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Define a generic resource with a budget manhours

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mimoune djouallah
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Hi

is it possible to define ageneric resource let's say Direct_Labor, and assign a budget hours for different activities.

it seems spider calculate the budget hours based on the duration, calendar, can i orerwrite those values.

 

regards

mimoune

Replies

Bogdan Leonte
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Posts: 167

Vladimir,

I also find these aproximations as something that should not be done, but they are required since most state norms yeld in something like 41.4582 hours.

This line of questions started because of a tender requirement in which we have to compute the minimum, average and maximum number of labour used each month. The problem is that the programs used in creating the tender documentation have an algorithm for calculating the labour quantity based on norm consumption, but from my point of view the results are very far far far away from reality.

 

Rafael, 

thank you for your input.

 

Best Regards,

Bogdan 

Rafael Davila
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My two cents.

Norms are based os a specific crew assigment, never change the crew details except for minor adjustments in productivity when the crew workload is less than 100%.  

Note Norm crew is considered at 100% workload while individual resources might not.

All three crews on Activity 1B were assigned to the same Team so they represent meeting resources, is just an example and could have been on different Teams depending on your needs or strategy. 

 photo CP001_zps2e101177.jpg

http://www.mediafire.com/download/lf25vgf2gmddufw/RD312.001.sprj

Rafael

Bogdan,

I meant that if, for example, the crew consists of the machine and the workers and machine is used for 10 machine-hours and workers for 50 man-hours we make a conclusion that the crew consists of one machine and 5 workers with 100% workload.

But if there are only 45 man-hours we conclude that the crew still includes 5 workers but their workload is 90%.

Actually I don't like such approximation but if no other information is available this is the only solution.

Bogdan Leonte
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OK, let me see if I understand. You sum the norms (hours) for each resource (machine & labour), and consider the result as a 100% workload for the crew, then you devide the workload within the crew by the quantity of each speciality/machine?

Example:

1787
dgsdrew.png

Workload larger than 100% is ignored in schedule calculation. Enter the number of resources that shall be assigned and divide the workload by this number. When importing from the state norms we do this adjusting the crew to the total workload.

Bogdan Leonte
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Posts: 167

Greetings Vladimir,

this seemed like the closes topic regarding my question. First, I have to make a reference to a previous post of yours:

"In Russia there are estimating programs that define not overall budgeted hours but budgeted hours of different trades including people of different specialities and machines. Spider Project imports this data automatically creating crews, calculating activity duration and resource workloads because not all resources that are assigned are used on activity full time. But this is complex and may require adjustments for real planning. We still recommend to use budgeted hours as a reference planning the work basing on existing resource capabilities."

In Romania we use similar programs. While trying to calculate the workload of resources using their "specific consumption (work norms)" from these state norms I made a small error in calculation and saw the following:

If I increase the Workload above 100% then the Resource-Hours [Remaining] will be recalculated according to the workload. When scheduling  I get the very logical error message:

1785
afreqrqwr.jpg

Yet after clicking ok the workload doesn't go down to 100 and the Resource-Hours [Remaining] field has the value corresponding to the worklod.

My question is tied to your previos post. Is this behaviour used for calculating workloads base on the state norms? If so how?, because I belive the way to calculate workload (and productivity) using these norms is the as follows:

Workload = (Norm(Hours)/Average Hours in a Week)x100

Productivity = 1/Norm(Hours)

Regards,

Bogdan

Mimoune,

P6 uses budgeted hours as volume of work with resource productivity 1 budgeted hour per hour. You can do the same in Spider.

But you want both "volumes" - hours and physical amounts. And you want to assign real resources with real productivity. In this case you will always have two sets of data - budgeted hours and calculated hours.

If you want to use budgeted hours the same way as P6 enter them as volumes and create user defined field or dummy material "volume" to use as a reference. Or better do as I suggested - work with volumes and use budgeted hours as dummy material.

I don't consider this as workaround. In Spider Project materials means everything that is consumed on activities (like space as an example). Budgeted hours are consumed together with activity volume.

You don't need to set overall budgeted hours. If you will set budgeted hours per volume unit Spider Project will calculate budgeted hours when you will enter or change the volume of work doing the job of estimators.

And if you will create a reference-book that defines budgeted hours and material consumption per volume unit for different types of work then entering activity type and volume of work you will get budgeted hours, material requirements, cost and any other data applying reference-books. With reference-books Spider does the work that is usually done by estimators.

