Previous blogs have set the scene for this blog which examines the use of Work and Duration in Microsoft Project.

This blog will examine how to apply these principals in Microsoft Project.

Work and Duration – The Basics

When using Microsoft Project, both the ‘Work’ content for a project task and the the ‘Duration’ for that project task need to be obtained. Work and Duration are different things, and without understanding both, the resource loadings, and costs calculated by Microsoft Project will be inaccurate.

The Problem with Using Microsoft Project

the following video clip explains the problems of using Microsoft project without full task information, and/or without understanding how to use Microsoft Project.

Not only are the different estimates for ‘Work’ and ‘Duration’ required, a full understanding of how Microsoft Project works is essential.

Fixed Work Tasks

The following video clip explains how to set up Microsoft Project for fixed work tasks.

Understanding the relation between Work, Units and Duration is a critical aspect in Microsoft Project. These are three separate variables related as follows:

Work = Units of Resource x Duration

With Microsoft Project, you need to set the task to the correct type, ‘Fixed Work’, ‘Fixed Units’, or ‘Fixed Duration’, and then change one of the other variables, leaving the computer free to calculate the third and final variable.

Fixed Duration Tasks

The following video clip explains how to set up Microsoft Project for fixed duration tasks. It also explains that often an ‘Elapsed Time’ task is more appropriate.

The use of a fixed duration task often means that no resources are required (Paint drying, etc). However, it is good practice to show them in the project plan as they constrain the following tasks.

Task types in Microsoft Project is an important topic if the plan is to be used correctly to calculate project costs and resource loading.


Posted On: 8th February 2018

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