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Question / Recording ongoing support tasks in a project RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi folks,

    Curious to get some thoughts on this. We use MS Project 2007 with a shared resource pool. In addition to project-based work, we also have some resources that have to spend a certain amount of time per week on "ongoing support." Let's call it 2 hours per day. We'd like to reflect this in our project schedules so that the shared resource pool is aware they won't be able to spend a full 8 hours on their other project tasks.

    At first thought, this could be as simple as changing the "Max Units" for those resources to 75%. However, I don't believe this will accomplish what we want to accomplish, because the resources who must perform this ongoing support change from week to week, and in fact the ongoing support task is often assigned based on what project tasks the resources are currently booked for.

    So, I've considered setting up a separate project using the shared pool (call it "Ongoing Support"), and then assigning tasks to the resources each week representing their 2 hours of work per day.

    I sense this is probably a workable approach, but I'm not quite sure how to set up the project plan so that it represents 2h per day of work. Do I set up five separate tasks of 2 h each that will effectively never be finished? And then each week just change the start date and assigned resource as appropriate? I should add that there is no need to historically track who worked on support in a given week. It would be ideal to come up with a solution that didn't involve maintaining a new set of tasks every week.

    I've also considered whether "recurring tasks" might help, but after consideration, I can't see how it would fit into my scenario.

    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks!

    ~Steve


    • Edited by sbattisti Monday, November 28, 2011 5:02 PM
    Monday, November 28, 2011 4:49 PM

Answers

  • Hi Steve,

    When you create the week long task set it as fixed duration and assign the 10 hours of work when you assign the resource to the task.  Project will calculate assignment units and spread the 10 hours over the 5 days duration.

    I would not recommend the five 2 hour tasks -- way too much maintenance in that.

    Julie

    • Marked as answer by sbattisti Tuesday, November 29, 2011 1:03 PM
    Monday, November 28, 2011 7:25 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Hi Steve,

    If you truly need to account for every hour of every day -- then the support tasks need to be documented somewhere.  If the ongoing support tasks rotate weekly, I'd consider setting up 52 tasks -- each as a fixed duration - 1 week task.  Then you can assign the resources as scheduled as far out in the future as you know.

    Using the Resource Usage view from the pool with "Remaining Availablility" should also help you determine who has some "free" time that week for possible swaps with other resources.

    I hope this helps.

    Julie

    Monday, November 28, 2011 5:57 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi Steve,

    If you truly need to account for every hour of every day -- then the support tasks need to be documented somewhere.  If the ongoing support tasks rotate weekly, I'd consider setting up 52 tasks -- each as a fixed duration - 1 week task.  Then you can assign the resources as scheduled as far out in the future as you know.

    Using the Resource Usage view from the pool with "Remaining Availablility" should also help you determine who has some "free" time that week for possible swaps with other resources.

    I hope this helps.

    Julie


    Julie,

    Thanks very much for your response. If I set these tasks up as a fixed duration of 1 week, then when I look at resource allocation, how will Project know that the resource is only spending 2 h per day on that task?

    As I fiddled, I set up 5 2-hour tasks instead ("Monday support," "Tuesday support," etc.). So far that looks OK, but I dread the thought of copying that out for every week in the year, because the truth is there are more than just this one task in my actual situation, so I'd end up with more like 30 tasks per week. Not awful, but it would certainly make the administration a little more tedious.

    Thoughts?

    Monday, November 28, 2011 6:38 PM
  • Hi Steve,

    When you create the week long task set it as fixed duration and assign the 10 hours of work when you assign the resource to the task.  Project will calculate assignment units and spread the 10 hours over the 5 days duration.

    I would not recommend the five 2 hour tasks -- way too much maintenance in that.

    Julie

    • Marked as answer by sbattisti Tuesday, November 29, 2011 1:03 PM
    Monday, November 28, 2011 7:25 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi Steve,

    When you create the week long task set it as fixed duration and assign the 10 hours of work when you assign the resource to the task.  Project will calculate assignment units and spread the 10 hours over the 5 days duration.

     

    Oh, gotcha. That sounds good! Of course, Project can't make it easy for me...riddle me this: I set the task up as you suggested. It has one predecessor, a milestone task with 0 duration and 0 work. Yet, when I assigned the resource, it decided the resource should work 1.88h on Monday, 2h Tues-Fri, and 0.13h on the following Monday.

    Thoughts as to why that might be?

    ~Steve

    Monday, November 28, 2011 7:38 PM
  • My guess is that the task doesn't start at the start of the work day.  Change your date format (Tools > Options, View tab) to show date and time. 

    Julie

    Monday, November 28, 2011 7:44 PM
    Moderator
  • My guess is that the task doesn't start at the start of the work day.  Change your date format (Tools > Options, View tab) to show date and time. 

    Julie


    Hrm. I did that, and it shows:

    • Type: Fixed Duration
    • Duration: 5 days
    • Work: 10 hrs
    • Start: 11/28/11 8:30 am
    • Finish: 12/5/11 8:30 am

    From a "not thinking as MS Project thinks" perspective, I expect this task to complete on Friday the 2nd...

    Should I start a separate thread about this, do you think?

    ~Steve

    Monday, November 28, 2011 7:50 PM
  • Oh, got it.

    The project starts at 8:30. But my working day is 8-5. When I switched the project to start at 8:00, it straightened out. :)

    Thanks soooo much for your help, Julie!

    ~Steve

    Monday, November 28, 2011 7:54 PM
  • Great.  Glad you were able to sort it out, Steve.  You're welcome for the assist and thanks for the feedback.

    Julie

    Monday, November 28, 2011 9:41 PM
    Moderator