Effort-driven scheduling means that the total work for a task drives the calculations of duration, units, and work for individual assignments. If you add or subtract resources, the total work remains the same, while Office Project 2007 adjusts the task duration or units at which resources are assigned.
On the other hand, if you disable effort-driven scheduling, the total amount of work will change if you add or remove resources, just as the number of person-hours increases as you ask more people to attend a two-hour meeting. Essentially, effort-driven scheduling works hand-in-hand with the task type.
Learning About Effort-Driven Scheduling
Effort-driven scheduling can be a frustrating part of your work with Office Project 2007, but it is a worth the extra time you need to devote to fully understand how this feature works. This way you can begin to predict what Office Project 2007 is going to do with your work unit and duration calculations.
Remember, Office Project 2007 does not change anything the first time you assign a resource. Effort-driven scheduling and task types come into play only when you begin modifying original resource assignments. The first time you open the Assign Resources dialog box and assign resources to a task, your duration stays the same, your max units stay at their default setting from the Resource Sheet, and the work is automatically calculated. That is the easy part.
Fixed Units, Fixed Duration and Fixed Work
The challenging part in understanding effort-driven scheduling arises when you try to predict what is going to happen if you add another resource, if you remove a resource, or if you change the project duration. There are so many variables. But really, you just need to break it down to three. Those three variables are essentially the task types.
The task types are:
- Fixed Duration
- Fixed Units
- Fixed Work
You know that the duration is the length between the start and finish dates for the task. Units are essentially the amount of capacity that any one resource can devote to a task. Work is the amount of time assigned to a task.
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).