Task Types in Microsoft Project

Have you ever tried to change the resources on a Task, only to have the Duration increase or decrease? What about changing the Duration, and finding the Resource percentage has changed? This is actually a really great scheduling feature, however it can be frustrating when it’s not set up correctly.

The first thing you should be familiar with is the formula MS Project uses for calculating tasks. Work=Duration x Resource Units. So the work is calculated by multiplying the Duration by the Resource Units. Example: 1 day task x 1 resource = 1 day of work. 1 day task x 2 resources = 2 days of work, and so on.

By setting up the appropriate task type, you can control which of the variable are “fixed.” So depending on the project, you can choose to have work, duration, or resource units fixed. How do you know which to pick?

Fixed Units – Select this type if you know the Resource Units on the task, and you know it won’t change. By selecting Fixed Units, the Duration will automatically change if you change the Work, but the Resource Units are fixed.

Fixed Duration – Select this type if you know the Duration of a task and know that it won’t change even if the resources increase or decrease. By selecting Fixed Duration, the work automatically changes when you change the Resource Units, or the Resource Units change when you change the Work, but the Duration never changes.

Fixed Work – Select this type if you know the Work on a task, and know that you don’t it to change. Bu selecting Fixed Work, the Duration changes when you change the Resource Units, or the Resource Units change when you manually change the Duration, but the work never changes. Use this type if you want the Duration to change as you add and remove resources on the task.

If all of this sounds a bit confusing, you’re not alone. A lot of people struggle with this at first. That’s why we wanted to share what we know it in this article. We’re also doing a webinar on November 22nd at 10am (eastern) to demonstrate the Task Types options and show their impact on the schedule. Once you understand the underlying scheduling formula, and the task type options, you’ll find that scheduling your project becomes much easier. To register for the webinar and reserve a spot, click here: MS Project Task Types.

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