Estimating Resource Requirements using Microsoft Project

This post will help you in Estimating the Resources needed to complete a given task with in a prescribed Schedule using MS Project..

I assume, Human resources here. One Full-Time-Effort(FTE) is taken as 8hrs / Day. If the Effort for 1 FTE is different in your case, for eg:9hrs/Day then change “Hours Per Day” option under “Schedule” in Tools –> Options on MS Project. On Project 2010 this option is available under File –> Options –> Schedule.

Let’s have a scenario first.

Here is the schedule given

Task Duration
Technical Design 20 Days
Code/Build/Test 18 Days

Listed below are the efforts arrived by your team for the above tasks in the Project.

Task Effort(Hours)</td>
Technical Design 600 Hours
Code/Build/Test 500 Hours

Now let us see using MS Project, how many Full Time resources(FTE) do we need to fit our efforts within the schedule given.

Steps required on MS Project

1) Set up MS Project

  • Go to “Tools” –> “Options”. On Project 2010, you need to go to File –> Options
    • Select tab “Schedule”
    • On the “Default task type” drop down select “Fixed Duration”
    • Select tab “View”. On Project 2010, Go to File–> Options. Select “Advanced” tab
    • On the “Outline Options for <projectname>” check the Option “Show project summary task”. This option is available under “Display Options for Project” in Project 2010
    • Click “Ok” to finish the Definition
  • Open a new Project in MS Project
  • If the default Gant Chart View doesn’t have the “Work Column”, do the following steps to insert the same
    • Right Click on the Column heading
    • Select the “Insert Column” menu item
    • On the “Column Definition” dialog opened, select “Work” from the “Field Name” drop down.
    • Click “Ok” to finish the Definition

2) Task Definition

  • Add a milestone task to denote our start date , On Row 2 enter the following
    • Enter “Start” on the “Task Definition Column”
    • “0 days” on the “Duration Column”
    • “0 hrs” on the “Work” Column
    • Now set the anticipated start date for our “Technical Design”, by entering the date on the “Start” column(either enter the date in the default date format or select the drop down to view the calendar)
  • Add our first task in the Project – i.e., “Technical Design”. Go to the next row(3rd) enter the following
    • “Technical Design” on the Task Definition Column
    • “20 Days” on the “Duration” Column
    • “600 Hrs” on the “Work” Column
    • Now MS Project will populate the “Start” and “Finish” column based on our effort and duration.
    • Go to the “Predecessors” column of our “Technical Design” Task and set the dependency to our “Start” milestone
    • Enter the id displayed on the “Id” column of our “Start” task in this column. You can see that MS Project updates the Start date based on the date set for our “Start” milestone
  • Add our third task – i.e. ,”Code/Build/Test”. Go to the next row(4th) enter the following
    • “Code/Build/Test” on the Task Definition Column
    • “18 Days” on the “Duration” Column
    • “500 Hrs” on the “Work” Column
    • Now MS Project will populate the “Start” and “Finish” column based on our effort and duration.
    • Go to the “Predecessors” column of our “Code/Build/Test” Task and set the dependency, “Technical Design” finish to start “Code/Build/Test”
    • Enter the id displayed on the “Id” column of our “Technical Design” task in this column. You can see that MS Project updates the Start date based on the finish  date displayed for our “Code/Build/Test” Task

3) Arrive at the Full Time Effort(FTE)

  • Enter a value, for eg: Developer on the “Resource Names” column for all of our non-milestone tasks. I.e., “Technical Design” & “Code/Build/Test”
  • You can see that MS Project appends a % value to the value we entered. The “Technical Design” task, “Resource Names” will display “Developer[375%], means you need 3.75 FTEs to complete 600hrs of Technical Design in 20 Days.
  • After completing the “Resource Names” entry on all our tasks – Technical Design and Code/Build/Test and from the values appearing on the Resource Names column, we can infer that the Technical Design task needs 3.75 FTE and Code/Build/Test  needs 3.47 FTE.

4)   Now what if, we don’t have the MS Project calculated FTE in hand?

