Troubleshooting Cost and Resource Problems


In projects where you’ve entered cost information for resources, you might find that to address many cost problems you must fine-tune resource and assignment details. Whether or not it’s your intention, changing resource assignment details not only affects costs but can affect task durations as well.

As you saw in the previous exercise, the short film project plan has some cost variance. As it is currently scheduled, the project plan will end up costing about $11,000 more than planned, or about 9 percent over budget. This cost variance has resulted from longer-than-expected assignment durations and the resulting higher costs of the assigned resources.

After doing some research into the high cost of the electricians on the setup and teardown assignments, you learn that in most cases, they’re really needed for only a portion of the tasks’ durations. After discussing the issue with the production manager, you agree that the electricians’ assignments on the remaining setup and teardown tasks should be halved. While you’re updating the project, you’ll also handle the upcoming departure of another resource.

In this exercise, you adjust work values for resource assignments and replace one resource with another on upcoming assignments. You begin, however, by checking the total cost of the electricians’ assignments.

  1. On the View menu, click Resource Sheet.

    The Resource Sheet view appears. Note the current total cost of resource 13, Electrician: $7,370. This is a combination of the electricians’ actual cost to date and their anticipated cost for scheduled assignments yet to be completed. You would like to reduce this cost by reducing the electricians’ work on tasks.

  2. On the View menu, click Resource Usage.

    The Resource Usage view appears.

  3. In the Resource Name column, click the plus sign next to the name of resource 13, Electrician. Then scroll the Resource Usage view so that all of the electricians’ assignments are visible.

    Because scenes 7, 3, and 1 have already been completed, you’ll focus on the electricians’ assignments to the remaining scenes.

  4. In the Work column for Scene 2 setup, type 4h, and then press the [Enter] key.

    Project adjusts the work of the electricians on this task to four hours.

  5. Enter the new work values in the following list for the electricians’ remaining assignments:

    For this assignment

    Enter this work value

    Scene 2 teardown

    2h

    Scene 5 setup

    16h

    Scene 5 teardown

    8h

    Scene 6 setup

    32h

    Scene 6 teardown

    7h

    Scene 8 setup

    8h

    Scene 8 teardown

    4h

    Scene 4 setup

    6h

    Scene 4 teardown

    6h

    When you’re done, your screen should look similar to the following illustration:

    click to expand

    Note that because the electricians were not the only resource assigned to these tasks, reducing the electricians’ scheduled work in this way will reduce the cost of their assignments, but not necessarily the durations of these tasks. The other resources assigned to these tasks may have assignments of longer durations.

    To verify the reduction in the electricians’ costs, you’ll switch back to the Resource Sheet view.

  6. On the View menu, click Resource Sheet.

    The Resource Sheet view appears. Your screen should look similar to the following illustration:

    click to expand

    Note the updated total cost of resource 13, Electrician: $5,368. Only the Cost and Remaining Cost values changed; the costs relating to work already performed (that is, actual work) are not affected, nor is the baseline cost.

    To conclude this exercise, you will update the project plan to reflect that a resource will be leaving the project early and his assignments will be taken over by another resource. Max Benson will be leaving the project just after the start of work on scene 2. You will reassign Max Benson’s work on subsequent tasks to Megan Sherman. Megan also happens to be a slightly less expensive resource, so the replacement will help a little with the cost variance too.

  7. On the View menu, click Task Usage.

    The Task Usage view appears. It currently displays the Work table.

  8. Drag the vertical divider bar to the right to show all columns in the Work table.

  9. On the Edit menu, click Go To.

  10. In the ID box, type 44, and then click OK.

    Project displays the assignments for the most recent task for which Max Benson has any actual work reported.

    Your screen should look similar to the following illustration:

    click to expand

    You can see that Max Benson’s assignment to task 44, Scene 2 setup, is 50 percent complete. This value appears in the Percent Work Complete column, labeled % W. Comp.

    Next you’ll filter the Task Usage view to show only incomplete tasks. That way, when you replace Max Benson with Megan Sherman, the replacement will affect only the incomplete tasks to which Max Benson is assigned.

  11. On the Project menu, point to Filtered For: All Tasks, and then click Incomplete Tasks.

    Project filters the Task Usage view to show only those tasks that are not yet complete. Next you will make the resource replacement. Keep an eye on Max Benson’s partial work on task 44.

  12. Click the Task Name column heading.

  13. On the Standard toolbar, click the Assign Resources button.

    The Assign Resources dialog box appears.

  14. In the Resource Name column, click Max Benson, and then click the Replace button.

    The Replace Resource dialog box appears.

  15. In the Resource Name column, click Megan Sherman, and then click OK.

    Project replaces Max Benson’s future assignments with Megan Sherman.

  16. Click Close to close the Assign Resources dialog box.

    Your screen should look similar to the following illustration:

    click to expand

    Note that for task 44, Project preserved Max Benson’s four hours of work on the task and assigned the remainder of his work on the task (four hours) to Megan. For the subsequent tasks to which Max was assigned, he has been replaced by Megan.

  17. On the Project menu, point to Filtered For: Incomplete Tasks, and then click All Tasks.

    Project unfilters the Task Usage view. Note that Max’s historical actual work is still recorded in the project plan.




Microsoft Office Project 2003 Step by Step
MicrosoftВ® Office Project 2003 Step by Step (Step by Step (Microsoft))
ISBN: 0735619557
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 199

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