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Partial resource allocation

Partial resource allocation

Partial resource allocation

(OP)
Hi all,

I am a little new to MS Project and still trying to figure things out, but to start with, I have a question.

So I have a project with several tasks and resources - however whenever a task requires more than 1 resource, it allocates all of them for the same time (say 5 man days), whereas I would like to have them allocated for different amounts of time, so that some resources actually spend only 1 hour on that specific task.
And of course, I want to do this automatically.

To elaborate, I first used excel to create work for every task (the sum was 174 man days), than I allocated work for the 21 resources, so that none will exceed 10 man days (2 working weeks). Than I ran all kinds of checks and sumifs in excel to see if everyone is not overallocated - and everything turned out to be perfect. since when there are more than 1 person working at the same task, there could be differences in the time each of them works on the task.
However, when I moved everything to project, things went wrong - people who were scheduled to work for only 1 day on task X, suddenly have to work 4 days, just like the other co-workers on the same task.
The bad result being that instead of duration not exceeding 2 weeks on excel, - on project it definitely exceeds that by a lot.

My goal is to have employees working partially on tasks, even if the task takes longer, and to have the project done within 2 weeks, with perfect allocation.
Is there a way to do it, and what am I doing wrong currently?

Thanks a lot!!

RE: Partial resource allocation

Without seeing your plan, I can't make any specific recommendations. However, here are a few hints, perhaps helpful.

Consider using hours rather than days for your tasks. Although this should not make a difference, it may help you to see and better understand what Project is doing.

You need to understand whether your tasks are "effort driven", and then whether to use Fixed Units, Fixed Duration, or Fixed Work. These are important concepts. Unfortunately, no one (including me!) has written a FAQ about this here at Tek-Tips, so I need to give you some external links.

Effort Driven:
http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/project-help/dig...
http://eastwoodharris.com/task-effort-driven-vs-no...

Fixed Work, Duration, or Units:
http://pei.com/2012/03/microsoft-project-%e2%80%93...
http://www.epmcentral.com/msproject/fixedunits.php
http://pmpspecialists.com/WhitePapers/PMP_Speciali...
http://projectmanagementquestions.com/1846/what-is...
http://www.tacticalprojectmanagement.com/using-mic...
http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/office/forum/of...

When assigning a resource to a project, you do not need to allocate them 100% (or 8 hrs per day). If you have someone who's, say, a foreman or team lead, you only might want to allocate them at 4 or 6 hrs work per day, the rest being used in supervision and management activities. Or you might have a part-time resource.

When assigning a resource to a task, you do not need to allocate them 100%. This is the Units column under the Resources tab for each task. However, if you make proper choices for your tasks regarding Units, Work, Duration, and Effort Driven, you generally do not need to adjust a resource's allocation.

hope this helps - maybe after this, *you* can write the FAQ for Work, Duration, and Units




==================================
The trouble with doing something right the first time is that nobody appreciates how difficult it was - Steven Wright


RE: Partial resource allocation

(OP)
Thanks for all the data.

I did know that reading about MS project extensively in the last week, however for some reason - what works in excel does not work in project and for the life of me, I can't understand why.

I deliberately used fixed work, because that's the input I have. However in the excel sheet, everything works out - nobody is over allocated, and work can finish within two weeks (which is the time limit)
The MS Project, won't finish it in two weeks though...

Let me ask it this way - is there a way to used fixed work, but to limit the duration of the entire project (but not each task, since it's fixed work, of course)

RE: Partial resource allocation

Yes, you can set the Finish Date in the Project Information tab. You can also put a constraint on one or more tasks in the Advanced tab for each project task.

==================================
The trouble with doing something right the first time is that nobody appreciates how difficult it was - Steven Wright


RE: Partial resource allocation

I'm afraid you'll be disappointed. Project will not assign resources so some only do 1 hour of work and others do 40 hours of work. If you have worked out the optimum schedule in Excel, you can re-create that schedule in Project but using Fixed Duration tasks and manually assigning the work you have calculated. In that scenario, Project will calculate the assignment units (what you are calling allocation). The resource may still be overallocated depending upon the assumptions you set in the the Excel spread sheet.

Regarding the limit of the project duration - schedule the project from a start date and set either a deadline or constraint on the last task.

RE: Partial resource allocation

(OP)
Thank you all,

I actually managed to squeeze stuff in, shortening manually the bars on the GANTT chart (I honestly, didn't know you can do that) to end in 2 weeks time, and than by leveling all. Right now it seems fine, and I hope it will continue to be so.

Thanks again!

RE: Partial resource allocation

Be aware that when you shorten the Gantt bars you are changing the duration of the task. If the tasks are fixed work, you have just increased assignment units.

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