  • Adjust the value on the “Duration” column of our tasks to arrive at the required FTE. Please note that when you change the value of the duration, MS Project adjusts the value in the work column. Please reset it to the original effort for the task (This Is the Default Behaviour For MS Project)

Once you arrive at the required FTEs, the Start and Finish columns should show the workable schedule

See Also : More articles on MS Project


Restore Ubuntu Boot Menu after Windows 8 Install

Read on to get back your Ubuntu Boot Menu which disappeared after your Windows 8 install.

Most of us would like to utilize our Desktops for running multiple Operating Systems, which co-exist on our Hard Disk.  Each OS has its own boot-manager to help us in booting to our OS of choice during start-up.  Windows 8 also has the same, but some what partial in allowing us to use our favorite Ubuntu after Windows 8 install. Windows 8 hijack the boot record and puts its own boot manager. Its tidy compared to earlier versions and recognizes existing Windows install. But it never recognizes (purposefully ? ) any Linux-based installations.  So after your Windows 8 install, you will not have any option to get to your Ubuntu.

Ubuntu / Linux communities knows this and they have long back put up a solution to fix this. The utility in lime light is “boot-repair”.  It has a basic and advanced mode to repair or get back your grub  boot manager back. When this is restored, grub will be updated to include your newly installed Windows 8 also in the boot menu.

Ubuntu has a detailed help page on how to achieve this. So I’m not going to explain this in detail and leave you to visit the following url to go ahead.  You will need a Ubuntu Live CD to start with.

Boot-Repair : Community Ubuntu Documentation

Tip: How To play media available on Windows 8 FROM connected Entertainment Devices

Windows 8 can serve media available on it to connected Entertainment Devices. This makes it possible to enjoy your Videos or Photos on your living room wide-screen TV or play music on your networked AV Receiver. The technology that makes this possible is DLNA in disguise. Microsoft hardly mentions this anywhere.

For this to work, your Entertainment Devices should be DLNA enabled and in particular supporting DLNA Media Player profile.

This is the basic functionality supported by all DLNA enabled TV, Blu-ray Players, PS3, XBox, AV Receivers and other Media Players.

Setup your Media Library.

Follow the following steps to add media stored on your local hard disk to Media libraries on Windows 8.

  1. Launch Windows 8 Desktop App by clicking on the “Desktop” tile on your Start Screen
  2. Once on the Desktop, fire up “File Browser”(look for the Folder icon on your task bar on the Desktop)
  3. File Browser by default show your libraries in the window opened
  4. Double Click the library to which you want to add media files. For eg Music
  5. By default your My Music (in this eg) folder and C:\Users\Public\Public Music (in this eg) are available on the Library
  6. To add a different Folder to your library, Click on “Manage” menu from the File Browser menu bar
  7. Click on “Manage Library”
  8. A dialog box will open to add your folders containing media to the Library
  9. The “Library locations” section will list your existing folders available on the library
  10. To add a new folder location, Click on Add and then navigate to your folder of interest and click on “Include Folder”
  11. Repeat step 10 for additional folders if required
  12. Click OK to close the “Music Library Locations” (in this eg) dialog box
  13. Windows will scan and list the media files in the File Browser. You will see that it also displays the Meta data  in the listing
  14. Continue steps 4 to 12 for other media types as appropriate

Once the library is step up, you can find media files on newly added locations on Windows 8 built-in media apps like Music, Videos and Photos

Share your Media with in your network

Follow the following steps

  1. Invoke the Charms Bar
  2. Click on “Settings” then select “Change PC Settings”
  3. On the “PC Settings” column select “HomeGroup”
  4. Once selected you will see the “Libraries and Devices” settings on the left side
  5. Switch the toggle to “ON” for the Media types you want to share. Windows 8 may throw up a message that File Sharing needs to be enabled on your network if it’s currently disabled. Accept and continue.
  6. Under “Media Devices” section , enable the option for allowing your media devices to play the content

Your Media is ready for playback from your connected devices. On your Entertainment device’s respective menu, you will find your Windows 8 Machine name along with the user who is sharing listed under servers. You can navigate to the media folders and starts playing on your Entertainment Device.

Currently Windows 8 doesn’t do any media transcoding, so you will be only able to play media types supported by your Entertainment Device.

If your media is available on a network folder or NAS, the steps captured under “Setup your Media Library” will not work. In that case use Windows Media Center if available, to add your network location to the respective library.

