Resources Splitting Time Across Multiple Projects (Project Pro 2010) RRS feed

  • Question

  • I'll start with my primary question, but I have a lot of questions about how best to manage resources across multiple projects when they are not fully allocated to project work, and/or don't typically spend 8 hours a day on project tasks. My main question is how do you evenly split a resource between two projects? While testing this using local resources, I set the same resource at 50% Max Units on two schedules, and when I applied the resource to 1 task per schedule on the same day it showed 4 hrs in each work in each case. This is good, but the problem is it shows the resource as being overallocated at 8 total hours of work. What I'm trying to get to is what is the best way to split resource time between 2 projects (to keep things simple) while not manually manipulating dates and work. I just want to be able to show someone working 1 project part of the day and another project the rest of the day. This is bugging me and I want to avoid having to manually change things around a bunch. Any help would be appreciated.

    Edit:  Sorry, I just realized this is in the wrong area but I don't know how to change the forum.

    • Edited by GoBucks08 Tuesday, April 14, 2015 6:45 PM Wrong Location for Question
    Tuesday, April 14, 2015 6:25 PM

All replies

  • GoBucks08 --

    Are you using Project Server in your organization?  I ask because you posted this question in a Project Server user forum.

    If you are using Microsoft Project 2010 desktop only without Project Server, I would set the Max. Units value for the resource at 100% in each project.  Then, continue as you are doing, which is assigning the resource at a Units value of 50% on task work that occurs during parallel time periods across two projects.  If you have parallel tasks occurring across more than two projects for this resource, you would need to drop the Units value even lower (for example, to 25% if you are assigning the resource in four parallel projects).

    Hope this helps.

    Dale A. Howard [MVP]

    Tuesday, April 14, 2015 7:34 PM
  • Dale,

    Thank you for the quick reply. Yes I am using the Project Server, and I realized after the fact I put this in the wrong location (see edit). Sorry about that.

    As for your suggestion, would I have to change each resource to 50% on each task that is concurrent for both projects? This is what I was trying to avoid by setting their max units to 50% on the resource sheet, which in turn created the overallocation and scheduling issue. Would it be easier to just ignore the overallocation warning then since in my example they would in fact be working a normal 8 hours? It seems like there would be an easier way to allow resources to split time between projects.


    Tuesday, April 14, 2015 8:02 PM
  • GoBucks08 --

    The Project Server administrator should set up the resources at a Max. Units value of 100% if each resource is available for full-time work on projects.  You, as a PM, are not able to change the Max. Units value in a project and have the value remain with the project.  You can change it temporarily, but the next time you open the project, it will revert back to what the Project Server administrator has set.

    In your situation, I would recommend you open the relevant projects in a temporary master project.  This will allow you to see where there are parallel tasks across projects when you are assigning resources.  This will allow you to specify the correct Units value so that you do not cause overallocations.  To create a temporary master project, do the following in Microsoft Project 2010:

    1. Open each of the projects Read/Write.
    2. Click the View tab to display the View ribbon.
    3. In the Window section of the View ribbon, click the New Window button.
    4. In the New Window dialog, select the open projects, select the Gantt Chart view, and then click the OK button.

    This will now allow you to work with the projects on screen at the same time.  You also mentioned ignoring the overallocations.  Only you can decide whether the severity of the overallocation is great enough to justify the extra work you would need to go through to resolve the overallocations, either by leveling or by adjusting assignment Units values for the overallocated resources.  Hope this helps.

    Dale A. Howard [MVP]

    Tuesday, April 14, 2015 9:05 PM
  • Dale, Thanks again for the help. I was unaware of the New Window button, and that's quite helpful.

    I still feel like I'm missing some fundamental piece of this. How do schedulers typically develop and manage schedules with Enterprise Resources working concurrently on multiple projects? I can't imagine it's that rare, but I also can't imagine schedulers have to adjust unit % on all tasks that are concurrent. Maybe that is the case. I also work for an organization that has a poor PM environment, but I'm trying to change that.

    In your experience have you typically done estimates based on duration or work? I've been forced to generally make schedules based on duration, which I've argued against, but now I'm getting a lot of interest from groups who want to track resources across multiple projects to see where there might be capacity or if people are overworked. From my understanding the best way to accomplish that is by using work estimates.

    Sorry for all the questions. I'm trying to unlearn some bad habits and help evolve the culture of an Agency with 10,000 employees.....

    Wednesday, April 15, 2015 2:29 PM
  • GoBucks08 --

    In a Project Server environment, you have a very valuable tool for planning resource assignments across multiple projects: the Resource Availability page in PWA.  Navigate to the Resource Center page, select the checkboxes for the resources you want to assign across multiple projects, and then click the Resource Availability button.  On the Resource Availability page, select the time range during which you want to view resource availability for the selected resources.  Select one resource at a time to determine in which projects the selected resource is already assigned task work, and how much work they are assigned in each time period.  This will show you if the resource is already booked on other projects, either partially or fully.

    Regarding how to handle this in Microsoft Project, you can use a combination of Duration planning AND Work planning for resource assignments.  But your big problem is this:  if you assign a resource to work at a Units value of 100% on parallel tasks, you are saying that the resource must work full-time on each task.  And this will result in an overallocation, which you may or may not choose to level.  If you truly mean that the resource must work full-time on each of the parallel tasks, and you choose not to level the overallocation, this will ultimately mean that one or more of the tasks will slip because of the unleveled resource overallocation.

    Given the fact that you are working in an organization with immature project management methodologies, it would be wise to begin educating your fellow PMs on good practice for managing resource assignments on parallel tasks and parallel projects.  Just my thoughts on this issue.  I hope the others will feel free to jump in and share their thoughts as well.

    Hope this helps.

    Dale A. Howard [MVP]

    Wednesday, April 15, 2015 6:57 PM