Work Resources Setup in Microsoft Project

There are three types of resources in Microsoft Project, namely work resources, cost and material resources. Work resources are the people required to complete tasks in the project. Cost resources are the financial costs that are associated with the project. Material resources are materials that are consumed by the project. Setting up resource information in Project takes some effort, but this effort is extremely important if you want to get the valuable information out of the Project program while managing the project.

Setting up Work Resources

Every project needs both equipment and people to carry out the work. It is important to know the availability and the costs associated with your resources. Individuals can be identified by name, by job title, by specific groups. Typically the equipment is specified by name. To begin to set up a project, you will need to compile a list of those individuals that are assigned to the project. You may have people that are not assigned yet, such as an electrician or plumber. These names can be entered using the job type or by the work type, and the actual name can be changed later in the project. To start off, be sure to capture all resources, whether they be people, material or cost, and enter the correct payment strategies for each. This information will allow you to pull relevant data from the project to assist with further planning, timelines, budgets and many more areas of project control.

Step by step guide to adding resources:

1. On the VIEW tab, in the Resources Views sheet, click on the Resource Sheet.
2. Click the cell directly below the Resource Name column heading.
3. Enter names for the resources in your project. Since resources can also be delegated by groups of individuals, you can use the name of a group instead of calling the resource by a specific first name (ie: engineers)

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Entering Work Resource Capacity

The MAX units’ field is set to 100% by default when you enter a resource. The max units’ are the amount of a resource that is dedicated to completing a task. Project will keep track of what is required of each resource based on what tasks are assigned to the resource. You will be alerted when a resources is over assigned tasks within a project.

1. Click on the MAX units’ field for a resource and enter the percentage that the resource is assigned to the project. For example, if Tim is only assigned to this project, then he will be set to 100%. If Susan is assigned to two projects of equal work, then her capacity for your project will be set to 50%.

Work Resource Setup: You will be automatically alerted when the resource is over capacity.

Entering Resource Pay Rates

Costs are an important part of many projects. The costs are directly related to the scope of the project and to what work can be done to achieve the goals. When the resources are assigned the costs, you will be able to understand the total expected costs of the project, based on task durations entered. You will be able to see how much money will be spent by each specific resource group (ie: programming, accountants, legal dept, etc). Seeing the total picture will allow you to keep the spending within a budget, and see if the timeline is attainable based on the required costs associated to the milestones.
Standard rates for work and material resources can be entered. Work resource overtime rates can also be entered. Total costs are assigned by multiplying the assigned task duration by the pay rates that are entered. Overtime pay will be assigned only when there are overtime hours spent on the project.

Entering Standard and Overtime Pay Rates

1. In the resource sheet, choose the Std. Rate field of a resource.
2. Type in the hourly rate for the resource and click Enter. The rate now appears in the Rate Column.
3. Different pay rate bases can be used, such as hourly(default), weekly, daily etc)
4. To enter the overtime pay rate for each individual, in the Overtime Rate field for a resource, enter the rate paid for overtime and click Enter.

Work Resource Setup: Enter base rates and overtime rates for all resources.

User tip to save time: If there are many users that use the same pay rate and overtime rate, then you can set these amounts as the default data that will appear every time you enter a new resource.

Work Resource Setup overview: showing Resource Name, Type, Group, Max (capacity) Std Rate and Overtime Rate. Note the yellow identifier that indicates when the capacity is over assigned.


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