Schedule compression methodology in MS Project

Posted on 2005-04-25
Last Modified: 2013-11-15

can someone please outline the correct methodology for compressing a project schedule in MS Project please? Simple english, simple outline. Just wanna make sure I did this right...

Question by:enzymemedia
    LVL 4

    Accepted Solution

    Apply a filter for critical tasks but use the highlight method to apply the filter - you have to do this from Project-Filtered for-morefilters and then select the critical filter and press the highligh button.  You'll then see all the critical path tasks in blue ink.

    Find a way to make these critical (blue) tasks get done faster - add resources - authorize overtime - switch resources around.  Making non-critical tasks happen sooner will have no affect on your end date!

    Author Comment

    Please to explain in outline form:

    1. add resources
    2. authorize overtime
    3. switch resources around

    I want to make sure I am doing this right...

    LVL 4

    Expert Comment


    Sorry to do this but first you need to understand the basics of how MS Project works.

    MS project basically runs using a formula for every task as follows

    Work = Resource Units x Duration

    The standard base calendar assumes that Work is done 8hs per day M-F.  e.g. if you have 40 hrs or work it will normally be a 5 x (8-hr working) day duration task if you have 1 unit (resource) working on it.  By default, tasks are fixed Units and effort driven which means adding more people on the task will make it get done quicker; you can change the task default from Fixed Units to fixed Duration or Fixed Work with the ability to switch off effort driven in every case except for Fixed Work which is logically always effort driven - think about that - if a task is fixed at 8 hrs of work then it HAS to be effort driven.  You set this up for A) Your entire project from Tools-Options under the Schedule Tab where you can set the Default task type and then set 'New Tasks are Effort Driven' Check box immediately under it and you can also hit the Set as Default button if you want all future projects to be that way.  B) What's more typical is that you double click on a task to bring up the Task Information dialogue box and go to the advanced tab where you can change those settings on a task by task basis.

    OK you say how does that answer the Qs above?  Well you have to understand what Project's going to do when you start adding resources or authorizing overtime of you may get really confused.

    Add resources - Click double-headed tool bar button - select task(s), select resource(s) - hit assign button, remember, with default settings, adding more resources will get the job done sooner.

    Authorize overtime - Windows-Split - in lower half of screen R click and select Resource Work - Select a task at top and see work assigned to resource at bottom - type number into overtime box and click OK.  Be careful as this is confusing, a resource working on a 5 day task will have 40 hrs of work - if you authorize 8 hrs overtime it may seem that you are authorizing an additional 8 hours of work but you're not; you are authorizing that 8 hrs of the 40 can be done outside the normal work hours defined in the Base Calendar. so the task is still 40 hrs of work but can be done in 4 x 10 hr days where 2 hrs per day is overtime and billed at the overtime rate - you just saved a day.

    Switch Resources around - You may find that you have the same resource working full time on more than 1 task.  This is called an overallocation which can be seen in any of the Resource views as the resource will be in bold red text.

    You can substitute resources using the 2-headed toolbat button approach or the split screen view - it's pretty intuitive.

    Author Comment

    How can I change the grade I have given? Your final explanation is the one I want to accept as the answer now, and I would like to change the grade to A.

    Thanks for the response.


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