Merlin: plan by work or duration

Now and then we get asked in support, when to plan Merlin activities by work and when by duration.

Some pose their question a bit differently, they define the activity’s work, assign two or more resources on it and email us to ask why the activity’s duration got shorter.

When using Merlin to plan your projects, there are various planing scenarios. You will find some basic configuration examples with details and screenshots here.

When it comes to the point where you assign activities to resources, it helps to know, that there is a project setting called ‘resources share their work’ which is enabled by default. You will find it under File > Project Settings > Misc > Resources >


As long as this setting is enabled on your project, whenever you assign two resources to the same task, their work would be 50% of the work defined on the activity each so the activity itself would take half the time to be accomplished.

There are cases where you need this, for example: two painters paint the same wall on half of the time.

There are cases however where you don’t need this. You have a training planned for 1 day and have two trainers. The training won’t stop at midday, both of the trainers will be there for the complete day.

To plan this activity, you simply define it by duration and blank work entries on the activity and assignments.




Merlin – Do a little bit of magic in Merlin reports – part XXIV

Those of you who do project management with Merlin on your Mac  and have checked our post series explaining how to create custom templates for Merlin reports, know by now…

Now let’s do some magic with the reports.

Resources Groups’ or Roles’ Work as distribution in time

We’ve  been asked in Merlin support, how to output work of some specific resources and their distribution in time  as a group. For example for res A and res B 8 hours on day 1, 16 hours on day 2, 0 hours or day 3, etc.

We think this is similar to another custom report template we’ve posted outputting groups’ and roles’ utilization units distribution. Please see more about that template here. So we’ve modified that template (by entering options) to cumulate either utilization units or utilization work.

So one could create a group, group res A and res B into it, use this template and output expected work for their assignments as a time distribution.

Please remember: Custom Merlin reports we provide as templates, can be downloaded and used for free. Furthermore, you may modify and distribute as you like and find appropriate.

An output sample:
Report-Sample Continue reading

Merlin – Do a bit of magic in Merlin reports – PART XX

Those of you who have checked our new post series about “Merlin report templates” know by now…

Now let’s do some magic with the reports.

Work Chart

If you like to report  expected or actual working hours per resource in a chart and/or table, this is a custom report doing so.

You may check contained ‘’, “WorkChart.wbl” to see how we iterate in project’s master resources, ask for their working units, compare them with total work hours and output this information in the table. In the pie chart, working hours are forwarded and the pie chart calculates respective percentages. There are methods in the Python part gathering the x- and y-Ticks and some javascript functions drawing the graph. You may furthermore disable outputting resources’ work in the table and define the first 8 colours to be used for the pie chart.

Feel free to modify this custom report further as you require for your needs.

An output sample:

Showing expected work hours by resource.


And the report options: Continue reading

Merlin – Do a bit of magic in reports – Part IX

Those of you who have checked our new post series about “Merlin report templates” know by now…

Now let’s do some magic with the reports.

What if you want to report expected or actual resources’ work per phase?

We have used the report template as posted in this thread of Merlin’s user forum in Google.

Changed the methods asking for resource costs to ask for resource expected or actual work.

Continue reading

Merlin – resource pricing and work costs

As a Merlin PM you can schedule your projects and create professional Gantt charts meeting your professional requirements. You can balance the magic triangle and keep not only track of time but also of the costs, budgets and financial aspects of your projects.

To define ‘default work rates’ for unassigned tasks (activities), just use the according field in the project settings (via File > Project Settings > General > Default Work Rate)

Whenever you assign a resource to an activity, the entered rates will be used as a basis for the cost calculations:

  • Standard Rate: Rate per assignment in the specified unit. For example, $10/hour or $100/Kg.
  • Overtime Rate: For all assignments, working more hours than considered working hours. For example, $10/hour
  • Cost per Project: One time cost when the resource is assigned to any activity in this project. If the resource is assigned more than once, this cost will be counted only once.
  • Cost per Assignment: It is added each time this resource is assigned to an activity.
  • Accrual: You can decide how to accrual your costs. The choices are start, prorated, immediate or end
  • Actual: Actual Standard, Overtime and Cost per assignment can be added here so you can compare the planned vs. the actual values.

So… how do the planned vs actual values calculate?

  • Planned work costs take into account standard rate, cost per assignment and project.
  • Actual work costs take into account actual rates if defined, otherwise calculate using the standard and overtime rates.
  • Expected work costs use both rate sets if they are both defined.

Some examples Continue reading