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Replacing Resources on Task Assignments in Microsoft Project

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In our last post, we covered several different ways of assigning tasks to resources. This post will cover the decisions around changing task assignments and technique on how to do it in Microsoft Project.

(more…)

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How to Assign Resources to a Task in Microsoft Project

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The following guide demonstrates how you can assign resources in various ways and avoid some overallocations by using tools available through the Assign Resources dialog box. These techniques apply whether you are working with local resources or those from the enterprise resource pool.

We will cover Assigning Resources in the Split Screen View, Using the Assign Resources Dialog, Assigning Multiple Tasks to One Resource, and Assigning Multiple Resources to Tasks.

(more…)

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Assigning a Resource to a Task: Introduction

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Microsoft Project 2016 enables you to assign resources to tasks in a variety of ways. Resource assignments clarify responsibility for doing tasks and also help you to determine how long a task will take and how much it will cost.

This series will demonstrate how you can assign resources in various ways and avoid some overallocations, working with both local resources or those from the enterprise resource pool.  Read below for an introduction on how this works, or click on the appropriate post to follow the How-To guides:

Part 2: Assigning a Resource to a Task

Part 3: Replacing Resources on Task Assignments

(more…)

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Reporting Made Easy: Using the Copy Picture Command

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One way to use the communication power of the Gantt Chart view is to photograph it and send the picture as part of another document (e-mail, webpage, PowerPoint, etc.).

Below are the steps for doing this. (more…)

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How Task Dates Are Automatically Set in Microsoft Project (Part 3)

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Have you ever been unable to change the start date of a task in Microsoft Project?  You type in 11/2 for the start date and it changes back to 11/19.  In most cases, Project is not misbehaving; you need to understand what Project assumes when it schedules tasks. In this three-part series, we’ll explore how Project’s scheduling algorithms use links, constraints, preset options, and dates to automatically set your task start and finish dates. 

(more…)

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How Task Dates Are Automatically Set in Microsoft Project (Part 2)

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Have you ever been unable to change the start date of a task in Microsoft Project?  You type in 11/2 for the start date and it changes back to 11/19.  In most cases, Project is not misbehaving; you need to understand what Project assumes when it schedules tasks. In this three-part series, we’ll explore how Project’s scheduling algorithms use links, constraints, preset options, and dates to automatically set your task start and finish dates. 

(more…)

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How Task Dates Are Automatically Set in Microsoft Project

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Have you ever been unable to change the start date of a task in Microsoft Project?  You type in 11/2 for the start date and it changes back to 11/19.  In most cases, Project is not misbehaving; you need to understand what Project assumes when it schedules tasks. In this series, we’ll explore how Project’s scheduling algorithms use links, constraints, preset options, and dates to automatically set your task start and finish dates. 

Part 1 of 3 introduces the topic and covers the first two considerations to keep in mind regarding MS Project’s scheduling priorities.

(more…)

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Simple Ways to Optimize Your Project Plan in MS Project

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The process of ensuring that resources are realistically scheduled in your work plan is referred to as load leveling. When you level the planned load for your resources, you may have to balance several factors. These include:

  • The amount of work a resource can do in a time period (e.g. Hours per day)
  • The sequence of tasks in the project as defined by dependencies
  • The skills required to perform particular tasks
  • The expected timeline for the project
  • The utilization rate for the resources.

Typically you will have to trade off some of these factors to arrive at the “best” schedule for your particular project.  As we covered in our last post on Resource Workload Information, this means that you will have to check and adjust information across multiple views. (more…)

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Using Microsoft Project Views to Gauge How Realistic a Project Plan Is

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Introduction

One of the key ingredients to managing a successful project is to start off with a Microsoft Project plan that is complete and optimized. An “optimized” plan is one in which:

  • Everything that is known is put into a plan that meets the overall project objectives and
  • The project delivers on the objectives of on-time, on-budget, with high quality, and a satisfied client.

It can be somewhat subjective to determine whether your plan is optimized but the minimum requisites ar as follows:

  1. All phases, tasks, and milestones required to meet the project objective are loaded into the work plan.
  2. All resources are assigned to the tasks they will perform.
  3. Reliable work or duration estimates are assigned to each resource assignment.
  4. The resources can realistically perform the work assigned according to the current estimated task start and finish dates, and all tasks can be completed by the target finish date and budget for the project .

(more…)

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How to Isolate Unfavorable Start and Finish Variances in Microsoft Project

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Introduction

In our last post, we introduced the basics of variances and demonstrated how to isolate for unfavorable Work Variances.  It is equally important, however, to analyze how your dates are progressing. If Baseline Work is 1,000 hours, Actual Work is 500 hours, and Remaining Work is 500 hours, then Work is equal to 1,000 hours and Work Variance is zero.  Sounds pretty good, right? But what if you are 8 months into a 10-month project? Assuming an even resource load, you should have consumed 800 hours by now, but your actual work is only 500 hours.

This example highlights the importance of analyzing Start and Finish Variances in addition to Work Variances. If we were to look at the Start and Finish Variances in this 1,000-hour project, we would most likely find that tasks are not starting or completing on time. (more…)

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