none
Microsoft Project - scheduling behavior when tasks have low work values?? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi There, 

    I thought I was a confident MS Project user, however this week I have been puzzled by some of the scheduling behavior I observed when trying to create a schedule in Project 2010 & was hoping someone here could help me out! 

    I'll keep the example really simple: 

    *Scheduling mode: automatic, fixed units 
    *10 tasks 
    *Each task has a work value of between 1h - 3h 
    *All tasks can start in parallel, there are no hard dependencies
    *I have a single resource

    My process: 
    1) Assign the single resource to each task, however as soon as 8 hours of work had been assigned the over allocation indicators were appearing (understandable) 
    2) I then entered SS (start-start) dependencies against each task and tried again, the same issue occured
    3) I then tried FS (finish-start) dependencies between the tasks which solved the over-allocation but did not give me an optimal schedule e.g. although two FS start tasks had less then 8 hours work, MS project tells me 2 day duration is required to complete them (due to the FS dependency). 

    I would have expected MS project deal with the fact I have a single resource and tasks with low work values, then help me create the most optimal schedule? 

    I also tried turning effort drive on/off which made no difference.

    Any help with this would be much appreciated! 
    Friday, July 20, 2012 11:05 PM

Answers

  • Hi,

    Leveling is 10000% better than its reputation :-))

    You can exclude tasks from any leveling by giving them a priority value of 1000 (insert the field of find it in tak information, general)

    You can also exclude resources from leveling by setting the resource field Can Level to No.

    You can restrict leveling to a certain time slice in the leveling options.

    Greetings,

    Tuesday, July 24, 2012 10:03 AM
    Moderator

All replies

  • jdmwellington --
     
    Your expectation is Microsoft Project is totally wrong.  In your situation, the software will NOT give you an optimal schedule.  It will simply schedule the tasks the way you tell it to do it, including when this results in an overallocation of the assigned resource.  In your situation, you have a couple of options.  One way to address this would be use the Finish to Start dependencies.  Another way is to level the resulting overallocation.  But in either situation, if you want an optimal schedule, you must create the optimal schedule yourself and not expect the software to do it for you.
     
    Hope this helps.

    Dale A. Howard [MVP]
    VP of Educational Services
    msProjectExperts
    http://www.msprojectexperts.com
    http://www.projectserverexperts.com
    "We write the books on Project Server"

    Saturday, July 21, 2012 1:25 AM
    Moderator
  • How would Project know what your definition of 'optimal' is? You said that the tasks can start in parallel and there are no real dependencies. What criteria determines which task should start first, second, third, etc? If you want to put priorities on them you can use Priority, Standard leveling but in the end it should be up to you to decide. You will produce an optimal schedule faster than you can tell project which tasks are most important and then have it do it for you.

    Brian Kennemer - Project MVP
    DeltaBahn Senior Architect
    endlessly obsessing about Project Server…so that you don’t have to.
    Blog | Twitter | LinkedIn

    Saturday, July 21, 2012 2:48 AM
    Moderator
  • jdmwellington --
     
    Your expectation is Microsoft Project is totally wrong.  In your situation, the software will NOT give you an optimal schedule.  It will simply schedule the tasks the way you tell it to do it, including when this results in an overallocation of the assigned resource.  In your situation, you have a couple of options.  One way to address this would be use the Finish to Start dependencies.  Another way is to level the resulting overallocation.  But in either situation, if you want an optimal schedule, you must create the optimal schedule yourself and not expect the software to do it for you.
     
    Hope this helps.

    Dale A. Howard [MVP]
    VP of Educational Services
    msProjectExperts
    http://www.msprojectexperts.com
    http://www.projectserverexperts.com
    "We write the books on Project Server"

    Hi Dale, 

    Thank you for the reply - I feel honored that I have two MVP's responding to my query !

    I did try using finish-start dependencies however it appears MS projects behavior does not take into account the work assigned to each task is less than 8 hours. I was hoping that by using FS dependencies project would ensure my single resource was fully utilised while still honoring the FS dependencies e.g. 

    Task 1, work =  2 hrs  || start date = 1st August

    Task 2, work = 3 hrs  || FS dependency on the above, consequently start date is 2nd August 

    When my single resource is assigned I was hoping MS project would realise that all 5 hours work can be achieved on the 1st August and reduce the duration of affected tasks accordingly, however it does not ! 

    Any advice appreciated. 

    Admittedly this is the first schedule I've had to create where a single task actually has less than 8 hours of work assigned. 

    Regards

    Jeremy

    Saturday, July 21, 2012 10:46 PM
  • Hi,

    Dale mentions Resource Leveling, which is the solution. It will not necessarily give an optimum schedule but something very close to it and you do not have to enter phony dependencies.

    Greetings,

    Monday, July 23, 2012 7:15 AM
    Moderator
  • Thanks Jan, 

    I was always warned of using project's levelling but I can now see a genuine reason for it. Do you know whether it's possible to 'level' part of the schedule? I would like to retain my resourcing allocation in other parts of the schedule.

    Almost there... thanks again !

    Tuesday, July 24, 2012 7:50 AM
  • Hi,

    Leveling is 10000% better than its reputation :-))

    You can exclude tasks from any leveling by giving them a priority value of 1000 (insert the field of find it in tak information, general)

    You can also exclude resources from leveling by setting the resource field Can Level to No.

    You can restrict leveling to a certain time slice in the leveling options.

    Greetings,

    Tuesday, July 24, 2012 10:03 AM
    Moderator