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Lesson 3 - Allocate Resources and Set Timelines
After assigning resources to tasks and setting timelines, you must verify if one or more resources have been over-allocated in one or more tasks. In spite of your best planning efforts, this is quite likely to happen.
MS Project has an option to automatically level resources under the “Tools” menu. However, in order to be effective, this requires a lot more information to be input. Within the scope of this tutorial, we will only cover leveling resources manually.
- Select “Resource Usage” under the “View” menu to view the work allocated to each resource per day as shown in Figure 12. Check if any resource has been over-allocated. An over-allocated resource is shown in red. If any resource is over-allocated, check the days on which the resource is over-allocated using horizontal and vertical scrolls in the right pane of the screen. Rows highlighted in yellow in the right pane show the total time spent each day with effort spent on individual tasks in the rows with white background.
Figure 12: Resource usage view
- On identifying a trouble-spot, go back to the “Gantt Chart” view using the “View” menu to fix it. You could:
- fix the start and finish dates
- modify predecessors
- allocate the task to another resource who is available
Go back and forth between these two views to identify and fix all over-allocation issues.
||Note: This must be done very systematically and urge to attempt quick fixes must be curbed. You must also note that fixing an over-allocation issue in one place can cause a new over-allocation issue in another place. However, a systematic approach will help you resolve these fairly quickly.
- At this point, you may want to assign cost for each resource. It is not compulsory to do this if you are not tracking the cost, but if you are, this will help you track how the project is faring in terms of the allocated budget. For doing this, highlight all tasks by clicking on the top-left cell as shown in Figure 13.
Figure 13: Highlighting all cells of the project plan
- Select “Assign Resources” under the “Tools” menu. In the “Assign Resources” window, double-click in the cost column against each resource to open another window to input “Resource Information”. In the “Costs” tab, enter the rates for the resource as shown in Figure 14.
Figure 14: Setting the resource cost
Now each task has an associated cost. When you track the progress closely, you will know the health of the project both in terms of the schedule and the cost.
Next you must assign milestones, and finalize and create a baseline plan for tracking purposes.
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Lesson 5 - Assign Milestones and Finalize Plan