How to contour the resources usage in Microsoft Project

 Apr 10, 2015

The person responsible for updating a Microsoft Project plan file can contour the work using predefined settings.

The Work Contour option provides choices for the contour shape to use for the resources assigned to a task. The work contour determines how work for an assignment is to be distributed across the duration of the assignment. No information actually appears in the task or resource version of this field; it merely makes the corresponding Work Contour information available for assignments. You can use the work contour to manage the work scheduled for a certain resource. This will allow the user to control any resource workload better.

The categories of Work Contour field include:

  • Flat – This is the default setting. Flat contour means that the resource is working the same amount of hours every day).
  • Back Loaded – More work is assigned to the end of the task duration.
  • Front Loaded – More work is assigned to the beginning of the task duration.
  • Double Peak – A task that has two major periods of peak activity.
  • Early Peak – More work hours in the 3/8 part of the task duration.
  • Late Peak – More work hours in the 6/8 part of the task duration.
  • Bell – More work hours in the 4/8 and 5/8 of the task duration.

Turtle – A bell with a ramp up and ramp down.

How to contour the resources usage in Microsoft Project

For example, to change the default flat contour of resources, you would need to complete the following steps.

  1. Open the Project file you want to use.
  2. Switch to Resource Usage view. To do this, click the "Resource" tab and go to "View" group. Click the "Team Planner" button and click the "Resource Usage" option.
  3. Display the Work table. To do this, click the "View" tab, go to the "Data" group. select the "Tables" button and click the "Work" option
  4. Add the Work Contour field to the table. To do this, select the "%Complete" field, press the "Insert" button on your keyboard and type the letter W. Now, click the Work Contour option. Note: You can see that all the resources are on a Flat contour by default.
  5. Select the Work Contour options you want to apply from the drop-down list.
    How to contour the resources usage in Microsoft Project

Take a look at New Horizons' Microsoft Project training courses.

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About the Author:

Magdalena Todor  

With over 20 years experience as a facilitator and university lecturer, Magda is one of our most senior and experienced trainers. With previous practical on the job experience as a project manager she embodies a brilliant balance of training experience and business knowledge. With every event she delivers, Magda takes a wholehearted approach to ensure every course is impactful, relevant and a genuinely positive learning experience for all.

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