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Top 100 Primavera Interview Questions & Answers

Primavera P6 is the newest addition to the suite of project management solutions that is project, program and portfolio management tool which is one of the dominant project management software tools that is used for planning, managing and executing projects in a number of diverse industries, such as construction, manufacturing, energy, and IT.

Our Primavera Interview Questions is the one-stop resource which helps you to boost your interview preparation. The main aim of our blog is to boost your confident level and make you crack the interview successfully. We have 100+ questions on Primavera Programming basics prepared by our expert team that help you with different expertise levels to reap the maximum benefit from our blog. These most frequently asked questions are revised every three months to cope up with the industry standard.

Frequently asked Primavera Interview Questions

Q1. What is a constraint in primavera?

Answer:Constrains in primavera is to fix the early or late start or finish dates of an activity as per following options:
  • Project Must Finish by
  • Mandatory Start / Mandatory Finish
  • Start / Finish On or After
  • Start / Finish On or Before
  • Start / Finish On
  • Expected Finish

Q2. what is the clause to be refereed in FIDIC when there is entitled for extension of time?

Answer:Clause 20.1, "If the Contractor considers himself to be entitled to any extension of the Time for Completion and/or any additional payment, under any Clause ofthese Conditions or otherwise in connection with the Contract, the Contractor shall give notice to the Engineer, describing the event or circumstance giving rise to the claim. The notice shall be given as soon as practicable, and not later than 28 day safter the Contractor became aware, or should have become aware, of the event or circumstance".

Q3. What is the reasonable range of float you assume while checking the look ahead work activities?

Answer:The float range is varied from a project to another. However, in my opinion 10% of project duration is the maximum reasonable float for any project.

Q4. What is the Critical Path? How you identify it and if any activity having negative slack, how can you adjust the duration?

Answer:Critical path is usually the activities on the longest path with zero float. Any delay on these activities will lead to delay in project duration. Usually critical activities are shown in red color or say zero float in columns. For reducing duration you can adjust it by reducing the duration or changing the relationship between activities. However, planning engineer should pay attention to maximum resources (resources constrains) while crashing the critical path.

Q5. What is the difference between Planning & Scheduling Engineer?

Answer:Planning Engineer can work along with the project team to develop a complete time schedule including cost of resources. Planning Engineer can lead the team and influence his/her point of view. Scheduling Engineer can only follow senior planning engineer or project manager instructions to create logic between project activities, but s/he can't develop the time schedule alone.

Q6. Define the main responsibilities of the planning engineer in each phase of the project's lifecycle. Please state clearly which information/data you would need from the Project Manager/Project management team in order to fulfill your task as a planner.

Answer: This question is tricky because it tests your understanding of the whole planning process throughout the project's different phases. Moreover, you should fully understand the specifications and legal documents related to the particular project in question. However, you will not find it difficult to answer this question if you have been involved in the responsibility of only one completed project from inception to hand over.

Q7. What are the monitoring skills?

Answer: Ability to sort data, Checking authenticity of data, Analyze and Predict data, Generate Reports.

Q8. How do you communicate the monthly schedule analysis?

A monthly schedule report has different information for different audiences. Can they recognize that not all audiences want to see the same data? Can the candidate analyze and understand the important issues and trouble spots?

Q9. What is the best software for planning?

Answer: No software for planning, it is only for scheduling, the planning process only done in brain. However, oracle primavera is the best planning tool that helps to create time schedules.

Q10. What would you submit if your consultant / client asks you to submit a matrix report?

Answer: It is an incomplete request. I must know which matrix do you need, resource matrix, cost matrix, authorities matrix, engineering/procurement matrix etc. else that would be a wide report containing more than 50 columns of P6.

Q11. Mention 4 reasons cause -ve float in primavera:


  • Using project must finish by
  • Using Constraints
  • Using different calendar in one project
  • Using relationships with other project

Q12. What is the difference between Float and Slack?

Answer: There is no difference between float and Slack. It is two different words of same meaning.

Q13. What is a good use of lag on a project?

Answer: Find out if your potential scheduler knows proven best practices in planning and scheduling. Proven best practices across construction discourage any use of LAG OR LEAD TIME on projects.

Q14. How do you explain project delay if earned value is more than planned value?

Answer: The contractor has performed better in areas which are not on longest path "The Critical Path". In another words, the contractor excuted the right quantity in the wrong place

Q15. How are early and late dates determined?

Answer: Early Dates in a network is determined by Forward Calculations And late dates is determined by backward Calculations.

Q16. What are three methods of measuring project progress?

Answer: Key Performance Indicators "KPI's", Cost Performance Index "CPI", Schedule Performance Index "SPI".

