Dear PM Advisor December 17, 2012

Dear PM Adivsor, I use the Cadence methodology to determine responsibility and contribution level on each activity. When it's time to enter the people's level of effort into the Gantt chart, how do I enter different levels of effort for the different people involved? Especially with the Project Manager who gets a dot on every task but may spend only five minutes on the task when others are spending twenty hours.

Cadence man in Latrobe, PA.

Dear Cadence,

I like the Cadence Methodology and use it to plan all my projects. Then I go further and enter all the people's effort into the Gantt chart and it is certainly difficult. See this post for entering level of effort into Gantt charts in general and then I'll show you how to modify this method for the case when you have several people working on a task at different levels of effort.

First of all, I only enter the PM as a resource on a task if they are the responsible party or their effort is more than just monitoring the task for completeness.

When the remaining people on the task are working around about the same level of effort, just combine the hours and type in the duration and MS-Project will calculate the %Complete roughly correctly.

Then you are left with those tasks where you have wildly different amounts of effort: One person working 20 hours, one working 10 and one working 5 for example. What you do is double click on the task and then open the resource tab. Calculate in your head what 20 hours over the duration is in terms of percentage. Let's say it is a week long task so the % of time spent on the task is 50%.

  • Type 50% next to the person who is working the 20 hours.
  • Then type 25% for the person working 10 hours.
  • Finally type 13% next to the one working 5 hours.
  • Then add up the total hours and type 35 hours in the work column.
  • Type one week in the duration column.

In my experience MS-Project won't calculate the percentages perfectly but it will be close. If you need better performance from your Project Management software, better choose some other program like Primavera for this.

Send your questions to Bruce@RoundTablePM.com