- Awards Season
- Big Stories
- Pop Culture
- Video Games
Comparing Different Versions of MS Project: Which One is Best for Your Needs?
If you’re in the project management field, chances are you’ve heard of Microsoft Project. This popular software has been helping professionals plan, track, and execute projects for decades. With its comprehensive features and user-friendly interface, MS Project has become a go-to tool for many organizations. However, with the availability of different versions and pricing options, it’s essential to understand which one best suits your needs. In this article, we’ll compare different versions of MS Project and help you determine the right choice for your project management requirements.
MS Project Standard
MS Project Standard is the entry-level version of Microsoft’s project management software. It offers a robust set of features that can handle most project planning and tracking tasks. With MS Project Standard, you can create detailed project plans with tasks, timelines, and dependencies. It also allows you to assign resources to each task and track their progress.
One notable limitation of MS Project Standard is its inability to handle complex projects with multiple dependencies or resource allocation constraints. If your projects involve intricate workflows or require advanced resource management capabilities, you may find the Standard version lacking. However, for small to medium-sized projects that don’t demand extensive customization or collaboration features, MS Project Standard is a cost-effective choice.
MS Project Professional
For those who need more advanced functionality than what MS Project Standard offers, Microsoft provides the Professional version. With MS Project Professional, you gain access to additional features such as advanced scheduling options and enhanced resource management tools.
One significant advantage of using MS Project Professional is its ability to handle complex projects with ease. The software allows you to create intricate project schedules with critical path analysis and what-if scenarios. You can also allocate resources based on their availability and skill sets more efficiently.
Another notable feature exclusive to MS Project Professional is its integration with other Microsoft products like Excel and SharePoint. This integration enables seamless data sharing, collaboration, and reporting across different platforms, enhancing team productivity and project visibility.
MS Project Online
In recent years, Microsoft has introduced MS Project Online as part of its cloud-based offering. This web-based version of the software provides all the features of MS Project Professional with added benefits of accessibility and collaboration.
MS Project Online allows you to access your project plans from anywhere using a web browser. This flexibility is particularly useful for remote or distributed teams who need to stay connected and updated on project progress. Additionally, the cloud-based platform ensures that you always have the latest version of the software without worrying about manual updates.
Collaboration is another key advantage of MS Project Online. The software enables real-time collaboration among team members, allowing them to view and update project plans simultaneously. It also provides a centralized platform for document storage and communication, making it easier to track discussions and maintain project documentation.
Choosing the Right Version
When it comes to selecting the right version of MS Project for your needs, consider factors such as budget, project complexity, collaboration requirements, and accessibility preferences. If you have a limited budget or work on smaller projects that don’t require advanced features or extensive collaboration capabilities, MS Project Standard may be sufficient.
On the other hand, if you manage complex projects with intricate workflows or resource allocation constraints, investing in MS Project Professional would be wise. The additional features it offers can significantly improve your planning accuracy and resource utilization.
For teams that value accessibility and real-time collaboration above all else, MS Project Online is an excellent choice. With its cloud-based nature and integrated communication tools, it ensures seamless connectivity among team members regardless of their physical location.
In conclusion, understanding the differences between different versions of MS Project is crucial in choosing the one that aligns with your specific project management requirements. Consider factors like project complexity, budget constraints, collaboration needs, and accessibility preferences before making your decision. By selecting the right version, you can maximize your project’s success and streamline your project management processes.
This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.
MORE FROM ASK.COM
Assigning resources to tasks - Auto Schedule Mode
In this article we will show you step-by-step how to add resources to tasks in MS Project's Auto Schedule Mode.
Need to learn MS Project? Why not join one of our small Microsoft Project classes in Los Angeles call us on 888.815.0604.
- In the Gantt Chart view, select the Task
- On the Resource tab of the ribbon click the Assign Resources command
- In the Assign Resources dialog box, from the Resource list select the Resource and click the Assign button:
Note: the Resource’s Units on this Task are by default set to the Resource’s Maximum Units for this project set in the Resource Sheet, but you can edit the Resource’s Units on this Task to a lower % if required. The costs for a work type resource are displayed but cannot be amended here.
