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Help required in using Fixed Units, work and duration in scheduling RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hello all,

    I am using MS Project 2010  professional on Windows 7 to accomplish a very simple project schedule and I'd hope some assistance. 

    There are very few tasks that need to be performed sequentially with a single resource as outlined below

    1) The total project duration cannot exceed 7 days - one week, i.e. Sun to Sat. Both Sat and Sunday have been marked as working days in calender settings. The default configuration under 'File->options' has also been configured, the hours per week is changed to 56 to include sat and sun, scheduling is set to 'auto-scheduled' and rest remains the same.  

    2) Task 1 involves collecting requirements through email/phone which has to be completed between Monday-Friday. But, the actual effort required to complete this task is maximum 2-3hrs. I'd like the project to indicate that the resource has 5 days (mon-fri dates) to complete the task but the total effort spent is only 2/3 hrs. 

    3) Task 2 has a finish-start dependency on Task 1 and is typically between 8-10 hrs which can be done only on either Sat or Sun.

    4) Task 3 performed after Sunday has a finish-start dependency on Task 2 and cannot exceed 3hrs. 

    With this, I'd like the schedule to indicate the total project duration, total effort utilized by the resource which usually is about 12-15 hrs. I have tried using different task types and constraints but was unsuccessful. 

    Any help is appreciated.

    Wednesday, March 13, 2013 10:03 AM

Answers

  • Avinash, This is a good example of a small project that will help you get familiar with the operation of task types. Generally the steps are:

    1. Set the context for the project - project name, start date, calendar. You've done this.
    2. Define your tasks - what are they called and what are the expected outcomes. You've done this.
    3. Set the dependencies. You've done this (Finish-Start, no lag).
    4. Set the task types. For this you need to decide what aspect of the task is more important to you - is the task duration more important or the amount of work. You can't have both - one is more important than the other. From your wording I think you have task 1 as Fixed Duration and tasks 2 and 3 as Fixed Work but this is something you need to decide. Set all tasks as Not Effort Driven. (For scheduling purposes, you should not use Fixed Units - as a general rule, this would only be for support tasks used to support or manage tasks that really drive the schedule.)
    5. Enter your estimate for each task in terms of the task type. e.g. if Task 1  is Fixed Duration, set the duration as 5 days (forget about the Work/effort for now). For Task 2, the Work would be 10 hours and for Task 3 the work would be 3 hours (never mind the duration).
    6. Make the assignment. I would use the split screen approach with the resources/predecessors in the lower half. For each task, complete the other part of the information - assign the resource and complete either the work (for a fixed duration task) or the duration (for a fixed work task). Don't worry about the units figure. The use of this has changed in Project 2010 and if you want to know the level of effort for the resource, look at the Peak Units figure in the Task Usage view.

    I hope this helps you to figure out the process for using task types. You don't mention what kind of problem you were having but if there's more information you need, let us know.

    Graham

    Wednesday, March 13, 2013 11:34 AM
  • Avinash, the effort driven option is used to modify how the Work=Effort*Duration is applied to a task when you add or subtract resources to a task that has already had resources assigned. It is useful only with Fixed Units and Fixed Duration task types.

    • If you have a fixed duration task scheduled for 2 days with 100% units, work will be 16 hours (assuming 8 hour workdays)
    • If you add another resource - without effort driven selected - duration will still be 2 days (of course, it's a fixed duration task), the total units will be 200% (you've just added another 100% of a resource) - so the work turns out to be 32 hours
    • If, instead, you add another resource to the original task - this time with effort driven selected - duration will still be 2 days (of course, it's a fixed duration task), the work will be held at 16 hours (that's what effort driven does) and so the total units will be 100% (meaning each resource will work at 50%)

    You can work up a similar example for a Fixed units task.

    Graham

    • Marked as answer by Avinash.Rao Wednesday, March 20, 2013 12:45 PM
    Friday, March 15, 2013 1:14 PM

All replies

  • Avinash, This is a good example of a small project that will help you get familiar with the operation of task types. Generally the steps are:

    1. Set the context for the project - project name, start date, calendar. You've done this.
    2. Define your tasks - what are they called and what are the expected outcomes. You've done this.
    3. Set the dependencies. You've done this (Finish-Start, no lag).
    4. Set the task types. For this you need to decide what aspect of the task is more important to you - is the task duration more important or the amount of work. You can't have both - one is more important than the other. From your wording I think you have task 1 as Fixed Duration and tasks 2 and 3 as Fixed Work but this is something you need to decide. Set all tasks as Not Effort Driven. (For scheduling purposes, you should not use Fixed Units - as a general rule, this would only be for support tasks used to support or manage tasks that really drive the schedule.)
    5. Enter your estimate for each task in terms of the task type. e.g. if Task 1  is Fixed Duration, set the duration as 5 days (forget about the Work/effort for now). For Task 2, the Work would be 10 hours and for Task 3 the work would be 3 hours (never mind the duration).
    6. Make the assignment. I would use the split screen approach with the resources/predecessors in the lower half. For each task, complete the other part of the information - assign the resource and complete either the work (for a fixed duration task) or the duration (for a fixed work task). Don't worry about the units figure. The use of this has changed in Project 2010 and if you want to know the level of effort for the resource, look at the Peak Units figure in the Task Usage view.

    I hope this helps you to figure out the process for using task types. You don't mention what kind of problem you were having but if there's more information you need, let us know.

