Getting help while selecting resources to assign

You may have noticed a plus sign (+) next to Resource list options at the top of Figure 5-9. If you click the plus sign, the box expands, as shown in Figure 5-10, to provide you with ways to make selecting resources easier.

Figure 5-10: You can narrow your search for resources by filtering, and you can make additional resources available.

If you check the Filter by check box, Project presents a long list of ways that you can limit the resource list. For example, you can search for only material resources or you can search for resources in a particular group. (Remember that you can assign resources to groups if the resources share a common characteristic.) If you don't find the filter that you want to use, you can create your own filter by clicking the More Filters button and, in the More Filters dialog box that appears, click New.

See Chapter 7 for information about creating custom filters.

If you check the Available to work box, you can specify the number of hours that you need the resource. Project calculates the remaining available hours of each resource for the duration of the task and compares the results of the calculation with the number of hours that you specified. Resources with available hours equal to or greater than the value that you supplied appear in the list, along with the resources that are already assigned to the selected task.

How Project calculates Available to work time

Project calculates the value for Available to work time by using the resource's calendar, availability contour, and the duration of the task. Based on the resource's calendar, Project calculates the number of working hours for the selected task. Because the resource's availability may be reduced by the availability contour and by other assignments, Project multiplies available working hours by the availability contour value and then subtracts existing assignment work hours to determine Available to work hours.

To see how this works, assume that you have a task to accomplish within a 10-day window and the calendar provides for an 8-hour workday. If Day 3 is a holiday and Days 6 and 7 are the weekend, you have only 7 days to complete the task. If you assign one resource to this task full-time, that resource would be allocated for 56 hours. But, if the resource's availability contour is set to 50 percent, the resource's availability is reduced to 28 hours. And, if the resource is already assigned to another task for 25 percent of the time on Days 1 and 2 (4 hours), the resource's Available to work hours would be 24 hours.

Tip If you need a resource for 12 days, type 12d in the Available to work box, and

Project converts the value to 96 hours.

You can click the Add Resources button to display a list of sources from which you can select a resource: the active directory, your address book (if you use a MAPI-compliant e-mail program such as Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express), or Microsoft Project Server — the items that are available in the list depend on your working environment.

Note The Active Directory, one of the options that appears when you click Add Resources, is a Windows network feature. In a Windows network, the administrator can set up an active directory that contains a list of people and the contact information for these people.

The Assign Resources dialog box also contains a Graphs button that shows one of three graphs that you can use to help you select the best resource for the job. Be aware that none of these graphs relate particularly to a task for which you're considering assignment; instead, they focus on the resource.

Note Although you can select multiple resources to graph, this action may not be very useful when you're trying to select resources to assign to a task.

The Work graph, shown in Figure 5-11, shows the amount of work (regardless of the task) that is assigned to the selected resource on a day-by-day basis.

Figure 5-11: On this graph, you see the amount of work that is assigned to the selected resource.

The Assignment Work graph, shown in Figure 5-12, breaks down the total workload of the resource that you're considering, showing you the resource's workload on the selected task, other tasks, and the resource's total availability based on the calendar. Using this graph helps you to see if you'll overallocate the resource by assigning it to this task.

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Figure 5-12: Use this graph to avoid overallocating a resource.

Figure 5-12: Use this graph to avoid overallocating a resource.

The Remaining Availability graph, shown in Figure 5-13, shows you the resource's unassigned time.

Note |f you've overallocated a resource, you don't see a negative availability; the resource's availability appears to be 0.

Figure 5-13: Use this graph to check a resource's availability.

Note You also can view the Remaining Availability graph from the Resource Center in Project Web Access.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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