Workarounds for Smartsheet's lack of support for effort driven tasks?
I know that users have been clamoring for this shortcoming (the lack of support for effort driven tasks) to be addressed since 2015, but this is the first time that it's been a must-have for one of my clients since I began using Smartsheet in 2013.
Here’s an attempt to describe what I need to accomplish: My client's team is assigned to known (previously defined) work 80% of the time. The remaining 20% (approximately) of their time is spent doing ad-hoc work. In order to reserve time for the ad-hoc work, I’d like to only schedule them with 80% availability. I can accomplish this two ways in Microsoft Project:
- Create Fixed Work, Effort Driven tasks for the known work, and then assign resources at 80% allocation so that the duration adjusts to reflect the partial resource assignment. Create Fixed Work, Effort Driven tasks for the ad-hoc work, and assign resources at 20% allocation to adjust the duration.
- Create two resources for each team member, one that works 6.4 hours/day, and another that works 1.6 hours/day (I actually rounded these to 6.5 hours/day and 1.5 hours/day). Assign the resource that works 6.5 hours/day to Fixed Work, Effort Driven tasks representing the known work, and assign the resource that works 1.5 hours/day to Fixed Work, Effort Driven tasks representing the ad-hoc work. The duration of the tasks will automatically adjust to reflect the fact that the resources work shortened schedules. However, it isn’t obvious when the underlying resource is over-allocated, so I prefer Method #1.
I’m trying to replicate this in Smartsheet but I’ve encountered the following hurdles:
- Smartsheet doesn’t appear to support effort driven tasks. When I enable Resource Management and define an Assigned Resource column and an Allocation % column, changes to a resource’s allocation percentage do not affect duration. To see this: In a sheet with Resource Management enabled, create a task, assign a resource at 100% allocation, and set the start and end date to establish duration (or set the duration and a start date). Then reduce the resource’s allocation, and you’ll see that the end date remains unchanged. I would expect the date to change (move into the future) to reflect the fact that the task will now take longer.
- Smartsheet doesn’t appear to support individual resource calendars. Working days and working hours can be defined for the project, but I couldn’t find a way to set them for individual resources, so I found it difficult to replicate the workaround that I used in MS Project (creating two resources for each team member). Instead, I created two separate projects, one for the known work, with the working hours set to 6.5 hours/day, and one for the ad-hoc work, with the working hours set to 1.5 hours/day. Assigning the same resources to tasks in both projects works, but Resource Management flags them as being overallocated because they are allocated 100% in each project.
Has anyone encountered (and resolved) this (or a similar) conundrum?