Ms-Project 2013 - levelling overhead tasks RRS feed

  • Question

  • I am creating a schedule with two types of tasks:

    a) overhead tasks
    b) normal work tasks

    Simplified this is what I want:

    • Task a - overhead X, 1 hour/day - remaining work 20 hours
    • Task b - overhead Y, 2 hours/day - remaining work 20 hours
    • Task c - Work, 4 hours/day - remaining work 60 hours
    • Task d - work, 8 hours/day - remaining work 60 hours

    I would like the following schedule (hours per day):

    a 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 
    b 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 2
    c 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4 4
    d 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 3 3 3 3 3 7 7 7 7 7 

    Can anybody help my out with how to achieve this in Project?

    NB. I tried assigning task a a 10% rsc, b 20%, c 50% and d 100%
    This results in task d to start after task a (the longest one) is finished :-(

    Thursday, December 5, 2013 1:30 PM

All replies

  • Rene --

    The only way to accomplish this would be to manually contour the Work hours in the timephased grid of the Task Usage view.  Apply the Task Usage view and manually type the Work hours in the timephased grid (timesheet-like grid on the right).  Hope this helps.

    Dale A. Howard [MVP]

    Thursday, December 5, 2013 2:16 PM
  • In addition to Dale's suggestion, you could accomplish your scenario using 3 custom calendars and then using resource leveling.

    Create the three calendars:

    1 hour per day from 8:00 to 9:00

    2 hours per day from 9:00 to 11:00

    4 hours per day from 11:00 to 16:00

    Assign the calendars to the tasks and then assign the resource at 100% to all tasks.  Use the resource leveling command and Project will spread the tasks exactly as you note.

    However, I'm not sure that method is sustainable over the long run.

    Thursday, December 5, 2013 2:35 PM
  • Rene;

    One thing I've discovered by playing with Project 2013 is that it levels resources based on available duration, not hours. This is a very key distinction since most PMs see hours per day and if the resource is not booked up to 8 hours/day (or whatever the max), then they assume the tool should be running additional work in parallel (assuming work can be run parallel).  So here's what I mean by leveling based on duration.  

    Assume I have a task that is 5 days long but I only want Joe to spend 1 hour per day on it.  I can set up the task with a 5 day duration and assign him at about 10-12% Units which will get me the 1 hour per day.  However, if I try to get Joe working on another task in parallel, that second task always schedules after the first task.  The why is very simple.  

    Joe is allocated on the first task full time (8-5) for 5 days.  Each day his available DURATION is used up by that one task, even though we're only getting 1 hour of actual work during that 8 hour day because of the Assignment Units value.  So when the leveling engine looks for time available for Joe to work on Task 2, it looks like he's totally booked each day because Project is looking for available DURATION blocks, not available hours.  

    One potential work around is to use Recurring tasks for the 1 hour/day work.  This creates many occurrences of small duration tasks (1 hour) that occur each day.  Because the duration of each of these tasks is only one hour, Project now sees that Joe has 7 hour of DURATION open every day and will schedule additional work in parallel.  One side note with recurring tasks is that you might need to set them up using a standard M-F 40 hour per week calendar, ignoring resource calendars.  The down side is this will schedule the resource for work when they are, for example, scheduled for time off.  However, the up side is that the occurrences will occur on the days they are supposed to and won't extend past the defined duration due to resource unavailability for things like vacations.  

    In the company I work for, we use the long fixed duration tasks for things like project overhead that only 1 or two resources are assigned to (such as the PM).  These people generally are not assigned to other detailed tasks while these overhead tasks are active.  We then use recurring tasks for weekly occurrence items as this allows the schedule to run tasks in parallel.  

    While Dale's method will work, it means you'll need to start manually contouring work thru the entire task list.  Using Recurring tasks can create a boatload of individual tasks, but you can pretty much just let the scheduling engine do it's normal job for all the other tasks with minimal manual intervention.  

    Hope this helps 

    Monday, January 4, 2016 8:21 PM