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Reply To: How to create a new project which forecasts the time to finish a project

Home Forums Discussion How to create a new project which forecasts the time to finish a project Reply To: How to create a new project which forecasts the time to finish a project


This is a question about how to use the scheduling calculation of MS Project to derive the duration of a task based on the capacity of a production unit rather than the normal work capacity of work resources. All the terminology and units of measure for the formulae are in terms of hours of work but if we were to put in values that related to the capacity of the production unit, the calculation of dates and durations would still work. Others may have a more intuitive solution, but the following appears to work:
1. Figure out what the hourly output of the Production Unit machine is – let’s assume an 8 hour day to fit with normal Project defaults. In your example, that would be 12.5. We know we’re talking about SqM but all the Project references will be treating them as hours of effort;
2. Under File->Options->Schedule set the option for “Show Assignment Units as” Decimal. Set New Tasks created to be Auto Scheduled. Set Default Task Type as Fixed Work. Set Calculation option to On;
3. In the Resource Sheet view, set up a resource line (keep the standard Type as Work) with Resource Name of Unit A (Or whatever you like). Set the Max units to 12.5 (the same number as in 1 above);
4. Use the View tab to Select the Gantt Chart view and the View->Tables option to select the Usage Table;
5. In the Gantt Chart view, create a task corresponding to a production project – e.g. Project 25;
6. Select Resource->Assign Resources to display the Assign Resources dialog box;
7. Highlight the task for your Project 25 in the main screen. In the Assign Resources dialog box against the line for Unit A, enter 12.5 in the Units column;
8. Against the Project 25 task, in the Work column, enter the number of SqM for the project – in your example 3000. Don’t worry that it says 3000 hours – you know that it refers to SqM – and the duration will calculate out as 30 days.

That’s the basic approach. Once you have that, you can elaborate it with more resources (i.e. extra production units), changing the calendars (change from the 5 day week, 8 hour day default), more projects (i.e. tasks), setting planned start dates for each project, using resource levelling to deal with overallocation of production units, etc.
It will get messy if you also want to schedule real work resources (people) for the same projects. In any case you’ll need to experiment a bit before you feel comfortable with using this kind of approach. Don’t forget the Help function in Project – there are lots of essential functions outlined there to get you over some of the basic questions.
Good Luck