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Firstly I have to state that I am not a project manager. I am a software development team leader that has been tasked with giving a plan for a large project for my team. We work in a Scrum-like environment where tasks are not assigned and, for the sake of this problem, each member can pick up any task that's been planned for that month.

I have been trying to use MS project to create a plan for me where tasks are ordered by priority and then leveled by resource and priority. However I seem to be able to only do this with tasks I have assigned. To try to replicate the idea that assignee doesn't matter I have created 8 resources ("Developer A", "Developer B" etc) but the timeline is massively impacted because assigning these in the most efficient manner is proving pretty difficult. All I am trying to get out of assignee is to make sure that only 8 tasks are in flight at any one time.

What I'd like to do is set the priority and let the tool assign all tasks in the most efficient manner. Is there any way to do this? Or is there a different approach that I could take to ensure only 8 tasks are concurrently being worked on, at any given time?

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It sounds like you are using the wrong tool for the task.

You're working in a Scrum-like environment. I assume you also have a Product Owner that is defining the work to be done (at a feature/story level). And then the team is breaking that work down into development and testing tasks. And then the team members choose which items they will work on next.

MS Project does not support this model in any way.

If your need is to ensure that a small number of work items is being worked on concurrently, that is a feature of several agile management systems. A couple you can look into are Atlassian Jira and Microsoft Azure Boards.

  • Thanks, that confirms what I thought. Jira is already in use, I was trying to use project to give a gut feel estimate for a high level breakdown based on the past project before we have full technical requirements (business asking for this unfortunately) – Gee2113 Feb 12 at 14:13
  • Ah, I see. If the tasks are high-level enough (say, on the order of person-months), I've found Excel to be more useful. Anything below that, it goes in the direction of a detailed estimate which will likely cause problems down the road. – DPH Feb 12 at 14:43

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