- you can leave the dialog box open for assigning to other Tasks
- to assign the same Resource(s) to more than one Task at a time, select the Tasks before using the Resource Assignment dialog box
- to assign more than one Resource to Tasks, select the Task(s) and select the Resources in the dialog box before clicking the Assign button
- use SHIFT or CTRL to select contiguous or non-contiguous Tasks
- the Task Duration does not change on the first assignment of Resources to a Task, even if you assign more than one Resource - the Work hours for each Resource are by default equivalent to the full Duration. However, if you later assign additional Resources to the Task, the workload is shared - see below on how to have complete control over the split of the work between multiple resources on a task
- by default the resource name is displayed on the Gantt chart - you can choose to display the initials (or any other data) against each Task bar - (this is covered later in the course).
GanttProject: Adding a Resource
Assistance in finding resources with available working time
In the assign resources dialog box:.
- Click the Resource list options to expand the dialog box
- Tick the Filter by check box and make sue All Resources is displayed (alternatively you can filter for a specific resource group, etc)
- Tick the ‘Available to work’ check box and enter the number of hours availability for which you are searching
- The list of resources will be automatically filtered:
Note : In the Assign Resources dialog box, there is a Graph button. This feature has changed from the previous versions of project. When you click the Graph button you will see a split screen view with the Gantt chart in the top half of the screen and the Resource Graph view in the bottom half. You can right click the graph to display further details:
Assigning additional resources to reduce task duration
If you later assign additional resources to a task, by default the work on the task is initially shared equally between the Resources and the Duration is reduced . However, you can modify the work allocated to each resource using the Task Entry View:
- In the Gantt Chart, click the Details command on the Task tab to split the screen and place the Task Form in the bottom half.
- Right click the form and choose Work:
- Assign another resource using the drop-down list of resources as shown above.
- In the form, you can edit the Work against each Resource assigned to the Task to give your required split of Work - the Task Duration is automatically recalculated (you are not bound to stay with the original total hrs work).
- Click the Form’s OK button (pressing Enter is not the same here as OK).
- In the form, you can also change the Units of each resource on the task and this will also recalculate the duration of the task.
- Edit the Task Duration in either half of the screen and notice that the work for the work for the Driving Resource(s) is automatically recalculated
Also see How Project recalculates the task duration in Auto Schedule mode
Project student reviews
Every year we train thousands of satisfied students.... read a sample of testimonials at our Project training testimonials page .
- Address 915 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 1800. Los Angeles CA 90017
- Phone (888) 815-0604
- Email Show Email
In person v online training
In line with state protocals we have now fully resumed in person or classroom training.
Assign people to work on tasks
Typically, once tasks are entered into a schedule , people are assigned to work on them. After all, projects don’t get done by themselves.
In the Gantt Chart, go to the Resource Names column.
If you don’t see the name of the person you want to assign, enter a new name.
If you don’t see any names in the list, then no one has been added to the project yet. Either enter a new name in the column, or add resources to your project before assigning them to work on tasks.
To add resources like equipment and materials, see Add and assign material resources to tasks .
Assign a person part time to a task
Suppose you want to assign someone part time to a project. You can set how much time you want a person to spend with the Assign Resources box.
In the Gantt Chart, select the task.
Choose Resource > Assign Resources .
In the Assign Resources box, pick the resources to assign, and choose Assign . In the example below, Amy is the resource. By entering 50% in the Units box, she’s now assigned to work 50 percent on the “Build the fence” task. Bob is on the task as well, but because the Units column is blank, Bob is automatically assigned 100 percent to the task.
Tip: Sometimes when you assign resources to a task, the duration or length of the task may change unexpectedly. If this happens, check the effort-driven setting of the task. Task or resource settings also could be causing unexpected scheduling changes. To check, look at all the scheduling factors that can impact the task .
Got a lot of people assigned to a task?
