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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.

We will continue our use of the example project from our last post to illustrate these changes as they are made in live-time.

Let’s say a resource has more time available and more experience for a task than a resource that has already been assigned.

  1. Select a task. In the Assign Resources dialog box, select the legacy resource and click Replace.
  2. In the Replace Resource dialog box, click the new resource (in our case Susan Smith). In our project, we replaced Frank Goren for Susan Smith on Task ID2.  The screen resembles the following:


Figure 151 Replace Resource dialog box

  1. In the Replace Resource dialog box, click OK to complete the replacement process.
  2. Let’s say a resource (Patrick Rierdon in our example) has just informed us they will be on vacation from May 20–24, 2013. He is scheduled to work on Task 4 that week, and you want to update his calendar to reflect the fact that he will not be available. Double-click Patrick Rierdon in the Assign Resources dialog box to see his Resource Information dialog box. Click the Change Working Time… button in the General tab to view a copy of Patrick’s Standard calendar, and scroll to May 2013.


Figure 152 Resource calendar information for Patrick Rierdon

  1. In the first Exception cell, type “Vacation.” Enter “5/20/13” in the Start cell and “5/24/13” in the Finish Click in the next open cell to complete the data entry process. Note: If you press Enter, the Change Working Time dialog box will close and return you to the Resource Information dialog box.


Figure 153 Resource vacation entered

  1. Click OK twice to return to the Gantt Chart view. What happened to the Gantt Chart bar for Task 4? What about the duration value for Task 4? Would it be obvious to the casual observer how they are different?

Note: Generic resources are replaced by named resources in the exact same manner as named resources replace each other. So once you determine, for example, that John Smith is the Analyst that will be assigned to this project, you would use the method just described to replace the Generic resource “Analyst” with the named resource “John Smith.”

Microsoft Project considers the calendar of any assigned resource when scheduling a task, but you may have to look into the details to figure out why something happened. In the preceding example, that might not be a problem (i.e., you might remember Patrick’s vacation plans), but over a long project, details can get lost. When you’re in the middle of a stakeholder review with top management and someone asks, “Why does your Gantt Chart say 10 days duration but show 15 days?” it’s easy for your mind to go blank. You’d like to be able to show that the task takes 10 days of work, but there is a break in the middle.

Posted in Microsoft Project, Resource Management, Technical How-To | Tagged , , , , , ,

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