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Develop A Progress S Curve That Will Make You An Expert – Part 4

You may think creating progress s curve for a project that involved multiple disciplines sounds overwhelming, but with the steps by steps tutorial, it couldn’t be easier. Learn how you can set up the progress S Curve in a few minutes.

Once all activities have been identified and assigned value ̶ budgeted cost or hours and a milestone system established, getting planned values, earned values and overall progress (percent completion) is a straightforward task. So, follow the five steps process below.

Step 1 – List the Activities Breakdown by WBS

Step 2 - Assign the Budgeted Value (Hours/Cost) to Each Activity

Step 3 - Load The Hour of Each activity Over the Schedule Period

Step 4 – Aggregate the Planned Value for Each Scheduled Period (Week/Day)

Step 5 – Get Earned Value/Progress of Each Activity to Overall Project

Step 1 – List the Activities Breakdown by WBS


Have a well-defined WBS and activities in developing schedules. Otherwise, you will have difficulty in inputting man hours or cost.

For example, you have the following WBS.

- Structure Installation - by area, by structure, and/or equipment item.

- Piping Erection - by area, by system, or by line.



Then, break them down to details activities to manageable levels.

For instance, “Piping ErectionArea A” into:

  • Install Piping – Location A
  • Install Piping – Location B
  • Install Piping – Location C

“Install Piping – Location C” into:

  • Cooling water piping
  • Tankage piping
  • Plant air piping

And, break "Plant Air piping" into two activities - Activity A and Activity B

Step 2 - Assign the Budgeted Value (hours/cost) to Each Activity


Once you have broken down the high-level WBS/ activities into details, the next step is to assign budgeted hour or cost to an individual activity.

For Example: Suppose you have 500 hours of piping work are scheduled to be done. Then, allocate that hour to its sub-activities as below.




Step 3 - Load the hour of each activity over the schedule period


If you are using scheduling tools like MS Project or Primavera P6, the system will distribute the hours automatically for you based on a default setting or user-defined distribution method. So, you can skip this step if you are using scheduling tools. Instead, you can calculate planned progress straight away.

However, if you use an EXCEL spreadsheet, you need to allocate the hours manually for each activity from the level 3 or lower activities. The reason is to achieve the realistic planned hours for progress measurement.

One thing you should keep in mind is the time scale of the schedule. If the schedule time grid is based on weeks, convert the work hours to work weeks, so the hour is consistent with the schedule time grid.

For example, allocate 120 hours of "Install Piping – Location C" to its’ sub-activities – Cooling water, Tankage, and Plant Air piping, respectively.



Step 4 – Aggregate the planned value for each scheduled period (Week/Day)

To find the planned value for each period, sum up the hour of each activity scheduled during that schedule window.

For example: To find the planned value of “Piping Erection – Area A,” sum up the hours – planned value of each activity for each period as below.



To find the planned value of another discipline or summary activity – Structure Installation – Area A, follow the same technique as Piping Erection.

Once you have developed planned value data for both discipline - “Structure Installation and Piping Erection,” you can now work on the total planned value of the project. To do this,

Sum up the hours of both disciplines – the planned value of each activity as below:



Now, you have the planned value to get plan progress for each period.

If your project manager or the stakeholders asked, what is plan progress for Week1?

Use the formula below:

Planned value at a given period is divided by Budget at Completion (total planned value)

So, the answer is 100/800 = 12.5% (nearly 13%)

Then, calculate the plan progress for subsequent weeks - Week2, Week3 and so on using that formula. 

To calculate cumulative progress for each period,
  • Use this formula – cumulative planned value / Budget at completion (total planned value).
For instance , total plan progress at Week 2 => 180 ( planned hour of week 1 & 2) /800 (total budgeted hour) = 23% (nearly)


Following Step 1 to 4 above, you should be able to setup Plan Progress Curve.

The next step is to find out earned progress. Go to Step 5 – Get Earned Value/Progress of Each Activity to Overall Project

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