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Assigned Units not showing correct value (revisited) RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hi all,

    I couple of weeks back, I submitted a question concerning assigned units that were not displayed correctly in the Task Details Form and Gantt chart.

    https://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/ad551037-03b0-49f8-a263-7e0f8b5b2cbe/assigment-units-not-showing-correct-value-in-project-standard-2013?forum=projectprofessional2010general

    The answer I got was essentially that this was by design and the justification of this was in the following blog:

    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/project/archive/2010/04/29/assignment-units-in-project-2010.aspx

    Unfortunately I closed the question as being answered but I do not believe the questions was fully answered.

    Again I understand Microsoft development team's choice but still the behavior in the Task Details Form does not correspond to a behavior I would expect, neither does it correspond to what Microsoft is explaining in it's blog.

    Let me show the initial screen I had presented in this first question:

    Resource 1 has units set at 80% as this is the correct value taken from my resource sheet.

    Resource 2 shows 80%. This is the correct value taken from my resource sheet and although I would have preferred to see both values for Resource 1 and Resource 2 go down to 40% like with Microsoft Project 2007, the behavior is consistent with what is explained in the blog provided previously and remains at 80%.

    But from Resource 3 and on the behavior is different. Resource 3 shows 40% which from my perspective is wrong; the value should be 27% and it should be the same for all resources from 1 to 3. And it is also wrong from what is explained in the blog provided earlier (i.e. the value should still be 80% for Resources 3).

    And for Resource 4 the units drop down to 27%. Resource 4 units should have remained at 80% as explained in the blog, and according to Microsoft Project 2007 I would have expected 20% for all resources.

    Now question is : is my understanding correct that units remain the same as the initially assigned units to a task? and if so, how do we explain behavior for Resource 3 and Resource 4?.

    Thanks in advance,

    Jacques

    Tuesday, August 18, 2015 12:53 PM

Answers

  • You are not doing anything wrong. There is clearly a problem here and I think its associated with the Project 2010 "fix" Microsoft brought in.

    The key issue here is that MS changed Units to be original units entered or calculated. Unfortunately this value is pretty much useless as once edits have been done, Units often displays the wrong value so you can't trust any Units value.

    Peak units is what Units used to be but it too has limited value. If someone enters 8h for one day on a 50% units assignment, peak units displays 100%.

    As a Project planner and a Project Manager the only useful value is remaining units calculated as Remaining Work / Remaining Duration. That is what my Assignment Units macro does, recalculate all Units for incomplete active, auto scheduled tasks.

    I would just accept that this is the current behavior and move to work arounds, my free macro being one of them. Incidentally it recalcs all Units as 20% in your scenario.


    Rod Gill
    Author of the one and only Project VBA Book
    www.project-systems.co.nz

    Wednesday, August 19, 2015 8:50 PM
    Moderator
  • Jaques --

    I know that the issues with the Assignment Units and Peak fields is really bothering you.  As I stated earlier, they bother most of us as well.  For those of us who are either Microsoft Project MVPs or people who provide training for Microsoft Project users, this issue is really a pain for us to explain to our students.

    My fellow MVP, Rod Gill, has just offered you a free macro to address the deficiencies of the Assignment Units and Peak fields.  I would encourage you to accept his offer and begin using his macro.  Rod is the king of Microsoft Project macros, having authored the only books ever written about Microsoft Project VBA.  You can trust him.  Hope this additional information helps.


    Dale A. Howard [MVP]

    Wednesday, August 19, 2015 9:02 PM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Jaques --

    What you are experiencing is one of the most frustrating changes introduced in Microsoft Project 2010.  This change was introduced to fix a long-standing bug in the software.  Way back in 2010, while working with a beta copy of Microsoft Project 2010, I was able to confirm that Microsoft fixed this bug (to their credit, by the way).  However, in fixing the bug, they introduced the Units behavior your are now experiencing.