Tip : Playing your media available on Windows 8 TO any connected Entertainment Device

Now a days its hard to find any entertainment device which doesn’t offer any network connectivity options. Your Wide Screen TV, Blu-ray player, AV Receivers, Media Players and your gaming devices like PS3 and XBox comes with either Ethernet or Wireless Connection.

If you have your devices connected together using a Router / Switch / Hub then its easy to share media across devices. There are quite a number of implementations from different manufacturers. Few are proprietary, others are universal. Airplay from Apple is restricted to devices from Apple. To have Airplay supported by an entertainment device, there involves licensing. So you find features like this available only on high-end products. But there is one universal standard which is quite popular and supported by majority of devices out there today. You will find even on your Smart Phones – DLNA.

Refer this post for more details on DLNA. To simplify, it provides a set of protocols to share, control and consume media – Music, Pictures, Videos.

9 out 10 Entertainment devices which has a connectivity option will have DLNA implementations. Some manufactures try to give their own name to this,  like AllShare by Samsung. So if your TV , Blu-ray or media players support DLNA then you can stream media from your Windows 8 Desktop / Tablet to these devices. This Windows 8 or Windows 7 feature is called “Play To”.

Please note for this to work your Entertainment Device should support DLNA renderer profile. Other wise, you can only play media from the device which are made available by a DLNA Server. But don’t worry your Windows 8 supports DLNA Server profile also. In such a scenario follow this post on steps involved. The difference is, if your Device support DLNA Renderer Profile, then while browsing media on your desktop you can initiate a playback on the device from your Windows 8. In the other case, you need to go to the menu system on your Device to connect to a  DLNA server and pick the media published by the Server.

How do I know whether my Entertainment devices support “Play To” or DLNA Renderer profile?

Multiple ways are available

  1. Go To your Charms Bar. Select “Settings” then “Change PC Settings”. From “PC Settings” page select “Devices”. See your Entertainment Device is listed or not.
  2. Go To “Control Panel”, Select “Devices and Printers”. You will see your “Play To” supported devices under “Multimedia Devices”

So if you are happy to see your Device listed, then lets find out how to stream media to your Device.

While browsing your media on your media library or File Explorer on your Windows 8, right-click on the music file , image or video and Select “Play To” from the context menu. On selection of “Play To” you will see your Devices listed on the sub-menu. Select the Device to which you want to play the media.  You media will start playing on the device, provided its switch-on !!!

Note : Even though your devices are supported and still this is not working, then please ensure that “UPnP” is enabled on your Router. Consult the Router manual for enabling the same.

Tip : A Minimalistic built-in Start Menu on Windows 8

Windows 8 Start Menu

A Minimalistic Start Menu for Windows 8

Biggest concern over Windows 8 was the absence of Start Menu or Start Button, which we were very much used to in earlier versions.

Already developers are out with work around and Add-ons to address these.

Compilation of Posts on Windows 8 for Springpad users

A minimalistic Start Menu without fancy icons can be achieved without any third-party tools on Windows 8 . Follow the steps below.

  1. Go to Windows 8 Desktop
  2. Right Click on Taskbar and Select “Toolbars”, then Select “New Toolbar”
  3. On the Folder Selection Dialog box opened , navigate to “C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs”
  4. Click “Select Folder”

Once the above steps are completed , you will find a Shortcut called “Programs” on your Taskbar. Hope this is more than enough replacement for the missing “Start Menu” on your Windows 8 .

See this Post on how Windows 8 provides better alternatives than “Start Menu”


If you ask me, whether I will be using this solution, the answer to be frank is NO. It would be like a retreat. There are many other ways of achieving this in Windows 8 and adopting this solution is like sticking to the old.

Upgrading Windows XP 32bit to Windows 8 Pro 64bit

Windows 8 Pro Pack

Courtesy : Microsoft

Note : As of now there is no easy way to achieve this.

Windows 8 is out and the users are busy utilizing the Upgrade Offers Microsoft has announced to help the switch with minimum burn on your pocket.

