Home > Microsoft Project, Uncategorized > Microsoft Project Tutorial – Part 9 – Working with part time resource and resource groups

Microsoft Project Tutorial – Part 9 – Working with part time resource and resource groups

One of the dreams of most project managers starting to work with Microsoft Project is being able to handle part time resources and to be able to get an idea of how much resources are needed. But few get this to work in real life.

Why?

Well, because it’s not as easy as you might think. Before you even attempt at this task, be sure to read and understand the concepts of Work, Duration and Unit. This is described in part 1.

To just make clear: Unit is the part of a resource’s time which is spent on a task. This means that if Unit is 50% on a task, that means that the resource spends half of his working time during the duration on that task.

AssignedTasks

If you remember from part 2, we specify working time in Tools—>Options and Tools—>Change working time dialog boxes. If you’ve skipped this chapter before, read this before you continue. But what we did in that chapter is that we set the default working time for our tasks and resources. But all resources have their own working time. For example, resources are off on holidays during different time periods.

If you select View—>Resource sheet, you can see all the resources and their details:

ResourceList

On the list there are some values you can change:

  • Name – should be unique
  • Type – specifies if cost is per hour (work) or per item (material). Remember that materials which have an hourly cost is work but items which you buy per item is material. This is why a leased computer can be considered Work while a bought computer is Material.
  • Material Label – is set if Type is set to Material. Can be used if you want to use other labels than name.
  • Initials – in many cases you can select between viewing the whole resource name and the initials. But make sure the initials are unique for each resource.
  • Group – can not be used for assigning to a resource group but can be used for filtering and grouping in print outs and views.
  • Max Units – number of resources
  • Std rate – cost (per hour if Type is Work) if assigned to task
  • Ovt rate – if you manually specify that the overtime rate is to be used, this rate is used on a specific task
  • Cost/use – every time you assign a resource to a task, one instance of this sum is added to the task.
  • Accure at – is only used if you track how the costs are building up through the project. If Prorated is set, costs are added when they are used. If At start is set, all costs are added upon task starting.
  • Base Calendar – which calendar the resource working time is based on

We’ll go into costs later, but if we focus on working time, we have the columns Max Units and Base Calendar. Max units can be used to set how many resources a resource name refers to. This means that if you have the resource Tester, and you have two testers, you can set this value to 200%. In other words, at one given moment, you can have the maximum of 200% total unit assigned without the resource becoming over assigned.

What? Don’t I use this to set if a resource is working part time? Well, you could do that but you won’t be happy if you do so. The reason is how Max Units work. What it does is that it compares total figure of Units at all moments and sees if it’s over or under the value in Max Units. If the sum is more than Max Units, the resource is viewed as red in the resource sheet and you are given the warning that the resource is over allocated. But isn’t that nice? Well, it would be if Microsoft Project looked at whole days or whole weeks. But it looks at minutes. Just test this:

  1. Add two tasks (not linked, should happen at the same time)
  2. Set the Duration of the tasks to 1 min
  3. Assign the same resource to both tasks
  4. View—>Resource sheet

As you can see, the resource is over allocated. One minute is enough.

So, what happens if you set the Max Units to 50%. That means that each minute, that resource can only participate 30 seconds before she is considered over allocated. You can say that she can only participate on half a meeting.

So, what you do is that you double click the resource and activate the Calendar tab. Here you can set the working time for that resource. So, if a resource is working half time, you might set afternoons off or something like that. Remember that if you change the working time to afternoons, assigning a resource 100% means 100% of that resource calendar time which is the afternoons.

ResourceInformationCalender

If you have a lot of part time resources, I can be an idea to create specific calendars for part time resources (see part 2) and set the Base calendar of the resources instead. This also makes it easier to see on the Resource Sheet.

Even if a resource is working full time does not mean that you don’t set the individual calendar. You should still add time off so you don’t plan tasks when they are not available.

Complicated? Yes, this is one of the trickier parts of Microsoft Project, and I suggest that you take some time playing with calendars, units and Max Units.

But this chapter was also about Resource groups. The Group attribute on Resource is just an attribute, so if you do have a resource group, you change the Max Units value instead:

ResourceListMaxUnit

Also, you can double click a resource and set different values on Max Units. This is very good if you have different numbers of resources during specific time periods.

ResourceInformation

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  1. Sai
    2009/09/13 at 9:52 am

    Thanks for the post. I see there may be a problem in your approach of indicating part time resoures. Let say, i have a part time (works half-day) and a full time (works full).

    So, by this post the full time resource’s resource calendar should be half day (say 9am – 12 pm) and should have the (max) units as 100%, and the part time resource’s resource calendar should be full day (say 9am – 6pm) and should have the (max) units as 100%.

    My question how would the duration field in Gantt chart view be calculated – i understand it is based on the setting of Tools | Options … Calendar tab. As per the Calendar tab, let say the hours per day is 8 hours.

    If i have two tasks, each with 8 hours work and the first task is assigned to full-time resource and second task is assigned to the part-time resource, I expect the duration to be 1 day for the 1st task, and 0.5 day for the 2nd task, but MS Project always displays 1 day for both.

    Why?

