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Microsoft® Project Do’s & Don’ts: Assigning Resources to Summary Tasks

Microsoft® Project expert Sam Huffman gives us the do’s and don’ts of Project. Each of these 9 videos shows a different problem that Project users may face and demonstrates how to solve that problem. From organizing your outline to leveling resources, Sam Huffman shares his techniques for getting the job done right. Join MPUG to access full-length, live webinar training sessions and hundreds more on-demand.

In this recording Sam shows us all about assigning resources to summary tasks. “It is easier to assign a group of people to work on a group of tasks rather than individually assigning them.” Using this method has its benefits but it can also cause problems, both are highlighted in this short clip.

Want more Do’s and Don’ts? Check out MPUG’s new book: Microsoft® Project Do’s and Don’ts!

Click the links below to see more videos in Sam Huffman‘s Microsoft® Project Do’s and Don’ts series

Using Elapsed Durations for Team Schedules
Constraining Activities
Organizing Project Tasks Incorrectly
Inadequate Baselining
Scheduling Projects as Late as Possible
Incorrect Calendar Association
Leveling Resources Without Analysis
Including Summary Tasks in Project Sequencing

Sam Huffman
Written by Sam Huffman

Sam Huffman first gained insight into Microsoft Project while working as a member of the MS Project development and support team. He has maintained his depth of knowledge of MS Project with each release and is a leading authority in the use and features of MS Project, Project Server and Project Online. Since the early 1990’s Sam has honed his instruction skills by delivering training programs to thousands every year. Sam is a frequent content contributor to the Microsoft Project User Group (MPUG) and speaks to groups often about MS Project, Enterprise Project Management and the discipline of Project Management. He was awarded Microsoft Most Valuable Professional from 2010-2017. Check out his blog on MS Project.

The softcover version of my newest book Microsoft® Project Do’s and Don’ts is now available for purchase! It is portable, brief and to the point so you can find help when you need it. Through tips, best practices and examples it will help you jumpstart your project!

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  1. Daryl Deffler

    Hey Sam;
    Nice video! I’d like to add two additional problems caused by assigning resources to summary tasks.
    1) If you are using timesheet entry in server, resource cannot see summary tasks in their timesheet. So while they are assigned to the summary, there is no way they can record time against them.
    2) Phantom actual work may appear. The % Complete on the summary task is the % complete of all the tasks below it. Based on that % Complete, project will add actual work to the resource assigned to the summary task so that their actual work % Complete matches the % complete of all the sub-tasks. For example, Bob is assigned to a summary task with 80 hours work. Tasks A and B are below it and each task is 1 day duration, separated by an 8 day gap. When task A is completed, the % Complete of the two tasks is now 50% and this roles up to the summary. As a result, Bob is given 40 hours of actual work on the summary tasks (50% of 80 hours).

  2. Nice comment on the article and great cautionary note to everyone using Project at any level of expertise. Just don’t assign resources to summary tasks!


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