Q17. What is the best way to be professional planning engineer?

Answer: Understand the project management concepts, tools, and techniques. –Practice doing real projects and get comments/review from expets. –Continous improvement by learning new tools that would help to increase the accuracy of decrease the time required for tasks.

Q18. What are SV and CV?

Answer: Schedule Variance (SV) & Cost Variance (CV) in Project Cost Management. Schedule Variance and Cost Variance are two important parameters in earned value management which help you analyze the project's progress.
Schedule variance (SV) = Earned value (EV) – Planned value (PV)
Cost variance (CV) = Earned value (EV) – Actual cost (AC)

Q19. What's the way to resolve the delay in project time?

Answer: Fast Track: Reduce activities duration, resequence, reschedule without affecting the project total duration, fast tracking has a problem regarding the quality issues if it is applied in a wrong way. Crashing: Reduces activities durations, resequence, reschule but with additional cost to achieve better results. this additional costs could be:

  • Acceleration Costs to subcontractors.
  • Bonus.
  • Additional costs result from less productivity due to increasing the manpower in workplace

Q20. If Budgeted cost of works is more than actual cost of works, how do you consider the performance of Project? Optimum, Bad or Good?

Answer: Good. Since we are spending less money than planned, But we also need to check if we are on schedule or not.

Q21. What is Project Management?

Answer: Project management is the application of processes, methods, knowledge, skills and experience to achieve the project objectives. General. A project is a unique, transient endeavor, undertaken to achieve planned objectives, which could be defined in terms of outputs, outcomes or benefits.

Q22. How do you schedule, manage and track Permits, Right of Way, and/or Utility Relocation?

Since these items fall into the “red-tape” of dealing with outside access, you want to find out how they are going to keep these items on track and in constant focus on the schedule. A couple of milestones may not be enough to make sure these items get continued focus.

Q23. Could we have more than one critical path?

Answer: Critical path is a dynamic path where it could be changed everytime we update the schedule, change durations, or relationships. However, the critical path of a project is one path that could have too many activities underneath. Therefore, the project has only one criitical path.

Q24.Scope is known partially, then how to plan for future?

Answer: Through the life of the project as more information is available more work to be planned called agile management. Accordingly, we can use agile management to plan the known part of the project only and keep the scope of work until we have more information about it.

Q25. What is concurrent delay?

Answer: Concurrent delays has two meanings:

  • When two events of delay on critical path are occurring at the same time, one affecting activities on Contractor's risk and the other affecting activities on Employer's risk.
  • OR two or more events of delay on project critical path that belongs to one only of these parties contractor or client

Q26. What is a Baseline?

Answer: Baseline is the value or condition against which all future measurements will be compared. The baseline is a point of reference. In project management there are three baselines – schedule baseline, cost baseline and scope baseline.

Q27. What is the Difference between Bar chart & Network Diagram?

Answer: Bar charts and network diagrams are used to display visually the complexities and dependencies of project work. Network diagrams display the project work as linkages through the chronological flow of work from start to finish. Gantt charts visually display primarily the work breakdown and the associated durations. Both charts graphically show work breakdowns, enabling managers and workers to easily identify conflicts, co-dependencies and determine the effect of change in the system.

Q28. What is Thresholds in project Management?

Answer: It is the project management technique in which lower and upper values of a parameter are specified against which project data can be evaluated and monitored. It could be applied on WBS level as well as activity level.

Q29. What is difference between crashing and fast tracking?

Answer: There are basically two techniques that can be used to shorten the project duration while maintaining the project scope. These techniques are fast tracking and crashing.
Crashing is the process of adding resources to one’s project so as to be able to finish it faster. It has cost impact.
Fast Tracking, on the other hand, is the process of performing tasks in parallel so as to be able to finish the project sooner. It does not have any cost impact, but increases the risks.

Q30. What is the normal productivity of welder for Carbon steel material per day?

Answer: This question is to test your knowledge of productivity rates. However you shouldn't memorize all the answers in your mind, your answer could be "I don’t memorize all productivity rates since it is vary from an organization to another and from worker nationality to another. However, i have some standards that I refer to when the organization productivity rate is not available.

Q31. What is the difference between free float and total float?

Answer: Total float is the amount of time that an activity can be delayed without delaying the project completion date. On a critical path, the total float is zero.
Free float is the amount of time that an activity can be delayed without delaying the Early Start of its successor activity.

Q32. How would you go about winning over a PM that doesn’t take your input into consideration?

Answer: Relationships stuff again. Are they able to tread lightly and be persuasive? When personalities clash are they able to rise above?

