Abhishek asks: I’m doing scheduling for multi-tower projects. Is there any way to see the resource usage for a particular tower?

Ellen answers: The way you create and manage this project will determine the type of reporting you’ll be able to derive from your schedule. Here are a few suggestions for getting the information you’re looking for.

From your question I would assume that resources are shared among the work needed for each tower. Assuming you’re using multiple projects and creating a Master project with inserted projects, you could use a shared resource pool. Resources are entered once and then shared over the multiple projects. The assignments then could be viewed on the Resource Usage view, and all tasks from the various projects will be shown.

Start with one project schedule. To show the tower number that a resource is working on for a task and all assignments for a tower, you’ll need to create a customized task text or number field called Tower No. To create the customized field:

  • Using Microsoft Project 2010, click on Project | Customized fields | Task | Text1 | Rename | Tower Number. You could click on Lookup table and enter the numbers of the towers.
  • Using Microsoft Project 2007 and earlier, click on Tools | Customize | Fields | Task | Text1 | Rename | Tower Number. You could click on Lookup table and enter the numbers of the towers.

The next step would be to insert the Tower No. column in a task table and populate the column with the tower that each task applies to. After the Tower numbers have been entered it will look like this:

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Note: Copy the customized field Tower No. into Global.mpt to allow it to be available to all of the projects and for use in the Master file. Project 2010 has an option to automatically update the Global.mpt with all customized fields.

While viewing the Task Usage view in each project, insert the Tower No. column into the view. (Right click on a column heading, select Insert Column, and name it Tower No.). As you can see in the view below, the Tower No. will only appear on the Summary task line.

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Copy the Tower number to the resource assignments as shown below. As a result of this the assignment for a given resource will be associated with a tower number he or she is working on. Once this is done, reporting on the assignments by tower will be possible.

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Repeat these steps for all of the projects, then combine the projects:

  • Using Project 2010, click on Project | Subproject | select project name | Insert.
  • Using Project 2007 and earlier, click on Insert | Project | select project name | Insert.

When projects are combined, the Tasks Usage view will show all of the assignments for the inserted projects. Make sure the Tower No. column has been inserted into the view. You might need to insert the original column name and change the column title when viewing from the Master file. With all of the projects together and coding in place, you can use the Autofilter to filter out tasks by tower. Use the “Using Resource” filter to filter out tasks by resource. For example, below is a view of the tasks assigned to the resource Bob. It’s important to note that since the same project template was used, the summary tasks are needed to show which project is the source of the tasks:

Ask the Experts: Tying Tasks and Assignments across Projects

Here are a few other methods and reporting options you may find useful:

  • From the Gantt chart apply the Using Resource filter to see just the assignments for a particular resource.
  • When viewing the Task Usage view, use the Resource grouping.
  • When viewing the Resource Usage view, create a customized group to group assignment by Tower No. by Resource Name.
  • If you dont want to use a Master Project, consider combining the projects on a temporary basis.
  • The projects will combine temporarily for reporting purposes. If the resources aren’t shared using a resource pool but reside in separate project files, resources won’t combine and over-allocations across projects won’t be available, but the assignments per resource will be visible. Consistency of the resource name will help with this problem. Open all files to be combined and then:
    • Using Project 2010, click on View | New Window | select projects to be combined | choose OK.
    • Using Project 2007 and earlier, click on Window | New Window | select projects to be combined | choose OK.

If the customized field was created in the member projects, when combined, the methods described above will be available. If all tower projects are in one large project schedule, the steps above would apply.