If you have a single task with a lot of people assigned, making changes in the Resource Names column may not work. This column can only handle 256 characters, and you may hit that limit if you have a lot of resources assigned to a task.
For tasks where you need a lot of resources assigned, it’s best to make your assignments, and make changes to those assignments, in the Task Information dialog box.
With the task selected, choose Task > Properties > Information .
On the Resources tab, you can assign a longer list of resources to the task, without running into that 256 character limit on the Resource Names column.
Need more help?
Want more options.
Explore subscription benefits, browse training courses, learn how to secure your device, and more.
Microsoft 365 subscription benefits
Microsoft 365 training
Communities help you ask and answer questions, give feedback, and hear from experts with rich knowledge.
Ask the Microsoft Community
Microsoft Tech Community
Microsoft 365 Insiders
Was this information helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.
- MS Project Tutorial
- MS Project - Home
- MS Project - Settings
- MS Project - Introduction
- MS Project - Getting Started
- MS Project - Create A New Plan
- MS Project - Set Up Resources
- MS Project - Resources To Task
- MS Project - Plan Duration Cost
- MS Project - Track Progress
- MS Project - Advance Schedule
- MS Project - Status Reporting
- MS Project Resources
- MS Project - Quick Guide
- MS Project - Useful Resources
- MS Project - Discussion
- Selected Reading
- UPSC IAS Exams Notes
- Developer's Best Practices
- Questions and Answers
- Effective Resume Writing
- HR Interview Questions
- Computer Glossary
MS Project - Assign Resources to Task
Once the task and resource list are complete, resources need to be assigned to tasks in order to work on them. With MS Project you can track task progress, resource and tasks costs.
Assign Material Resource to Task
You can also select multiple resources to work on a single task.
Here let’s choose “Hitesh”. Now click the Assign button.
The window is split in two, Gantt Chart view and Task Form view below it.
Assign Cost Resource to Tasks
In the following example below, let’s choose “Travel” as cost resource and enter the cost at $800.
We can also assign other material resources to the same task.
Kickstart Your Career
Get certified by completing the course
Use Hidden Functions in Project’s Assign Resources Window
Assigning Resources to Multiple Tasks
Assume there’s a schedule in which four new resources need to be added to multiple existing tasks. These additions can complete one task at a time, which is tedious. But the quick way is to add all four resources to the existing tasks at the same time using the Assign Resources window.
To accomplish this, open a task view such as the Task Usage view used in these examples. In the Resource ribbon, click the Assign Resources icon. After the Assign Resources window opens, select multiple tasks in the view. In the figure below, tasks 1, 3 and 5 have been selected.
Then, in the Assign Resources window, select all the resources to be assigned to the selected tasks. This is done by Ctrl-clicking the resource names in the resources list. Finally, click the Assign button. All selected resources are now assigned to each of the selected tasks with one click!
In the next figure, Bob, Evan, Jack and Janice must to be added to Tasks 1, 3 and 5. After selecting the tasks and resources, the Assign button is clicked. In one operation, the selected resources are now assigned to the selected tasks at their default (Max Units) value.
But what if the resource assignments need an Assignment Units value different from the Max Units?
The Assign Resources window can still be used. But instead of selecting resources and clicking the Assign button, enter the Units value for each resource. When a value is entered, the resource is assigned to all selected tasks the same as if the Assign button was clicked. For example, to assign Bob at 50 percent, simply enter 50% into Bob’s Units field. Entering a value of 35% into Evan’s Units field assigns Evan at 35 percent. And so on.
Comparing Task Assignments
Assume a schedule contains multiple operational type tasks and these tasks need to have the same 20, 50 or more resources assigned to them. Over time, due to on-going maintenance, it’s not uncommon for the resource assignments on these tasks to get out of sync. Is Bob on all tasks? From which task is Judy missing? Is Jack allocated with the same Units value on each task? Unfortunately, manually comparing all the task and assigned resources can be time consuming and laborious.
This is where the Assign Resources window can help by automatically identifying assignment discrepancies across selected tasks.