    In your situation, navigate to the Task Usage view and insert the Assignment Units column and the Peak column as well.  In the Assignment Units column, you will see the values you are seeing in the Task Form pane.  I tell my students that the Assignment Units column and the Units field contain the ORIGINAL starting Units value for the resource on the task.  When you look at the Peak column, you will see the correct Units value.  I tell my students that the Peak column contains the NEW Units value when you change either Work or Duration so that the Units value would be recalculated.  For example, if you change the Work value on a Fixed Duration task, Microsoft Project will recalculate the Units value.  Frankly, I have gotten to the point of ignoring the Units values shown in the Task Form after I have completely planned a project.

    I realize that what you are seeing is frustrating.  It is frustrating for many of us as well.  But this is how the software works now, in the 2010 version and all versions moving forward, so it is behavior we need to live with.  Hope this helps.


    Dale A. Howard [MVP]

    Tuesday, August 18, 2015 1:11 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi Jaques,

    Maybe you should start by telling us what are the steps you go through in your example? Do you assign the 4 resources and then press OK? Or do you start assigning the 2 first resources, press ok, change something and add the 2 other resources? Do you set the work or the unit for the resources?

    It is important for us to know the steps because having the effort driven option enabled, the order of the steps does matter. So share with us the exact steps for your example and we'll be able to explain you the behavior behind the scene.

    That being said, indeed the assignment unit is not recalculated after changing any information on the assignment. You have to look at the peak field.


    Hope this helps,


    Guillaume Rouyre, MBA, MVP, P-Seller |

    Tuesday, August 18, 2015 1:17 PM
    Moderator
  • In addition, Rod Gill wrote a VBA macro to update the assignment unit versus the peak unit:

    http://www.project-systems.co.nz/VBA-Sample-Code/VBASampleResetAssignmentUnits.html


    Hope this helps,


    Guillaume Rouyre, MBA, MVP, P-Seller |

    Tuesday, August 18, 2015 1:20 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi Guillaume,

    the process I am using is very straight forward and simple. I assign Resource 1 and press OK and I assign Resource 2 and Press OK and I assign Resource 3 and press OK and I assign Resource 4 and press OK.

    And what I am seeing is that yes, Units are recalculated, but not the way I was expecting them to be recalculated.

    Here is what I am getting from Dale's suggestion above, showing results step by step assigning each resource 1 by 1.

    HLet me know what I am doing wrong.

    Regards,

    Jacques

    Tuesday, August 18, 2015 1:48 PM
  • Thanks Dale

    I did exactly what you explained (see screen captures below) and results still appear to be wrong.

    Regards,

    Jacques

    Tuesday, August 18, 2015 1:49 PM
  • Yes but Microsoft Project does not behave the same way when adding resources 1 and 2 and the 3 and 4.

    Regards,

    Jacques

    Tuesday, August 18, 2015 1:55 PM
  • Further, Resource 3 has never been assigned at 40% and Resource 4 has never been assigned at 27% in Peak units.

    Tuesday, August 18, 2015 1:59 PM
  • Hi Jaques,

    Indeed I can see the same behavior as yours.

    My understanding is that when you add a new resource, Project takes the amount of work by resources and not the total (thus 8days when you add R2, 4days when you add R3 and 2.67days when you add R4) and calculates for the assignment unit how much unit is required to split this work with another resource.

    • When you add R2, Project calculates that for doing 8days of work over 10 days for a resource at 80% max unit, it requires its entire capacity, meaning 80%.
    • When you add R3, Project calculates that for doing 4 days of work over 10 days, a similar resource needs half of his capacity, meaning 40% (resource having 80% of max unit).
    • When you add R4, Project calculates that for doing 2.67 days of work over 10 days, a similar resource needs a third of his capacity, meaning 8/3=27%.

    Beside this, for each resource added, Project calculates the peak units as work divided by duration, meaning 80%, divided by the number of resource working on the task:

    • Adding R2, 80%/2=40%
    • Adding R3, 80%/3=27%
    • Adding R2, 80%/4=20%

    This is far from being obvious indeed.


