Home > Microsoft Project, Uncategorized > Microsoft Project Tutorial – Part 10 – Exploring some interesting views for resource planning

Microsoft Project Tutorial – Part 10 – Exploring some interesting views for resource planning

If you’ve followed the tutorial and understood the previous exercises, I hope you’re starting to feel like you’re getting the tools you need to create a project plan using Microsoft Project. We’ll get into costs and what happens during the project later, but you should be able to use Project for your planning now. So, get cracking. It takes about five project plans before you’re really secure about what you’re doing so be prepared that it will feel hard in the beginning. But hang in there and get back to me if you run into problems!

But, I’m going to cover some really nice tools which are available for you to help during your planning (and also during later stages of your project). We start with the Gantt chart. If you select Window—>Split you can see a form on the bottom part of the screen.


This can be used to change the values on the top selected row. Just select the row you wish to edit, make your changes and confirm by clicking OK. As you can see, this form has a huge advantage over the Assign Resources Dialog box: you can specify the number of hours per resource! So, now you can really play with Duration, Work and Unit. You can also edit the links to predecessors in the right column.

If you right click on the grey area you can change form using the contextual menu. You can for example choose Predecessors and Successors:


This is excellent if you have many tasks with complicated dependencies: you can directly see all connected tasks to the selected task.

Observe that the forms are actually views and besides from seeing the form in the bottom part: you can select the blue line at the absolute left and select another view in the View menu. This can be really confusing for the beginner, so skip that right now and be sure to select Window—>Remove split before leaving the Gantt chart view.

One other view that is really interesting when you’re working with resource planning is the Resource usage view, selectable from the View menu:


Here you can see all the resources on the left. Under each resource you can see which tasks they’ve been assigned to and how many hours are planned. On the right side you can see when these hours are to be spent. Observe that this is a time line so if you double click the dates on the top you can change the scale:


You can also hide the assignments (the tasks under each resource) and get something like this:


Doesn’t that look very much like a weekly schedule? Yes it does… Also, observe that all the white cells are editable, so you can change the assignments on a specific date or week. But remember that if you change a 20 to a 10, you remove 10 hours from that task and you’ll have to add that on some other date if this is applicable.

If a number is red on this list it simply means that on at least one minute of the period, the resource is over allocated. But you shouldn’t stare yourself blind on the color. Look at the numbers instead.

You can also double click rows on the left side. If you double click the row of a resource, you can edit the resource details:


If you instead click one of the assignment rows, you can edit the assignment details instead:


(Yes, we’ll get back to costs later…)

Resource usage view is one of the most useful views, so get to know it. But if you look at the View menu, you can also see that there is a Task Usage view. Let’s take a look on that:


You might have guessed correctly: it’s the same as resource usage view, the only difference is that the grouping is per task instead of resource. Otherwise, it works exactly like Resource Usage.

So, when do you use which View:

  • Use Resource Usage when you want to see when the resources are booked or available.
  • Use Task Usage when you want to see when we plan to work on specific tasks and when stuff are planned to be finished.
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