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7 Incorrect Ways to Use Microsoft Project: Capacity as Activity

This is the second article of this series highlighting common incorrect uses of Microsoft Project. The images in these posts are built using the Microsoft Project 2013 Pro edition, but this series can be useful for all versions of the product.

Flaw #1: Date-Related Planning

Flaw #2: Capacity as Activity

This flaw is pretty self-explanatory once you see the image below:



You are looking at a Gantt chart where 3 people need to work on a document. From the view, it is clear that the 3 people need to do things separately. And there’s the problem: “things” isn’t really something you can do.

Project resource planning or allocating should be done on a different level. We need to add our resources using a different view in Microsoft Project called the Resource sheet.



I added Erik, Dave and John in the resource sheet. I also added some additional information like a standard hourly rate and a Base calendar.

Now we go back to our Gantt chart view to change the names of the activities and add the resources to these activities. In other words: we are generating assignments for the resources to the tasks.

I have changed the names of the 3 tasks to represent the different actions that need to be taken.



Now I know what the team needs to do. And I can assign my resources appropriately. Using the details view in the views tab, I can assign Erik to “Write the first draft,” and even give a indication on how many hours he needs to work on the task. “Work” is a column I can add in my Gantt view. The results:



That’s it for now. I hope you liked reading the post, leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to reply. Keep an eye open for my next flaw: Lack of structure  (Work Breakdown Structure)


This article was originally published on Erik van Hurck’s website, The Project Corner. You can visit his website for more helpful tips.

Written by Erik van Hurck

Erik van Hurck is a Senior PPM consultant for Projectum, a western European Microsoft Partner with offices in Denmark and The Netherlands. On top of that Erik is a Microsoft MVP. As such, Erik assists enterprise customers to adopt the new Power Platform cloud solutions for Project and Portfolio Management. Erik has a personal blog (www.theprojectcornerblog.com) and is also a writer for the Microsoft Project User Group (MPUG.com).

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  1. Very interesting! Looking forward to seeing the next 5 wrong ways to use MSProj!

  2. Very informative. Would like to receive your communication.

  3. It is wonderful. It is very interesting.

  4. Your articles are very interesting and easy to apply. I train project managers daily on project scheduling and planning.

  5. Very informative

  6. A WBS is a deliverable oriented, delivery process model that lays out what must be delivered and the sequence. Tasks/assignments are atomic units of work that produce a unique deliverable that is either final or a transformative, tangible step of the deliverable that is built on to create the final deliverable. Each task, and by association deliverable, has the attributes of order [predecessor/successor], work/duration, start/finish, resource.

    In my experience a common flaw in WBS decomposition is where detailed process activities and not tasks/deliverables are planned; too much granularity.
    – Phase
    — Team/Channel/Work Stream
    — Deliverable
    —- Tasks
    How a task gets done, activities, is not important from a scheduling perspective; sometimes how a deliverable gets done is not important; it has an owner and a (agreed to) due date.

  7. Please sign me up for the newsletter

  8. Robert – Actually, the WBS does not have the sequence of deliverables. That’s in the schedule.

  9. I only counted 2… hmmm

  10. HolyCow, There are 7 flaws published. Maybe you would like to try the origional serries here:

    Kind regards, and thanks for reading,

  11. Hi,

    The other 7 articles are linked just below these comments in the “Trackbacks” section.


  12. well done,

    you nice man.

  13. you are sharp and straight thanks


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