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Resource Allocation and Units not adding up correctly for Duration Base Project Management

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  #1  
Old 23-03-2012
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Join Date: Mar 2012
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Resource Allocation and Units not adding up correctly for Duration Base Project Management

In my company we have been setup to track work by hours per task. We have a system that gives us reports of our employees and how many hours they worked on each task and subtask within the two week time period. I take these reports and enter them into an MS Project 2010 for each person. They are entered for each “sub task” on how many hours they work on for each task and figure out the burn rate. All my projects are DURATION DRIVEN and can’t move the end date for each task. Do or die the TASK dates have to stay. The people we assign can change and we can put more people on the project but this should not shift the end date back and forth.
This is the following stuff that I have done so far.

1) Created a project as a Master Plan with Sub Projects and a Resource Pool.

2) I setup under the project to be Fixed Work under: “File” + “Options” + “Schedule” + “Default Task Type: Fixed Work”.


For example the Report would look like this:
Project 1 Report
John TASK 1 SubTask 1 30 hours 3/22/12 from 4/6/12
Joe TASK 1 SubTask 1 5 hours 3/22/12 from 4/6/12
Katie TASK 1 SubTask 1 2 hours 3/22/12 from 4/6/12
And so forth….


Here are my questions about MS Project 2010

1) I am assigning hours to my resources and the units are not updating to reflect the actual resource Units. To eliminate resource conflicts I go and change the resource allocation to %5 for each resource. Which I know is not right but then I assign hours to each resource that is defiantly over %5. At this point all looks good still. This gets rid of the resource conflicts but then also introduces other problems. If I change the days for the TASK 1 then it recalculates all the employees hours based on the 5% rather than the hours.

2) Why is Project 2010 recalculating its hours based on Units always? Can we change that to be hours so that when we change the hours for the person on task 1 that this would change the units automatically and if we change the duration of TASK 1 from 30 days to 60 days the HOURS stay constant but the UNITS get recalculated? Is there a setting in Project that lets you reconfigure this?

3) For DURATION based project planning what settings would be the best setup for my project?

4) My resources will be allocated in various projects and I want to increase their hours and decrease them based on demand but not change the Task 1 end date. I want the units to update not the hours. How do you force the units to update automatically when you change the hours for a person?

5) Switching everything to manual mode is that a good option? Will I be updating every date and hours for every task manually? Will my reports give me good charts to see the burn rate?

6) Can MS Project 2010 be used effectively in Duration based project management?

Note: Please follow the screen shots I uploaded as to the sequence of events that demonstrate the problem.

Attached Thumbnails
project-options.jpg  resourcepool1.jpg  masterplan1.jpg  masterplan2.jpg  

masterplan3.jpg  masterplan4.jpg  masterplan5.jpg  masterplan6.jpg  

masterplan7.jpg  masterplan8.jpg  
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  #2  
Old 23-03-2012
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Posts: 12
Re: Resource Allocation and Units not adding up correctly for Duration Base Project Management

Here are more screen shots for the above posting
Attached Thumbnails
masterplan9.jpg  masterplan10.jpg  masterplan11.jpg  masterplan12.jpg  

masterplan13.jpg  
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  #3  
Old 24-03-2012
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 489
Re: Resource Allocation and Units not adding up correctly for Duration Base Project Management

Wow - a lot going on here so let me see if I can help to begin to sort it out:

First and likely most importantly - in your "master plan 2" image you show resources assigned to summary tasks such as "SubTask1" and "SubTask2" - resources should ONLY be assigned to the lowest level of outline such as "Sub Task 2-1". Summary tasks are Fixed Duration and the duration is calculated based upon the span of the subtasks underneath.

Second: I don't know why you decided to set your tasks as Fixed Work when you clearly state the durations can't change. Fixed Work, Fixed Duration, and Fixed Units define what happens if after you assign resources you change on of the three mathematically related values: work, duration, or units.

So, if you want to specify the duration of a task and be able to change work without changing duration -- set the task type to fixed duration. Then as you change work, Project will re-calculate assignment units.

