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Specifying varying times for resource allocation RRS feed

  • Question

  • I am a new user so I may not phrase this as well as a more experienced user, please bear with me. I am using Project Pro 2010 on Win XP Pro.

    My manager wants a Project plan set up that will mainly allow him to track available resources (human not property). I have data that tells me how many of a specific resource we are allowed per month per contract. For example, Contract G005-R42X has an allocation in August 2012 for .38 tool designers. The same contract will have an allocation for .75 tool designers for the next two months and then it drops back down to .38 for the duration of the contract. (The decimal amounts of the tool designer are derived by dividing a certain number of hours by the total hours in the fiscal month. I'm just getting used to the managers discussing the need for 2/3rds of a person.)

    Ideally I'd like to find a way to use the contract number as a task and then "Tool Designer" as a phase of that task. What I can't figure out is how to have varying levels of a resource by month. I've resorted to using each month as a phase but that's an ugly way to do it.

    I'm hoping there is a way to do this but I'll be darned if I can figure out how. I am open to restructuring my data as long as my manager can look at the resource graph and see that in November we have an overallocation problem for the electrical engineers.

    JoAnn Paules


    -- JoAnn Paules 2004-2010 MVP Microsoft Publisher Tech Editor for "Using Microsoft Publisher 2010"

    Friday, May 11, 2012 8:17 PM

Answers

  • You can go into the Resource Usage View and manually edit units per week or month. However scheduling like this is pretty much like getting a calculator out, adding up cells in Excel then typing the result in. Project is being used as a very expensive drawing tool.


    Rod Gill

    The one and only Project VBA Book

    Rod Gill Project Management

    • Marked as answer by JoAnn Paules Saturday, May 12, 2012 3:48 PM
    Saturday, May 12, 2012 9:48 AM
    Moderator
  • JoAnn,

    The terminology you used to describe your scenario suggested you are working in an industry that works on contracts with a basis of estimate (BOE) using accounting months. You personally may think that a "month is a month" but your management and customer may be expecting something a little different (i.e. accounting month data).

    Nonetheless as Rod explained, to get varying resource assignments for a 2 month task, (e.g. 50% in the first month and 75% in the second month), you have two choices. One, break the task into 2 separate monthly tasks and set the resource availability as Rod explained. Two, enter the resource assignments and then manually contour the weekly (or daily) assignment level as necessary. The first approach is a little easier, even more so if you can in fact use calendar months. The second approach is very tedious but it will lay things out exactly as you describe.

    You said your boss wants you to use Project. I'd make sure he understands the accounting month limitation (i.e. Project doesn't do that), and also get a real clear understanding of the end goal (i.e. what kind of data is required and in what form).

    John

    • Marked as answer by JoAnn Paules Saturday, May 12, 2012 3:48 PM
    Saturday, May 12, 2012 3:39 PM

All replies

  • In the Resource sheet double-click the resource to show the Resource Information dialog and there you can edit availability over time. This has no effect on task dates: it only sets at what usage a resource gets flagged as over-allocated.

    It is your task to assign resources and adjust task sequences to make sure you only use the available resource or less.


    Rod Gill

    The one and only Project VBA Book

    Rod Gill Project Management

    Friday, May 11, 2012 9:00 PM
    Moderator
  • It's not overtime.

    Let me try to explain this another way. I have 2 tool designers. I have been given 122 hours in August for tool design and CNC programming. There are 160 working hours in the fiscal month. It means I need .38 tool designer and .38 CNC programmer. (There is only enough work for each employee for 38% of his hours in August.)

    In September my hours are increased and now I have 288 hours, .75 tool designer and .75 CNC programmer. (75% of their hours for the month)

    How do I indicate the increase? Or do I need to break each month into a separate task?


    -- JoAnn Paules 2004-2010 MVP Microsoft Publisher Tech Editor for "Using Microsoft Publisher 2010"

    Friday, May 11, 2012 11:32 PM
  • My method has nothing to do with Overtime, and everything to do with availability. Set the max units available from a specific and you set the point at which a resource is flagged as over-allocated.

    No, do not have separate tasks for each month, but do break tasks into smaller chunks. Best practice suggests task durations be between 2d and 2w.


    Rod Gill

    The one and only Project VBA Book

    Rod Gill Project Management

    Saturday, May 12, 2012 12:54 AM
    Moderator
  • Unfortunately breaking the tasks down into smaller chunks isn't an option. We are allocated a certain number of hours per month and we won't know exactly when the resource will be used.

    (I would have swore your response mentioned overtime and yet now it doesn't. I think it's time to go offline for the evening.)


    -- JoAnn Paules 2004-2010 MVP Microsoft Publisher Tech Editor for "Using Microsoft Publisher 2010"

    Saturday, May 12, 2012 1:13 AM
  • JoAnn,

    One of the main problems you will face with Project is that it does not work in fiscal (accounting) months so if you are looking for Project to show the data in terms of fiscal months, it ain't gonna happen. If you really want fiscal month data then yes you will have to create a task for each fiscal month, probably fixed duration with the resource availability set up as Rod suggested in his first response.

    I kinda wonder if you might not be better off simply creating a spreadsheet of available hours and actual hours for each fiscal month (i.e. use Excel and not try to force Project to do something it can't, at least not easily).

    John

    Saturday, May 12, 2012 2:53 AM
  • The boss wants to use Project - so I'm using Project. :-)

    The fact that we're given hours based on a fiscal month rather than a calendar month isn't a big deal. As far as I'm concerned, a month is a month. It's laying the tasks out and showing the resources being allocated per the BOE.

    I can tell that I'm not describing my situation clearly. Either that or I'm just not understanding Rod's info.

    Maybe I need to ask the question this way: Within a single task that has a 2 month duration, can I assign a resource for 50% during one month and 75% during the second? Or do I need to split the task into two tasks, one with the resource set at 50% and the other month with the resource set at 75%?


    -- JoAnn Paules 2004-2010 MVP Microsoft Publisher Tech Editor for "Using Microsoft Publisher 2010"

    Saturday, May 12, 2012 3:49 AM
  • You can go into the Resource Usage View and manually edit units per week or month. However scheduling like this is pretty much like getting a calculator out, adding up cells in Excel then typing the result in. Project is being used as a very expensive drawing tool.


    Rod Gill

    The one and only Project VBA Book

    Rod Gill Project Management

    • Marked as answer by JoAnn Paules Saturday, May 12, 2012 3:48 PM
    Saturday, May 12, 2012 9:48 AM
    Moderator
  • JoAnn,

    The terminology you used to describe your scenario suggested you are working in an industry that works on contracts with a basis of estimate (BOE) using accounting months. You personally may think that a "month is a month" but your management and customer may be expecting something a little different (i.e. accounting month data).

    Nonetheless as Rod explained, to get varying resource assignments for a 2 month task, (e.g. 50% in the first month and 75% in the second month), you have two choices. One, break the task into 2 separate monthly tasks and set the resource availability as Rod explained. Two, enter the resource assignments and then manually contour the weekly (or daily) assignment level as necessary. The first approach is a little easier, even more so if you can in fact use calendar months. The second approach is very tedious but it will lay things out exactly as you describe.

    You said your boss wants you to use Project. I'd make sure he understands the accounting month limitation (i.e. Project doesn't do that), and also get a real clear understanding of the end goal (i.e. what kind of data is required and in what form).

    John

    • Marked as answer by JoAnn Paules Saturday, May 12, 2012 3:48 PM
    Saturday, May 12, 2012 3:39 PM