Let’s start with something simple. In the figure below, only Task 1 has been selected. Note the “Task: Task 1” indicator at the top of the Assign Resources window. The Assign Resources window contains a resource list that’s now divided into two parts. Assigned (checked) resources appear in alphabetical order at the top of the resource list. For these resources the Units (Assignment Units) and Cost values appear. Unassigned (unchecked) resources appear after the assigned resources.
When multiple tasks are selected, the Assign Resources window will show inconsistencies among the selected tasks. In the figure below, Tasks 1 and 3 have been selected. This is indicated in the Assign Resources window by the “Multiple tasks selected (1,3)”.
As expected, the assigned resources appear at the top of the resource list. But some interesting inconsistency indicators now appear. Looking at Bob, a black check appears next to his name, meaning Bob is assigned to both tasks. However his Units value is not the same on both tasks so that value displays as “- -“. Janet and Judy now appeared within the top of the Resource list. But their checks are gray, meaning they are assigned to at least one of the selected tasks but not all of them. And because they’re not on all selected tasks, their R/D, Units, and Cost values also display as “- -“. In short, gray checks and “- -” indicators indicate inconsistencies. Now that the problems are known, let’s see how to fix them.
Aligning Resource Assignments
Continuing the example, the Assign Resources window can be used to correct or align resource assignments. This is illustrated in the figure below. By selecting Janet and Judy in the Assign Resources window and clicking the Assign button, Project will add the selected resources to only the tasks on which they are not currently assigned. In this case, Janet and Judy are already assigned to Task 3, so Project adds them to Task 1. After the assignment, the Assign Resources window now shows Janet and Judy with black checks and their Units and Cost fields now display a value. This indicates that Janet and Judy are now assigned to all selected tasks with the same Units and Cost value.
Note, even if all checked resources were selected and the Assign button clicked, the result would be the same. Only Janet and Judy would have been added to Task 1 because all of the other selected resources are already assigned to the selected tasks.
Looking at the Assign Resource window in the figure above, it is now apparent that Bob is the only remaining resource not assigned consistently across the selected tasks because his Units field is showing a “- -” value. This can be verified by looking at Bob’s Assignment Units for Task 1 (100%) and Task 3 (85%).
As the final step in re-aligning tasks, the Assign Resources window can be used to correct Bob’s inconsistent Assignment Units. In the Assign Resources window, simply enter the desired value in the Units field. In the figure below, a value of 65% was entered in Bob’s Units field. Both Task 1 and Task 3 changed accordingly.
After this final adjustment, it’s apparent that all resources on all selected tasks are aligned because the Assign Resources window displays black checks for all assigned resources and all assigned resources display a value in the Units and Cost column. Now that was simple!
One final word, before you get too excited about these new found capabilities. These functions only work when comparing tasks and resource assignments within the same schedule.
Have your own Assign Resources tricks? Share them in the comments below.
3 Correct Ways to Do Great Scheduling with Microsoft Project
Tim Shaw 06/01/2016, 12:24 am
Daryl, thank you for these insights into identifying and resolving inconsistencies and errors of resource assignments across project tasks. Had I known this last week, I estimate I could have saved a good two – four hours in reviewing task assignments on release planning across several sprints. Now I know!
Leave a Reply Cancel Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Please enter your username or email address. You will receive a link to create a new password via email.
Resource-Driven Scheduling in Microsoft Project
Systematix offers professional training.
Our expert trainers can help you get the best results.
If you would like any further information please contact one of our training advisors.
Resource-driven scheduling refers to the MS Project feature whereby if, once resources have been assigned to a task, the resource assignment is changed, then the task’s duration will be recalculated. Resource-driven scheduling applies only to auto-scheduled tasks.
Resource-Driven Scheduling Example
Consider the following simple project:
Preparation currently has two resources assigned to it, Fred and Laura. It is of 6 days duration.
