cycle. This way she can move from stage to stage and plan the information that she needs to move forward and see where bottle necks are likely to happen.

The review and approval of shop drawings by the engineering design firm has been a bottle neck in the past and Meg wants to be able to quickly see the status of these activities.

Tim Evans – Program Manager

Tim has a group of projects that he runs for the manufacture in several locations. He wants to see the scheduling of the design and IT activities so that he has an idea of when to fit them into the company wide facilities management system.

He also wants to see the cost and estimated hours for the key equipment pieces in the new extension. He is bench marking the cost of this type extension of future projects.

I have used a funnel graph to show the cost of the parts of the new systems along with estimated hours.

The gantt chart also gives Tim an idea of when his design and IT activities will be finalized.

7 responses to “Case Study: Sharing Primavera P6 Data with Power BI

  1. this is great! the ability to run reports for management and users without the need for them to try and operate P6 or having to send out pdf’s, excel or powerpoint presentations is so powerful.

    i am currently implementing the same approach for a sustaining capital portfolio. have developed a few dashboards focusing on milestones and variance reports, and also a simple gantt chart.

    would be great if i could reach out to you to get some advice on some of the stuff you have done are any further innovations.

  2. Awesome is the word to describe this showcase of yours. Like it so much.

    I’m also in the midst of conceptualizing a Project Progress dashboard for construction projects.

    In construction projects, it is common to generate S-Curve (Planned vs Actual) of project progress over time. Do you think whether it is possible to generate a S-Curve based on data in Primavera?

  3. Great job Mannix,
    The simplicity of this is really clever indeed. As planner’s we sometimes suffer from trying to educate others to think like us rather than tailoring our data to the SME, you seemed to have totally nailed that!! well done.

  4. Great Job Mannix!!

    That is a powerful tool for the communication management of the projects. I have a question?, how do you make the connection between Power BI and database Primavera P6? can u give me some orientation about this, please?

    Congrats again!

  5. Great Job Mannix,

    I have connected Power BI to P6 database. I would like to need some orientation to create a dashboard reporting management for few projects.

  6. Dear Mannix !!

    It really awesome. May I have a sample file in Power BI for further exploring.

    Thank you very much

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