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MS Project 2016 Histogram without assigning resources

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Dave Manson
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Hello, While I am familiar with reading various forms of schedules, (MS Project, Primavera, Excel), I am admittedly not proficient at manipulating the software. In trying to educate myself thorugh YouTube, I have found that all of the instructional videos regarding contouring depend on assigning resources. This approach does not work for my project. The scenario is:

  • I have a fixed end date for the project
  • I have a total amount of manhours for the project that have been broken down into the respective activities and the defined manhours per activity

I am trying to see how many workers I need based on the above parameters. As this is a construction project, I am not interested in putting resource names and assigning a person to each task. Simply put, the number of workers cannot define the duration of the project, the duration of the project defines the number of workers.

Would anyone have some insight or instruction on how I accomplish this in MS Project 2016? And resultantly, provide instruction on how to plot the histogram graph? And finally, how to smooth the histogram for a consistent crew size, (not 5 people one day, 22 for the next day, then 9 the next, etc)

I appreciate all participation. Thanks.


Zoltan Palffy
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anS curve for what ? you have nothing to measure against you have no measuring stick 

Rafael Davila
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You need to define and assign generic resources as well as activity type.

I no longer use MSP but as far as I recall; when defining generic resource you enter availability as % or Q depending on your settings, when assigning resources to a task yow enter % or Q depending on your settings, if using % and Q=2 then enter 200%.  If all resources have same skill use a single generic resource, otherwise use a different generic resource for each skill. Look on the web for information on generic resources if using MS Project.

You need to define activity type and assign work/duration/units.  Look on the web for information on MS activity types. 

You said you already know required work hours of effort (work) per task and duration is to be calculated depending on how many resources (units) are assigned.  I suspect you will need to use Fixed Work Task Type.  The formula that relates work, duration and effort should be considered as an approximation, it is not always true that if work is fixed and you duplicate units duration will be half. For some activities it is good but for others it will not hold.

MS Project will not do it all automatically as per your requirements; some trial and error adjustments along with resource leveling should help to tame peaks in demand.  Do not expect resources will be busy all time, which would be very rare.

Smoothing of resources I believe is rare functionality not available for MS Project and perhaps absent in most software.

Then come back and ask more specific questions.

Good luck.

Paul Harris
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The only way I know of getting a histogram out of MSP is to assign resources.

You could create one resource, say called "labour", and assign the one resource to all the tasks that require a resource. The assigne the resoure to the tasks using the "Assign Resource" from or use Fill Down or copy and paste. Then display the "Work" column and assign the required hours. If you make the Task Type as "Fixed Duration" then the task duration will not change when you edit the Work.

Paul E Harris
Eastwood Harris Pty Ltd
Project Control Consultants and Planning and scheduling software book and training manual publishers