When preparing a schedule of activities for a project, a key point to consider is to reflect what will be the start and finish date. These are two milestones that cannot be missed in any schedule. But there are other milestones that are very important because they are milestones agreed with our client. These are considered contractual milestones. There may be one or more contractual milestones in our project, which may be both penalizable or not. Normally, this type of contractual milestone is called “Completion Date milestone”. Usually, they coincide with a constraint to start a new activity, with a handover to another contractor, or with the completion of some phase of the project, such as engineering, purchasing or construction.
Characteristics of the Completion Date Milestone within a time schedule
The most common characteristics of this type of contractual milestones would be:
- It is shown as a Finish Milestone. These are activities without duration that reflect the completion of a work package, a project phase or interference with other projects.
- The Completion Date is part of the critical path of the project, since they represent agreements made with the client, and is the one analyzed in case of future claims or extensions of time.
How to identify a Completion Date Milestone in Primavera P6
When working on Primavera P6, we like to clearly identify these milestones in the time schedule within the WBS called “Milestones”. We will identify it both in the activity window, where all project tasks are listed, and in the Gantt Chart, as we comment below:
- Activity ID: depending on the coding or characters system established in each project, we will take the “CD” characters to refer to these milestones. A simple example of Activity ID would be as follows: “KM-CD-10”:
- Phase: KM (Key Milestone)
- Milestone type: CD (Completion Date)
- Activity order: 10
- Activity Name: “COMPLETION DATE + milestone definition”. By using capital letters, we can identify at a glance that this is a milestone of great importance for the project.
- Gantt chart: we can represent these contractual milestones in a different way as the other milestones of the project. Primavera P6 gives us the option of changing the shape, color and pattern of the bars, as well as adding specific labels. For example, if the common milestone is normally represented with a black diamond, a Completion Date milestone could be represented with an orange triangle and add a label to the right with its “Activity ID”.
The partner: Planned Completion Milestone
But in the case of the contractor, it is also important to reflect which is the best estimation for the completion of the work. We call this estimate “Planned Completion” milestone. This milestone will be very useful to calculate the total float we have before reaching the Completion Date.
IN PROJECT 2080 WE WOULD LIKE YOU TO REMEMBER
When preparing a schedule of activities, we need to take into account which milestones are contractual and which are not. These contractual milestones are normally linked to a penalty by our client if we are not able to reach them on time. The Completion Date milestone will be our target at contractual wise. Depending on the nature of the project, there may be more than one Completion Date milestone. The existence of these milestones demands the mandatory existence of another milestone that will reflect the date planned by us for the achievement of the works. this is known as “Planned Completion Date”. The key is to control that the “Planned Completion Date” never ends later than the “Completion Date”, always trying to ensure that there is some slack that could cover event and risks that could affect the normal pace of work.