Resource availability and Tasks in MS PROJECT 2016


I’ve got a question from one of my Blog readers:

“How can I schedule a resource onto a task when it becomes available. For example, there are two tasks that start at the same time and the duration on the first is 1 week, and the second task is 3 weeks. I assign task 1 to Resource1 and task 2 to both resources.
What I would like to automatically occur is for Resource 1 to be assigned task 1 in the first week and task 2 in weeks 2 and 3; and Resource 2 be assigned task 2 for weeks 1 through to 3. This meets the task hours required and utilizes the resources efficiently. Thanks in advance for any assistance.”

I will explain that in MS PROJECT 2016.

First I am going to set up the brand new Project as my readers told me:


and two Resources:


Now I’m going to assign Resources to Tasks using Task Form:


I will assign Resource 1 to Task 1 and Task 2, and Resource 2 to Task 2, and I will get:


As you can see in Info column, Resources are over allocated (e.g. Resource 1 is over allocated). Microsoft Project will not, and can not decide for you when do you need resource for specific Task. Since you told to Microsoft Project that Resource 1 should work on both Tasks, Microsoft Project can only help you with over allocation sign. Why? When you assign Resource 1 to Task 1 it means that Resource 1 should work 5 days (8 hours per day, because it will work with 100% capacity), and that is 40 hours! On the other hand, to complete Task 2, both Resources should work on it for 3 weeks, e.g. 15 days (8 hours per day), and that is 120 hours per Resource. And yes, Resource 1 is over allocated, and Microsoft Project will not move Resource from Week 1 on Task 2 to Week 2, and Week 3 just because it is over allocated. 

What can you do in this situation. You can manually set Scheduled Start date, and hours. That means, in this example, if you want that your Resource 1 to work only 2 weeks (and this is 80 hours (10 days * 8 hours per day), and you want it to work after Task 1 is finished, then you should make this change:


and you will get:


Now, Resource 1 is not over allocated any more. BUT! Be aware of this:

  1. The total work for Task 2 is now 200 hours, not 240 hours! Ask yourself: Is it enough? Well yes, Resource 1 was over allocated, but does it mean that if he or she will work when he / she is available, and you do not extend Duration for the Task, the total amount of work will be enough to finish it in 3 weeks?
  2. If you extend duration of Task 1, or you add another Task in the same period when Task 2 should be done, Resource 1 will become over allocated, again. For example I will extend Task 1 from 1 to 2 weeks, and I will get:


And what if you have many Tasks (for example 345), and Resource 1 will work on 100 of them. You will get hard time.

To conclude, if you want to have a Project with not over allocated Tasks then you should use Leveling, but Microsoft project will never decrease work by itself in example like this. Ever!



About Nenad Trajkovski

Location: Zagreb, Croatia Occupation: Project Manager Interests: Project Management and MS PROJECT He was born in Zagreb, Croatia at 1963. After completing his college he started working on projects in different business areas (banking, manufacturing, automotive industry, distribution, oil companies, etc.) developing and implementing ERP systems into different companies. He has got a lot of experience working with people in different business processes and also possesses great knowledge in information technologies and financial services. Today he works as a business consultant, adn Project Manager in PERPETUUM MOBILE d.o.o. Zagreb. He is a regular lecturer for Project Management in MS Innovation Center in Varaždin, Logosoft Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina and SEAVUS GROUP in Skopje Macedonia. He was named the best lecturer of WINDAYS 2008 while his lecture was also voted as the best. In addition, he was in TOP 10 lecturers at the MS SINERGY 2009 and MS VISIA 2009, 2010. Shares first place as the best lecturer of KulenDays 2009 and 2010 and PMI Conference 2009 in Zagreb. He is also a regular lecturer in the MS Community. He is a Certified Accountant and a PMP (Project Manager Professional) and a PMI-RMP (Risk Manager Professional), MCP, MCT, and Microsoft Certified Technical Specialist - Microsoft Project 2010. From 01.01.2012 awarded with MVP (Microsoft Most Valuable Proffesional - Microsoft Project)!
This entry was posted in MS PROJECT 2016, PMI, PRoject Management and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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