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Allocated Time % versus Duration

Can anyone tell me the correlation between Allocated Time % versus task duration?  If I estimate that a task will take 2 days (16 working hours) to complete but then assign someone to it that only can work on it 50% of the time, why will the system automatically create a start and end dates that are consecutive days?  Since the person can only work on the task 50% of the time, should it not take 4 days actually to complete working 4 hours per day?  Please tell me what I am missing.



  • The duration is actual calendar days and will not change in response to the % allocation.


    The % allocation is only used for Resource Management if you have it enabled.  If I person if 50% allocated to a 2 day task then you can also allocate that person to other tasks during the same time frame.  If the total allocation exceeds 100% then you will see resource allocation alert.  Here is the help article on resource management: http://help.smartsheet.com/customer/portal/articles/2026109-resource-management-overview-team-enterprise-only-



  • When will you be fixing this, what I would consider, "bug".


    To create an analogy, this is like a calculator that allows you to enter 1+1, but has no = sign ... you need to enter the 2. Not allowing some level of automated resource management defeats some of the purpose of using a project management tool as opposed to a task list.



  • Travis
    Travis Employee
    edited 07/16/15

    Hi JackL, this is not a bug and resource management is functioning as it was designed. I understand your concerns and will submit your feedback to our development team. Thanks JackL! 


  • I would like to concur with JackL - while the allocation column serves its (one and only?) purpose in identifying overbooking, it is a 'bug' in my project management book.  I wouldn't mind an option of including the allocation in the duration calculation, so those who plan their resources differently have the flexiblity to choose.  But in our opinion, if a task takes 16 hours and they are only 50% allocated, that's a 4 day duration.  Otherwise, I need to do the calculation myself and the allocation column is a reminder, not a decision maker.


    Looking forward to possible consideration for future development on this front.

  • Hi Travis.  I agree with the sentiment that having the duration automatically and dynamically react to the resource allocation would be a good enhancement to Smartsheet.  While not the same thing, this would be similar to the how currently (20-Aug-2015) the duration automatially adjusts the Start Date and End Date based on the "Length of day" setting for each sheet.  For example, and as I am sure you know, a task duration of 16h will automatically calculate four days between the start date and end date, as in a start date of today 20-Aug-2015 would have an end date of 23-Aug-2015.  Having the Start Date and End Date react to the resource allocation, as it already does to Length of day, would be powerful for some project managers. Thanks, Stan

  • Travis
    Travis Employee
    edited 08/20/15

    Good points Stan and Amanda! Our product managers look at these threads to learn why users are asking for certain functionality - thanks for your input! 

  • I just start using smartsheet and this is a real big problem that jump to my eyes right away. It will weight alot in the decision making for the new project management sofware we will buy. You can copy/paste exactly what Amanda said. I even try to make a formula that will affect the duration but the colunm is blocked. If it's take 8 hours to accomplish a task and you work 50% of your time on it, it's simple logic that it will take 2 days to complete the job.

  • I agree with the previous posters - I would expect duration to be calculated based on percent availability. Ideally, I'd like to be able to have a column for estimated effort in person-days, and then have duration calculated from that and % available. 


    Its kind of suprising that ability isn't present. Is there any kind of workaround to allow duration to be calculated, instead of just a difference between dates? It doesn't look like I can calculate the end date based on start date, effort, and % available, which I had hoped might a work around

  • Duration is the calendar time alloted for a task and effort is the budgeted hours for that task.    I agree that having the effort ifor each task is useful so I calculte that on all of my schedules.  I add a three columns: "work hours", Work hours completed" and "work hours remaining".  The second two aren't as useful as the first but they do provide some information.  


    Anyway I use the following formulas in each column (assume row 1):


    Work hours: Duration1 * 8 * [% Allocation]1

    Work Hours Complete: [work hours]1 * [% complete]1

    Work hours remaining: [work hours]1 - [work hours complete]1


    I typically know the expected duration and budgeted effort so I set the duration then adjust the % allocation until the work hours (effort) matches my budgeted effort.


    Having the tool calculate duration from effort would require an additional "effort" field but it would be a useful feature znd would eliminate the need for my additional columns.  

  • J. Craig Williams
    J. Craig Williams ✭✭✭✭✭✭



    I don't see this on the roadmap yet.

    I'm posting here to keep this thread alive.

    I'd really like to a task that has a start date based on a start date (row 5) and a finish date (row 25) -- that task is less than 8 hours in duration and can / must be done anytime in the duration between row 5 end and row 25 start neither of which are predecessors to the row in question.



  • Travis
    Travis Employee

    Craig, are you referring to constraints? Task X is 8 hours and must start after row 5 starts and finish before row 25 ends?

  • J. Craig Williams
    J. Craig Williams ✭✭✭✭✭✭




    For a specific example, I have a task that can't be started until training is given in February. The task needs to be done before we go on-site in May. The task will likely take two days. I don't really care if the task is done in March or April, I just want it done.

    If I set the task to have both a SS and FF constraint, it seems to want to stick the 2 day task as close to the FF as possible. But I want the engineer to have the task on his to-do list after the traiing.

    I feel like I'm micromanaging if I force the task to be a certain two days during March or April. And again, since it won't impact critical path, I really don't care when it is done.

    Sorry for the long answer. That may be the wine typing.


  • Travis
    Travis Employee

    Understood - thanks for clarifying. Constraints is something our Product team has looked into and I will make sure they see this use case for that functionality. 

  • It would be great if Smartsheet would change the End Date based on a less than 100% allocation. The resource tells the project manager that a task will take 3 days. They mean 3 days of dedicated time. If the resource is allocated only 50% to that task, then Smartsheet should shift the End Date out to accomodate the Duration that was declared.

  • Dave F
    Dave F
    edited 02/10/16

    New Smartsheet user and I see the independence of %Allocation and Duration as the biggest issue (when using resource management).


    If you are not using resource management, then the Duration column is just fine, but if you are using it, then you want to enter the actual work time required for a task and the %Allocation.  If %Allocation (resource management) is active, then there should be an Actual Duration column and Plan Duration = Actual Duration * %Allocation.



This discussion has been closed.