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Prepared by Adam Richardson 2/03/2011

MS Project 2003 Example

This is intended to be read in conjunction with the MS Project 2003 Quick-start guide. If you don’t understand a step, check to see if it is already explained there.

1. Create a new project with the following tasks and durations

Task Name

Task Duration

Peel vegetables

5

day

Slice vegetables

1

day

Grind lime leaves

3

day

Thaw meat

12

day

Brown meat

1

day

Heat wok

5

day

Add Meat

1

day

Add curry paste

0.5

day

Add coconut milk

0.5

day

Mix liquids

2

day

Add vegetables

0.5

day

Simmer

20

day

Serve

2

day

Enjoy

0

day

Note that the smallest time increment viewable on MS Project Gantt Chart is 15min, so for the purposes of this exercise we are working with days. You can enter min, weeks, months etc by typing “5 min” and so on.

If a task can be done by multiple resources in parallel to speed it up, make sure the “effort driven” box is checked in the task information page. If not, make sure it is unchecked.

A milestone is a task of 0 duration.

The time unit “day” is defined as 8 hours. If a work day is not 8hrs long, there may be confusion later! Check the effort driven box for “Peel vegetables” and uncheck the effort driven box for everything else.

If you did not leave spaces for subproject titles, just insert a new task and leave it blank

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Prepared by Adam Richardson 2/03/2011

2. Create WBS hierarchy by creating subproject titles and indenting tasks

Task Name

Task Duration

Prepare Vegetables

 

Peel

vegetables

5

day

Slice vegetables

1

day

Grind lime leaves

3

day

Prepare Meat

 

Thaw meat

12

day

Brown meat

1

day

Heat wok

5

day

Cooking

 

Add

Meat

1

day

Add

curry paste

1

day

Add

coconut milk

1

day

Mix

liquids

2

day

Add

vegetables

0

day

Simmer

20

day

Serve

2

day

Enjoy

0

day

Do this by indenting tasks under subprojects. You may need to outdent subproject titles if they get indented to the level of tasks

You can have a hierarchy of subprojects if you wish

3. Create resource calendars

Construct an 8hr per day, 7 day per week calendar and save it as “8x7” to use later for the resources “Chef” and “Assistant”

“Materals” don’t have a working time; they are always available

NOTE: One flaw of MS Project is that tasks can not use machines or tools that assist another resource. For example, we may allocate a Welder tool as a “resource” that is capable of working 24hrs/day and a Metal worker that is capable of working 12hrs/day, and make a task of “Fabricate Box” require the Welder and the Metal worker, taking 6 work hours. Instead of saying that the “Welder” requires the “Metal worker” to contribute any work, project will interpret this as the “Welder” contributes 24 work hrs/day and the “Metal worker” contributes 12 work hrs/day for a total of 36 work hrs/day, meaning the task “Fabricate Box” is completed in 1/6 th of a day instead of ½. One workaround for this is to set the tool as being a “Material” so that it does not contribute to workload, and only the resource “Metal worker” hours count. You can still manually calculate and set the “Welder” running cost as “std. rate” and correctly calculate the operating cost. This workaround does not resolve the problem of having more workers requiring a particular tool than there are tools available (for example, if after completing the fabrication the worker uses the shop forklift to store the product. There may only be 1 forklift in the shop of 8 metal workers, but Project will not realise this limitation and assume all metal workers have access to the forklift at all times). This check of over-allocated resources is only performed on “resources”; for “materials” you have to check this manually and carefully.

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Prepared by Adam Richardson 2/03/2011

4. Create resources in the resource sheet

Name

Material

Max Units

Std rate

Cost/use

Accrue at

Base

Type

Label

Calendar

Vegetables

   

$0.00

$5.00

Start

 

Material

Lime leaves

   

$0.00

$3.00

Start

 

Material

Meat

   

$0.00

$8.00

Start

 

Material

Curry Paste

   

$0.00

$2.00

Start

 

Material

Coconut milk

   

$0.00

$1.00

Start

 

Material

Chef

 

100%

$0.03/h

$0.00

Prorated

8x7

Work

Assistant

 

200%

$0.02/h

$0.00

Prorated

8x7

Work

Morter and

   

$0.00

$0.00

Start

 

Material

Pestle

Vegetable

   

$0.00

$0.00

Start

 

Material

Peeler

Knife

   

$0.00

$0.00

Start

 

Material

Stove

*see below*

 

$0.00

$0.00

Prorated

 

Material

Wok

   

$0.00

$0.00

Start

 

Material

Note that tools/machines are available at all times here, but resources that use them have limited availability. Also, we have 2 assistants giving Assistant availability of 200%. This means Project will only show an error if we allocate our resource “Assistant” more than 200% standard workload.

Also note that the hourly cost of “Chef” and “Assistant” are very small to avoid dominating the bill of material costs at the end. This is just for this example *Note* Our stove is classified as a material, even though it is used in an hourly fashion, and its cost accrues in an hourly fashion (see above to understand why it is a “material”). However, since the operating cost is based upon how hot it is and how long it is used for we need to be a bit clever to trick MS Project into doing what we want. One method is to set the Material label as cost per unit of energy (kWd etc) and then tell the project in the next step how much energy to use for each task (eg stove[1.6kWd], stove[1.2kWd] and so on). Another method is to leave the Material label as d. (note the “.” – for some reason MS Project will not allow you to use time units such as “d” as a unit for a material) and then introduce multiple cost rates with the cost rate table function. Multiple cost rates are used when the cost of a resource is dependent upon the task the resource is doing, and requires the resource to be assigned to task before you can make a particular task use a different cost rate.

