When working with an IMS, multiple projects in a single file, it would be really nice to have the ability to level via a range of tasks or one project or even a non-contiguous ranges of tasks or multiple projects. In essence, it can already be done by setting the priority of all other tasks to 1000, but if the other tasks had many different priorities it prevents the need to copy the original priorities out and then back in after running the leveling.
Hey Joe, you have a lot of questions there but I’ll provide a bit to start. As you may have found out, MS Project levels resources…not tasks; so leveling specific tasks can be a challenge. I could ask why but I’ll assume you have a reason. First thing is that MS Project only levels open projects so if you want to level some projects but not others than don’t open them. The leveling options do provide for a single date range but not what you are looking for. You can also level one resource at a time if that helps.
The only other option(s) I can direct you to (using Project 2010) is the Task Inspector or the Team Planner view. These can provide a better single hit option than the leveling feature. Hope that helps…
We’re using Project 2010 standard version. I think what your saying is that if we collapse parts of the project that their resources don’t get leveled. We just went through 2 months of scenario analysis with 49 versions of the project, 8000-11000 tasks each and I was only leveling certain resources. When leveling with part(s) of the project collapsed, does it still take into account the resources for all tasks when it’s leveling the non-collapsed tasks? Thanks for the updates! JB
Yes it takes into account all tasks within the parameters whether they are collapsed or not. You have selected resources and you have a date range. Sorry but I don’t know of any other way…hmm. I guess you could have multiple projects with a shared resource pool and then level only one or some of the projects. I’m not saying it’s a good option but it’s an option. Microsoft levels only open projects and leaves closed projects for the same resources as locked. Does that help…???
We initially had all of the projects in separate files with a resource pool which our new planner thought was exceedingly poor practice so we’ve now put all of the projects into a single file. Ultimately the results we saw were the same down to the day. There were some best practices that he was using like saving a copy of the file weekly and then adding the date to the name that was causing many problems. I have a reall issue with the term best practices, each company will have it’s own practices and they are not the best for everyone. It’s like the best president for the nation, he or she may be considered best by some and not others. Thinking back to when we had all of the projects in separate files with a master project and resource pool, each project had it’s own critical path or the critical path across all project and you could open a single project and level it or level the master project to level the whole thing. He’s also against any link type other than start to start or finish to start, is that a problem? To me if it is a problem, it’s more a programming thing in how it computes critical path or total slack. I’d especially like to use finish to finish.
The way I’ve adapted the project to work this issue is to link the finish of a section to a dummy task that runs to within a day of the finish of the last task, ie it only has a day or less of total slack. If I want to see the critical path for that section, I increase the dummy task by a day and then the section becomes critical. Because each dummy task only has a day or less of total slack all tasks within each section show correct total slack. If I only want to level a single section, I can set the priority of all other tasks to 1000 and then level. Sounds like insane practice to me. Then there’s connecting it to Oracle Projects so it has to be split back out if you want to track all tasks; lets not go there…
I totally agree with your assessment of best practice. The phrase is quite overused. There are multiple ways to manage a project and each method has its own set of best practices, along with company specifics…blah, blah, blah.
Now that you’ve used both multiple projects and one big project, what do you think is best practice (for your situation only). I know we toss out suggestions with little understanding of each situation so you really need a bit of trial and error.
I understand the aversion of using some dependencies. FF dependency is especially tricky. Which task drives which task, and project really can’t guarantee two tasks to finish at the same time. But, use it and see what best practice” you find.
OK, I couldn’t exactly follow your whole process for tracking critical path but I wonder if that was actually your intent…:-). Good luck and let me know how this go.