Civil Engineering Construction Management Engineering

Planning Engineer Interview Questions and Answers

Question # 01: What is the Baseline Schedule?

Answer: A baseline is an approved schedule by both parties which is used as a benchmark to measure the progress of a project.


Question # 02: How many baselines are allowed in any project?

Answer: A project must have a minimum one baseline.


Question # 03: What you normally need to develop a plan?

Answer: You need the Contract documents to understand the scope, the drawings to know about areas, Bill of Quantity (BOQ) including cost. Yes, I need to meet my project team to know about a little productivity rate if I don’t know in case of any specific activity.


Question # 04: How do you define a critical path?

Answer: The longest path and the minimum time required to complete a project. A combination of activities with the total float as zero are included all.


Question # 05: How much duration a milestone activity normally has?

Answer: There are different types of milestones: Start milestone, finish milestone, but all milestones have ZERO duration.


Question # 06: What is the difference between Free Float & Total Float?


  • Free Float: Free float is the amount of time an activity can be delayed without affecting the early start date of its successor activity.
  • Total Float: the amount of time an activity can be delayed from its early start date without delaying the whole project end date.

The free float may affect the start of any activity but total float may affect the duration of the overall project.


Question # 07: How to measure the progress of a project?

Answer: There are three ways to measure the progress: Man-hours, Cos, Quantity

The best method is through Man-hours as It is more logical but you have to comply as per contractual obligations as most of the companies prefer through Cost.

By the way, sometimes you have to use all these methods on a single project to get more intensive project updated status.


Question # 08: What is CPI?

Answer: It’s Cost Performance Indicator, it evaluates the performance of the project is under-budget, over-budgeted or on Budget. The formula is CPI =EV/AC


Question # 09: What do you know about SPI?

Answer: It is the Schedule Performance Indicator and indicates the performance of project work is completed to the baseline schedule. It is calculated by dividing the earned value by the planned value that is SPI = EV/PV


Question # 10: What is the difference between  Retained & Override Logic in Scheduling?


When using Retained Logic, the activity which starts out of sequence can not be finished until the predecessor is complete; the remaining of the activity from the sequence shall start after the predecessor is planned to complete.

P6 will no longer follow the network logic you have earlier implemented if you are using Progress Override. The remaining duration of the out-of-sequence activities is calculated instead. This implies that activity begins before your predecessor has concluded in an out-of-sequence (FS) finish-to-start relationship.

Learn everything about Retained Logic and Progress Override in P6

Question # 11: What is a constraint in primavera?
Answer: Constraints in primavera is to fix the early or late start or finish dates of activity as per the 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


Question # 12: What is the difference between the recovery schedule and revised schedule?
Answer: Recovery schedule keeps the same finish date with some corrective actions to recover the delay such as add more resources and break down some activities and so on. The revised schedule we have a new finish date because of EOT claim or adding a new scope of work.


Question # 13: You are working on a project and somewhere in the middle of the project. The progress variance was -6% and still, you are achieving the contractual completion date. How is it possible?
Answer: Contractor is working on critical path and delays are on non-critical activities


Question # 14: What is redundant logic?
Answer: It means that if the successor of X is linked to Y and Y is linked to Z Also Successor of X linked to Z then the link between X to Z is called redundancy.


Question # 15: What’s the way to resolve the delay in project time?

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 the wrong way.
Crashing: Reduces activities durations, resequence, reschedule but with additional cost to achieve better results. this additional costs could be:
-Acceleration Costs to subcontractors.
-Additional costs result from less productivity due to increase manpower in the workplace.


Question # 16: What does it mean if “SPI” greater, lesser or equal to one?
Answer: SPI greater than one means ahead of schedule, less than one means behind the schedule & equal to one means as per schedule.


Question # 17: What is the concurrent delay?
Answer: Concurrent delays has two meanings:
-When two events of delay on the critical path are occurring at the same time, one affecting activities on Contractor’s risk and the other affecting activities on
Owner’s risk.

-Two or more events of delay on project critical path that belongs to one only of these parties contractor or owner.


Question # 18: 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 a float or not. This determines the shortest time possible to complete the project.


Question # 19: 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.


Question # 20: What is an open-end activity?
Answer: An open-ended activity is an activity that can end on 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).


Question # 21: What do you about Delay Analysis Techniques?

Answer: Normally it is defined in the Contract documents that how we are going to calculate extension of time but if not then there must be a consensus for using any available technique from both of the parties like 1) Impacted as planned 2) Windows Analysis 3) Time Impact or 4) As-Built But-For.


Question # 22: What is different % complete type in Primavera P6?

Answer: Physical, Units & Duration.


Question # 23: What is different duration type in Primavera P6?

Answer: Fixed Units, Fixed Units/time, Fixed Duration & Units, Fixed Duration & Units/Time.


Question # 24: What are the different types of Primavera P6 activities?

Answer: These include

Task-Dependent: In this type assigned resources are scheduled based on the activity’s calendar itself.
Resource Dependent: In this type, the assigned resources are scheduled based on assigned calendars.
Level of Effort: This type of activity goes with dependent activities like administrative issues.
Start Milestone: This is designated for the start of a major phase or stage of a project. A milestone that has zero duration. It is just like a flag.
Finish Milestone: This is designated for the finish of the major phase or stage of a project. A milestone that has zero duration. It is just like a flag.


Question # 25: How does P6 calculate total float?

Answer: It’s the difference between the Late and Early Dates. Primavera P6 uses the below formula to calculate total float

Total Float = Late Start – Early Start Total Float = Late Finish – Early Finish

See Also

PERT CPM Scheduling
Who Owns the Float?

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