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This is Part Two in a two-part article series. Click here to read this series from the beginning.
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Effort-Driven Scheduling Scenarios
Consider a task with a duration of 5 days that has work of 10 hours. That is to say, your resource will be working 2 hours a day for 5 days to arrive at the 10 hours of work.
Now let's apply what we know about effort-driven scheduling. As you know, effort-driven scheduling is enabled by default on all tasks. Additionally, the default task type is Fixed Units. Initially, when you assign a resource to a task, Office Project 2007 applies the maximum units from the Resource Sheet and pulls that entry over to the Entry table (and ultimately to the Task Form). When you understand the three variables of fixed units, fixed duration, and fixed work, you can then begin to break this down by units, work, and duration.
Making one of those variables “fixed" simply means that Office Project 2007 does not have the ability (or the permission) to modify that one “fixed" variable when a resource assignment changes. However, you always have the ability to modify that variable on a task. For example, on a Fixed Units task you can change the units from 100 percent to 50 percent (or any percentage you choose), but Office Project 2007 will not touch a “fixed" variable during an automatic calculation.
Now you know what “fixed" means in terms of this program. In most cases all effort-driven means is “more people equals less duration." Essentially, the more people you assign to a task, the less duration that task should take to complete. Makes sense, in most cases.
Understanding when to use effort-driven scheduling or when to turn it off is critical to getting Office Project 2007 to modify your tasks the way you want when you make changes. However, consider the following scenario.
As a project manager, you have assigned three resources to attend a 2 hour project meeting. If you assign three more resources to attend the same meeting, the meeting will still take two hours. In this case, assigning additional resources to a task for a meeting will not necessarily decrease the time associated with completing the task. That is a determination only you as the project manager can make. Office Project 2007 cannot make that determination for you. In this example you would disable effort-driven scheduling because adding additional resources will not make the meeting wrap up any sooner.
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With permission from Microsoft Press, this article content was excerpted from the book, Managing Projects with Microsoft Office Project 2007 (Self-Paced Training Kit for Exam 70-632).
Project 2007: Working with Effort-Driven Scheduling (Part 2 of 2)
A step-by-step guide to working with effort-driven scheduling in Microsoft Project 2007.