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I have seen some project plans where a task that spans 80 hours has two resources assigned to it, one at 100% and the other at 50%. Is this correct? Shouldn't the task be broken down to two parts and be assigned to each resource appropriately, for better tracking?

What will be an example legitimate scenario for doing the same? or is the PM just lazy to expand this.

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There can be cases where multiple resources are assigned to a task. This can be understood if you keep in mind that resources can be people as well as equipment (and material too, for the sake of completeness).

As an example, a task in a construction or manufacturing project requires a specialized joint which can be done using a specific machine. Other work resource, assigned to this task, can prepare the material in lets say 4 hours and then require another 4 hours to join it using the machine. So one resource is used 100% and the other is used 50%.

Similar concept can be used in Software Development projects. Consider a web application which is used connect with remotely deployed specialized equipment (let say on-field spectral analysis devices) and change its various configuration settings. Now consider that during active development there are two testing/qa task, one to verify backup frequency of the device (set from web control panel), and second task to verify the data upload frequency of the device. Two QA team members will be assigned (one for each task). However due to limited availability of on-field device, it will be shared. Each QA member can start his/her task with testing the web interface first and then complete the end-to-end testing on the device. So for each task in the project plan, we'll have 1 person assigned 100% and the equipment assigned for 50%.

Another possible example, where there is no involvement of equipment could be, a safety/quality inspector who spends 2 hours daily on each of the 4 different project sites. At each of the 4 sites, one person is assigned 100% to his/her task and the inspector assigned 25% to those.

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In the real world, any amount of resources can be assigned to a task. How many people, working together, does it take to get a piano up some stairs? Suppose it was up 20 flights of stairs and one person was available all day and the other only in mornings. Then in each day you could only assign one and half people to getting that pesky piano up the stairs.

Since this ability to add multiple resources, in varying amounts, to a task to get it done is present in the real world, MS-Project allows you to do it in the computer-based planning world too!

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Loading differing utilization planning value levels expected of each resource serves two purposes: 1) to inform the impact on duration (less expected utilization should pressure duration to expand) and 2) to calculate costs.

But you need to remember that everything is probabilistic including a ton of random variables that influence both favorably and unfavorably where actuals come in.

So trying to plan precisely and / or track precisely any given resource that is one of many in a complex package will cost you a lot but bring in very little value.

So creating multiple packages for in order to load one resource will provide no benefit for tracking purposes. At the end of the day, you are managing variances, not trying to actually achieve a planning value for a specific resource.

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