Understanding How Project Uses Resources and Costs

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This chapter focuses on resources and costs ”understanding what resources are, how to create a resource pool, and how resource costs are calculated in Microsoft Project. You will learn how to define resources and their costs and how to define costs that are not associated with a particular resource. With this foundation, you will then be ready in ensuing chapters to assign resources and costs to tasks , modify those assignments, and resolve conflicts that arise with overallocated resources.

Although you can create a schedule in Microsoft Project without assigning resources to the tasks, such a schedule is based on the assumption that you will have all the necessary resources on hand whenever you need them ”and that assumption is rarely realistic. People take vacations , have sick leave, or have unique work schedules. Machinery and equipment need downtime for maintenance. Employees leave the organization and new ones arrive . New facilities are not ready for occupancy until midway through a project. All these are examples of situations in which a resource that is necessary to complete a task might not be available when Project schedules the task. You can make a project schedule more realistic by defining and assigning resources to tasks. At the very least, you should assign to each task the name of the person who is responsible for seeing it through to completion.

There are several major benefits of including resources in a project file:

  • If you provide the working time information for each resource, Project automatically schedules tasks only during those times.

  • After you assign resources to all the tasks, Project can help you see how many units of each resource you will need to complete the project.

  • Every project manager needs to know how much the project will cost. If you include the cost information for each resource, Project automatically calculates the cost of each resource assignment to individual tasks, and sums those costs to show the total cost of each task and the overall cost of the project. You can use these cost calculations in estimating the budget for the project.

You can define a comprehensive list of resources at the outset, including resource cost rates and availability information. Later, you will assign these resources to tasks. Alternatively, you can define the resources as you create the tasks, while you are thinking about how the work will be done. When you assign new resource names to a task, Project adds these names to the list of resources (see Figure 8.1). If you create resources on-the-fly , you must remember to go back later and enter the resource cost rates and availability information.

Figure 8.1. The list of resources includes information about the availability and cost of using the resources.



The Automatically Add New Resources and Tasks option (which is available on the General tab of the Options dialog box) determines how Project treats undefined resources that you assign to tasks. See the section "Setting the Automatically Add New Resources and Tasks Option," later in this chapter, to learn about the hazards of using this option.

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Special Edition Using Microsoft Office Project 2003
Special Edition Using Microsoft Office Project 2003
ISBN: 0789730723
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 283
Authors: Tim Pyron

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