To the issue of Project not changing assignment units -- you are using Project 2010 and assignment units are (in my opinion) incorrectly displayed. Add the Peak units field to the timescaled (right side) of the Task usage view to see what is changing with assignment units as you increase work.

The issues you are seeing in image 8 & 9 are because you are assigning resources to summary tasks. Your resource should be assigned to the subtasks and if you want the duration of the summary task to change, you'll need to increase the duration of the subtasks. So this leads to the next question: in one place you say you can't change duration -- but in another you say you want to change duration.

So, first -- assign resources only to the lowest level tasks - subtasks.
Then add Peak Units to the Task Usage view (right side) and see if things don't make more sense.

Then post back with more information/questions after trying my two suggestions.

To your specific questions:

Quote:
1) I am assigning hours to my resources and the units are not updating to reflect the actual resource Units. To eliminate resource conflicts I go and change the resource allocation to %5 for each resource. Which I know is not right but then I assign hours to each resource that is defiantly over %5. At this point all looks good still. This gets rid of the resource conflicts but then also introduces other problems. If I change the days for the TASK 1 then it recalculates all the employees hours based on the 5% rather than the hours.
This is the issue of peak units versus assignment units. The calculation is correct -- the display is not. For details on why see:

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/project/arch...ject-2010.aspx

Quote:
2) Why is Project 2010 recalculating its hours based on Units always?
Because in Project Duration*units = Work. That is the formula that project uses for calculation when you assign the initial resource. If you enter work and the task is Fixed Units or Fixed Work, Project will calculate Duration.

Quote:
Can we change that to be hours so that when we change the hours for the person on task 1 that this would change the units automatically.....
For units to change if you change hours -- the task must be Fixed Duration.

Quote:
.... and if we change the duration of TASK 1 from 30 days to 60 days the HOURS stay constant but the UNITS get recalculated?
For work to stay constant if you change duration and units to recalculate -- the task would have to be Fixed Work.

Task cannot be both Fixed Duration and Fixed Work. Change the task type before you change the other variable and get the desired result.

Quote:
Is there a setting in Project that lets you reconfigure this?
Yes. Add the Type field to the Task Sheet (left side).

Quote:
3) For DURATION based project planning what settings would be the best setup for my project?
Likely fixed duration tasks types - non- effort driven. But again -- if you want work to stay while you change duration -- then change the task type to fixed work before changing duration.

Quote:
4) My resources will be allocated in various projects and I want to increase their hours and decrease them based on demand but not change the Task 1 end date. I want the units to update not the hours. How do you force the units to update automatically when you change the hours for a person?
Fixed Duration task types.

Quote:
5) Switching everything to manual mode is that a good option?
Only if you don't want project to do any calculations for you.

Quote:
Will I be updating every date and hours for every task manually?
I don't know. If you switch to manual scheduling yes. You will still the same issue that as you change work the units won't change - but Peak will. I am not a huge fan of manually scheduled tasks because I want thinks like links to drive schedules and do not want to have to re-type dates constantly.

Quote:
Will my reports give me good charts to see the burn rate?
[/quote]

I'm not sure I know what you mean by "good" charts. Look at the existing reports -- particularly the Visual Reports.
Quote:
6) Can MS Project 2010 be used effectively in Duration based project management?
Yes -- but only if you really understand how the product functions and the best practices and things to avoid.

Project is not an intuitive product -- the best I can recommend is to see if you can get enrolled in a good 2-3 day hands on course with an instructor who can fully explain the intricacies of task type effort driven non-effort driven scheduling.

I hope this helps.

Julie

Last edited by JulieS : 24-03-2012 at 08:35 PM.
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  #4  
Old 26-03-2012
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Posts: 12
Re: Resource Allocation and Units not adding up correctly for Duration Base Project Management

Hi JulieS,

Many thanks for a great response. I am going to implement some of the changes and see if i will be able to get thing working a bit better.

Many thanks again
ndfspeed1971
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  #5  
Old 26-03-2012
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Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 489
Re: Resource Allocation and Units not adding up correctly for Duration Base Project Management

You're welcome. Feel free to post back with further questions as needed.

Julie
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