Microsoft Project is an interesting program. It isn’t a general program like Word or Excel, it’s aimed at creating a project, managing a project.
Task Duration vs Work vs Units calculation
When you assign and edit assignments of Resources to a Project Task, MSP’s calculation engine recalculates an answer for that task. The calculation is based on this formula:
Task Duration = Work / Units
The equation is based on these three factors. Project will calculate one factor if you change the other two.
By Default (Tools > Options), MSP sets the Tasks you create as Fixed Units. However, you can make set any Task to calculate in the following way:
- Fixed Units
- Fixed Work
- Fixed Duration
One more feature is Effort Driven Scheduling – this is the default in MSP. If you assign or remove people, MSP keeps the total Work fixed. Sometimes you want to add a more people because the Work has been underestimated – in this case, you remove the tick to on Effort Driven Scheduling for that Task.
Durations by the way, come in two types. A simple number for the working duration of the task where assigned people take a break when the weekend comes on their calendar and Elapsed Duration when the task extends into the weekend even though it is non working time for the resources. See this MSP 2007 Help webpage
- see this MSP 2007 Help webpage for a concise table and explanation of the behaviour of these Task Types.
- see this Task Types article by Mike Glen, MS Project MVP
Linking Tasks and Types of Links
The four Link Types are:
- FS e.g. Dig Concrete and Pour Concrete
- SS e.g. Pour Concrete and Level Concrete
- FF e.g. Add wiring and Inspect Electrics
- SF e.g. Truss Delivery and Assemble Roof
See diagrams and videos in this MSP 2007 Help webpage.
Copying Calendars and other stuff
Like Microsoft Word, MSP has a Tools > Organizer dialog. This can be used to copy Calendars and other items across MSP files.
- Variable costs caused by use of a Resource are ride on the assignment of the Resource to the Task.
- Fixed costs are assigned directly to the Task itself.
- Material costs are assigned by use of the Resource (remember to type the unit e.g. litres in the Material Label field)