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Percentage Resource Allocation problem - allocating whenever available?

Percentage Resource Allocation problem - allocating whenever available?

Percentage Resource Allocation problem - allocating whenever available?

(OP)
Hi all,

I ran into a problem and I was wondering if anyone here can help me.

In a project I am building, there is one task with three resources. The one main resource, I have tried assigning different percentages to, but nothing works.
Let's assume I currently tried putting this resource on 50% (since it's the shortest duration Project would calculate, although still too long). When I assign this resource 100% the task takes actually longer, due to MS Project allocating him almost exclusively in his free days.
I can see on the task usage that this resource is not 100% on every day, and slacks in many of them, however when I try to fill the delta in manually, it doesn't always let me (e.g. say on a certain day, that resource, has only 80% utilization and 0.1 days on the specific tasks, when I try to up this to 0.3, Project wouldn't let me, sometimes. some other times it would, no idea why).
What I would love to do, is allocate this resource to it's max utilization (given he has other tasks), so he will be 100% every day, and that the delta would always be on this specific and pretty long task - Is this possible in any way? Allocating on a delta instead of finding a percentage? I there any other way I can solve this problem.

The real problem by the way, is that due to this under allocation, this task is taking two months too long, I believe that if I were able to assign the delta to this resource, this would be shortened considerably.

Thank you for your help!

RE: Percentage Resource Allocation problem - allocating whenever available?

One factor you haven't mentioned is the "other tasks" that this person is doing. Are they in the project plan? If yes, how is s/he allocated there? What kind of tasks are those "other tasks"? That is, are they Fixed Work, Fixed Duration, or Fixed Units? Are they effort driven? See thread thread913-1729415: Partial resource allocation for a description of these terms and how MS Project treats them when allocating resources.

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


RE: Percentage Resource Allocation problem - allocating whenever available?

If you are still shortening tasks by manipulating the task bars, you are creating constraints. As mentioned in your earlier posts, Project will not ensure "perfect" allocation if you are using resource leveling. If you assign resources to task by default Project will assign them at their max units to the task. So, give us more information:
Task types
Auto leveling?

RE: Percentage Resource Allocation problem - allocating whenever available?

(OP)
Thanks for your reply!

Right now, everything is effort driven with fixed work. After all, for me it's the unites I want to change (or in other words, the % of each unit on the various tasks).
the weird thing is that I actually tried solving this by adding a date constraint (a "start no earlier" then, and "deadline") and it still wouldn't allocate it otherwise, and actually tells me that Project can't comply with the deadline. Which I don't understand? why not? just allocate this resource to his full capacity day by day, and that should do it.

RE: Percentage Resource Allocation problem - allocating whenever available?

(OP)
Julie, thank you too. As I said, fixed work, auto leveling, whenever needed. Some deadline constraints. That is where I am now

RE: Percentage Resource Allocation problem - allocating whenever available?

Project does assign a resource at their max to each task. If the resource is not being assigned at his/her max. there is something else going on. Turn off "allow splits" in the leveling options. Again, leveling will NOT remove underallocations.

RE: Percentage Resource Allocation problem - allocating whenever available?

(OP)
I turned it off, and it created a much longer duration (which is what I don't want). I don't know, I think it must have something to do with the % allocation (currently at 50%) which drives this problem, but every time I tried changing it to something else, it made it worse (or in other words - created a longer duration).
Now I don't want to fix duration, because (1) I trust my work estimates more, and (2) I want to know what kind of duration I am really expecting, and i definitely don't want to fix unites, as those are the ones I am allocating, and would ideally like project to change for me.
So there must be something else I am missing.

RE: Percentage Resource Allocation problem - allocating whenever available?

Project will only change the assignment units on a fixed work task if you change the duration. Leveling will never change units only split or delay tasks. If you are expecting the leveling command to change units due to leveling it simply will not.

RE: Percentage Resource Allocation problem - allocating whenever available?

(OP)
Ok, so how do I change units? How do I make sure that a task is not underallocated, and why wouldn't Project let me (even manually) assign more hours to a resource that's currently underallocated (in the resource usage sheet).

Thanks again!

RE: Percentage Resource Allocation problem - allocating whenever available?

