Adding Resources in MS Project

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Microsoft Project provides many features for the management of resources in a project. It can warn you when a resource is over utilised, list available resources, apply overtime hours, calculate costs and more.

First though you need to define the resources for your project.

Resource Types

There are three types of resources in Microsoft Project 2010. These are material, work and cost.

  • Material: These are physical resources like bricks, laptops, paint and tables. Material costs are spent when the resource is bought or hired. There are no regular payments on a material resource.
  • Work: The people working on your project. Work resource costs can be accrued on an hourly, daily, weekly basis.

If a physical resources such as a room is hired an charged at an hourly or daily rate, it can be entered as a work resource rather than a material resource.

  • Cost: These are other costs that occur on a task. Creating a cost resource for them enable you to label and then report on these costs. Examples include travel, accommodation and food. These costs are entered when assigning to a task

Adding the Resources

There are many ways to enter a resource in Microsoft Project. If you are entering a lot of resources, the easiest way is to use the resource sheet. Once they are set up you can assign the resources to tasks.

Click the View tab on the Ribbon, and then the Resource Sheet button to switch to the resource sheet.

An example of different types of resources entered on the resource sheet is shown below (Click it to enlarge image). Notice the different uses of each field. Once resources are added to the resource sheet you can begin to assign the resources to tasks.

Adding resources using the Resource Sheet

Resource Sheet Field Descriptions

The following is an explanation of the different fields of the resource sheet. Most of these fields are optional and their use depends on what information to need to report regarding the project resources.

Field

Description

Resource NameThe name given to a resource. It can be the name of the individual such as Julie Samson, or of a group such as contractor or engineer.
TypeWhether this is a material, work or cost resource.
MaterialIf adding a material resource, you should enter a label here to describe the quantity of the resource you are assigning. For example, paint may be allocated by the number of 2 litre pots required, or bricks by the pallet.
InitialsThe abbreviated name for a work resource.
GroupA group can be entered to help identify your resources. The group can be used to filter the list of resources when allocating.
Max UnitsThe number of resource units available entered as a percentage or a decimal. This is only applicable when adding a work resource.If an individual can commit all of their working day to a project, this is entered as 100% (8 hour day when using the Standard calendar). If they can only commit half of their time then 50% can be entered (4 hours a day).If adding a group resource. Multiple units can be entered as multiples of 100% i.e. 3 technicians would be entered as 300%. Then when allocating the technicians to tasks, you could assign 200% to one task and 100% to another.
Std RateThe standard cost of a resource. Work resources costs are accrued hourly, daily or weekly. For example, enter 250/d for £250 a day, 1500/w for £1500 a week or 25/h for £25 an hour.For a material resource, the rate here is applied per material label you entered. For example, if you entered pallet as the material label for bricks, this cost is assigned for each pallet you allocate to a task.
Ovt RateThe overtime rate for a resource. This is only applicable for work resources.MS Project does not apply the overtime rate automatically when a work resource works more than their max units in a project. MS Project’s reaction is to warn you of their overallocation. Overtime needs to be applied manually.
Cost/UseA cost that is applied every time the resource is used.
Accrue AtIdentifies when the cost of the resource is applied to the running total of the project. The full cost of the resource can be applied at the start or finish or the project, or set as prorated meaning for a resource being paid £100 a day on a 4 day task. After 2 days work, £200 is applied to the running total of the project.
Base CalendarThe calendar to which you assign the resource.
CodeAn alphanumeric code that can be assigned to a resource. Commonly used to enter an accounting code for use of the resource.


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