I would say, its best to make utilize the offer for anybody running Windows XP / Vista. As these versions are outdated and no active support from Microsoft for XP. The Price for a Windows 8 Pro upgrade is very much tempting – for India Users its Rs 1,999 without opting for Physical Media Back. This route is the online route where in you complete the purchase and installer is downloaded to your Desktop, which then goes ahead and do the upgrade.

But there are still some hiccups for XP users who are planning for an upgrade.

  • Doesn’t have an option to create an ISO version of the Windows 8 Pro Upgrade
  • Doesn’t allow to make a choice on a 64-bit Upgrade (this is the case for Windows 7 Users also)

And as usual work around exist. But beware, not easy.

If you plan  to upgrade your 32-bit XP to Windows 8 Pro 64-bit, then the following are involved.

Refer this link on the steps involved in completing the Purchase

  1. Complete your Purchase of Windows 8 Pro. Visit this url
  2. Microsoft will email you Order Summary when the purchase is complete
  3. Get to a Windows XP 64-bit / Windows 7 64-bit / Windows 8 Release Preview 64-bit / Windows 8 Enterprise Evaluation 64-bit Machine and use the link in your email to Download the ISO
  4. Burn the ISO into a DVD
  5. Boot from the DVD and continue with the installation

Note : Upgrade  from XP 32-bit to Windows 8 Pro 64-bit will be a clean install

The step 3 is the important one and for many of us the impossible one .

You need to either take the help of your friend / install any of the Windows 8 64 bit Preview / Enterprise Evaluation on a spare desktop or on a Virtual Machine just for the Download.

Virtual Machine route is possible, but attempt only if you can allocate 2GB RAM and 24GB Virtual HDD for your Virtual Machine. A route which I tried and didn’t work as my Desktop RAM was only 2GB.

This entire confusion is because Microsoft checks the Desktop from which you initiate the Purchase/Download and Downloads only Installer matching the architecture of the Current OS running. ie, if you have a 64-bit hardware but the OS is 32 bit then the Installer downloaded is a 32-bit one. Microsoft should at least provide a choice during the entire process to select the needed installer. Any body whose desktop is less than 5 Years old should be having a 64-bit Hardware and the demand will be to run a 64-bit version.

The License you are purchasing is irrespective of the architecture, ie, it can be used for downloading, installing and running 32-bit / 64-bit version of Windows 8 Pro.

So until Microsoft Provides a choice to select the architecture, XP users will have to go thru any of the current workarounds OR when making the Purchase, also buy the Backup Media. And this will cost additional Rs 1060 + Shipping Charges and a waiting Period of couple of days.

Tip : Sharing a Route using Windows 8 Maps

Windows 8 Share Windows 8 have tight Social Media Integration. Unlike other Operating Systems, there is consistency in the way this is implemented and can be invoked. From a user point of view, he can accomplish this using the same steps across all apps built for Windows 8.

The Share option is available thru the Charms Bar

We will use the Windows 8  Maps App to demonstrate this. In that course we will also see how neatly it’s implemented.

  • Fire up the Maps app
  • Right Click with in the app
  • Select “Directions” from the Menu Bar appearing at the bottom
Directions Menu Bar in Windows 8 Map App

Directions Menu Bar in Windows 8 Maps App

  • Key in your Source and Target Destinations
Finding Directions in Windows 8 Map App

Finding Directions in Windows 8 Maps App

  • Generate the Route by clicking the button integrated with the Target Destination Field, Your Route will Appear in the Maps area with Directions
  • Invoke the “Charms Bar” by either Swiping in from the right  edge on your tablet screen  or by moving your mouse cursor to the right hand edge of the app on a Desktop
  • Select “Share” icon.
Windows 8 Charms Bar

Windows 8 Charms Bar

  • Select the Sharing App – Mail or People, We will use the Mail App in our demo
  • A Compose mail form appear at the right hand edge of the Screen
Windows 8 Share - Compose Mail

Windows 8 Share – Compose Mail

  • Select your Account that will be used for sending the mail
  • Key in your contact email id.
  • You can see that the message body is neatly populated with the Directions, a snapshot of the maps and snapshots of your source and targets.
  • Click on Send Mail to share the route thru email.

The above steps are applicable to other Apps built for Windows 8. Based on the App, what you are sharing will vary.