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Define Tasks in Man-Hours in MS Project so that changing resources changes finish date

Posted on 2007-03-29
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Last Modified: 2013-11-15
I am somewhat of a MS Project n00b.  I have defined all the tasks in my project and would like to schedule those tasks.  I have already defined the resources available for my project.  What I want to do is be able to define the duration of an individual task as hours.  When I apply a resource to that task, the finish date should be determined based on the number of hours (man-hours) the task requires divided by the hours in the work week.  So if I had a task defined which required 80 hours and I assigned one resource, the finish date would be two weeks from the start date.  If i then applied a second resource to that project (we are going on the assumption that there is no diminishing return on adding new resources), the finish date would be one week from start date since 80 man hours = (2 resources) * (40 man hours / week).

I hope someone is able to get my meaning and give me a hand on this.
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Question by:dougschultz
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bobsegrest earned 500 total points
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Hello Doug,

Good news!  You are on the right track.

In Microsoft Project the essential formula is:

     Work * Units = Duration

The rule is enter one, anchor one and let Project calculate the other.

The default Task Type when you install Project is Fixed Units.  The Task Type may be set to Fixed Units, Fixed Duration or Fixed Work.  The type that you fix is your anchor.

To make Project do what you want it to, set your task type to Fixed Work and set the Work (not the duration) for your task to 8- hours.  Now when you assign a resource (a unit) to the task, Project will automagically adjust the duration to 10 working days.  If you add a second resource (unit) to the task, Project will set the duration to 5 working days.

Does this answer your question?

Bob Segrest, PMP
Microsoft Project Blackbelt

PS: I would also like to recommend the book "Dynamic Scheduling With Microsoft Office Project 2003" by Eric Uyttewaal, ISBN1-932159-45-2.  It is probably the best book written on the practical use of Microsoft Project.

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