How to use Project Online with tasks where duration does not go with Start and End dates. RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi,

    I am a new user of Project Online, testing the trial version - to see if it serves my company.

    We provide consultancy services, and allocate resources by hours to projects. For example:

    In project A, we have John working 80 hours and Mary working 50 hours, distributed from start date (1st May) to the end date (23rd Sept). We do not actally need to plan where they will exactly spend the hours, so we can have a even distribution of the hours throughout the project period - whcih can be updated when actual time is registered in timesheets. We will also consider to split the project in major tasks and dedicate hours to them. For example 10 hours for meetings, 50h for service development, 5 h for delivery.

    Can ths scenario be reflectied the Project Online solution? some guidance on how to do it would be very much appreciated!

    Thank you!

    • Edited by limalf Wednesday, June 26, 2019 4:43 PM
    Wednesday, June 26, 2019 4:42 PM

All replies

  • limalf --

    What you describe are actually two different resource management needs:

    1. To manage the project allocation for John and Mary, you should create a Resource Engagement for each of them. For John, create a Resource Engagement with 80h of Work from May 1 through September 23.  For Mary, create a Resource Assignment with 50h of Work from May 1 through September 23.
    2. Assign John and Mary to detailed tasks with a Units value and a Work value for each task in your project schedule to utilize the bucket of hours you have reserved for them in the Resource Assignments.  If the Duration of the project exceeds the Baseline Duration, you can study the Work Variance over time for each of them.

    Just a thought.  Perhaps some others in this forum will have some ideas for you as well.  Hope this helps.

    Dale A. Howard [MVP]

    Wednesday, June 26, 2019 5:52 PM
  • Imalf,

    Project Online can accommodate your requirement but you may need to use Project Professional to edit your plan and get things set up to suit your needs. In Project Professional you could create a single task to span the project and, assuming you are using Auto Scheduled Tasks and have not changed the default Task Type (Advanced Tab - Fixed Units NOT Effort Driven) you can assign the two resources the amounts of work to the task - the best way to do this would be to call up the Assign Resource Dialog box (ALT+F10) and in the units cell for each resource - this will mean that there will be 130 hours work in total on the activity distributed evenly over its duration. As you say the two resources could then book time to the activity from timesheets and could book more or less time than was originally forecast.

    You could also include the other more granular tasks in the same plan in addition to the 130 hours of work already assigned - you might want to consider "Recurring Tasks" for the meetings and more specific short duration tasks for service development and delivery to arrive at 195 hours total work in the project.

    You should end up with something like this when viewing the Work Table for your project

    With good wishes,


    Microsoft Project Evangelist

    Twitter:   LinkedIn:    Web:   

    • Edited by Dominic Moss Thursday, June 27, 2019 1:56 PM Extra Image
    Thursday, June 27, 2019 1:48 PM
  • Dear Dale and Dominic - thanks a lot for the great tips!

    @Dominic, the scenario that you have shown is exactly what I want to do! Amazing to see that Project Online may be a good choice for us! However, when I assign resources (Alt+F10) - I am not able to enter in hours, but only as percentage. Can you see what I am doing wrong?

    And where can I find that view of the Work Table?

    Thank you!

    Kind regards

    • Edited by limalf Friday, June 28, 2019 10:40 AM
    Friday, June 28, 2019 10:37 AM
  • Limalf - in the screenshot in my previous post you can see in the second row of the Assign Resource dialog box that I have entered the value of work as 50h - if you type in 50h "h" being for hours Microsoft Project will display a % allocation figure for you when press enter/return.

    For example assuming defaults of 8h/day and 40h/week if you had a 5 day task and assigned someone 16h in the assign resource dialog when press return it will show 40%  16/40 - you can assign more than one person per task and each person can be given a differing amount of work on the same task, this models collaborative working were each person makes their contribution.

    You can change tables using the button on the View Ribbon - the Entry table is displayed by default.

    I hope this helps.

    I am available to conduct remote coaching and consultancy if required.


    With good wishes,


    Microsoft Project Evangelist

    Twitter:   LinkedIn:    Web:   

    Friday, June 28, 2019 2:23 PM