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Real Life Examples WANTED:  Fixed Work Task Type, Fixed Unit Task Type, Fixed Duration Task Type.

Posted on 2009-05-15
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-11-15
Can I please get some real life examples of the following types of tasks:
- Fixed Work Task Type
- Fixed Unit Task Type
- Fixed Duration Task Type

Question by:brothertruffle880

Expert Comment

ID: 24398965
Fixed work: any task you evaluate in terms of man.days (work effort). Most intellectual work falls in this category (such as software development). If you assign more resources to the task, it'll take less time.
Fixed unit: any task for which you need a fixed number of resources, regardless of the duration. Applies for instance to equipment, such as trucks or meeting rooms.
Fixed duration: any task of a fixed duration, regardless of the resources you assign to the task. For example, a 5-day training won't last less if you send more people to it (some would argue it'll last longer, but that's another issue ;-) )


Expert Comment

ID: 24409317
Let us consider that one travel agent has three ways of operating his Car and charging 1000 bucks in different way.

- Fixed Work Task Type - Up to 20 lt Gas consumption, irrespective of when, how, where it will be consumed.
- Fixed Unit Task Type - One car is given for the work/service and 1000 rs is charged irrespective of Gas consumption or duration. Very risky option, don't suggest to any travel agent, :)
- Fixed Duration Task Type - 1000 rs for 2 days of service, irrespective of Gas consumption and number of cars.

While Planning we need to be sure of fixing one parameters and can play with other two as per our need. We set all three parameters properly while planning to meet our actual requirement.

Expert Comment

ID: 24409415
What do you consider "real life"?  Software development, bridge building, pharmaceutical research?  Perhaps the examples above cover what you need - if not, please provide us some more context...
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Author Comment

ID: 24425296
Real life:
Bridge building, constructing a building, planning a large concert, ,  
Something along those lines but I'll accept something in another field.

Accepted Solution

cdbosh earned 2000 total points
ID: 24438102
Here is a good articles that discusses these task types as used in MS Project:


For a real-life example using a concert event planning, let's try this:

A fixed unit task: let's say you have a lighting program for the concert and you want to test the program at the venue.  The show is 90 minutes long, and you want to be able to run the test 4 times - that will take a total duration of at least 6 hours.  Now lets say that the venue has other activities going on as well, so this shared resource is only available to you for at most 4 hours per day.  You could enter the task into the plan as fixed unit at 3 hours per day (because you can't use the extra hour, anyway) with a work effort of 6 hours.  So the duration will be calculated as two days.  The bottom line is that you have a constraint on how much work can be done simultaneously - or your capacity for work.

A fixed work task: let's say you have a cabling task to perform and it will take 12 hours to complete.  Let's also assume that the work can be broken up nearly indefinitely so that (virtually) any number of workers could be added.  When the task is entered with 12 work hours, if 3 workers are assigned to it will take .5 days in duration.  If 3 workers are assigned with only 25% of their time available for this work, ti will take 2 days in duration.  The bottom line is that you have constraint on the net result, but how you get there is very flexible.  You have an elephant to eat - one bite at a time; whether you have one person to eat it or 20, they all get their own bites - the work isn't done until the elephant is gone.

A fixed duration task: ahh, the dreaded "death march"!  Let say you have the talent for the concert scheduled for a particular date, so that is when everything has to be done.  Your task for posting bills on the local university campus may need to start 2 weeks before the show, therefore your task for printing the bills has a certain duration, as does the task to design the bills, etc.  If you back plan this schedule, but then find that your design duration is 5 days based on a fixed plan, but that the actual work effort estimate comes in at 8 days, you're going to need to add more workers with parallel effort to meet the fixed duration.

Hope this helps!

Assisted Solution

cdbosh earned 2000 total points
ID: 24438124
Hmm, now that I think of it, that last example was probably a better case of a fixed work task with a "finish no later than" constraint.

Instead, probably a dress rehearsal might be a better example for a fixed duration task related to the show.  It shouldn't be longer or shorter than the actual show, and adding resources won't shorten the duration ('cause you wouldn't want to, anyway).

Author Closing Comment

ID: 31582071

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