  2. Sai
    2009/09/13 at 9:53 am

    (Please use this reply, as my previous one had some typos)

    Thanks for the post. I see there may be a problem in your approach of indicating part time resoures. Let say, i have a part time (works half-day) and a full time (works full).

    So, by this post the part time resource’s resource calendar should be half day (say 9am – 12 pm) and should have the (max) units as 100%, and the full time resource’s resource calendar should be full day (say 9am – 6pm) and should have the (max) units as 100%.

    My question how would the duration field in Gantt chart view be calculated – i understand it is based on the setting of Tools | Options … Calendar tab. As per the Calendar tab, let say the hours per day is 8 hours.

    If i have two tasks, each with 8 hours work and the first task is assigned to full-time resource and second task is assigned to the part-time resource, I expect the duration to be 1 day for the 1st task, and 0.5 day for the 2nd task, but MS Project always displays 1 day for both.

    Why?

    • Anna Forss
      2009/09/13 at 10:35 am

      I hope I understand your question correctly, and if I don’t, please get back to me.

      I just want to start out with stressing that I don’t see this use of part time users as the way I would want it, this is just the way Project works, and I would love for them to change the program so it better reflects how part time resources work. But now back to the question.

      Duration can be displayed as minutes, hours, days, weeks, etc. You can change the display mode under Tools–>Options–>Schedule. If you change this setting, this would make it easier to see the difference in this case.

      Duration is the time between Start & Finish and therefore the duration for the tasks will differ if you have a part time resource and a full time resource. But this is for the first assignment. If you change this after the first assignment, there will be a recalculation, based on the Task Type (see the blog post on Task Types)

      then there is another question about the graph. Is that what is causing your problems?

  3. Prahalad
    2010/03/19 at 5:04 pm

    please anyone one help me to assign to shifts for resources.

    1Shift from 8:00 AM to 08:00PM ( including 01hour Lunch Break)
    2Shift From 08:00PM to 08:00 AM
    Actually while i am assigning the working time to resource it shows ” the end time of shift must be later than the start of the shift”.

    How to solve it, please help.

    I have assign 24hrs work calender for Task.

    Regards,

    Prahalad

    • Anna Forss
      2010/03/20 at 6:38 am

      I would create three tasks for this and two resources. Change the calender for one of the resources so it matches one of the shifts and the calender of the other resource so it matches the second shift. Let’s say it’s a development task. Name the tasks Development, Development Shift 1 and Development Shift 2. Make the Development Shift 1 and Development Shift 2 tasks sub tasks to the Development tasks. Then assign the different shift resources to their respective tasks. Will that help?

  4. Prahalad
    2010/03/19 at 5:11 pm

    I am MSP 2003

  5. Prahalad
    2010/03/20 at 4:48 pm

    Thanks Anna for your prompt reply’but i didn’t get the point clearly,

    Please tell me step by step if possible,

    Acually I have assigned one task calender its 24/7 to all my activity.Now I want to assign resources to all my activity.for this I have to made one resource calender ok and my resource are working in two shift.one shift from 08:00 AM to 08:00 PM including lunch break one hour.next shift will be started by 08:00 PM to 08:00 AM next day.but the second shift time is not accepting by calender it showing ” the end time of shift must be later than the start of the shift”.Now also when am giving 1shift calender to resource and assign it to any activity then my activity duration has been changing( duration going just double) while it should be constantant.for example if any activity is completing in 24hrs then 02resources would be worked for 12hrs each shift but the task duration shouldn’t be changed.

    Anna please help me that how it can be solved.

    best regards,

    Prahalad

    Anna please help me

    • Grant
      2010/12/09 at 7:36 pm

      Prahalad,

      I am working in Project 2007 but I believe the answer would also work on 2003. In ’07 they added an option for night shift. You need to set your working time up as such

      Monday
      row 1 should say 8 pm – 12 pm

      Tuesday
      row 1 should say 12:01 am – 8 am
      row 2 should say 8 pm – 12m

      Wed, Thursday same as Tuesday and then think about how they work on Friday and into Saturday. I am not sure how you work their weekends

  6. Grant
    2010/12/09 at 7:39 pm

    Can anyone provide me with some insight on where I could find info on better using groups?

    I want to have 3 or 4 individuals who can work on tasks but then they also most work on reviewing documentation as a team and thus all must be there. It would be easier to post a “team” rather than clicking on all the individuals

    • Anna Forss
      2010/12/16 at 7:30 pm

      If you use the single version of Project, this does not work if you don’t create a resource which include them all and change the max units to reflect the number of members.

      I’ve not used MS Project Server bit I’ve understood that this is better in the server version

  7. Ajay Kumar Jain
    2011/04/15 at 7:48 am

    please sunscribe to tutorials

  8. K. Jayadev DAs
    2011/07/16 at 12:19 pm

    PERT charts are not available in Project 2010. Is there any solution? Kindly help.

    • Anna Forss
      2011/08/15 at 3:50 pm

      Isn’t there the network diagram function?

  9. 2011/09/05 at 5:18 pm

    Thank you for the precise guidance on resource. can you please guide me on resource crashing and resource leveling? main points to be taken care while crashing, and visualizing the effects on project and final out put after crashing and leveling?

    • Anna Forss
      2011/09/12 at 3:49 pm

      I’m not sure what you mean by crashing. Please elaborate

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