Sunday, July 22, 2012

Splitting Task Assignments

You have a serious issue in your schedule. After leveling and resolving resource conflicts several resources have been assigned higher priority work on another project. They have started several tasks, but can’t finish them. The tasks are CRITICAL and can’t be delayed or split because the project finish date is not negotiable. How do you “fix” this?

MS Project allows the user to split task assignments when in the jam just described. A split assignment is when the resources starting a task are not the resources finishing the task. In the problem described, the current resource assignment would stop and a different resource would complete the task. Here’s how to configure it:

Assign the first resource to the task and enter only the amount of work to be completed before leaving the task and project. Assign the second resource and allow the remaining work, but delay their assignment the number of days required from the start of the task.

In the figure below I show a task that is 5 days in duration. The first two days of the task are performed by Resource 1; the final three days are performed by Resource 2. I split the “Task Usage” view with the “Task Form” and applied the “Schedule” detail to the form. Resource 1 is assigned 16 hours of work and Resource 2 is assigned 24 hours of work. The “Schedule” detail contains the “Delay” field which is used to delay the entry of Resource 2 the required amount of time and to provide seamless assignment of a resource to the task. (Click on the figure to enlarge.)

Split Assignments

That’s all there is to it! This technique is used in many scenarios and can reflect schedule realities nicely. How will you use it?

If you saw last month’s free webinar “MS Project Tips and Tricks #2”, then you won’t want to miss the next one! It is titled "Project 2010 Exam Crash Course". It’s on August 23rd and it will fill quickly, so don’t wait. Sign up HERE!

A final note:If you are wondering about the terminology in this blog, or are new to project management or MS Project, I advise you get training from Versatile. Check out Versatile’s course schedule HERE or call Jon Wagner at 206-417-2295.