Have you ever been challenged in your confidence when you plan to assign the resource or declare the resource availability in P6?

Not sure how to interpret resource data or worried about if you are entering the right information for the resources? If the answer is yes to all the questions, you are not alone.

When I started, I had doubts about my understanding of the resource data, but I managed to figure that out a few years after trial and error and many mistakes.

I learned that the User Preference setting influences how P6 shows the resource data, how you enter the resource requirement, and the resource availability limit.

I realised it’s essential to check and understand the user preference setting before working with resources in P6. Why? You can avoid errors in the resource assignments and availability. So, what is the setting?

Start with Units of Time.

To view the setting, go to “Edit” on the menu bar, click on “User Preferences”, then Time Units review and set up your preference for the resource units.

1 – Set Units of Time Format

  • Set the “Units of Time” format to hours if you intend to assign the resource in hours. What happens if the Unit of time doesn’t align with the data format you wish to use? You could end up having the resource data in days rather than hours. Or it could be the other way around.

Why I’m telling you this? First, the unit of time setting will influence the data with anything to do with resources.

Look at the screenshot below; with the unit of time in the hours setting, all of the resource information (budgeted unit/time, budgeted labour unit, budgeted units) is changed to hours.

Set the unit of time format intentionally in hours if you wish to enter (or see) the resource data in hours.

But if you asked me the recommended setting for the unit of time, I would say it’s hours because it’s the lowest level of resource data and the basis of resource management.

  • Set the “Units of Time” format to days.

If you are working on a long-term plan with multi-year projects, do you want to change Units of Time to Day? In that case, assign the resource effort units on man-day, equipment day, etc.

For example, 120 hours will become 15 days for 8 hours a day calendar. But I recommend using hours unless the project is too big to show in hours.

2 – Set the Resource Units/Time (Unit/Duration), and What Options Should You Choose?

When your team member says we need two resources (a mechanical fitter and a general labour), and they are required for a 5-day task, how can you reflect that in the schedule?

You can show it as a Percentage or Hour Per Day (h/d) by selecting the Unit/Time Format option in the user preference setting below. So decide how you want to see the resource units/time.

Show as units/duration (4h/d)
    • Select the 4h/d setting to see (or show) the resource requirement (or availability) in hours and days. What doesn’t this mean for you? If the resource is required for a full day, it will show 8hr and 4hr for a half day.

    • For example, a 5-day task for a mechanical fitter and general labour will show as 8h/d for 5 days.

Show as a percentage (50%)
    • Select the 50% setting to see (or show) the resource requirement (or availability) in percentage.
      For example, a 5-day task for a mechanical fitter and general labour will be 100% for 5 days.

    • The great thing about percentage setting is you don’t need to worry about the duration and unit format for resource assignments. It ignores the units and duration format. As a result, some prefer this setting. Why?
    • You only need to enter 100% if the task requires labour for a full day. Enter 50% when the activity demands a half-day resource only.

    • But, if you asked me the recommended setting, I still prefer to see the resource in number – hours or days etc. Why? I’m okay with percentage setting up to 100% – which means a full resource is available (or required), but it annoys me when it becomes 200% or 300%. So, instead, I want to see only in hours. So, there is no right or wrong setting for this – but the key is understanding how P6 shows the resource units per time so you can enter the correct information and interpret the resource data correctly.

3 – How Duration Format Setting Influence the Resource View

Most projects tend to plan the project with the activity duration in days or weeks. And only change the duration format to an hour if the project needs to be planned in hours for the detailed schedule (e.g., shutdown schedule, tie-in schedule, etc.

But when you change the change duration format to hours, don’t be surprised by the changes affecting resource units per time view.

When you set the duration format to hours, the time portion of the “resource units/time” will change to hours.

For example, the budgeted units/time 8h/d become 1h/h. It means a resource is required every hour of working hours of the day. It means full-day resources are needed. If you see 2h/h, it shows two resources are required for each workday.

With this setting (duration format and units of time format in hours), enter 2 if you need two resources, and enter “1” for a single resource requirement.


So don’t forget to check the User Preference setting and select the preferred one for your needs because it affects how P6 shows the resource data and how you need to enter the data into P6.

My recommended setting is the hour for Units of Time, 4h/d for the Unit per Time and “day” for the duration format.

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