In Russia there are estimating programs that define not overall budgeted hours but budgeted hours of different trades including people of different specialities and machines. Spider Project imports this data automatically creating crews, calculating activity duration and resource workloads because not all resources that are assigned are used on activity full time. But this is complex and may require adjustments for real planning. We still recommend to use budgeted hours as a reference planning the work basing on existing resource capabilities.

If resources are not assigned and you use both volumes and budgeted hours use an approach that I suggested because volumes are much easier to measure. Budgeted hours will be calculated proportional to volumes and you will get all necessary reports and will be able to apply any kind of analysis.

mimoune djouallah
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Raphael

I am just saying as a general purpose planning software it will be nice to have the flexibility to have a choice how to calculate the resource total hours, the way spider calculated is very good but it make sense only when you load your schedule with real resource assignment,  but in case you have the hours calculated somewhere else, or where you have to load the hours exactly as you contractual contract ( based on the BOQ), it make sense that spider gave me choices.

 

How it is difficult to add an option for activities let's say budget type, and gave two options either calculated by the software or fixed.

 

by the way some clients ask for a detailed resource loads, but other don't, i want only that the software can model that.

 

Just for a reference P6 has many options to model this

http://www.simplexgroup.com/duration-type-in-primavera-p6/

 

and I am not promoting here P6, because as a well known secret, levelling capabilities of P6 is a joke.

Rafael Davila
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mimoune,

I do not understand your statement, resource (budget) hours are calculated by Spider software; you enter resource quantity, productivity, volume of work, and other parameters that will determine the value of resource hours for each resource type or for each named resources. You will find the filed under the name Resource-Hours[Actual], Resource Hours[Critical], Resource Hours[Cumulative], Resource Hours[Probability], Resource Hours[Remaining] and Resource-Hours[Target]. Also you can generate any time distributed report for these fields as per your needs.

Because there are so many possible combinations that can yield the same resource (budget) hours you must determine the combination that will yield the resource (budget) hours you want to fix, it is a management decision, it is not a single formula output. Of course it does not means some pre-defined functionality cannot be implemented to make it easier for the user to explore the combinations, perhaps not many have asked for such functionality before.

Once you have created your model with the desired resource hours you can use it as a baseline for future reference. You can create as many budget versions as you need. You can create formulas using fields from baseline and compared projects.

If you are looking for some functionality equivalent to such aberration as Bucket Planning implemented by Quasi-CPM software I doubt Spider development team will implement such a poor option that as soon as the project moves it is no longer valid and can lead the user to believe everything is ok. Can lead to horrors in scheduling that do not make any sense. Something better must be used in real schedules that are constantly changing. Better do your homework, do not improvise, spend a bit more time and make a good mathematical model. If you want a fixed assignment table that does not move you can use Excel and throw away the CPM model.

Best regards,

Rafael

mimoune djouallah
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Raphael

I Understand that different softwares have different paradigm to model a particular situation, in many cases especially at the planning stage, we have a fixed amount of hours assigned to a particular activity.

I am particularly interested in spider project for “academic reason”, I am impressed by the levelling capabilities and the data manipulation capabilities.  

My understanding is that spider project is a general planning tool, not exclusively a high end resource planning tool, for that reason, I am a little uncomfortable with the fact that, the budget hours are calculated based only on quantities duration, and there is no way to overwrite it, except using a workaround by modelling using material.

Rafael Davila
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mimoune,

I said, "Although I might never use this approach to control my jobs I can see value as a reference baseline."

But maybe I can change opinion and change "never" to "seldom". Some assignments are partial and of fixed resource hours. Such is the case of incidental works as in the case of the electrical and plumbing rough-in on a concrete slab activity. Maybe the activity takes 5 work days, or perhaps 7 work days, but no matter how many work days total your assignment for electrical and plumbing rough-in might be fixed to 12 man-hours each. Such calculation will tell me how I shall set the workload in my model when using duration type activities.

Best regards,

Rafael

Hi Mimoune,

Next time explain your needs and you will get a precise answer.

Your question was not about budgeted hours (that I understood as planned hours got from estimaor to compare with real work hours) but on certain real quantitative restrictions for your work force.

Your question was about real resource planning. And budgeted hours shall be replaced by certain crews and activity durations. An example: the work requires a crew that includes four persons, 80 budgeted hours means 20 hours activity duration).

