Steps to Take
The first step in effort-driven scheduling is determining whether a given task is, in fact, effort-driven. After all, there are tasks within projects that are not effort-driven. For example, while packing is effort-driven, driving the moving truck is not. No matter how many people are working on the move, the moving truck can only go so fast. A good way to determine whether a task is effort-driven is to ask yourself “If one person can complete this task in x amount of days, can two people complete it in 1/2x amount of days, and three people complete it in 1/3x amount of days?" So if one person can paint a room in 12 hours, two people could paint a room in 6 hours, and three people could paint a room in 4 hours; this is an example of an effort-driven task.
Once it has been determined that the assigned task is, in fact, effort-driven, then the project manager must add a resource (person assigned) to the task. Perhaps the task will take one month to complete with one person working on it, but only ½ a month to complete with two people working on it. Once a second resource has been added to the task, if you are using Microsoft Project, it will automatically calculate the schedule each time a new resource is added.
The important thing to remember is that when you schedule this way, you do not take into account the fact that you might have individuals who are less efficient or more efficient than other resources working on the task. Because of this, you may need to adjust – does Tony work at half the rate as Amy – and if so, you need to consider this when assigning and scheduling the tasks. For additional information on effort-driven scheduling in Microsoft Project, click here to see Linda Richter's Bright Hub PM article.