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Understanding How Microsoft Project Thinks

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An overview of Task Type and the Scheduling Formula within Microsoft Project

Published in: Technology, Business

Understanding How Microsoft Project Thinks

  1. 1. Understanding How Microsoft Project ® Thinks
  2. 2. <ul><li>There are a number of factors that dictate how Microsoft Project “thinks”. </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>The two main factors are: </li></ul><ul><li>The Scheduling Formula </li></ul><ul><li>The Task Type </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>The Scheduling Formula leverages three variables: </li></ul><ul><li>Units </li></ul><ul><li>Work </li></ul><ul><li>Duration </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>Units - The percentage of time required by a resource or resources to complete the task </li></ul><ul><li>Duration - The number of working days required to complete the task </li></ul><ul><li>Work - The effort required to complete the task </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Many people say that the scheduling formula is: </li></ul><ul><li>Units x Duration = Work </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>When you initially assign a Resource to a Task, this is the formula that is leveraged. </li></ul><ul><li>See Example 1 </li></ul>
  8. 8. Example 1 Task 1 is 5 days in Duration
  9. 9. Assign a Resource
  10. 10. Example 1 Work changes to 40 hours Units x Duration = Work 100% x (5*8) = 40 Or 100% x 40 = 40 hours
  11. 11. <ul><li>But using simple math, we can re-write our equation to solve for a different variable </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>Our original formula solves for Work: </li></ul><ul><li>Units x Duration = Work </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>But we could re-write the formula to solve for Units: </li></ul><ul><li>Work / Duration = Units </li></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>Or we could re-write the formula to solve for Duration: </li></ul><ul><li>Work / Units = Duration </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>Units x Duration = Work </li></ul><ul><li>Work / Duration = Units </li></ul><ul><li>Work / Units = Duration </li></ul>So we have shown that The Scheduling Formula can actually be written three different ways! Now let’s prove that Microsoft Project also thinks this way.
  16. 16. <ul><li>In order to demonstrate this, we must introduce The Task Type or the Type field </li></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>By default, Type is set to Fixed Units </li></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>There are actually three different Task Type variables: </li></ul><ul><li>Fixed Duration </li></ul><ul><li>Fixed Units </li></ul><ul><li>Fixed Work </li></ul>
  19. 19. Using our original scenario, let’s force Microsoft Project to solve for Duration
  20. 20. <ul><li>80 / 100% = 80 </li></ul><ul><li>Or </li></ul><ul><li>80 / 100% = (80 / 8) </li></ul><ul><li>Or </li></ul><ul><li>80 / 100% = 10 days </li></ul>We will leave Type set to Fixed Units and change Work to 80 hrs Work / Units = Duration
  21. 21. The Task Type in combination with the variable Entered dictates which variable Microsoft Project solves for Fixed Units Type Fixed Calculated Entered Units Duration Work
  22. 22. Returning to our original scenario, let’s force Microsoft Project to solve for Work
  23. 23. <ul><li>100% * 10 days = 80 </li></ul><ul><li>Or </li></ul><ul><li>100% * 10 days = (10 * 8) </li></ul><ul><li>Or </li></ul><ul><li>100% * 10 days = 80 hours Work </li></ul>Leave Type set to Fixed Units and enter 10 days Duration Units x Duration = Work
  24. 24. Fixed Units Type Fixed Entered Calculated Units Duration Work
  25. 25. Returning to our original scenario, let’s force Microsoft Project to solve for Units
  26. 26. <ul><li>20 / 5 days = 50% </li></ul><ul><li>Or </li></ul><ul><li>20 / 5 days = 20 / (8 * 5) </li></ul><ul><li>Or </li></ul><ul><li>20 / 5 days = 20 / 40 </li></ul><ul><li>Or </li></ul><ul><li>20 / 5 days = 0.5 </li></ul>Change Type to Fixed Duration and enter 20 hours Work Work / Duration = Units
  27. 27. Fixed Duration Type Calculated Fixed Entered Units Duration Work
  28. 28. <ul><li>To Review: </li></ul><ul><li>There are three different Task Types: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Fixed Units </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fixed Work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fixed Duration </li></ul></ul><ul><li>There are three different variables of the Scheduling Formula: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Units </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Duration </li></ul></ul>
  29. 29. <ul><li>The moral of this story: </li></ul><ul><li>Depending upon how the Task Type is set in combination with which Scheduling Formula variable is altered dictates which variable Microsoft Project solves for </li></ul><ul><li>The Task Type and Scheduling Formula Cheat Sheet will help you control how Microsoft Project “thinks” </li></ul>
  30. 31. <ul><li>Purchase </li></ul><ul><li>“ The Microsoft Project ® </li></ul><ul><li>Cheat Sheet” </li></ul><ul><li>Mouse Pad </li></ul>Here

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