    Graham

    Wednesday, March 13, 2013 11:34 AM
  • Avinash, This is a good example of a small project that will help you get familiar with the operation of task types. Generally the steps are:

    1. Set the context for the project - project name, start date, calendar. You've done this.
    2. Define your tasks - what are they called and what are the expected outcomes. You've done this.
    3. Set the dependencies. You've done this (Finish-Start, no lag).
    4. Set the task types. For this you need to decide what aspect of the task is more important to you - is the task duration more important or the amount of work. You can't have both - one is more important than the other. From your wording I think you have task 1 as Fixed Duration and tasks 2 and 3 as Fixed Work but this is something you need to decide. Set all tasks as Not Effort Driven. (For scheduling purposes, you should not use Fixed Units - as a general rule, this would only be for support tasks used to support or manage tasks that really drive the schedule.)
    5. Enter your estimate for each task in terms of the task type. e.g. if Task 1  is Fixed Duration, set the duration as 5 days (forget about the Work/effort for now). For Task 2, the Work would be 10 hours and for Task 3 the work would be 3 hours (never mind the duration).
    6. Make the assignment. I would use the split screen approach with the resources/predecessors in the lower half. For each task, complete the other part of the information - assign the resource and complete either the work (for a fixed duration task) or the duration (for a fixed work task). Don't worry about the units figure. The use of this has changed in Project 2010 and if you want to know the level of effort for the resource, look at the Peak Units figure in the Task Usage view.

    I hope this helps you to figure out the process for using task types. You don't mention what kind of problem you were having but if there's more information you need, let us know.

    Graham

    Graham, 

    Thanks for the clarification. By using Fixed Duration task type the peak units and/or resource usage shows 100% which doesn't help me because the schedule must indicate that the resource is spending only the required hours.

    I was able to achieve this in 2 different ways. First, I changed the scheduling method to Manual and configured the task duration manually, added 'work' column to enter the number of hours for each task. By doing this, MS Project automatically calculates the resource allocation in percentage (when a resource is added) which reflects the accurate percentage or work spent by the resource for each task. The task type is fixed units and NOT effort driven.

    I could accomplish the same schedule using task type "Fixed Duration" and NOT effort driven but again had to enter the required "Work" for each task.

    My question: When is "Effort Driven" option used typically? 

    Thanks.


    Thursday, March 14, 2013 6:55 AM
  • Avinash, the effort driven option is used to modify how the Work=Effort*Duration is applied to a task when you add or subtract resources to a task that has already had resources assigned. It is useful only with Fixed Units and Fixed Duration task types.

    • If you have a fixed duration task scheduled for 2 days with 100% units, work will be 16 hours (assuming 8 hour workdays)
    • If you add another resource - without effort driven selected - duration will still be 2 days (of course, it's a fixed duration task), the total units will be 200% (you've just added another 100% of a resource) - so the work turns out to be 32 hours
    • If, instead, you add another resource to the original task - this time with effort driven selected - duration will still be 2 days (of course, it's a fixed duration task), the work will be held at 16 hours (that's what effort driven does) and so the total units will be 100% (meaning each resource will work at 50%)

    You can work up a similar example for a Fixed units task.

    Graham

    • Marked as answer by Avinash.Rao Wednesday, March 20, 2013 12:45 PM
    Friday, March 15, 2013 1:14 PM
  • Very useful. Thanks Graham! 
    Saturday, March 16, 2013 2:52 PM
  • Avinash.Rao,

    You can give Graham the best thanks by marking his response as the answer.

    John

    Saturday, March 16, 2013 3:24 PM
  • Avinash, the effort driven option is used to modify how the Work=Effort*Duration is applied to a task when you add or subtract resources to a task that has already had resources assigned. It is useful only with Fixed Units and Fixed Duration task types.

    • If you have a fixed duration task scheduled for 2 days with 100% units, work will be 16 hours (assuming 8 hour workdays)
    • If you add another resource - without effort driven selected - duration will still be 2 days (of course, it's a fixed duration task), the total units will be 200% (you've just added another 100% of a resource) - so the work turns out to be 32 hours
    • If, instead, you add another resource to the original task - this time with effort driven selected - duration will still be 2 days (of course, it's a fixed duration task), the work will be held at 16 hours (that's what effort driven does) and so the total units will be 100% (meaning each resource will work at 50%)

    You can work up a similar example for a Fixed units task.

    Graham

    Dear Graham,

    In the example you have illustrated on fixed duration and effort driven, adding a resource doesn't seem to impact the project schedule as its a fixed duration task. 

    Can we expect the same behavior if fixed units task types are used? 

    Regards.


    Monday, March 18, 2013 5:57 AM
  • Got it..

    Task Type

    When Effort Driven

    When NOT Effort Driven

    Fixed Work

    If you add resources, Project shortens the task’s duration.

    Not applicable, because all Fixed Work tasks are effort-driven.

    Fixed Units

    If you add resources, Project shortens the task’s duration.

    Adding resources doesn’t affect the task’s units or duration, but Project increases the task’s total work.

    Fixed Duration

    Because the task’s duration is fixed, adding resources doesn’t affect the task’s duration, but Project reduces the allocation of each resource.

    The task’s duration and all resource allocations remain the same when you add resources, but Project increases total work.

    Regards,

    Monday, March 18, 2013 9:36 AM