Open the “stove” resource information panel, go to the “costs” tab, set A standard rate as $0.03, B standard rate as $0.02 and C standard rate as $0.01

Once you have assigned the “stove” to its tasks (in the next step), view the task usage

page and insert the “Cost Rate Table” column if it is not already there. Then go to each instance of “stove” and change the cost rate table to:

o

Heat Wok – A (high power)

o

Brown Meat – B (medium power)

o

Simmer – C (low power)

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Prepared by Adam Richardson 2/03/2011

If you accidentally change any resource other than “stove” they will also use their B/C/etc cost rate, which by default is $0.00 so that the cost for that task will not be included in the final cost summary. We will be using the second method for this tutorial - you may use either in your assignment

5. Assign resources to tasks using WBS sheet

This includes a mixture of “materials” and “work”

Task Name

Resources

Prepare Vegetables

 

Peel

vegetables

Vegetables, Vegetable Peeler, Chef

Slice vegetables

Vegetables, Knife, Assistant

Grind lime leaves

Lime leaves, Mortar and Pestle, Chef

Prepare Meat

 

Thaw meat

Meat

Brown meat

Meat, Stove[1d.], Wok, Assistant

Heat wok

Stove[5d.], Wok

Cooking

 

Add

Meat

Meat

Add

curry paste

Curry Paste

Add

coconut milk

Coconut Milk

Mix

liquids

Wok, Assistant, Lime leaves

Add

vegetables

Vegetables

Simmer

Wok, Stove[20d.]

Serve

Assistant[200%]

Both “Assistants” will be doing the serving, so we set the workload to [200%] manually (default is [100%])

Note that you will have to manually set number of “d.” that the stove is used for. Alternately, manually set the number of kWd if you chose that option.

6. Sequence Tasks as shown below

Peel vegetables – Slice Vegetables

Slice Vegetables – Add Vegetables

Grind Lime Leaves – Add Vegetables

Thaw Meat – Add Meat

Add Meat – Brown Meat

Heat Wok – Add Meat

Brown Meat – Add Curry Paste

Add Curry Paste – Add Coconut Milk [SS]

Add Curry Paste – Mix Liquids

Add Coconut Milk – Mix Liquids

Mix Liquids – Add Vegetables

Add Vegetables – Simmer

Simmer – Serve

Serve – Enjoy

You may notice that “Heat Wok” is completed many days before “Brown Meat” starts. This is obviously not correct as “Heat Wok” is defined as time to turn wok on before we wish to

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Prepared by Adam Richardson 2/03/2011

use it. We correct this by giving “Heat Wok” the “as late as possible” constraint on the task information page.

You can now set the “Enjoy” milestone time to be whatever time you wish to serve, and everything after “thaw meat” and vegetable preparation should shift accordingly. Test this. Setting the “Enjoy” constraint back to “as early as possible” will return to the previous schedule.

You may notice that the “Prepare Vegetables” subproject duration is not max{5+1,3}=6, but a smaller number. This is because the subproject is using the project calendar to calculate working time (which may exclude weekends etc) rather than simply end time-start time. You may wish to change the project calendar to correct this

7. Check resource allocation

You may note that “Peel vegetables” and “grind lime leaves” are going on concurrently, and that “Chef” is assigned to both. By default a resource is allocated to work fully on one task, so currently the “Chef” is over-allocated; view the resource graph for “Chef” and you’ll see that there is a period where allocation is 200% (we previously defined the allowable maximum to be 100%). There are two ways of resolving this problem:

Reduce the effort put in by “Chef” for each task so that they sum to 100%

- Be aware that you can’t vary effort during a task (another limitation of MS Project), so the “Chef” will be working at reduced effort during the longer duration task increasing overall project time (and potentially cost)

Adjust the task timings such that they are not concurrent. You may do this manually or using the “Level Resources” tool

8. Determine project Costs

One problem not outlined above is that of bill of materials. If the material is consumed in the task it is allocated to, the above procedure will work satisfactorily. However, in process control where the material is modified by a task (such as “slice vegetables” ) the resource “vegetable” is used both in “peel vegetable” and ”slice vegetable” and so the material cost is applied twice. One way around this is to create a new resource “Peeled Vegetables” that costs $0, and adjust the task sequencing such that any task using the resource “Peeled Vegetables” must occur after the task “Peel vegetables”, and then replace the “Vegetables” resource with “Peeled Vegetables” wherever appropriate. You can also add a material “sliced vegetables” and so on if you wish. Try this, and repeat for other processed materials such as “Meat” and “Lime leaves”

A simpler but less reliable is to use multiple cost rates for the material, and have one of the cost rates set to $0. You can then use this cost rate when you don’t wish to have the material usage cost anything

9. Other details

From here you can go on to analyse other parts of your project such as network diagrams, critical path analysis, slack calculations and so on. Explore the features of MS Project and adapt them as necessary to fit in with the details you are trying to show. But remember that what ever changes you make;

Make sure your starting cost, final cost, cash flow and earned value projections are defensible. This is the metric against which you will personally be measured. MS Project projections are not robust in that they will often not stand up to real world conditions, and you will have to do significant analysis to make them do so.

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Don’t sacrifice physical meaning in your model to make MS Project do what you want. (You may find it easier to do some tasks manually rather than introduce a real-world impossibility to make Project behave)

Don’t let Project violate OH&S restrictions. Even if Project can check these you should double check manually.