Resource-assigned to Summary Task-oops!


Mark Byington

I had a PM inadvertently assign a team member to a summary task. The team
member had the summary task in their task sheet with "(assignment)" after the
task name AND they could (and did) post hours to it. Further research that
the scheduled work hours had doubled and greatly overallocated the team
members hours.

Doesn't Microsoft considered this a problem? I haven't been able to find
any KB articles about this. Is there a "graceful" fix for it?

Thanks -



Dale Howard [MVP]

Mark --

Microsoft allows PM's to assign resources to summary tasks. PM's should be
trained not to do this, however, even though Microsoft allows this. The PM
in question should immediately remove the team members assigned to the
summary task using the following steps:

1. Select the summary task in question in the Microsoft Project plan
2. Click the Assign Resources button to display the Assign Resources dialog
3. In the Assign Resources dialog, select the resources assigned to the
task and click the Remove button
4. When prompted about deleting actuals, click the Yes button
5. Click the Close button
6. Click Collaborate - Publish - All Information

Hope this helps.

Mark Byington

It still seems like a 'bug' to me.
I wonder if it's addressed in Office 12...

To avoid having the technician re-enter hours, the PM is logging actual work
on the sub-task, re-publishing, and 'over writing' actuals.

While not ecstatic, everyone seems satisfied with this resolution.


Dale Howard [MVP]

Mark -

This is no bug, believe me. So, if it isn't a bug, it won't be fixed. This
is a training and performance issue, and needs to be addressed at that
level. Hope this helps.

Mike Glen

Hi Mark,

It is generally agreed that resources should never be assigned to summary
tasks as this can cause double booking and the possibility corruption. The
problem stems from the fact that the summary is summarising or adding up the
data of its sub-tasks. If you assign a resource to a task, it will have its
data rolled up to the summary. If you also assign the same resource to the
summary, it will add that in as well, and can couse unsolvable
overallocation. If used with great care and provided you don't have the
same resource assigned to the tasks, you can assign a resource to the
summary and this is allowed by Project for you to, for example allow for a
contractor's costs to be included without his tasks. The fact that Project
allows this flexibility does not make it a bug. However, I would still
recommend a separate task (a hammock task?) for this purpose.

Mike Glen
MS Project MVP
See for Project Tutorials


As a thumb rule, I tell our PMs to look for a bold name in the resouce
column. If its bold then its a summary task and should not be there.




Another reason not to assign resources to summary tasks is that unlike detail
tasks summary tasks do not automatically extend in duration to account for
time off in a resource calendar.


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