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Multiple resource assignment problem (2) RRS feed

  • Question

  • I am using MS Project to manage task and assign resource.  One problem I have is to assign mulitiple resource to a task.  For example, there are 2 tasks (task A, B) that I need to assign resource.  There are 2 resources (engineer 1, 2) availiable from the group.  Task A can be done by either engineer but work cannot be shared. Task B must be done by engineer 2.  How can I be able to assign resources to mimic this.   The software should be able to adjust the resource availabilty accordingly. 

    The objective for using the tool is to determine when would a given set of task be completed.  I typically have 10 tasks to plan per day and I generally have no preference for who will do the task and I do not want to preselect would will do the task.  There are some special task needs to be done by specific person.  The tasks are typically independent of each other. Here is a more specific example:

    Task A, 40 hrs duration and need to be complete in this week.  The task can be done by Engineer 1 and 2, and I will assign both to this task (only one engineer can will be working on this task)

    Task B, 40 hrs duration and need to be complete in this week.   The task must be done by Engineer 2, I assigned him to this task.

    Assume both engineers are available 40 hrs per week to do task.

    The program should know both tasks will be completed in this week and task A will be done by Engineer 1 and task B will be done by engineer 2.

    The way I understand MS project, if I assigned Engineer 1 and Engineer 2 to task A, both engineer will use 20 hrs to do the task and task B (Assigned to engineer 2) will be pushed to next week to complete.

    Best regards,

    DB

    Thursday, December 20, 2012 12:04 AM

All replies

  • errr...... if only one engineer can work on Task A, why did you assign two engineers to it?

    The program knows only what you tell it.

    Thursday, December 20, 2012 12:33 AM
  • Hi, Dark Bull. Trevor makes an important point - in the end it is you who will be providing the intelligence about who will be working on which tasks.

    Start with the strictest constraint - Engineer 2 must be assigned to Task B at 100% - and you see that at 100% he or she will finish the task in time. You probably know this ahead of time - you don't have to wait until the week starts to make the connection between Engineer 2 and the tasks that only Engineer 2 can do.

    Now look at lesser constraints - Task A. Either Engineer 1 or 2 can do this. Work cannot be shared and you have a lot of tasks/resources to juggle so you may try assigning Engineer 2 - but then you look at the Resource Usage view and see that Engineer 2 is way over allocated. What to do? You may trying leveling Engineer 2 assignments and find out that Task A (or B) gets pushed out to the following week. Unacceptable! So try something else - undo the leveling and assign Engineer 1 to Task A. It works!

    Graham

    Thursday, December 20, 2012 3:31 AM
  • 
    

    Hi Trevor,

    My intention is not to lock up who will do the Task A work in planning phase.  In reality, whoever available will do the work. 

    I am not sure if MS project is the right tool to use for my purpose.  From what I showed in my example, it shouldn't be a rocket science to figure out who will actually do the work to minimize the duration.  My ideal tool should be smart enough to figure it out.

    Yes, may be, technically speaking, I shouldn't use the word "assign" for both engineers for Task A.  I really don't know what better word to use with the context of what I want to achieve.

    Regards,

    Thursday, December 20, 2012 5:12 PM
  • HI Graham,

    Please refer to my reply to Trevor.  I almost think Engineer 1 and 2 are in the pool. I don't really care who will do the Task A.  But I need to pull Engineer 2 to do the Task B. 

    Regards.

    Thursday, December 20, 2012 5:15 PM
  • Hi,

    Quote:

    " it shouldn't be a rocket science to figure out who will actually do the work to minimize the duration.  My ideal tool should be smart enough to figure it out"

    Project absolutely does not even try that. I don't know of any other tool doing it, but good luck in your search.

    Greetings,

    Thursday, December 20, 2012 6:20 PM
    Moderator
  • My intention is not to lock up who will do the Task A work in planning phase.  In reality, whoever available will do the work. I am not sure if MS project is the right tool to use for my purpose.  From what I showed in my example, it shouldn't be a rocket science to figure out who will actually do the work to minimize the duration.  My ideal tool should be smart enough to figure it out.  -- Darkbull

    There are a few powerful scheduling tools which are smart enough to figure it out. But, the popularity of MS Project and Primavera obscures them. One of them is Optisol's scheduling tool, Schedlyzer Lite.

    If I understand you correctly, you are looking for automatic, optimal / rational assignment of resources (by their names) to tasks without resource overallocation in a case where there is a worker-skill matrix, that is, workers have different "skill sets" and resource requirements of many tasks can be described by skill names during planning stage.  You do not want to make hard resource assignment, that is, assignment of resources by their specific names during planning because such pre-scheduling hard resource assignments may reduce schedule quality.

    Jan, Schedlyzer Lite can efficiently handle the case of multi-skilled workers as desired by Darkbull. Very few project scheduling tools may have such functionality.


    • Edited by PlanOpt Thursday, December 20, 2012 7:11 PM
    Thursday, December 20, 2012 7:10 PM
  • It is sad to know it is out of the capability of MS Project.  Thanks for your suggestion for the software.  I went to the website and it looked like a better tool for my needs. 

    Thursday, December 20, 2012 11:27 PM