Then assign people usual way (quantities), set activity durations and define total initial quantity (equal to a number of available beds at the beginning) of your people that can work simultaneously (in Resource table). Then add milestones with Start NET dates where resources (people) are produced or consumed (negative production) in accordance with changes of bed availability.

Then run resource constrained scheduling that will take all your constraints into account.

You will get the schedule where the number of working people does not exceed the number of beds. For shortest possible schedule select Optimization Plus option.

In your reports you can see both beds availability and the number of people that really work at any time.

Rafael Davila
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mimoune,

I do not use nor have a copy of P6 so I could not follow your statements. You said, In P6 you can define a max Units/ time for different period. Without full understanding of P6 max Units/ time for different period it seems to me like similar to workload, just that in Spider you control workload using % values at the individual assignment level. A same resource type can be assigned different times with different workloads on the same activity. I believe in P6 you can override default max Units/ time at the individual assignment as well.

With regard to more functionality to calculate what you are looking for (my question is how to model man-hour with user controlled budget) I believe it is possible. Although I might never use this approach to control my jobs I can see value as a reference baseline. Maybe using the following dialog box by adding a new field for total resource hours plus anything else required to make it functional. If the calculated workload comes to be over 100 a warning box shall tell you. Then you might change activity/team duration or other parameters such as resource productivity to make it feasible. Also there is the possibility that for productivity type activities some fields might not be available for user input.

 photo NF01_zpsf9e439a5.jpg

mimoune djouallah
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Raphael

My question is not about what’s the best way to model a project, obviousely you are correct, individual resources are more accurates, my question is how to model a generic manhour with user controled budget.

Now my understanding in spider project  resource budget hours are calculated using duration,  resource quantities as you explained ( In P6 there are many options how to calculate the budget hours, including resource dependant and fixed unit/time  which is the same as spider).

 That’s fine, Vladimir suggest a workaround to use material instead.

In our case the most critical items are not really the resource availability, but the accomodations which is provided by the client, generally they provide us with the maximum bed per period.

In P6 you can define a max Units/ time for different period ( although leveling is limited to the maximum only), then you can show a histogram with the limit, it help to identify the overload.

I am trying to find an equivalent using that special material (budget manhours).

Still i think it is better if spider has more option how to calcuate budget hours  in the first place.

Rafael Davila
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mimoune,

I use budgeted man-hours as a reference using a user defined field and schedule the job using actual resource loading plans without forcing them to match using some sort of brute force. I believe in planning using true needs, otherwise if you plan with less or more than actual needs the hiring of resources will be moving on wrong direction.

Very frequently with a change in methods you can perform the activity with less resources, usually with the use of higher capacity equipment, at extra cost for equipment but with savings on labor and a reduction in activity duration. We use original budget as a reference but we do not let it drive the schedule. As the project moves if we find methods improvements we go for them.

We look for precise match only with regard to the Schedule of values, resources is a different issue. Vladimir can tell about the practice at his neighborhood.

Forcing something to fit we call it Hammer's Rule in Spanish Ley del Marron, meaning if it do not fits hit it with a hammer until it fits. We mean it to be a joke, it does not works.

Some people think of resource leveling just as a way to make sure resources are not overloaded, but this is only the very basic, the beginning.

One of the most valuable uses of resource leveling is to make efficient use of resources to keep project duration under control and to reduce cost of idle resources (cost is also important, very important). This is what many project managers look for, many get frustrated when the schedule is poor, resource leveling is underutilized or not capable of disclosing schedules with low idle resources. It is not enough to look for resource availability assuming all activities must be worked using fixed assignments, can be very inefficient, your software shall look at moving resources as the schedule moves with time.

Spider goes further than the basics, variable resource quantities and workload is key in reducing idle resources, same as management will do on the field. Primitive software that cannot do this basic allocation shall be avoided.

Best Regards,

Rafael

Mimoune,

supplies are modelled as activities with negative material consumption. Materials are rarely limited by periods.

If, for example, you have to set limitations on material consumption by month create a milestone activity that starts at the beginning of the month with fixed negative consumption of limited materials, then copy it changing activity code and Start NET date.

If material production is continuos then you may create a production activity and assigned megative consumption per hour. You can also set certain calendar for production activity with one work hour per day or per week and in this case production per hour will become production per day or per week. The same may be used for production per month and per quarter but in this case you shall use Calendar exceptions.

