Understanding Assignment Calculations

Work is the amount of effort it takes to complete a task. As soon as you assign a resource to a task, the duration is translated into work. A simple example: If you have a task with a 3-day duration and you assign a single full-time resource to it, that resource now has an assignment with 24 hours of work spread across three days (assuming default calendar settings).

You can see this principle in action by adding the Work field to the Gantt Chart or other task sheet, as follows:

1 Display the Gantt Chart or other task sheet that contains the Duration field.

2 Click the heading of the column to the right of the Duration field. For example, if you are working with the default Gantt Chart with the default Entry table applied, click the Start column heading.

3 Click Insert, Column.

4 In the Field Name box, click Work. To move quickly to the fields that begin with "W," type W.

5 Click OK.

The Work field appears next to the Duration field, and you can see comparisons between the two (see Figure 7-7).

Task Name

Duration

Work

Resource Names

E Landscaping and Grounds Work

12 days

56 hrs

Pour concrete driveway and sidewalks

2 days

16 hrs

Concrete contractor

Install backyard fence

2 days

16 hrs

Fencing contractor

Sod and complete plantings - front yard

2 days

16 hrs

Landscape contractor

Sod and complete plantings - backyard

1 day

6 hrs

Landscape contractor

Figure 7-7. Adding the Work field to a task sheet shows the relationship of task duration to task work, based on how tasks are assigned to resources.

That task with a 3-day duration and a single full-time resource assigned translates (by default) to 24 hours of work. Another task with a 3-day duration and two full-time resources assigned translates to 48 hours of work. Another task with a 3-day duration and three fulltime resource assigned translates to 72 hours of work.

Duration is the length of time it takes from the start to finish of the task, but work equates to person-hours for the resources assigned.

These calculations are based on the initial assignment; that is, assigning one, two, or three resources at one time to a task that previously had no assigned resources. That is, if you assign two full-time resources to that same 3-day task, both resources are assigned 24 hours of work, also spread across 3 days (see Figure 7-8). When you assign multiple resources initially, Microsoft Project assumes that you intend for the resources to have the same amount of work across the original task duration.

Task Name

Work

Duration

M

T

W

B Pour concrete driveway and sidewalks

24 hrs

3 days

Wort

8h

8h

Shi

Concrete contractor

24 hrs

Wort

8h

8h

Shi

B Install backyard fence

46 hrs

3 days

Wort

16h

16h

16hi

Brian dark

24 hrs

Wort

8h

8h

Shi

George Jiang

24 hrs

Wort

8h

8h

Shi

Figure 7-8. In the first task with a single resource assigned, the total work is 24 hours. In the second task with two resources assigned, the total work is 48 hours.

Tip Let Microsoft Project calculate duration from work

Instead of entering duration and having Microsoft Project calculate work amounts upon assigning tasks, you can do this the other way around. You can enter tasks, assign resources, and then enter work amounts from estimates those resources provide. From those work amounts, Microsoft Project can calculate duration.

Just as work is calculated from the duration and assigned resource availability, duration can be calculated from work amounts and assigned resource availability. V_J

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