Inside Out

Max units vs. assignment units

Because maximum units and assignment units are both called "units," the terms can be confusing. They're related but different. It would be nice if the respective names were a little more different and a little more descriptive. However, they're vital to our assignment scheduling, and they're what we have to work with. So we need to keep them straight in our minds.

The Max. Units field applies to resources. Think of max units as total resource units. The value you enter in the Max. Units field tells Microsoft Project how much of a particular resource you have available for work on this project, whether it's half of full time (50 percent), full time (100 percent), or three full-time equivalents (300 percent).

On the other hand, the Units field applies to assignments. Think of the Units field as assignment units. The value you enter in the Units field tells Microsoft Project how much of the resource you can use to work on this specific assignment.

Another way to differentiate the two kinds of units is to pay attention to the context in which you see them. If you see a Units field in the Resource Sheet, it's referring to the resource's units on the entire project. If you see a Units field in the Assign Resources dialog box or the Assignment Information dialog box, it's referring to the resource's units on the individual assignment.

Both kinds of units can be expressed in either percentages or decimals.

Tip Switch assignment units from percentage to decimal

By default, assignment units are expressed as a percentage, but you can express them as a decimal if you prefer. Click Tools, Options, and in the Options dialog box, click the Schedule tab. In the Show Assignment Units As A box, click Decimal. A resource working full time on an assignment is shown as having 1 assignment unit instead of 100 percent. This setting also changes how maximum units are displayed in the Resource Sheet.

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