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This one has bothered me for a long while.

I like to do estimates thinking on how much time a certain task will take (I'm in TI business), so, let's say, it takes 12 hours to build a program.

Now, let's say I tell Project that my beginning date is today. If I allocate one resource to this task, it means that the task will last 1,5 days, implying that it will end tomorrow.

But right now, that is not what it's doing. I say that the task will take 1 hour, and when I add a resource to it, it allocate the resource at [13%] basis, which means that the duration is still fixed... project is trying to make the task last for a day.

I have, on many occasions, accomplished this. What I do is build a plan based on these rough estimates for effort, then I allocate tasks to resources. Times conflict, so I level resources and then Project magically tells me how long, in days, will it take. But every time I have to start estimating again, I end up having trouble on how to make project work like that.

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2 Answers 2

You may be running into what has confused me for a long time. You are probably entering your estimates into the "duration" column. Whenever you do something to the task, like setting a start and end date it may change the duration.

By default, MS Project does not show you the "work" column. Make it visible and put your estimates in there, where they will not change, even though duration changes.

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Thanks, I will upvote since it's right way to do it; However, that's already how I schedule tasks. The problem is when I allocate an resource to deal with the task, but I think I've figured out how. –  Bruno Brant Nov 27 '10 at 16:56
up vote 0 down vote accepted

After some time playing with MS Project, I've found out what is happening. The thing is so obvious that I'm ashamed to say it, but project is doing it right. I was the one misinterpreting it.

The correct scenario is this: I plan a task for a certain day that has estimated word of 4 hours. I then proceed to assign a resource to it, let's say, Bruno Brant. Project automatically assigns Bruno Brant at a 50% rate, and so the duration of the task is of one full day.

In order to illustrated what is happening, also consider this scenario: I add a task with 20 hours duration (two mandays and a half). The duration is "1 day?", meaning that Project can't tell it yet how long it will take. Then I assign a resource, which is done at a 100% (default) rate. The duration goes to 2,5 days.

What Project is doing is keeping a 1 manday minimum for each task, which works well with planning, since you can't say that you will have a project (small 'p') that will last less than a day. Because the resource in scenario 1 was assigned at a 50% rate, that means that you can have two tasks at the same day, but he will work only 50% at the other as well.

Thanks for everyone who looked into the matter.

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