Managing resources offering a percentage towards a project RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi folks,

    I've been struggling to achieve project planning where I have a number of resources assigned to the project and also other tasks outside of it.


    Resources Rob, Jon and Ed all offer 3 days per week into a project.  The effort they commit will be any day between Mon-Fri but most of the time they will provide 3 days' work so therefore can offer a Max. unit of 60%. 

    At certain times they may not be able to commit any time to the project when other higher priority work is required.  When this occurs the project may lose the resource for that day or week.

    When scheduling the project and using 60% max. units Project will adjust the accordingly so that for example 8 hours effort is recorded as 13.33 hours.  ((8 / (8 * 0.6)) * 8).


    At project setup we attempt to provide a realistic end date and we often find that these are way off.

    When the resource is unable to commit time to the project the timeline should adjust to reflect and the end date may ultimately change. 

    I can add exceptions for each resource but this could become a large admin overhead.

    If I adjust the dates for when a task actually started it creates a SNET constraint which isn't ideal either as it's not really a constraint, just a resource juggling issue.


    Is there a better approach to this to show actual hours worked.  Ideally I would like to enter actual hours worked and then see the dates adjust to reflect this.  Most of the resources are juggling 3 or more projects so manually entering what is worked on each hour or day is just not practical.

    Thanks in advance,

    Rob Longdon.

    Friday, October 28, 2016 8:52 AM

All replies

  • Rob,

    I think that your"problem" is easily dealt with but you may be having difficulty because you are too close to it.

    Sort of "can't see the forest for the trees".

    I would start off by thinking about the project primarily in terms of the tasks that have to be achieved, and worry less or not at all at this stage about the intricacies of the resources availability. After all, part of the definition of a "project" is an endeavor which consists of distinct, discrete, identifiable tasks.

    So, first of all list out all of the tasks, estimate the duration of each of them and link them as predecessors/successors so that every task has at least one FS0 predecessor and at least one FS0 successor.

    At this point, you will have a feasible plan, a valid critical path network, and a solid basis for proceeding to the next part of the problem, resourcing.

    Then assign the resources according to who should be the best person for each task. If you limit their max units to 60%, this just means that if they are assigned at more than 60% they will be considered "over-allocated" this could occur if the assignment is more than 60% on one task or several tasks. That is, if you assign them at 60% on each of two tasks scheduled at the same time, they will be over-allocated. MSP does not prevent you from over-assigning but it will show you where and when you have done that, so you can then decide how to iron it out, of the several possible available options.

    The next part of your question is about tracking and re-scheduling. If you have a task which has actually started, then the right place to put the actual start date/time is in the actual start field in the tracking table. Once a task has an actual start date/time, it's nailed into place, at least at one end of the bar. If a task was scheduled to start in the past but did not yet start, then it should be re-scheduled to start asap in the future. I use the "move" button on the task ribbon for this. Go for "incomplete parts to the status date". When I say "past" and "future", I mean of course relative to the status date. You do have a status date, don't you? Best thing here is to set the status date in project, project information, and then make it a solid red line on the Gantt chart with format, gridlines.

    If you know which days the resources are definitely unavailable, then the best thing would be to make the exceptions in the resource calendar, but if you don't know, then don't do it. Avoid putting date constraints on the tasks, because this will cause many difficulties later, mainly you will not be able to see a proper critical path and the updating and re-scheduling won't work very well, if at all.

    Once a task has an actual start date/time and some actual duration, and if you nail that down first, then any actual work must have occurred on those actual days. You can input actual work in the task usage or research usage views.

    Any help so far?

    Friday, October 28, 2016 10:03 AM