    Hope this helps,


    Guillaume Rouyre, MBA, MVP, P-Seller |

    Tuesday, August 18, 2015 2:40 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi Guillaume,

    thanks for the explanation and this is correct for the Peak filed but does not explain what is going on with the Assignment Units field.

    Here is an excerpt from the blog which explains the behavior we should see:

    ==>

    "But as it turns out, in previous versions of Project we were using the Assignment Units field to track two slightly different aspects of the resource assignments on each task:

    · Keep track of the workload initially assigned to the resource as detailed above.

    · Show the maximum workload experienced by or assigned to the resource.

    Because the field was being asked to do two different things users could experience inconsistent behavior around the extending of task duration in versions of the product prior to 2010. To help resolve this inconsistency we’ve leveraged the Peak field which already handles the second function leaving the Assignment Units field free to track the workload as initially assigned. Here’s an illustrative example:"

    ==>

    As I mentioned earlier, Resource 3 has never been initially assigned at 40% on the task and Resource 4 has never been initially assigned at 27%. Their respective initial workloads is what is shown in Peak field when they are assigned and should at least be correctly replicated in the Assignment Units field.

    Let me know if there is something I am not getting.

    Thanks for hanging in there,

    Jacques

    Tuesday, August 18, 2015 5:07 PM
  • You are not doing anything wrong. There is clearly a problem here and I think its associated with the Project 2010 "fix" Microsoft brought in.

    The key issue here is that MS changed Units to be original units entered or calculated. Unfortunately this value is pretty much useless as once edits have been done, Units often displays the wrong value so you can't trust any Units value.

    Peak units is what Units used to be but it too has limited value. If someone enters 8h for one day on a 50% units assignment, peak units displays 100%.

    As a Project planner and a Project Manager the only useful value is remaining units calculated as Remaining Work / Remaining Duration. That is what my Assignment Units macro does, recalculate all Units for incomplete active, auto scheduled tasks.

    I would just accept that this is the current behavior and move to work arounds, my free macro being one of them. Incidentally it recalcs all Units as 20% in your scenario.


    Rod Gill
    Author of the one and only Project VBA Book
    www.project-systems.co.nz

    Wednesday, August 19, 2015 8:50 PM
    Moderator
  • Jaques --

    I know that the issues with the Assignment Units and Peak fields is really bothering you.  As I stated earlier, they bother most of us as well.  For those of us who are either Microsoft Project MVPs or people who provide training for Microsoft Project users, this issue is really a pain for us to explain to our students.

    My fellow MVP, Rod Gill, has just offered you a free macro to address the deficiencies of the Assignment Units and Peak fields.  I would encourage you to accept his offer and begin using his macro.  Rod is the king of Microsoft Project macros, having authored the only books ever written about Microsoft Project VBA.  You can trust him.  Hope this additional information helps.


    Dale A. Howard [MVP]

    Wednesday, August 19, 2015 9:02 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi Rod,

    Thanks for the help, I believe 20% is what should be shown in the units fields and by all  means if your macro does this, I will download it and use it.

    Aside this, I believe the Units fields is still not behaving the way Microsoft claims it is suppose to behave.

    I would like Microsoft at least to acknowledge this even if they don't intend to correct it.

    Thanks again,

    Jacques

    Wednesday, August 19, 2015 11:38 PM
  • Hi Dale,

    thanks for the support and tip I appreciate it. Yes, I will download Rod's macro and use it.

    As mentioned to Rod though, I strongly believe the Units is not even behaving the way Microsoft claims it is behaving.

    As mentioned previously, Initial units assigned to Resource 1 should be 80%, to Resource 2 should be 40%, to Resource 3 should be 27% and Resource 4 should be 20% according to what is mentioned in the blog and excerpt I provided previously this is what they say we should be seeing this. Unfortunately, the field does not behave this way.

    BTw, if Rod is the king of Microsoft Project macros, and I know he is having read his book cover to cover; you have to be the king of training. I watched many of you webinars on MPUG and just loved them.

    Regards,

    Jacques 

    Wednesday, August 19, 2015 11:52 PM