Q33. Define critical path:

Answer: A critical path is the sequence of project network activities which add up to the longest overall duration, regardless if that longest duration has float or not. This determines the shortest time possible to complete the project.

Q34. Does primavera loads cash in and cash out in same schedule?

Answer: Primavera deals with cost of the project only (cash out) but you can work around with making a resource called cash in/out to view cash in/out

Q35. How to reduce critical path?


  • Compressing schedule by fast tracking, crashing, Reduce scope, Cut quality.
  • Fast tracking: Results in rework, increase risk, requires more attention and communication.
  • Crashing: increase cost, increase management time
  • Reduce scope: negative impact on customer satisfaction
  • Cut quality: increase risk, requires good matrices.

Q36. What is the normal total float allowed for a new project?

Answer: Total float should be not greater than 10% duration of the total project duration.

Q37. What are the duties of a planner?

Answer: Assigned in overall/master schedule, look-ahead targets, and accomplishment reports and monitoring

Q38. What is Baseline Program?

Answer: An agreed Program that use to compare the actual result to measure performance of project or product against what was planned.

Q39. What is SF dependency? Any example. Have you ever used this?

Answer: A logical relationship in which a successor activity cannot finish until a predecessor activity has started. Example: The first security guard shift (successor) cannot finish until the second security guard shift (predecessor) starts. I don't think I have ever used this, but I have generally thought of a Start - Finish dependency as being used where an agree period of handover is required between two activities.

Q40. Are all activities with negative total float drive the project completion date?

Answer: Not all negative float activities drive the project completion date. Only the chain of activities driven by their dates and logical relationship drive the completion date and it is called the longest path.

Q41. What is meant by recovery schedule?

Answer: Recovery schedule is a revision of the Program's Master Schedule updated on a certain data date. The Engineer requested the Contractor the recovery schedule to show on how the contractor he'll be going to recover the incurred delays up-to date.

Q42. What do you mean by "EPC", "TIA" & "EOT"?

Answer: EPC stands for "Engineering, Procurement & Construction " TIA = Time Impact analysis EOT= Extension of Time

Q43. How do you get information to populate and update your schedule?

Answer: Organize a planning workshop with all the Subject matter experts in attendance, plan all your questions needed for you to make up a plan and schedule. Extract all information from them, develop a high level initial schedule and populate the WBS and activity lists. Later on planner should develop forms to be filled by project team in weekly basis.

Q44. What is the standard deviation of the activity equal?

Answer: standard deviation for activity is = (Pessimistic duration - Optimistic duration)/6

Q45. Suppose you have a conflict with the project consultant/ owner representative about a schedule update you have submitted recently. You believe that you have the right to reflect some time delays in the schedule in favor of your company, but the owner wouldn't accept that. The conflict escalated and the consultant hold the monthly payment till you agree on the update according to his perspective. He's also implicitly threatening to kick you out of the project unless you are "cooperative". What's should you do?

Answer: Unfortunately, this case is very common in the middle east. The power of consultant is over estimated, and engineers, especially juniors, will find themselves in similar situations in one way or another. My answer would be that you should communicate with your Project Manager immediately. It's not enough to have a casual conversation during the tea break; you should do that in "WRITTEN" format only. You should clearly explain the situation; why you think you have right in your claims; what would be the consequences in case you agree with the requirements of the consultant; and what are your concerns regarding the situation. In most of the cases, if the project manager is strong enough, he will exclude you from directcontact with the consultant till he solve the issue; and it might be necessary to consult the company's lawyer for assistance.

Q46. What does it means If my free float is positive?

Answer: It means I can delay this activity without delaying the project end date.

Q47. What to look for when a contractors sends their tender program to be awarded?

Answer: Tender schedule is summarized by natural. However, it should tell the contractor strategy of excuting the project and the project overall planning.

Q48. What is an S–Curve?

Answer: S-curve is a graph showing cumulative cost or value (measured in terms of money or man-hours) against time.

Q49. How De-watering works could affect your schedule?

Answer: That based on calculation of building own weight to be equal to or more the uplift force. Dewaterwing is required to reduce the uplift force of underground water. When this force is less than the weight of building, then dewatering activity could be finished. Planner should check with the project team when it is recommended to stop the dewatering and plan accordinglyy. Normaly dewatering will hold the backfilling and external works around the building.

Q50. Every project plan has two type of dates, the early start early finish and the late start late finish. Late start always starts after early start but finish with the early finish, Why?

Answer: Late start denotes the total float of the activities which allows the activities in the early stage of the project to get as late as possible while in the late time of the project there are mostly critical activities are left which does allow the late dates to pass over.

Q51.What is the major difference between Cost variance and Schedule variance?

