Struggling with assigning new resources in P6? You’re not alone. As a beginner planner or project controller, it’s easy to feel like every click leads to errors, and every minute slips into unproductivity.

You’re probably thinking, ‘There has to be a better way than manually updating hundreds of activities, one by one, only to find mistakes later.’

Well, guess what? There is a better way. It’s not about working harder; it’s about working smarter.

I’m talking about a method that will save you from the endless cycle of errors and time-wasting.

Ready for a little insider knowledge that will transform your approach to P6? Let’s dive into a simple yet effective strategy using Excel spreadsheets. It’s not just a time-saver; it’s your new best friend in resource management. Let’s begin.

STEP#1 Create Resource in the Resource Dictionary Before Importing Resources to the Activities in P6

Let’s start with the basics: setting up your resources in P6. Before you can assign any new resources to your activities, you need to make sure they’re in your toolbox. Why? Because you can only import resources to your activities if they already exist in this dictionary.

So, if you’re planning to assign a new resource – let’s say a ‘Piping Inspector‘ for piping inspection tasks – you’ll first need to check if this resource is in your resource dictionary. If it’s already there, great, you can skip the next step. If not, it’s time to add your new ‘Piping Inspector’ into P6’s resource dictionary.

 

 

Let’s say you have already created the resource dictionary for this work.

 

 

Remember, you don’t always have to add new resources to the resource dictionary every time you bring them in. You only need to do that if the resources you’re trying to import aren’t already in the resource dictionary.

STEP#2 Export Activity and Activity Resource Assignment from P6

Before you add new resources to Primavera P6, first export the existing activity and resource assignment information from your P6 project.

    • 1) Open the project you want to export/import.
    • 2) Go to File > Export > Select Spreadsheet-(XLSX) in the Export format window, then select the Activities and Resource Assignments, then click “Next“.

    • 3) After selecting “Next“, the “Projects To Export” window will appear and place a checkmark to export the resources.

    • 4) Are you setting this up for the first time? If so, you’ll need to create a new template. Let’s say you’re looking for a template to export your resource data, and you just can’t find the right one. In that situation, go ahead and add a new template. Make sure to name it something memorable, so next time you need to export resource data, you’ll have it ready to go.

    • 5) Add the columns related to the resources in the “Activities” tag of the template. These columns will help to ensure you are assigning new resources only.

    • 6) On the Resource Assignments tag of the template, add the Budgeted Units column from the Available Options. See the figure below.

    • 7) Next, click “Filter” to add the filter that only shows the activities with no resource assignment in P6. Then, add the resource filter – Resource IDs equals blank, and click “Ok“.

    •  8) Then, click “Next” after creating a template. Select the location and give the file name to save the exported file. Once you have exported the Excel sheet, you should see the exported file with three tags, “TASK“, “TASKRSRC“, and USERDATA“.
    • 9) In the resource assignment tag, ‘TASKRSC‘ section, which stands for resource assignment, you’ll notice that only the activities with assigned resources show up. That’s because this part specifically displays activities that have resources linked to them.

    • 10) On the activities – “TASK” tag, you will only find the activities with no resource assignment because of the filter that we have added.

    • 11) Save the file name that includes “Export” to compare it with data after importing resources to P6. For example, name the file “TEST004 – Export Resource – Activity“.
STEP#3 Update Excel Sheet to Import New Resource Assignment to P6

Once you have exported the Excel sheet, the next step is to prepare the import file. To do that,

    1. One resource assignment tag – “TASKRSRC“, delete the resource assignment data from row number 3 to the end.
    2. Copy the activities with no resources (Activity ID only) from the “TASK” tag.
    3. Paste activities (Activity IDs from the “TASK” tag) to the Activity ID column in the resource sheet – “TASKRSRC“. Remember, these activities don’t have the resources, but you want to add resources.

    1. Then, populate the resource IDs – “PI” (Piping Inspector) in our case, and then add the budgeted units – (e.g., 16 hours) for each activity. Essentially, you will only have the data populated for three columns – “Activity ID“, “Resource ID“, and “Budgeted Units“. So that it’s, you have now prepared the file to import the new resource assignment to P6.

Bonus Tip –

        1. Don’t worry about completing the blank cell with the column heading with an asterisk sign (*) because it won’t update the P6. You don’t need to update the columns: Activity Status, Resource ID, Role ID, Cost Account ID, Resource Type and Dates because they all have (*).
        2. Do not delete the spreadsheet’s “USERDATA” tag.

5. Save the file name that includes “Import”, such as – “TEST004 – Import Resource – Activity”, so you can pick the correct file when you import it back to P6.

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STEP#4 Import the Updated Resource File Back to P6

After you have prepared the import file to P6, copy your project before importing it into the existing one (especially if you are doing this for the first time). You can always get the backup file to work on if something goes wrong. To import the updated file back to P6

    • 1) – Go to File > Import > Select Spreadsheet-(XLSX) in Import format window > then click “Next“> and proceed to select Excel file that you want to import > then click Next
    • 2) – Once the “Import Type” window appears, select “Resource Assignments” only. Don’t worry about choosing “Activities” because you are not updating the activities.

    • 3) – Select the project from “Import To” in the “Import Project Options” window. Next, open the P6 project file where you are trying to import resource data. Otherwise, you won’t be able to select the project file. Once you have chosen the project, then click Next and Finish it.

    • 4) See your changes in the resource assignments tag in p6. For example, you should now see the new “Piping Inspector” resource assigned to each piping inspection task for 16 budgeted hours.

[Remember to check the “budgeted labour unit” and “budgeted non-labour unit” so you can compare the data after importing it back.]

Extra Tips:

When you try to import the resource, you might get the error message like – Process did not complete successfully. See log files for details if the resource you are trying to import doesn’t exist in the resource dictionary.

You can check this in the error log – Cannot resolve foreign key for TASKSRC.

Elevating Your Planning Skills

You’re about to transform your approach to project planning.

Imagine moving from tedious manual updates to focusing on impactful schedule development and analysis.

This change isn’t just exciting; it’s a significant step up in your planning career.

These new strategies mean less time on repetitive tasks.

More time on what truly matters in your job.

You’re evolving from a basic planner to a strategic asset.

Embrace this shift.

It’s your path to becoming a more effective and valued team member.

As you adopt smarter methods, you’re setting a new standard in planning.

Your team will notice your increased efficiency and productivity.

Remember, by working smarter, you’re not just keeping pace; you’re leading the way.

Ready to see how far these techniques can take you?

Go on, give these techniques a try.

You might just surprise yourself with how much more you can achieve!

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