Then you shall add materials to Constraints that shall be considered in resource constrained scheduling and select materials that shall be leveled.

Remember that overall production shall exceed planned consumption. So if, for example, you think that supplies will be limited only first three months, assign to fourth milestone enough materials to finish project.

Remember that material leveling is not the same as renewable resource leveling. Activity that consumes materials starts if it can be finished (overall amount of materials is sufficient) though consumption per day may exceed production per day (stored materials will be used).

mimoune djouallah
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thanks Raphel

 

i can't seem to find where i set the limit for the material per period

Rafael Davila
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Some activities are of fixed duration while others can be better modeled using productivity type.

When using productivity type some resources must be assigned to work at the same time, for this you shall consider using multi resources.

You shall also explore the use of variable quantity and variable workload. All these combinations shall be a representation of true possible assignments. Assignments the PM will execute at the jobsite if it reduces idle time of the resources. If his software is not capable of doing what he should, to move resources to other activities when idle he will set aside the CPM and perform it anyway.

Variable quantity and variable workload assignments are the call of the day on many real projects even if your software cannot handle it, if using Spider you shall learn to use it, it will yield better schedules, what the PM will look for if you do not use it when it makes sense.

Forget about stupid "Bucket Planning" that do not moves with the schedule, it can even assign resources outside activity duration, it is nonsense.

 photo mrworkload_zpse0c64bf1.jpg

You shall also learn to get the tabular and diagram reports as the activity table will not be able to display how assigments vary with time.

Good Luck

mimoune djouallah
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Thanks Vladimir

Budgeted hours as reference information may be assigned as special material "Budgeted hours".

You will get all possible reports on this material including overall budgeted hours at any phase of WBS, distribution of budgeted hours in time, tec.

Besides, when you will enter actual information they by default will be proportional to physical volumes.

An example: if activity volume is 50 cubic meters and activity planned budgeted hours amount is 100 then when you will enter that 20cm were done the software will automatically calculate that 40 budget hours were spent and 60 are remained.

In Spider Project you may apply Earned Value to any material or group of materials, so you will be able to get all Earned Value reports for budgeted hours and compare them with actual resource hours.

To link your project with estimating is easy - enter activity and resource types and create reference-books with estimating data for each activity type, like budgeted manhours per volume unit, unitt cost, material requirements per unit of volume. Activities of the same type may be met many times in the project schedule. With reference-books it is easy to enter and to change estimating data.

mimoune djouallah
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Vladimir/ Raphael.

i already assigned a volume of work which represent the physical quantities and a different crew that drive the duration by the productivity, that's very nice, still i want to input the budget hours as a values ( which is independant from duration or calendars)

Hi Mimoune, In this case resource hours is the volume of work, activity is of Productivity type and its duration will be calculated basing on the number of assigned resources.
Rafael Davila
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For few calculations I prefer to use separate worksheet and this is one such case.

The following worksheet will provide several resource loading options that will yield the same amount of budget hours, none are equal nor equivalent, the total assigned man-hours is the same but the assignments are different, the impact on resource leveling is different. The formula is visible for selected cell F5 in case you want to duplicate the worksheet, it is only one formula on column F, very easy.

 photo workload_zpsb3b94e17.jpg

Resource Hours is the field that will give you the budgeted resource hours.

 photo resourcehours_zpsbe503609.jpg

It is suitable for duration type activities, latter we can talk about productivity type activities and how volume of work and productivity are other fields to be taken into consideration.

mimoune djouallah
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thanks for the explanation but i cant still load resource hours to my schedule.

in my work flow the hours are an input they are claculated by the estimator,  is there any another way to model this, as for the work load i am fine with the default value 100. 

Spider Project calculates resource hours basing on activity duration, assigned resource quantity and workload. Resource hours is not an initial information. But you can create user field Budget Resource Hours, enter budget hours and set a formula:

Workload = (Budget Hours/Resource Hours)*100 where Resource Hours were calculated by Spider Project if initial workload (default) was 100%.

So you shall overwrite not resource hours but resource workload. If activity duration is 100 hours and budget resource hours is 50 hours it means that resource workload on this activity is only 50% and another 50% of resource time may be used on other activities.

Bogdan Leonte
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Not directly into the program, if you get from your data input and computation, let's say 1500 hours, you cannot overwrite it, but you can export the data into excel or create a reference book and the overwrite it.

Regards,

Bogdan