5

My goal is to optimize resource usage when having priority tasks partially allocated.

MS Project 2007 simple two task scenario (My project has thousands of tasks) with automatic leveling:

======------ Gantt Chart -----=====
Task Name            | Work    | Duration  | Resource Name  |  Gantt
---------------------+---------+-----------+----------------+---------------------
Support QA Phase 1   | 8  hrs  | 16 hrs    | Alfred [50%]   |  @@@@@@@@
Develop Screen Login | 16 hrs  | 16 hrs    | Alfred         |          ########
(@ - partially allocated - # full allocation)

=====----- Task Usage -----=====
Task Name              | Work   | D1 | D2 | D3 | D4
-----------------------+--------+----+----+----+----
Project                | 24 hrs | 4h | 4h | 8h | 8h  
  Support QA Phase 1   | 8 hrs  | 4h | 4h |    |     
    Alfred             | 8 hrs  | 4h | 4h |    |     
  Develop Screen Login | 16 hrs |    |    | 8h | 8h  
    Alfred             | 16 hrs |    |    | 8h | 8h  

After the "leveling" Alfred can only start the screen development after the support is finished, since the development task requires 100% of units of Alfred. But obviously we can work during that QA Support. I'm trying to optimize Alfred time, something like this:

======------ Gantt Chart -----=====
Task Name            | Work    | Duration  | Resource Name  |  Gantt
---------------------+---------+-----------+----------------+---------------------
Support QA Phase 1   | 8 hrs   | 16 hrs    | Alfred [50%]   |  @@@@@@@@
Develop Screen Login | 8 hrs   | 20 hrs    | Alfred [*]     |  @@@@@@@@####
(@ - partially allocated - # full allocation)

=====----- Task Usage -----=====
Task Name              | Work   | D1 | D2 | D3 | D4
-----------------------+--------+----+----+----+----
Project                | 24 hrs | 4h | 4h | 8h | 
  Support QA Phase 1   | 8 hrs  | 4h | 4h |    |     
    Alfred             | 8 hrs  | 4h | 4h |    |     
  Develop Screen Login | 16 hrs | 4h | 4h | 8h | 
    Alfred             | 16 hrs | 4h | 4h | 8h |   

So Alfred only works at 50% of its time while support task is occurring, and then can go full speed ahead.

The simple solution is to go to task usage and do manual distribution, others involve splitting tasks. In both cases, in hundreds of tasks this prone to errors and tedious. "Spliting remaing work" only splits tasks that are interrupted by other priority tasks, so no help from here.

Can we, somehow, change the way leveling works so that it does also split the task usage? Is manual labor the only solution for this? (No project server)

3

If you set the Support task to a higher priority than the Development task it will first allocate 50% of Alfred's time to that task (assuming you have set Alfred's allocation to 50%) and then use any remaining capacity for other tasks. Remember that the higher then task priority number, the higher the priority as opposed to the more normal scheme where the highest priority is 1.

  • Thank you, but that doesn't work. I'm already using id as leveling order. So, support has already precedence over development. Still tried to do as you ask and the problem remains, because the development task usage isn't broken down into smaller units – saamorim Mar 12 '14 at 11:01
  • You're right! I have reproduced your issue. I did not expect that and I cannot find a way to fix it! This has really got under my skin now- the kind of thing that really irritates me about MS-Project! I wonder if anyone else here knows the answer? – Marv Mills Mar 12 '14 at 13:07
  • I have done some more research on this with some interesting results. If you reduce task S (support) from 8 to 6 hours it will schedule 4 hours on the first day (using 50% of available time) then it will allocate 2 hours on the second day (using part of the 50% available) and it will then use fours hours for task D (Development). I.e. it assumes that if 50% has been allocated to Task S, even though it wasn't all used, there is only 50% available for other tasks and it uses it all. But on 8 hours for task S (4+4) that formula is not used and it leaves the 2nd 50% unused for no reason I can see! – Marv Mills Mar 12 '14 at 14:26
  • Reproduce that also, resource allocation is very wierd. I can only find one explanation: Project doesn't know how to do math!? – saamorim Mar 12 '14 at 15:17
1

I'm afraid you will continue to be disappointed. The Resource leveling command is not an optimization tool and will not change assignment units on the Develop task to allow the Resource to work on both simultaneously. Even with a task calendar of 4 hours per day assigned to the Support task - project is still not completely filling the gap. I can get it to fill the second day gap - but the still only schedules 4 hours on the support task for the first day.

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