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Resource Pool and Unassigned tasks RRS feed

  • Question

  • I am confused with some results I am getting when using MSP2003 and a small programme of work with a resource pool. I have 4 sub projects all linked into a single resource pool.

     

    With respect to unassigned tasks I am getting the following problem :

     

    When the resource pool is opened on its own I can see unassigned task. They appear in the resource usage view, with an effort assigned to them so for instance a 1 day duration task with no resources assigned would show 8 hours in the resource usage view under unassigned

    If I open the plan that the unassigned task exists within then the effort is removed from the resource usage view, I can understand this as there is no effort assigned to the task only a duration, but why were they there when I didn’t have the project open

    If I assign effort to an unassigned task then the effort appears as unassigned whether the plan is open or not

     

    Is this correct? as the problem it is giving me is that when I look at the resource pool and see unassigned activity I have to approach the PM to resolve the un-assignments, however as soon as we open his project plan to understand which tasks are effected the unassigned activities disappear, thus making it very difficult to resolve potential issues, and frankly a bit embarrassing.

     

    Any help appreciated or at least confirming that this is the way it is meant to work and if so why

     

    Thanks

    AH666

    Thursday, October 27, 2011 2:41 PM

Answers

  • ah666,

    I finally figured out there must be some significance to your call sign "ah666". It has jinxed Project (I know, the devil made you do it).

    Okay, enough sad humor. There definitely is something strange going on. The "good" news is that it works the same way in Project 2010 as it does in Project 2003, for the most part (more on that later). The "bad" news is that I really don't know why but I think this artifact is workable for what you need to do.

    When I first attempted to simulate the issue you explained in your original post, I'll be honest and say that I didn't carefully look at the Resource Usage view data. When I initially said I couldn't reproduce what you saw I was only looking at the Work field on the left side of the Resource Usage view. It displays what it should, that is, unassigned tasks in the pool file show zero work. What I didn't notice is that the resource pool file, when open by itself, shows 8 hrs of timescaled work data for for each day of task duration even though the task has no resource assignment. As soon as one of the sharer files is opened, that artifact timescaled data disappears although the summary work data at the unassigned level stays even though all sharer files are open. This summary level data goes away if all sharer files are opened first and then the pool file is opened.

    Here is where there is a little difference between Project 2003 and Project 2010. Given a certain save and close sequence in Project 2010 I can get the artifact timescaled work data to disappear such that the pool file can be opened by itself and the data all displays correctly (i.e. no timescaled work data for unassigned tasks). I could not get that sequence to work with Project 2003.

    The only reason I can surmise for this artifact behavior is that the pool file, in the absence of open sharer files, "assumes" timescale work content for unassigned tasks. It resolves this incorrect assumption as soon as the sharer files are opened and "let it know" those tasks are indeed unassigned. It is interesting that the static Work field (left side of Resource Usage view) is correct in 'understanding" unassigned tasks have no work. It is that latter bit of information that you should be able to use when working with your PMs to resolve unassigned activities. In other words, unless you open the sharer files, ignore the timescaled work data for unassigned tasks and only look at the static Work field. If there is a non-zero value, then that task is a valid unassigned task and needs to be resolved.

    I wish I had a better more definitive answer for this phenomenon but I don't. I see Ismet has jumped into this thread, maybe he has a plausible explanation.

    John

    Tuesday, November 1, 2011 2:49 AM

All replies

  • AH666,

    Okay, something doesn't quite make sense. Does the unassigned task have no resource assigned and no work or just no resource? The only way to get "effort" displayed for an unassigned task is to enter a value into the Work field. The Duration field is not available in the Resource Usage view.

    I set up a test case wherein my sharer file has 4 tasks, two are normal tasks with resources assigned. One task has a work value entered but no resource assigned and the 4th task has no resource assigned and no work. Resources are obtained from the resource pool file.

    When I open the resource pool, on the Resource Usage view I see two assignments under the unassigned resource, one for the task with work and no resource and one for the task with no resource or work. The Work field displays 40 hrs and zero hrs respectively.

    When I open the sharer file by itself, on the Resource Usage view I see the same thing as I see when opening the resource pool file, that is, two assignments under the unassigned resource, one with 40 hrs work and the other with zero hrs work.

    So in answer to your question, "is this correct?", I'd have to say no. I need a little more detail on exactly on what you have set up.

    Meanwhile, do you have the latest updates for Project 2003 installed. They are SP3 and cumulative update through June. If not, you can download them from, http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/office/ee748587.

    John

    Thursday, October 27, 2011 4:05 PM
  • Hi John, thanks for your response. the unassigned tasks have no resource assigned and no work/effort assigned just a duration, and yes agree the only way to assign work is into the work field or as a resource is added to the task

     

    I created a example as well, I created 4 separate projects each project had 4 tasks 3 of which had resource assigned and the 4<sup>th</sup> of each project did not, they did have a duration of 1 days each. I then inserted them into a programme file and created a resource pool I then shared the resource of each of the projects into the resource pool.

     

    The resource pool then showed there were 4 tasks unassigned (1 from each project) however there was no work associated with these tasks, so thus within the resource usage view Unassigned had no work. I then closed all of the projects, the programme view and the resource pool saving all of them.

    I then opened the resource pool on its own. The resource usage sheet was the same except that the 4 tasks that were unassigned had 8 hours work on each task. However if I then opened the 4 individual project files the work was removed from the unassigned tasks, the tasks were still under unassigned but just had no effort.