Answer: Schedule variance=Earned value-Planned value. It is related to the time or data date. Cost variance=Earned value-Actual cost.

Q52. Why negative lag/lead is not recommended in a good schedule?

Answer: Because other relationship types can serve the same purpose. For example, instead of using FS relationship with negative lag, you can use SS relationship with positive lag.

Q53.What does variance in s curve indicate on both axis?

Answer: Variance on Y-axis represents the value of (Money, ManHrs., etc.), while X-axis represents time variance.

Q54. What is an open end activity?

Answer: n open ended activity is an activity that can end at the last day of the project without delaying the overall projects. An open end activity is normally not followed by any other activity and its completion can be delayed (within the project life) in order to focus on more important activities have successors (activities which can start only at the end of the earlier ones).

Q55. If you are loading the cost in Primavera, Which cost will you select either in price in BOQ or your Budget amount or Both?

Answer: It depends, if this schedule is for the consultant, then the budget amount (selling price) should be loaded. However this is a case where the contractor would like to monitor the actual cost, in that case actual cost could be loaded. However, cost control is better in excel than primavera.

Q56. What does trend analysis means?

Answer: A trend analysis is an aspect of technical analysis that tries to predict the future movement of a stock based on past data.

Q57. A project shows actual performance is matching the planned performance. The Project is in delay also. What could be the reason?

Answer: The reason is, the progress is made on the non critical activities than on the critical activities.

Q58. What are the difference between flag and milestone activity in primavera?

Answer: Mile stone & flags both are events rather than activities. Some client likes to use flags rather than mile stone due the following differences.
1. With the use of flags the logic of main event can be easily tracked as these cannot be created without predecessor as standalone allocating the constraint. Whereas mile stone can.
2. Flags cannot update manually as Primavera automatically update the status whereas milestone can be update manually.
3.Flags cannot be constraint only driven by predecessor whereas milestone can.

Q59. How do you estimate activities durations?

Answer: By generating meetings & follow ups with contractors and other persons related to construction, this is also related to the contractual milestones. Normal activities can be estimated from experience. Special activities can be estimated by having meetings with project team and experts in this field. However, the project overall duration is the main constrain that might affect all other estimations.

Q60. What does it mean if "CPI" greater, lesser or equal to one?

Answer: CPI greater than one means over budget, less than one means under budget & equal to one means same as per budget.

Q61. What is needed for a successful project plan?

Answer: Contract document, drawings, B.O.Q as primary & other planning tools as secondary support. Furthermoe, the involvement of project team in the planning, estimation, and sequence of work would result more accurate project plan.

Q62. We hire the team in execution, then who planned for the project?

Answer: The planning of the project is made during the project life cycle with different level of details. For example, during the tender stage, the tender team is responsible for the high level of planning. However, when the project is awarded the project team is responsible for the planning and breakdown.

Q63. How often you update your Project Baseline ?

Answer: It varies from project to project, depending on reporting/progressing periods. However, the working schedule should be updated on a continuous basis, as each activity is started or finished.

Q64. What are BCWS, BCWP, and ACWP?

Answer: These three acronyms are earned value terms that stand for Budgeted Cost for Work Scheduled (planned value, or PV in the PMBOK Guide’s in my opinion illadvised neologisms), Budgeted Cost for Work Performed (earned value, or EV), and Actual Cost for Work Performed (actual cost, or AC.)
BCWS is what was budgeted for each work package as scheduled .
BCWP is the sum of the budgets of all completed activities/milestones.
ACWP is the sum of what it actually cost to complete each of the work packages/milestones.

Q65. What is a constraint?

Answer: A limitation that reduces the efficiency with which a project can be accomplished. Resource availability is a type of constraint that can delay a project’s schedule and efficiency. In general, constraints should not be input to the schedule until after the schedule has been optimized through critical path analysis.

Q66. What is activity & What is WBS ?

Answer: Activity is a task or process to be accomplished in a set period of time as part of working toward a larger project goal. An Activity can be assigned to a resource(s) and have an associated cost. Activities are ordered with logic links Work breakdown structure, a hierarchical format for identifying, displaying, reporting, and changing project work. Since the WBS is the “skeleton” of work on which the resource, cost, schedule information is draped, it is the principle tool for implementing scope/cost/schedule integration.

Q67. What is a milestone? What are the types of milestone?

Answer: A milestone is an event. Activity-driven milestones are usually entered into PM software as activities with durations of zero. Since milestones have no duration, once they are reached they are immediately in the past. It is therefore good practice to name activities using the past participle of the verb (i.e., “Test component” = activity; “Component tested” = milestone.

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