When a task’s duration is entered then, if the units are not either minutes or hours, Project will convert the duration to hours using the following settings:
File>Options>Schedule >Calendar Options:
The default values are as shown above. Hence for this 6-day task, the duration would be calculated as 48 hours. Project then takes this hours duration and matches it up on a day-to-day basis with the project’s calendar. It does not simply check whether a particular day is working or not; it will count the number of working hours in each day, as given by its working times. For each day, it will subtract the number of working hours from the task’s duration until zero is reached. This then sets the end date. If some days are, say, half-days with 4 rather than 8 hours, then the end date will be later than expected.
It is most important, therefore, to treat the duration, when first entered, as a measure of the total work expected to complete the task rather than necessarily just an estimate of its length.
If changes are made to the default working times, then it must be ensured that these options match the default times in the calendar. If, say, the calendar has been set to 7 hrs/day but the options are still 8 hrs/day, then the dates will be significantly out. The following will happen:
Suppose the user enters a task with a duration of 10 days. They mean 10 7-hour days, hence 70 hours total. However, Project will use the options to calculate an inflated figure of 80 hours. It will then start matching this figure to the calendar. At the end of the first day, 7 hours out of the total will have been used up, leaving 73 hours; at the end of the second day a further 7, leaving 66 hours and so on. It will actually take about 11.5 of the calendar’s 7-hour days, rather than 10, to use up the 80 hours figure, and the end date will be about 1.5 days late. This will be the case throughout the project.
If the task has resources assigned, then Project will use the task’s duration to calculate a total work figure for the resource based on:
Work per resource=Duration(hrs)*Units assignment(%)
If one of these three quantities is changed, one of the other two will be recalculated proportionately, while the third remains unchanged.
So in the resource-driven scheduling example shown, where Fred and Laura have been assigned to work full-time on the 6-day task of Preparation, Project would have calculated that each have 48 hours of work to complete. Rather than matching the hours duration to the project calendar, it matches each resource’s work to the resource’s calendar using the same mechanism as described above. Since resources may have calendars very different to that of the project, this may result in a change in the finish date and duration; for example if Fred takes time off during this task, then he will finish his share of the work later than Laura, and the task’s end date will be delayed accordingly. So in resource-driven scheduling Project would increase the duration, even though the total amount of work is the same.
A task may also be effort-driven. When resources are assigned to a task, Project also calculates the total effort, which is simply the total work. So here, the total effort for Preparation is 96 hours. Suppose that a further resource is assigned. If the task is effort-driven, then Project will assume that the total effort is still 96 hours, but is now shared between three resources. Hence the work per resource drops to 32 hours and the task’s duration is reduced to four days. Conversely, if either resource is removed, the duration would double to 12 days, as now a single resource has to do all the work! If not effort-driven, then the duration would remain at 6 days, and the total effort would be recalculated.
To edit the effort driven setting, select the task, and click Task>Properties>Information to display the Information dialogue box for the task. Select the Advanced tab to locate the effort-driven option:
To set the default for tasks added to a new Project, select File>Options>Scheduling options for this project:
By default, in Project versions 2010 and 2013, new tasks are not effort-driven.
A Project may have a mixture of effort-driven and non-effort-driven tasks. Whether this is appropriate or not for a particular task will depend on the task itself and the extra resources being assigned.
Resource assignment may also be changed by changing the Units assignment for a particular task, rather than adding or removing resources. Note that Implementation, a three-week task, has four implementors assigned to it (a total of 3 weeks*40h per week *400% = 360h work).
Suppose that two of these were required elsewhere, and the assignment was changed to 200%. If the task type is Fixed Units, then it would be assumed that the remaining two still have the same amount of work to do, thus resulting in the task’s duration increasing to 6 weeks. Similarly, an increase in the Units assignment would result in a proportionate decrease in the duration.
The Task Type field may be accessed in the same way as the effort-driven option, via the Advanced tab of the Task Information dialogue box:
To switch this off, and hence ensure that the duration remains the same and the resource’s work is recalculated instead, set the task type to Fixed Duration. The default task type for new tasks may also be set from the Options dialogue:
This is normally set to Fixed Units.
An investment in knowledge pays the best interest
- Virtual Training
- Case Studies
- Become a Trainer