Summary: In Microsoft Project Professional, when using Resource Engagement feature to handle part-time resources, don’t use the resource’s Max Units, instead use a resource calendar.
Resource Engagement is a more flexible approach to Resource Management compared to Task Assignments. There’s a wealth of articles about using this feature, however, there’s no specific post about its interaction with resource’s Max Unit % value.
A general user expectation is that if a resource has Max Units set to say 60%, then if a PM submits a resource request of 100% then the tool should understand that it’s 100% of the 60%. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. The good news is that Resource Engagement considers the resource’s calendar, so, the tool administrator can create a 4.8-hour (60% of 8 hours) 5-day calendar and assign it to the resource with Max Units set to 100%.
Below is a detailed example of how that looks. In this example, we have the following:
- Res. 1 has a 3-day, 8-hour week calendar (24 hour week) assigned to them and Max Units = 100
- Res. 2 has a 5-day, 8-hour week calendar (40 hour week) assigned to them and Max Units = 60
- Proj. 1 uses Resource Engagement to calculate resource utilization from
- Proj. 2 uses Project Plan (task assignment) to calculate resource utilization from
Before any assignments, let’s have a look at the availability of both resources :
On Heatmap view: you can see that Res. 1 and Res. 2 are both blue (under-allocated) as they should be. Also, notice that Res. 1 shows green in the last 2 days which is in accordance with their calendar.
On Resource Utilization view: it shows Res. 1 and Res. 2 as per their respective calendars.
First, let’s use Resource Engagement to request both resources for a week with 100% Units.
This is how the requests look to the Project Managers in Microsoft Project Pro. Notice that Res. 1 is requested as expected, however, Res. 2 is requested for 8 hours 5 days.
This is how the requests look to the Resource Manager. Again, Res. 1 is requested as expected, however, Res. 2 is requested for 8 hours 5 days.
On Heatmap view: we can see Res. 1 fully allocated while Res. 2 is overallocated.
Secondly, let’s use Task Assignment to allocate both resources for a week. This is how the PM views the allocation. Note that for Task 2 below, I only selected Res. 2 and Microsoft Project Pro automatically marked it as 60% according to their Max Unit in the resource definition.
On Heatmap view: nothing shows up. This is expected since the Heatmap view only displays Resource Engagements and Proj. 2 utilizes Project Plan, not Resource Engagement.