Resource Management with Project Server 2010 – Part 1 of 2
This article, written by Collin Quiring, first appeared in Wellington Project Management newsletter on November 8, 2011. (http://www.projectserver2010.co.uk/2011/11/08/resource-management-with-project-server-2010-part-12/)
There are many questions about resource management that probably keep you awake all night. Ok, maybe you can sleep just fine, but perhaps there are questions that perplex you during the day. There might be dozens of questions that you have but here is a small sample that you (or maybe management) might be wondering about.
- Who is working on what projects?
- What tasks are they doing on those projects?
- When are they doing those tasks?
- How many hours of work are assigned for those tasks?
- What is the capacity of each person?
- Who is scheduled to their capacity, over-capacity or dramatically over-capacity?
Of course, the way to get the answer to each of these is very simple. All you have to do is walk around, talk to each person individually and ask them. You can write their answers down (assuming they all tell you the correct information) and then combine your notes and it will be totally valid! And, when management surprise you with a request for this information for a meeting they are having in a few hours you just have to walk around faster.
Or, maybe there is an easier way! An easier method would be to click on a link and get a report that gives you the answer to one or more of those questions. Just think of all the walking time that you will save!
Project Server 2010 can provide you this information quite easily. To get this information doesn’t require meticulous hours spent entering every possible detail from the first day you start using Project Server. At some point in the future you may want to add more detail, like skill sets, but it is easy to start gaining valuable information right away with Project Server 2010. (Even if you don’t use Project Server, it is possible to use Project Professional to get this information. I won’t go into more detail here about how you can get this information without Project Server but it is covered in my new book “Mastering Resource Management Using Microsoft Project and Project Server 2010”.)
Let’s briefly look at the first three questions – ‘Who is working on what projects?’ ‘What tasks are they doing on those projects?’ and ‘When are they doing those tasks?’. The easiest way to obtain this information is to assign a Resource to each task on your projects (when applicable) and provide a Start Date and Finish Date for those tasks. This action will give us the ability to see in one combined report who is working on which tasks, on which projects, and when they are working on them. You can see this information from the Resource’s perspective or by Project. For example, this screenshot shows how this might look when viewing a single Project:
The view shows us that Shelly Smith is one of the Resources assigned tasks. Now let’s look at the information from the perspective of Shelly Smith for this same time period as the screenshot above. When we dive into the information for one single resource we will also get the information that answers the others questions posed at the beginning of this article. How many hours are assigned? What is the resources capacity? And, who is over capacity? For Shelly Smith, for the time period as shown in the screenshot above from the project perspective, we can see that she normally has a capacity of 40 hours a week. And, based on her current assignments, she has work assigned to her of about 40 hours per week. There are two exceptions in this data – the first and last weeks of this time period. During the week of 11/1/2011 she is assigned 64 hours on the schedule called “Sample” and with a capacity of 32 hours, she is 32 hours OVER capacity. The week of 12/26/2011 she is 36 hours over capacity.
Sometimes, pictures are worth a 1000 points of data in a grid. Here is that same information represented in a graph. The black line represents Shelly’s weekly capacity and the blue bars represent the amount of work assigned to her for that week.
You might be thinking that this is nice for ONE resource and ONE project but when you walk around and ask resources what they are assigned to now they have multiple assignments on multiple projects and it overlaps. No problem! Stay tuned for next month’s installment when we show how this information rolls together from multiple projects for multiple resources.
NOTE: The information provided by these views depends upon some of the business decisions and corresponding setup of Project Server. These examples are using the Standard Calendar and Fixed Duration tasks. You can get more detailed information by using different calendars and different task types. Even if you are using Fixed Duration for task assignments, you can still get a useful perspective of the amount of work being assigned to a Resource! (For a deeper explanation of task types see http://pmpspecialists.com/WhitePapers/PMP_Specialists_Task_Types.pdf )