Splitting a task over time RRS feed

  • Question

  • When you create a task it seems that it wants to do most of the tasks linearly.

    We have a large project which we want to do over 2016.

    I am new to MS project so an having trouble find direction (watch about 2 hours of videos so far but none have covered these)

    1. Some of the task will run for 11 months (Jan - Nov) in which I want staff to allocate maybe 4 hours a week on.

    2. Some task maybe will take 20 -30 hours, and has a deadline eg End of January, but I don't want them leaving it until the last 20 hours. Again I would prefer they spend 5 hours in week 1, 5 hours in week 2 etc.

    Linearly the project could all be achieved in 2-3 months but we have other Key tasks. So splitting tasks across weeks and months would be helpful.. any suggestions?

    Wednesday, November 4, 2015 10:23 PM

All replies

  • Hi ScottyBax,

    Probably all you have at the moment is a duration for each task.  You need to then assign a resource, and this assignment creates work.  By default this will assign the user at 100%, ie 8 hours per working day.  To get what you want will require a little work...

    1. Insert the Work Column, and remove the assignment (ie the user).  If the work column is not reset to zero, then set it to zero.  

    2. What happens next, depends on whether you have a manually scheduled task or autoscheduled, and therefore the task type.  Assuming 4 hours per week, that equates to 10% resource allocation, so with the task highlighted, I would use the Assign Resource button (Alt-F10) and enter the Units of 10% against the resource and hit the assign button.

    3. Check the work value looks "right" - ie do a mental calculation here...

    Ben Howard [MVP] | web | blog | book | P2O

    Thursday, November 5, 2015 12:57 AM
  • Ben thanks for your reply.. I tried it and it seems to only have 10% of the task assigned.

    EG I had a 2 day task (16 hours work)

    I applied a resource @ 10% and this resource just achieved 10% over the two days... (total of 1.6 hours)

    So rather than spreading the task, you just have a task that is not finished.


    Thursday, November 5, 2015 8:24 PM
  • Ok, so I then went to the work column and then increase it to two days.. It then increased the duration (by default) but has a little warning/questions.. 

    I guess most workplaces only work on one thing at once.. We have literally 10-20 parallel tasks, so we cannot assign all our resources to one task.

    I am surprised that you cant define a task to be:

    1. Covered over a period.. Eg 1 week 1 month, and then
    2. define the total hours needed to complete. 

    This all seems a little fiddly

    • Edited by ScottyBax Thursday, November 5, 2015 8:32 PM
    Thursday, November 5, 2015 8:31 PM
  • Hi ScottyBax,

    You can do what you need.

    1. Ensure tasks are set to AutoScheduled.

    2. For each task, enter the duration; then enter the work, then assign the resource.  You'll see that the resource units will be assigned accordingly.

    If you are using manually scheduled tasks, then also enter the start/finish dates prior to assigning the resource.

    Use the Task Usage / Resource Usage view to see the timephased work.

    Ben Howard [MVP] | web | blog | book | P2O

    Thursday, November 5, 2015 8:39 PM
  • Ok, I think that gets the desired result... 

    So if I do as you say above:

    enter the duration; then enter the work,

    The duration will define the period of work.. Eg if I wanted the task complete in January. put in start date 1/1 and 1 Month.

    But if the task was only 40 hours. (approx 1/4 of january), when I set the work to 40 hours, and apply a staff member it will automatically. Apply the staff at 25%.

    So the Duration then sets the time over which to work, with the hours setting the estimated resource?


    Thursday, November 5, 2015 9:45 PM
  • Work (w) is always a function of the number (or percentage) of a resource (units or u) and the duration (d).  So two people working on a single task, for a day, duration = 1 day, work = 2 days. Think of work as effort! Project needs to balance the formula w=u*d. If you pre-enter the duration and work, then project calcs the units which is what you've now got it to do.

    Ben Howard [MVP] | web | blog | book | P2O

    Friday, November 6, 2015 12:29 AM
  • On another note, 11 month tasks are doomed to failure. As you said, you don't want then done at the last moment. SO split them up into monthly durations or less and make each task deliver something. That way resources get into the rhythm of delivering regularly and avoid drama at the end.

    Rod Gill
    Author of the one and only Project VBA Book

    Friday, November 6, 2015 9:16 PM