Join Bonnie Biafore for an in-depth discussion in this video Setting up subcontractors paid by the hour, part of Managing Subcontractor Projects with Microsoft Project.
- [Voiceover] When subcontractors are paid by the hour, work resources in Project are the ones to use. That way, you can track the hours they work and their labor cost. In addition to the usual 411 like name, initials, and standard rate, other resource fields come in handy to flag the resource as a sub, and to specify the type of contract. As you know, the Resource Sheet is the best place for creating resources. On the View tab, we're going to click Resource Sheet.
And there we've got the entry table in the Resource Sheet view. That's exactly where we want to be. Before we go on to creating a resource for a subcontractor, let's take a look at the resources that are already here. First of all, we'll notice that they're all Work resources. So they're labor working on the project. And we can track the hours that they work, as well as their cost. The other thing to notice is the Group column. All of these resources are assigned to the Internal group.
And that means that they're employees of the company. We also have Std. Rate assigned to these resources. That's going to help management get a sense of the total cost of the project, as we'll see in another movie. Jumping back to the Resource Name, I have generic names for these resources. In this example, it's really just to make it easy to see what their role is in the project. In your own projects, you can use your people's specific names. Well if we're going to create a resource for a subcontractor what about names? Should we use a generic name, like Network Engineer? Well, think about it.
What if you switch subcontractors mid-project? You probably wouldn't want to use the same generic resource. For one thing, the two subcontractors might have different rates. And you would certainly want to track their hours separately. So it's better you use specific names for individuals. I'm going to create a resource for the Network Engineer. His name is Doug McGowan. Well I want to use last name first, so I'm going to type in his last name, then a space, and his first name.
Keep in mind, you can't put in commas or brackets, or anything like that. So you just have to stick with the person's name. When I press Tab to move to the next cell, Project automatically sets up the resource as a Work resource. Doug is paid by the hour, so that's exactly what we want here. We can jump right over to the Initials cell. Initials are great for showing resources on task bars. Now, I have a choice here. You can fill in the person's initials.
Like I could add DM here, for Doug McGowan. But I'm going to do something different. I'm going to add something that says what his role is on the project. So I'm going to type NetEng, for Network Engineer. Pressing Tab takes me to the Group cell. Remember, we have the Internal group for employees, but Doug is a subcontractor. I'm going to type in a new value, Subcontractor, to identify that he's an external resource.
While we're talking about categorizing resources in different ways, there's another column, the Code column, over at the right end of the table. You can use that to categorize resources as well. I'm using the Group column to specify employees versus subcontractors. How about if we use the Code field to say, you know, generally what the skill set is of the person. I'm going to type in an abbreviation for network to say that Doug works on the network.
And while we're at it, let's go up to the Code cell for the Network admin, and add them to the same category. Now we're going to head back to maximum units. As you know, when you create a new work resource, Project autmatically assigns them 100% maximum units. And that means the resource is dedicated to the project. That's exactly what we want for Doug, so we're going to leave that, and move to the Std. rate cell.
Doug charges $100 per hour. All I have to do is type in $100, and when I press Tab to move away from the cell, Project fills it in with $100/hr. While we're talking about rates, we're in the Ovt. rate cell. If a subcontractor charges extra for overtime, you can fill in the Ovt. rate cell with that value. We're just going to skip that in this course. We've added values to all the different fields associated with the record.
But, what about having a custom field to specify the contract type? That way, you can group your subs by hourly and fixed price contracts to see where your cost risk is. Yah, let's go ahead and do that. Go over to the very right side of the table, and click the Add New Column heading. I'm going to use Text1 as this custom field. I start to type the name of the field, and as soon as I see it in the dropdown list, I can click it and add that field to the table.
Text1 isn't a very meaningful name. One change we want to make is to re-name it to say what this field does. To make changes like that, I'm going to right-click the heading in the table. And on the shortcut menu, choose Custom Fields. The great thing about doing this is when the Custom Fields dialog box opens, it opens right to the field that you want to work on. That field is already selected, so I can jump right down to the Rename button and click it to change the name of the field.
I'm going to use Contract. When I click OK, in the list I can see both the alias and the original field name. Let's make it a little bit easier to fill in the values for this field by creating a Lookup table. Below the list, click Lookup and that opens up the Edit Lookup Table dialogue box. The first blank Value cell is selected, and we know that Doug is paid hourly, so we're going to add that one as the first one in the list.
Then I'm going to click the second empty cell, and maybe we have some monthly subcontractors. In the third blank cell, I'm going to type Fixed Price because we know we've got a couple of fixed price subs. Head down to the bottom right corner of the dialogue box and click Close. Then, click OK. Now what we need to do is add the value for Doug McGowan's record. I'm going to click the cell in the Contract column for his record, and because we have a Lookup table with that dropdown list, we've got a down arrow.
Go ahead and click that, and then just choose what you want from the dropdown list. In this case, it's Hourly. That's it. All you have to do now is go to the File tab, and Save your project. That's how you create a resource for an hourly sub. Other movies show you how to setup resources for other subcontractors.
Expert project manager Bonnie Biafore introduces approaches for working with subcontractors, including how to set them up in Project and incorporate their schedules. The course then explains how to set up multiperson team resources, assign subcontractors to tasks, periodically update the project, and review subcontractor performance based on cost, work, and schedule, and in relation to the overall project. Follow along with the sample Project file, featuring before-and-after examples you can use to compare your work to the author's.
Note: This course was designed in collaboration with author John Riopel. The techniques apply to Project 2010, 2013, and 2016.
Lynda.com is a PMI Registered Education Provider. This course qualifies for professional development units (PDUs). To view the activity and PDU details for this course, click here.
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- Explain how to show the type of contract for a new resource.
- Recall how to set up a team resource to track time and cost.
- Recognize the benefits of inserting a subcontractor’s project into a main project file.
- Determine how to add a summary task as a part of a last milestone.
- Identify the steps taken to view all tasks assigned to a specific subcontractor.
- Summarize the type of relationships shown in four kinds of charts in the Resource Cost Overview.