In the article – how to Develop Resource loading histogram/s curve, I said – “one of the greatest demands from project management is the visibility of resource requirements”. Why? Depending on how well the project team can forecast the resource requirements, it can make or break the project objectives.

So can you fulfil that expectation? Yes, you can! You can do that by providing the answers using the resource reports that work.

Where do you start?  Start with the data inputs in your schedule. And the activity resource assignment is a key element that contributes to quality data – a credible schedule report for the project team. Because it’s not just about assigning resources to the activities – it’s about getting the resource assignment done correctly and knowing what and how you put the data into P6 and how P6 react to that input is critical.

It all begins with following the step below.

    1. Create the resource in the resource dictionary
    2. Decide how you will assign the resources
    3. Assign activity resources to each activity
    4. Check and set the user preference setting for resource units
    5. Add budgeted units to the activity

1# Create New Resource in the Resource Dictionary

If you can’t find the resources you wish to assign that don’t exist in P6, you will have to add a new resource to the resource library in P6.  To start, click Tips & Tricks You Can Use to Create New Resources in P6. It will give you the detailed steps you need to follow.

2# Decide how you will assign the resources

You can assign the resources in P6 with two key methods – 1) Resource Assignment in P6 manually and 2) Resource Assignment with EXCEL import.

  1. Resource Assignment in P6 manually

If you are a beginner, this is the safest way. Because having the resource assignment done manually will help you build the skills you need for the resource assignment. And you can see the changes in P6 as you enter the data into P6.

  1. Resource Assignment with Excel Import

When should you import resource assignments in P6? You don’t have weeks to work on the resource assignment in P6 because you still need time for resource analysis, levelling, updating the schedule logic and issuing schedule reports. So you will appreciate this method when you need to assign the resource and update the resources to hundreds of projects or thousands of activities. With the EXCEL import, you assign the resource data accurately and efficiently. To become excellent at resource import to P6, click How to Assign New Resources in P6 Efficiently.

But if you are learning to assign resources in P6 directly, follow the steps below to get started.

3# Assign Activity Resource to Each Activity  (Direct Assignment Method)

When you manually assign the resource in P6, you can try two methods,

    1. Adding a resource (or a group of resources) to each activity individually or
    2. Assigning a single resource (a group of resources) to multiple activities simultaneously.
  • Adding the resource to the individual activity

When should you use this technique? This is great for multiple resources working on the same activity. For example, if the pipe fitter and general labour are required for piping fabrication, assign both resources to a single activity – pipe fabrication.  To start,

    1. Select an activity that you wish to assign resources
    2. Click “Add Resource” in the activity details box to add resources to the individual activities.
    3. Select a resource or multiple resources and add the resource(s) to each activity by clicking the green plus (+) sign. To add multiple resources, press the “Shift” key or “Ctrl” key, and then you can select more than one resource.

  • Assigning a single resource to multiple activities at once

When should you choose this method? Try this when a shared resource is involved in the same type of work.

For example, if a resource name – General Fitter, is required for all steelworks fabrication, assign it to all relevant activities – pipe support fabrication, platform structure fabrication, etc.

To start,

1) Right-click on the selected activities.

2) Then, select “Assign” and go to “Resources”.

3) To add multiple resources at the same time, press the “Shift” key or the “Ctrl” key and then select the resources. Once you have chosen the resources, add them by clicking the green plus (+) sign.

4# Check and Set the User Preference Setting for Resource Units

The User Preference setting influences how P6 shows the resource data, how you enter the resource requirement, and the resource availability limit. Checking and understanding the user preference setting is essential before working with resources in P6 to avoid misinterpreting resource data and correctly assigning the resource.  You can learn more about the tips for selecting user preference from Tips for Setting the Right User Preference That Could Improve Your Resource Data in P6.

5# Assign Activity Budgeted Units to Each Activity

After you have assigned the activity resource and selected the user preference, you are ready to assign hours. Because there are a couple of options to enter the hours in P6, follow the tips below to choose the technique that suits your situation.

Option – 1: Assign the resource unit (or hours) with the activity duration type – “Fixed Duration and Units/Time”

  • In this case, you want P6 to populate your budgeted hours because you don’t know the total hours required for a task. But you know the duration and the minimum resource needed for the activity.

    1. For example, you need trade assistance, a pipefitter and a welder for the “FABRICATE Pipe Supports” activity. Its duration is 5 days, and the activity calendar is 8 hours per day. Then P6 will populate 120 of the budgeted hour for that activity. How? P6 use the following formula for calculating the units.

(3) Units = (1) Duration x (2) [Resource Units/Time]

The budgeted hours for the activity = 5 days x [3 worker/hour x 8 hours a day] = 120 hours. You can check this in the screenshot below.

  1. What if you realise you need two trade assistants – “TA.Labourer”, but you still don’t want to change the duration of the activity because of additional resources? Then, change the resource’s budgeted units/time to 16/d. With the option, the only change is the budgeted hours (from 120 to 160 hours) which is what you P6 to do for you. Here is the detailed calculation for you.

= 5 days x [4 worker/hour x 8 hours a day] = 160 hours

Option – 2: Assign the resource unit (or hours) with the activity duration type – “Fixed Duration and Units”
    • In this scenario, you want to convert the estimated hours (in the contract) into the budgeted units and assign the hours to each activity (or at least the WBS summary level). So you don’t want P6 to change the hours whenever you change the duration. Trust me; you can’t avoid the changes in the duration of the activities, especially during the schedule development process and schedule updates.

    • With option 2, you don’t need to worry about each activity’s resource requirement (Units/Time in P6 definition) because P6 calculates it for you.
    • The downside of this option is the budgeted hours will be changed when you add an additional resource or remove the resource from the existing activities. I know changes are inevitable in the project, especially during schedule development (before baseline) and the schedule update process. When that happens, don’t worry. The solution is;
      1. Change the budgeted hours back to where they were before, OR
      2. Adjust the resource requirement (Units/Time) until you get your desired hours.

For example, you assign two resources to the “Fabricate Pipe Support” activity. It requires 5 days duration and 120 hours of budgeted units.

And then you realise that you still need a welder to complete the task and add a welder. So once you have added a new resource, the budgeted unit of the activity is changed to 160. See the screenshot below.

You can fix this change by adjusting the individual resource’s budgeted units/time or changing the budgeted units (in the budgeted units column ) to get the original hours back to 120. In the example below, the changes are made in the units/time.

So, what’s the recommended duration type when assigning the units? My preferred method is the “fixed duration and units” duration type because the resource units remain constant when I change the duration.

Do you have a preferred method for when you assign activity resource units?