Home › Forums › Microsoft Project Discussion Forum › Enterprise Leveling Max/Peak/Assignment Units-understanding and correcting
I’m wondering if you might be able to point me in a direction to get some more understanding on an issue I am having. I work at a custom fabrication shop with 30-40 projects at a time. I am a member of the MPUG community and have worked thru Daryl Defflers leveling articles and am stuck on understanding Max/Peak/Allocation units and correcting the issues with them in our Master Project with all subprojects inserted. It feels like project tells you it will level but then it doesn’t. Any help you could give would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your time.
I’ve been out of Project for a while, but lets see if I can help.
Lets say Bob is a resource who can work 40 hours a week, 8 hours a day. His resource calendar reflects such.
In simple terms, Max units represents the maximum amount of allocation per time unit. But it’s not that simple.
By default, when you assign Bob to a task, his assignment allocation will equal his max units, which Project defaults to 100%. You can change Bob’s Max units in a resource view. For example, you can set project to show that Bob’s Max Units should only be 80% or about 32hr/wk. Some specific items to note with this.
* Project doesn’t check existing task allocation units against this value. So if Bob was already assigned to 250 tasks at 100% allocation, changing Bob’s Max Units at the resource level will NOT change his existing 250 task assignment units value.
* Project uses the Max Units value as the default assignment units value when Bob is assigned as a new resource to a task
* The Max Units value you enter in the resource view will stay (across project open/close/open sequences) if Bob is a local resource
* If Bob is an Enterprise level resource, you can change Bob’s Max Units value in the open project to 80% for example. But when the project is closed/re-opened, Bob’s Max Units at the resource level will return to the Enterprise Resource level value, for example 100%.
* Max Units at the task assignment level impacts only that task. Bob could be assigned different values across different tasks. 50% on Task A, 20% on task B, etc. (I don’t generally recommend this)
* Max Units at the task level will not prevent over allocations. For example, Bob is available 8 hrs/day in his calendar and you want him to only work 25% of his time on the PROJECT. Project may however, still over allocate Bob on a given day depending on task dependency relationships. Example, Bob has 4 tasks assigned each with his task allocation at 25%. If all tasks can run concurrently, Project will schedule them in parallel, effectively allocating him at 100% (8hr) for that day. Why? Because each task is allocated 2hrs/day which follows your 25% assignment allocation value. However, his calendar says he can work 8 hrs/day. After scheduling the first task, project sees there are still 6 hours available that day for Bob to do project work. Ultimately Project will schedule 3 more parallel 2hr/day tasks because his calendar shows he is available to work that time. The easiest way to correct this is false dependency relationships. Meaning relationships added to ensure Bob’s work schedules correctly. So instead of Bob having 4 tasks that can start on the same day and run in parallel, Bob has a chain of single threaded tasks.
I’ve found the easiest way to manage “Bob” type scenarios is to do two things.
1) Create a Task assignment view that shows both Resource level Max Units along with Task Assignment values. This allows an easy visual comparison of Resource Max Units to task Assignment Units and if necessary, provides an easy way to make mass changes to Assignment Units using the Fill Down function.
2) After resource leveling, monitor the total daily or weekly planned work values at the resource level. If Bob shows more that 25% allocation in the given time period, you may need to drill into the schedule and modify task relationships to correct the issue.
Peak Units is a bit simpler. Peak Units is a calculated field at the task assignment level. Still using Bob, if we assigned him to a new 40 hour Fixed Units task at 100%, Project would calculate a weeks duration and the Peak Units will show 100%. If however, we start messing with manual overrides such as making the task Fixed Duration and assigning the duration to be 3 days, the Peak Units will recalculate to show what Bob would actually have to do to complete that effort in 3 days. Which I think in this example, means Bob’s Peak allocation on that task would show 140%. Meaning he must work 140% of his normal calendar day to make that 3 day duration.
Finding these problems and correcting them is pretty straight forward.
Create a view that includes the Peak Units field. I suggest adding it to the Max Units view discussed above. Manually scan for Peak Units exceeding the resource Max Units and/or the Task Assignment Units values. As noted, when a discrepancy is found, you’ll need to manually research the issue and resolve. Typically this occurs because the PM placed some form of a manual constraint on the task such as making if Fixed Duration with insufficient duration or manually entering a Finish date which also creates the manual constraint. Remove that constraint and the issue will disappear.
Lots to cover…I hope that helps
Thank you very much for taking the time to respond. I will study this and hopefully be able to digest it and fix the issues. Peace and Health.