Assignments Planning with Microsoft Project

Assignment Planning with MS Project is everything to do with assigning resources to the tasks of the project. The resources may be named or generic labor resources. Or the assigned resources may represent material resources, cost, or expenses. No matter the version, Microsoft Project 2010, MS Project 2013, MS Project 2016, or many others, the functionality is pretty much identical.

As with any project management tool, Office 365 Microsoft Project has a number of mechanisms in which resources may be assignment including the Gantt chart view, Team Planner view, and others.

Project Planning, building a task list, tracking progress, views for the project manager, resource manager and team members are all part of make MS Project work for your project management software.

When you do assign resources to the tasks of a project you can understand:

  • Who is working on what, when?
  • Do we have sufficient resources to complete all the work on time?
  • Are we assigning resources work beyond their capacity? (overallocating resources).

When you assign a work resource to a task, Microsoft Project uses the resource’s assignment units and the task’s duration values to calculate the resulting work.

Duration x Assignment Units = Work

Example: 40 hours task duration x 100% assignment units = 40 hours of work

24 hours task duration x 200% assignment units = 48 hours of total work

(three 8-hour days)  (for two resources)

Microsoft Project gives us a number of different ways to assign resources to the tasks in our project.

  • The assign resources dialog box
  • task form
  • Resource Name column

Each providing a different level of granularity and visibility to metrics during the assignment process.

Controlling how Microsoft Project handles Work when adding or removing resource assignments is often a very tricky, and sometimes frustrating process if you are not familiar with how MS Project scheduling works.  Effort Driven Scheduling often plays a part in this process.

Effort-driven scheduling is an option that allows you to control how Project should calculate work on a task when you assign or unassign resources.

How effort-driven scheduling works:

  • The work of a task remains constant as you assign or unassign resources.
  • As more resources are assigned to a task, its duration decreases. The total work remains the same and is distributed among the assigned resources.
  • As resources are unassigned from a task, its duration increases. The total work remains the same and is distributed among the remaining resources.

When we do add or remove resources from their assigned tasks the Action list in MS Project gives us options on how to handle the Work.  For our example, we’d like to reduce the duration and keep the amount of work on the task the same.