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I have a long running task, that is beeing handled by one developer. Another developer will be able to help out on that task, but only from some time point in the future on.

Is there any way to set this in ms project without splitting up the task into smaller tasks?

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So let's say you have Task A (5 days duration) and Task B (30 days duration).

Task A is being worked on by Resource Gold.

Task B is allocated to Resource Silver who is working on it full time, and also to Resource Gold, but you only want Resource Gold to help on Task B when they have finished all their work on Task A.

  • Allocate Resource Gold to Task A full time
  • Allocate Resource Silver and Resource Gold to Task B full time

Now make Task A higher priority than Task B (remember task priorities have 999 as highest priority and 1 as lowest priority)

Level the resources using the "Priority, Standard" levelling scheme.

MS-Project will try to complete the highest priority task first, so it will leave Resource Gold doing Task A 100% of their time even though they are also allocated to Task B. Resource Silver will also work on Task B 100% of their time. As soon as the higher priority task has been completed the resources are released to be scheduled on other tasks and Resource Gold will join Resource Silver on completing Task B.

EDIT: Although I tested that the approach above causes Gold to concentrate on Task A and only start on Task B when they become free, I did not check that the allocation of Gold and Silver on Task B are automatically balanced to minimise the duration. I have now checked and they are not, therefore this is not a good answer. The best I achieved was by making Task B "Fixed Work" to ensure that the overall number of hours remains constant no matter who is allocated, but MS-Project did not automatically balance the units from Gold and Silver to minimise the duration of Task B. Therefore there is an outstanding question as to whether MS-Project can be forced to do this. Note, I did allow "adjustment of individual allocation on a task"...

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  • I haven't tried this yet, but will give it a go! – JoeyD Apr 1 '15 at 14:04
  • Marv I tried this yesterday I noticed this as well. Myself and my colleague have been playing with project today and just can't make the leveling work the way we want to so I think we're back to the way I've outlined below. – Richard Apr 2 '15 at 14:13
  • Well you could also manually play with the allocation percentages until the duration was minimal, but I can't help thinking that Project should rebalance allocations to minimise duration, or at least have that as an option. I'd be keen to hear what Julie has to say about that. – Marv Mills Apr 2 '15 at 15:00
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You can edit a resource's start (and finish) dates in the Task Usage view. Assign the resource and then change the work and start date for the resource.

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  • I tried this solution, but would like to reduce manual interference into the planning of working hours as much as possible. – JoeyD Apr 1 '15 at 13:45
  • If you leave Project to it's devices, it will schedule the second resource to begin his/her work at the start date of the task. Short of resource leveling suggested by Marv, or splitting the task (which you said you didn't want to do), I don't see any other option. – JulieS Apr 2 '15 at 12:21
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If the developer isn't on the project then JulieS's answer would work, but I've had this a number of times where

Resource 1 is working on task A and will finish in a week Resource 2 is working on task B and will finish in 3 weeks

I want resource 1 to help resource 2 to bring in Task B.

The only way I've found to do it is split the task as below (assume 5 days / week)

Task B Pt1 = 5 days Task B Pt2 = 10 days

It's not ideal but I think it's the only way to do it.

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  • After several tries, this is the way I am going right now as well. I added a custom field for duration to add a formula that computes the remaining time for the task, which then has both resources – JoeyD Apr 1 '15 at 13:46

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