I'm afraid I can't help any further without "seeing" the plan. Is there somewhere you can post it? (needless to say, remove any PII and company confidential info). I have access to most versions, so I should be able to see the problem in the version of Project that you are running.

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


RE: Percentage Resource Allocation problem - allocating whenever available?

OK. I did a little testing here at work using Project 2010. The best way to adjust Work on an Effort Driven task is to remove all the resources, set the Work, set the Duration constraint (if any), and then re-assign resources.

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


RE: Percentage Resource Allocation problem - allocating whenever available?

The only way to make sure a resource is not underallocated on a single task is to always assign the resource at his/her max units. So, if the resource's max units are 100% - let Project assign at 100%. Then use the resource leveling command and set priorities on the task(s) to control which tasks are delayed. However, the resource leveling command may create gaps in a resource's work pattern if tasks are delayed to allow other tasks to occur.

If a task is fixed work, it is also effort driven and assigning additional resources (without manually keying their work) will divide the work and shorten the duration.

I don't know why Project is not allowing you to alter work in the Resource Usage view. You cannot alter Peak Units (I'm assuming that is what you are referring to when you say .1 in your earlier post. You should be able to increase work, which will change Peak Units. But if you manually increase work, the task duration will not decrease - it will stay the same.

As far as changing units, assuming you are using Project 2010 - you can add the Assignment Units field to the Resource Usage or Task Usage view. You will also want to add the Peak Units field to the table as that will show you what the resource's true assignment units are. If you cannot change Assignment Units, copy the Peak Units over the Assignment Units and then you should be able to change Assignment Units.

I agree with John. Without seeing your project it is difficult to troubleshoot specifics.

RE: Percentage Resource Allocation problem - allocating whenever available?

(OP)
Julie,
I obviously started out with 100% resource allocation, but that came out actually worse, as Project waited for days where the resource can be allocated at full or close to full capacity, so if that resource only had 0.3 days left or something, he wouldn't allocate him.
Long story short - it made the duration of the task (and project) longer.
I will try though to play around with priorities, that might do the trick. Thanks for the advice!
I will try the other advice too. Thanks!

I will also remove any identification, and change the task names and resources, so I can post the project on google drive or something. Thank you and John for helping!

RE: Percentage Resource Allocation problem - allocating whenever available?

Great. Let us know when you have the file posted and we'll take a look.

RE: Percentage Resource Allocation problem - allocating whenever available?

(OP)
Thanks, here is the file.

My problem is really with the next to last task (task 57), as you can see in the resource usage sheet, Nick could work more on previous days, he has many days with less than 100% utilization, and yet - he is not allocated on those days. The question is why. I want this task to be over at the end of October, and not at December.

RE: Percentage Resource Allocation problem - allocating whenever available?

Looking only at task 57:
You have a start no earlier than June 2 constraint on the task - you cannot schedule any work for Nick previous to that day due to the constraint.
Nick is assigned at 45% with 437 hours of work. If he worked on that task at 45% (disregarding overallocations) he could not finish the work until Nov 8.

You're problems with task 57 appear to be caused by leveling earlier tasks. When I clear all leveling, Nick is not overallocated from June 2 to Nov 3 and in fact, has some remaining availability. I am able to go in a modify his work per week on task 57 during his time of remaining availability without trouble. However, you have to keep an eye on total work as increasing his work per week is not removing dropping the duration of the task any lower - you need to manually change this to shorten the duration.

It's difficult to tell what is going on without spending hours looking at the project. You have constraints on most tasks which strongly affects resource leveling. My suggestion - drive the schedule with links, lead and lag, removing constraints. If you must constrain every single task - then you are going to have to manually level the tasks by distributing work.

RE: Percentage Resource Allocation problem - allocating whenever available?

(OP)
Thanks Julie, I will try to incorporate your suggestions. Thank you for all your help!

By the way, I was meaning to ask another question. Say I have a pool of X number of people who are capable of performing Y tasks. Can project allocate them according to availability without me actually assigning resources, but only telling Project about availability and capabilities?

RE: Percentage Resource Allocation problem - allocating whenever available?

You're welcome for the assistance.

To answer your other question - in short, no. Project will never automatically assign resources to tasks. That is up to the project manager.

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