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Duration vs Work

Duration vs Work

Duration vs Work

(OP)
Hi,

Is there any way to set MS Project 2000 such that when you enter an effort, the duration is automatically set depending on the hours per day you've defined in the project settings?

For example, we work 7.5 hours per day. I want to be able to enter a task effort of 22.5 hours, and have the duration change to 3 days. Instead I either have to change the duration manually (effectively entering the same information twice), or assign a resource (which by default assigns a %utilisation that make the effort fit within the default of 1 day - 300% in this case - I wouldn't like to ask any of my staff to work 22.5 hours a day...).

At the very least, once a resource is assigned, surely the default utilisation of that resource should be 100%, no more. So entering an effort and a resource should alter the duration.

It seems to me that the default behaviour of Project is not the most suitable for most people planning a project. It kind of assumes that timescales are absolute and that infinite resources are available. Nine women, baby in a month??

RE: Duration vs Work

Since almost everyone else has an 8-hr work day, the default is set for 8 hrs.  

You simply need to change the definition of the work day in Project

TTFN

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RE: Duration vs Work

(OP)
Sorry, perhaps I didn't explain myself very well.

I want to enter an effort, and the duration to change according to the number of hours defined in a work day.

My scenario:

1. I have set up my work day to be 7.5 hours.
2. I have entered a task and set the effort to be 22.5 hours

I want the duration to change to be 3 days, but it's still set at 1 day. I can live with this if:

3. I then enter a resource name and it's assumed to be 100%, thereby setting the duration to 3 days as expected.

But it doesn't, it simply changes the utilisation of my resource to 300%, which is clearly ridiculous.

The question has nothing to do with setting the length of my work day.

Cheers

RE: Duration vs Work

(OP)
That's what I thought. I set up my resources with a Max utilisation of 100%. Makes no difference - resources are still overutilised.

RE: Duration vs Work

Not what I meant.  For each task, you enter the resources first, then followed by the work.  

The duration will then scale to utilize the resources at their max.

TTFN

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RE: Duration vs Work

I reviewed the comments, did not see the keyword "levelling".  Apologies if I am asking the obvious, did you try levelling your project after you entered all of your constraint data?

TygerDawg
Blue Technik LLC
Advanced Robotics & Automation Engineering
www.bluetechnik.com

RE: Duration vs Work

(OP)
IRStuff - for me, that's putting the cart before the horse! Surely it's easier to see how long (duration) the tasks take, then assign resources to ensure best utilisation. If you assign the resources first, then when you put the effort figures in, you'll almost certainly end up with one or two resources that are doing much more work than the rest. So you're immediately reworking the plan, before you've even finished!

tygerdawn - I try not to use Project's levelling. Firstly, you can't undo it, and secondly you don't see the task/resource dependencies that you do when you use the predecessors. And if you try and level after you've defined your predecessors, Project does some really wacky stuff. Maybe it's better post-Proj2000?

RE: Duration vs Work

The equation used by Project is quite simple,
 duration = work/resource or resource = duration/work

If you pick a duration that is too short for the work, what possible outcome can there be other than an over-utilized resource?

This is what you said:
"1. I have set up my work day to be 7.5 hours.
2. I have entered a task and set the effort to be 22.5 hours

I want the duration to change to be 3 days"

Then, you enter the resource, followed by the effort, which then generates a 3 day duration.

What part are we missing here?

TTFN

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RE: Duration vs Work

(OP)
Well, the part that I explained in my previous post.

RE: Duration vs Work

Let me try!

First, I would not recommend changing the default day to 7.5.  This makes thing harder in the long run than they need to be.

But to answer your question, do this.
1. Create a task
2. Ensure the task type is set to Fixed Units
3. Assign a resource to the task at 100%
4. Input 22.5 hours Work
5. You will see that because we told MS Project to use Fixed Units, then input Work, it automatically adjusted the Duration.

Hope this helps!!

J Black
www.pmconnection.com

RE: Duration vs Work

(OP)
The problem here is that I do not want to assign a specific resource, for the reasons I outlined in post#8.

This seems like a basic requirement to me when outline planning a job.

Let me ask a different question: if I'm supposed to do things in the order that everyone here is suggesting (regardless of the inflexibility this mandates), then how come the default column order in MSProj doesn't support it? In fact, the default columns in MSProj don't even include Work, which makes no sense at all!

And one more question: Can anyone suggest a tool that DOES do what I need?

Thanks

RE: Duration vs Work

DARN!!  I really thought we had it with my last post!  I missed your comments in post#8.  And I agree with you.  Following PMI's Time Management Processes, it is Activity Definion, Activity Sequencing, Activity Resource Esimating and then Activity Duration Estimating.  I swapped steps 3 and 4  

Let's try this:
1. Create a task
2. Ensure the task type is set to Fixed Units
3. Input 22.5 hours Work
4. Assign a resource to the task at 100%
5. The Duration automatically adjusts

Here are a few other comments:
-Max Units establishes what percentage of time that resource is available to work on your project.  It does not establish a threshold that prevents a resource from being overallocated.
-I have often asked myself the same question "why is Work not a field included in the default gantt view"?
-With respect to not assigning a specific resource, you might try initially assigning a generic resource and then using the Replace option to assign your specific resource.

I sense your frustration, and sincerely hope this helps!

~J Black
www.pmconnection.com




RE: Duration vs Work

(OP)
Yes, I believe that works although I'm not at my work computer to prove it!

It's not ideal as you have to type in the utilisation for each resource, meaning you can't use the drop down list that auto-populates as you add resource (because it won't by default set at 100%). But it seems to be the best that Microsoft can offer sad

Cheers

RE: Duration vs Work

The work column is not included in the default view simply because MS, in its infinite wisdom, recognizes that 90% of their users don't use MSP for that purpose.

In any case, if you must, you can define a new Entry Table that include Work and use that for the Gantt Chart View.  Using the Organizer, you can save the new entry table and the new Gantt Chart view to the global.mpt template file, which will then always open with the modified Gantt chart

TTFN

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RE: Duration vs Work

(OP)
Fair enough - I'm not sure how you can plan effectively without this functionality. Maybe I and my peers, as Project Managers in the UK's first CMMI Level 5 company, are not doing things right winky smile

And I guess that MS, in their 'infinite wisdom' also recognise that its users apparently want to type 'Resource 1[100%]' into the Resource Names column and have MSP automatically ignore that utilisation and reset to whatever utilisation results from fitting the work into 1 day sad

Basically it's a crap tool, so I'll repeat my earlier question - is there anything out there that DOES work?

RE: Duration vs Work

I'm not sure what functionality it is that you refer to.  Every time I've used MSP, the default utilization on a resource is 100%.

Maybe if you could explain again, what you're trying to do, step by step?

TTFN

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RE: Duration vs Work

(OP)
If you type in a task name, then an effort (of, say, 24 hours), then a Resource Name of "Joe Bloggs[100%]" then press enter, MSP immediately changes it to "Joe Bloggs[300%]".

Now where's the logic in that?

RE: Duration vs Work

If you go to the Tools|Options|Schedule page, change the "Default Task Type" to Fixed Work, instead of the fixed duration, but that doesn't work, so it looks to be a bug.

The only workaround, annoyingly, is to enter the resource twice.  The second time, the resource stays at unity allocation and the duration changes to the correct value.

TTFN

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