Project Teams Assignment

Project Teams Assignment

One of the fundamental problems in project delivery is that scheduling tools are not able to simulate real-life work scenarios correctly.

Resource Assignments

In project schedules there are often some activities that require assignment of more than one  resource. In some situations activities could be performed only when all resources are available. In other scenarios activities could commence as soon as any resource is available.

Scenario 1

In this scenario we have two resources assigned to complete work. Unless both of these resources are available the work can not be done.


We need to move tables. There are two workers required to carry a table. This work can start only when both resources are available.

The activity will not be completed quicker even if a third worker would be available for this task.

Scenario 2

In the second scenario, we also have two resources assigned. However, the nature of this activity allows them to work independently one from another. The work can start as soon as one of the resources is available.


We are moving chairs. Only one person is needed to carry a chair. The assigned workers can move the chairs independently one from another. Any available worker could start moving chairs. When (and if) the second resource is available, both resources will work together and complete the work faster.

Similarly to the previous example, the duration of this work is also dependant on the availability of assigned resources. However, a different type of logic needs to be applied to calculate the duration of this activity.

The activity can be completed quicker if a third worker is also available.


Scenario 3

Some activities require more complex simulation when “all” and “any” types of logic need to be combined.

Scenario 3 demonstrates that you can actually combine scenarios 1 and 2 when work could be done by any group of resources.


Some projects use shifts. An activity requires two workers and can be started in any shift. If not completed, two workers from another shift would continue the work.

Majority of scheduling tools really struggle to calculate durations of these scenarios correctly.

Spider Project has a special feature, called “Teams“, that allows the simulation of all possible scenarios of resource assignments.

Team is a group of resources working on an activity together.

The team may include individual resources, multi-resources (crews) and skills (resource pools).

See how Teams Assignments work in Spider Project:


Julia Lyaschenko

PMO | Program Planning & Delivery Specialist | PRINCE2© Practitioner | SAFe© Agilist (SA)

Multi-Resource (Crew) Assignment

Multi-Resource (Crew) Assignment

Resource Assignments by Multi-Resource (Crew)

In some situations, a set of activities is performed by a stable group when multiple resources work together. We could assign each resource from this group to each activity individually.

However, it is much easier to assign these resources as a whole group at once. This could be done via multi-resource assignment.

Multi-Resource is a settled group of resources that work together (e.g. a team, a crew, a car and a driver, etc.).

This approach has several advantages:

  • Faster schedule development;
  • Reduction of errors in resource assignment;
  • Schedule updates are significantly simplified.

At any moment when there is a change to participants in a multi-resource, we could apply this change in the multi-resource. Then this change will be applied to all remaining multi-resource assignments at once.

See how Multi-Resource Assignments work in Spider Project:

Julia Lyaschenko

PMO | Program Planning & Delivery Specialist | PRINCE2© Practitioner | SAFe© Agilist (SA)

Resource Skills Assignments

Resource Skills Assignments

Resource Assignments by Skills (Pools)

In real-life scenarios, it is quite common that we don’t know which resources exactly would be available when the activity is ready for execution. It might depend on work priorities, resources availability, their productivity and cost.

But what we know most of the time is that what kind of resource skill would be needed for the required activity. 

Resource Skills are the groups of interchangeable resources.

Resources belong to the same skill set if they can do the same type of work. They might have different costs and productivities but can still replace one another to get the work done.

Another term used for skills is a pool of resources.

Skills are usually assigned when it is not clear what resources will be available at the moment when an activity becomes ready for execution.

A resource may have more than one skill and may belong to different pools.

At any moment when there are changes in skills pool participants, these changes can be easily applied to all future skills assignments.

See how Resource Skills Assignments work in Spider Project:

Julia Lyaschenko

PMO | Program Planning & Delivery Specialist | PRINCE2© Practitioner | SAFe© Agilist (SA)

How to visualise WBS out of MS Project?

How to visualise WBS out of MS Project?

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is a very powerful view to represent project scope in a hierarchical way.

  • It allows to validate scope and identify potential gaps.
  • WBS is a key input into the schedule development process.

Ideally, use a scheduling tool that supports multiple WBS, as it allows to review project scope from different dimensions. However, if you only have MS Project and Visio available, it might be still sufficient enough to develop a “fit for purpose” version of WBS.

As MS Project supports a hierarchical structure and Visio is a good tool for data visualisation, applying these two could be a strong combo.

There are different methods for this kind of integration. One of those is to utilise Visual Reports feature in MS Project. Just apply this 3-stage approach.

Stage 1: Develop a hierarchical structure in MS Project

1.1 Workshop with stakeholders and teams to decompose project scope into manageable, clearly and comprehensively defined components.

1.2 Capture workshop outputs in MS Project hieracihacl view.

Stage 2: Export data in Visio via MS Project Visual Reports

2.1 Go to MS Project Report Tab > Visual Reports

2.2 Turn off Microsoft Excel samples (as we are only interested in Visio Reports)

2.3 Select Task Status Report > click View

Stage 3: Customise Visio WBS Graph

3.1 Rename Report

3.2 Remove Default Legend

3.3 Select Top Box Shape and go Tasks: Tasks to bring the desired level of WBS

3.4 Go to Design Tab > Re-layout Page to Hierarchy

3.5 Untick Cost and Work in Pivot Diagram properties settings (Pivot Diagram Tab)

3.6 Right-click on Top Box Shape > Data > Edit Data Graphic

3.7 In Edit Data Graphic set up the Fields you like to be visible and their formats

If you like you can save this version as a WBS Visio Template for future use (instead of the MS Project default Task Status Report sample mentioned above).

Just remember, when selecting a template in MS Project, tick on the box “include report templates from:” the location where your customised WBS Visio Template was saved!

Some alternative methods to create WBS:

* Spider Project supports multiple WBS views for the same project.

* Primavera has a single WBS Chart view.

* WBS Schedule Pro can be used as a standalone tool to develop WBS or can be integrated as an add-on to MS Project to visualise WBS.

Julia Lyaschenko

PMO | Program Planning & Delivery Specialist | PRINCE2© Practitioner | SAFe© Agilist (SA)