As it is very common in the industry, each person tackles several tasks at once; however, when you define a start and end dates, MS project forces you to choose DAYS.

**For example:** 
Task1Project1 (0.5 day) start: Jan 1, End: March1
Task1Project2 (0.3 day) start Jan 1, End: Feb 1
Support (0.2 day). Start Jan 1, End Dec 31

When you put this in MS Project, it automatically assigns FULL day for each task… which is quite annoying. So two things happen: either you always end up with OVERALLOCATION (which is not true) or it tries to push away your timeline if you try to rectify it.

I know that one alternate is to use hours, but that’s very difficult for me to manage. There are many continuous tasks for me to manage and all we have is really start and end dates. Is there a smart solution to resolve this problem without using hours?

  • Just a comment/consideration: if you convert the task to "Fixed duration", then the problem becomes that the start/end dates do not change as you add/remove resources. Which is another issue I was hoping to avoid. – LearnByReading Jan 2 '18 at 16:29

Under some views (e.g. Task Usage) you can set a rate of effort against the resources. Assuming you assigned Bob as the resource for Task 1, you could assign a rate of effort of 1.25% (approximately 1/2 day over 2 months). MSP will take this rate of effort into consideration when calculation overallocation. You may find this works best if you set fixed duration rather than fixed effort as under the latter MSP will try and change your dates.

But, using hours may be your best option. MSP will convert from hours to days in the relevant views when necessary.

From my Project Manager experience - be careful not to try and track too much. I know it is only an example, but trying to track a couple of hours of effort over a full year may be creating a rod for your own back and leading you into trying to find solutions for problems of your own creating. An alternative is to try and collate some sundry tasks into a larger category and only track that category (e.g. "General Support") which may lead you back into dealing with days per month/year rather than hours. Of course, remember to document (e.g. using the Notes field) how you came to your overall total.

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