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I am managing a project with several people using 3 machines. I need to track both how the people are allocated across my tasks, and how the machine is allocated. The thing is, the machine doesn't do any work against my tasks - it is just consumed by the people doing the work. That is, if the machine were available more, the total task duration wouldn't necessarily decrease.

I still have a need to project the utilization of each machine over time. How do I go about doing this?

  • If you're a carpenter, the wood doesn't do any work, either. But it's still a necessary resource that you have to have allocated to complete your project. As a simplification, the wood itself consumes no labor-hours on the project, although man-hours might be spent on tasks like buying the wood, moving the wood, stacking the wood, or whatever. – Todd A. Jacobs Feb 23 '16 at 14:36
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Define the machines (or each individual machine) as a discrete resource, the same way that you would with staff.

The thing is, the machine doesn't do any work against my tasks - it is just consumed by the people doing the work.

I don't think that this is relevant. Assuming that any given machine cannot do two things at once, there is a finite about of time every day that the machine can be used.

That is, if the machine were available more, the total task duration wouldn't necessarily decrease.

This just means that the machines don't limit the pace of work that can be done, i.e. it is not on the "critical path" of resource usage. This could change, for example, if one of the three machines was reassigned to a different project.

  • OK. So, if I understanding this correctly: the work done by the staff would be the actual work (let's say 80 hours), and the machine would also do some work (let's say 10 hours) This would increase the total work of that task to 90 hours. Would this affect how resource leveling would work? – StackMonkey Feb 19 '16 at 14:33
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In the resource page, I would load the machine as I would a human and indicate its utilization at 100% if available full-time or less than that--x%--if only part-time. When loading this resource in a work package, I would load it at the same duration as the package requires. If the machine runs all the time during that duration period, than work = duration, e.g., duration = 2 weeks, than work = 80 hours. If the machine only operates when a human is interacting with it, I would make work = the planning value of work for the human. When loading actuals, I would simply keep it equal to the human actual hours. The cost of the machine would then be captured correctly based on those actual hours. However, if you have to pay for machine for the duration, then capturing the hours is irrelevant. Just make that resource LOE and capture actuals the same as you would for all LOE packages.

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