This week I continue the “highlights of highlights” series: I include some excerpts from the Project 2010 Step by Step chapters and elaborate on them. This week: Chapter 8, "Fine-Tuning Resource Details."
One of the values that Project stores for each work resource is the resource’s Max. Units value. This is the maximum capacity of a resource to accomplish tasks. (pg. 179)
Max. Units is a straightforward value but can get complex when you're trying to manage multiple, varied resource assignments on a single task. Another complex situation is when you're trying to untangle a single resource's multiple overlapping assignments to different tasks. In either case, knowing how to set, interpret and control Max. Units is an essential skill.
Some work resources might perform different tasks with different pay rates. For example, in the new book project, the project editor could also serve as a content editor. Because the pay rates for project editor and content editor are different, you can enter two cost rate tables for the resource. Then, after you assign the resource to tasks, you specify which rate table should apply. Each resource can have up to five cost rate tables. (pg. 183)
We cover this feature in the section "Entering Multiple Pay Rates for a Resource" and it works as described. I think the real chore for the project manager here is communicating the differing pay rates with the resource. This could become a touchy subject, and in some cases may be under regulatory compliance. In any case, as with so many other issues use your best judgment as project manager.
Material resources are consumables that you use up as the project proceeds. On a construction project, material resources might include nails, lumber, and concrete. You work with material resources in Project to track a fixed unit amount or a rate of consumption of the material resource and the associated costs. (pg. 186)
Although I work with Project in the context of knowledge work, where people resources are my primary concern, Project has a big following in the construction project management field. In that field, properly tracking material costs may be a big focus of cost management for the project manager. The material resource feature is well thought out from my civilian perspective, but I'd be interested in hearing from construction project managers about if and how they use this feature.
Previous posts in the "Detailed Commentary" series:
Part 1, Simple Scheduling
- Introduction of Project 2010 Step by Step
- Chapter 1, "A Guided Tour of Project"
- Chapter 2, "Creating a Task List"
- Chapter 3, "Setting Up Resources"
- Chapter 4, "Assigning Resources to Tasks"
- Chapter 5, "Formatting and Sharing Your Plan"
- Chapter 6, "Tracking Progress on Tasks"
Part 2, Advanced Scheduling