     

    On a final note I then changed one of the unassigned tasks in the Gantt view and added work into the work field. This appeared within the resource usage view as you would expect. I then closed all files and opened the resource pool on its own. At this point the tasks that was unassigned all appeared with work, again I opened the individual project files and the work disappeared from all but the task I had assigned work to

     

    Sorry very wordy, I hope you can follow the process I took

    Thursday, October 27, 2011 4:29 PM
  • ah666,

    Okay so if I understand your structure you have both a master file (i.e programme file) and a resource pool file. Or, is the resource pool the master file? Are there any performance tasks in the master file (i.e. tasks that belong to the master but use resources from the pool)?

    I need to understand your total structure better because it sounds like you are seeing work at the resource pool level when there is none.

    Do you have SP3 installed?

    John

    Thursday, October 27, 2011 5:08 PM
  • John,

     

    Yes I have a separate master file and a separate resource pool, there are no tasks within the master file itself, only in the sub projects

     

    Any yes sorry I do have SP3 installed

     

    Is there any way I can attach an example file to demonstrate ?

    Friday, October 28, 2011 8:19 AM
  • ah666,

    Since you have a complex linked structure consisting of a master, separate resource pool, and subprojects and you are seeing some strange results that I don't see, my initial thoughts are that you have file corruption. Unfortunately this is quite common in this type of linked structure.

    It won't be fun but try these things. First, I'd properly break all subproject links to the master, delete the master, and then re-build it. If that doesn't help, go the next step and do the same for the resource pool file. That obviously is more complex because you will need to transfer the resources to the sharer (i.e. subproject files), delete the resource pool, and then re-build it and transfer resources back. If the subproject files themselves are corrupt you can try one or more of the methods detailed in FAQ 43 - handling project file corruption and/or bloat found on the MVP website at, http://www.mvps.org/project/faqs.htm.

    Linked structures in Project are rather fragile and require a lot of file management discipline to properly create and maintain to avoid corruption. Some of the biggest culprits that lead to corruption are renaming files, moving them to different folders, "saving-off" backups and improper saving when changes are made. We've talked about all these items many times in this forum. We've even talked about creating a FAQ on this subject (I guess the ball is in my court on that one).

    With regard to attaching your files, it can be done as others have posted screenshots and provided links to their files but I have no idea how to do it. If I personally want to review someone's file I'll give my contact info, but let's see what the above suggestions yield before we go that route.

    John

    Friday, October 28, 2011 4:01 PM
  • John,

     

    I did consider file corruption, but as I was confused about what was happening I decided to create a simple example and see if the effect was the same.

     

    So I created 4 separate projects (4 tasks each) 3 of the tasks were assigned to resources the 4<sup>th</sup> of each project was not the resource left blank i.e. unassigned. I then created a new resource pool and shared resources with each of the 4 separate files. Finally I created a new file for the programme plan and inserted the 4 projects.

     

    I still get exactly the same scenario when I open the resource pool on its own unassigned activity appears within the resource usage view if I then open an individual project the unassigned activity disappears from the resource usage view within the pool for that task (i.e. project 1 task 4). If I open the programme file then all unassigned activity disappears from the resource usage sheet.

     

    If I then close all the project files leaving the resource pool open then the unassigned activity re-appears.

    Monday, October 31, 2011 10:50 AM
  • I have just asked an ex collegue to try the above and we found the same result
    Monday, October 31, 2011 11:11 AM
  • ah666,

    Okay, I'll try it again when I get some time and see if I can confirm.

    John

    Monday, October 31, 2011 3:26 PM
  • I have just asked an ex collegue to try the above and we found the same result

    Pls send me the files at ikocaman.pm[at]gmail.com. I'd like to test it.

    Thank you.


    Regards. --Ismet
    Monday, October 31, 2011 9:11 PM
  • ah666,

    I finally figured out there must be some significance to your call sign "ah666". It has jinxed Project (I know, the devil made you do it).

    Okay, enough sad humor. There definitely is something strange going on. The "good" news is that it works the same way in Project 2010 as it does in Project 2003, for the most part (more on that later). The "bad" news is that I really don't know why but I think this artifact is workable for what you need to do.

    When I first attempted to simulate the issue you explained in your original post, I'll be honest and say that I didn't carefully look at the Resource Usage view data. When I initially said I couldn't reproduce what you saw I was only looking at the Work field on the left side of the Resource Usage view. It displays what it should, that is, unassigned tasks in the pool file show zero work. What I didn't notice is that the resource pool file, when open by itself, shows 8 hrs of timescaled work data for for each day of task duration even though the task has no resource assignment. As soon as one of the sharer files is opened, that artifact timescaled data disappears although the summary work data at the unassigned level stays even though all sharer files are open. This summary level data goes away if all sharer files are opened first and then the pool file is opened.

    Here is where there is a little difference between Project 2003 and Project 2010. Given a certain save and close sequence in Project 2010 I can get the artifact timescaled work data to disappear such that the pool file can be opened by itself and the data all displays correctly (i.e. no timescaled work data for unassigned tasks). I could not get that sequence to work with Project 2003.

    The only reason I can surmise for this artifact behavior is that the pool file, in the absence of open sharer files, "assumes" timescale work content for unassigned tasks. It resolves this incorrect assumption as soon as the sharer files are opened and "let it know" those tasks are indeed unassigned. It is interesting that the static Work field (left side of Resource Usage view) is correct in 'understanding" unassigned tasks have no work. It is that latter bit of information that you should be able to use when working with your PMs to resolve unassigned activities. In other words, unless you open the sharer files, ignore the timescaled work data for unassigned tasks and only look at the static Work field. If there is a non-zero value, then that task is a valid unassigned task and needs to be resolved.

    I wish I had a better more definitive answer for this phenomenon but I don't. I see Ismet has jumped into this thread, maybe he has a plausible explanation.

    John

    Tuesday, November 1, 2011 2:49 AM