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  1. #1
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    MS Project 2007 and 2010: resource tracking

    Hi,

    I am trying to set up a project using resource tracking, typically I setup project using Duration and normally do not worry about resource levelling, but now I need to.

    Basically I want to do the following.

    1) Define a Task with 3 sub tasks
    2) Assign one or more resources to that sub task with a fixed number of days each
    3) Level the plan so that I can see the where the constraints are.

    eg

    Task 1 30 days
    Sub Task 1 - Resource 1 - 10 Days, Resource 2 - 10 Days, Resource 3 - 2 days
    Sub Task 2 - Resource 1 - 10 Days
    Sub Task 3 - Resource 3 - 10 Days

    All Tasks are linked but resources in sub task 1 can work in parallel.

    I cannot find in MS Project how I can do this. I have messed about with resource allocation in % but once I level the duration becomes all messed up. I can enter the days in the resource usage sheet but this is by resource and not task so makes it difficult to work at task level.

    Any guidance please.

    Regards

    Mike

  2. #2
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    Lightbulb Resource allocation

    Hi Mike,

    Based on your comments, you need to use the task type "Fixed Duration" for your tasks. Check the task type to be sure that's it (Word defaults, I believe, to Fixed Units, Effort Driven).

    To solve the allocation problem overall, I would have to see your schedule. Here are some things you can look at to see whether they are factors.

    First, assigning resources on a single task where each resource works specific days requires setting up a task calendar or further subdividing the tasks so each resource has its own task and the specific days can be specified. The usual way to do this is by allocating a resource at, for example 20% over a 10-day period. Two "days" worth of work will be done over the 10-day period by that resource. If those days must be done contiguously, then you will need to break out those two days and schedule them as an independent task.

    The general rule is that tasks that take more than a week (40 hours or so in the US) are usually further subdivided so they can be tracked more closely, so a 10-day task may require further detail anyhow.

    Remember the basic equation in Project: Duration = Work/Units

    To allow Project to schedule the tasks, specify two of the three and allow the third to vary. I have found that non-PMs do not understand that tasks take longer (Duration) based on resource availability and the amount of work required. Because folks tend to be so date-driven, I use "Fixed Duration" for most of my schedules because mgt is looking for dates and milestones. So, I specify the Duration and the Units. That means Work varies. If I specify Duration and Work (which are not the same), then the Units varies.

    To check the task type, double-click a task and look at the Advanced tab to see the current task type. Note that Project behaves variously depending on the type of change to a task based on whether resources are allocated to a task and/or there are any actuals (usu. %complete and similar).

    You may have to look at the Resource view to see whether the resources for your set of tasks have already been allocated elsewhere during each of the three 10-day tasks. If they have been, you will overallocate them if you use 100% allocation for each day during the period.

    If you level the resources using Project, the duration will automatically expand (even for fixed duration tasks) to remove the overallocation. You might have to do some manual allocation. Also, non-working time for each resource (vacations, sick days, etc.) should be noted in each resource calendar so the resource is not scheduled to work those days. Holidays can be entered in the Standard calendar that applies to all resources.

    I have never found the built-in leveling function to work very well for my purposes. Depending upon how critical a particular resource is, you may have to level that one person independently because, like the critical path for tasks, you may also have critical resources that cannot be replaced by another resource. If 1 day = 8 hours on-task time, that's demanding. I use 70% of a day for on-task time to allow for miscellaneous activities that are not part of the task (such as administration activities, time card entry, staff meetings, etc.). This does lead to fractional duration, though, because 70% of 8h is 5.6h.

    So, if one of your resources is critical and involved in many areas of your schedule, the duration is at risk for all tasks to which that resource is assigned and any dependent tasks. The critical path may also be affected. These are project risks that need to be escalated to your management for resolution. If the person has unique skills and he leaves the company or worse, it's a major SPOF in the project.

    I know this does not give you a particular technique to allocate the three subtasks you note below, but it should provide a few things to consider to determine whether those tasks can be accomplished by those resources over the specified period. If not, other measures must be taken.
    Last edited by infosynth; 2012-08-03 at 09:00. Reason: 40-hour "rule"

  3. #3
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    Hey,

    Many thanks for this information it what I feared.

    I have done some work with resource allocation and leveling in the past and found it to be unpredictable but I thought that I had missed a trick or an option which would solve my problem.

    You comments have been really helpful and I can see my course of action now.

    Many thanks

    Mike

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