My name is Dave Ducolon and I am a Program Manager for Microsoft Office Project/Project Server. It is my pleasure to write about and to discuss Resource Management and other related topics for the 2007 release.
Resource Management is at its best a hard job. And at the core is Capacity Management and Planning. As most of you know, the trouble is that while people or “work resources” are not a commodity such as bricks or lumber, neither are they fixed assets (ones with unlimited capacity). And if that doesn’t make Resource Management difficult enough, work resources can be augmented with external resources such as consultants or subcontractors. We on the Project team at Microsoft not only understand this challenge we experience it the same as anybody else that does project based work.
In 2007 we have taken significant steps to help mitigate the inherant difficulties of managing resources whether they are People, Material or even costs. Today I will give you an overview of how we see the Project 2007 system being used to accomplish this. This is a brief, yes very brief overview of some of the Resource Management features that will help you manage your resources end-to-end. In later posts, I will dive deeper into features.
To begin with, it is best to model organizational capacity and then to work on tactical level assignments. Generic resources, a legacy feature, are ideal to represent your organizational capacity as it pertains to resource capabilities. Then as work gets approved you can allocate these generic resources to a new 2007 feature in Project Server 2007 called Resource Plans.
Resource Plans allow you to manage resource needs for a project without requiring any task level detail. Then as the project and work become better defined you will be able to convert these Generic Resource Plan assignments into Resource Plan assignments for real employees. At which time you will undoubtedly need to view availability and verify that individuals do not get over scheduled.
Resource Leveling, a legacy feature, can be used to automate the task of managing allocations of work to individuals or you may want to make use of the Resource Availability graph, a legacy feature, in Project Server. Regardless of which method you choose, you will undoubtedly move on into the execution phase.
For this phase Project Server 2007 delivers functionality that allows customers to separate the effort spent on a project and its tasks from the actual work performed. Effort is normally what team members think of when they are reporting their progress on a task. It is not uncommon to hear people say “I am 60% complete and should finish by Friday”. This does not mean that they will use every available minute between the statement and Friday to complete the work and it also does not mean that they spent exactly 60% of the scheduled work for that task. Instead it means they have spent 60% of the effort they feel is needed on the task and that the other 40% should be able to be accomplished by Friday. Team Member Task tracking in Project Server has been able to capture that information since we first released Project Server back in 2000. In 2007 we have delivered a separate timesheet that allows team members to report their actual hours worked whether that be on a Project or on a specific Task.
It is through use of these features that you will be able to more accurately plan, estimate, track and manage your resources time and thereby improve your ability to manage resources. In my next Post, I will present and review the Resoruce Plan feature.
I saw you presenting the resource feature and timesheet features at the Project Server conference and at this time it already looked very promising. I am looking forward to more detailed information on your next posts. It would be great if you could drill deeper in the resource plan functionality and what happens if you have a resource plan and then assign a resource to a task.
It would be great to understand more fully the scenarios around cost resources, specifically regarding tracking a budget through a proposal, then through the process you describe above (allocation of generic and then real resources). If this already exists and I just haven't looked hard enough please just point me to the URL.
Dave, Thank you for your post. It's great to be able to but a name and contact details with a function that I'm working to understand.
One of my particular problems at the moment is understanding where Resource Plan assignments appear in Resource Assignment, Resource Availability or Analyser views. In my first attempts, they don't.
Dave, I eagerly await your follow-up to this article. I truly believe Microsoft has done a great job of enhancing Project Server, and look forward to better understanding the features as they pertain to Resource Management.
What is the recommended method to report and define the resources unavailability time (e.g. sick time, vacation)?
In case my resource are working with "my tasks" in order to report on their projects tasks & I don't want them to work with 2 seperate interfaces (timesheet)
I want that the resource will report on all activities in one place (including operstional work)
I am struggling to fingure out if I am going to be able to get resouce reporting with the information I need. I'd like to be able to assign different rates to the same resource (person) for different tasks (each task is related to a client). I then need to compile the actual time spent on tasks and mulitply by the rate for that task for billing purposes. In other words, I'd like Project Server to drive our billing. I've not seen anything thus far to do this but I have to believe there is a way. What might be a good resource for me to look at?
In response to Tony's (Scribner) question:
Are the 5 standard rate tables (A->E) for each resource not enough? It's possible to include a column in the Resource Usage view for Cost Rate Table and to specify a different table for different tasks in the same project. The product of work times rate gives cost accurately based on the rate table specified for the task.
I've not seen any reference for support of more than 5 standard rates.
We are a small softwareengineering company in Switzerland, and our work is mainly project based. So we are using the timesheet functionality to report the working time. Now we have a Problem that we can't organize the administrativ time in different categories for different divisions. An other problem ist to report time for long term SLA's, because we have to open a sparate Project for each SLA that our employes can report their working time on SLA.
Are there other Project Server users who have the same issues?
Regarding work resources, we have both individual resources and crew resources. Is there a simple way to determine the toal work hours assigned to an individual who sometimes works as part of a crew resource and sometimes works a task alone as an individual?
With the management of different resources in relation to Permanent, Contract, outsourced etc. I have always struggled with Resource availability for a contractor etc where they have specific contract dates and should then no longer be available.
Have I missed a fundamental function which enables me to enter start and finish dates for a resource apart from when they leave, marking them as inactive?.
I am not sure if this is the best place to post this question. But my question is.
Is there anyway I can configure MS Project 2007 to send timesheet approval request to multiple project manager? That is, If the resource is working on different projects and each project have different project manager. s/he needs to fill the timesheet with number of tasks. To approve their timesheet is it possible to set the approval process based on the project?
e.g. John working on “X” project under Project Manager “ABC”, and he also work on project “Y” supervised by PM “XYZ”. For all hours he worked on tasks for project X need approval by PM “ABC”, whereas all the hours worked for Project “Y” need approval from “XYZ”. Current system allows us to assign each resource with 1 timesheet supervisor.
Please suggest any tip or idea how to comply with this requirement. I appreciate your time and effort.
i am trying to access the Project server 2007. i have allocated the tasks to my resources and i am published. but my team members cannot see thier Tasks by clicking the "My Tasks" from the Project web access. pLease advise me.
Could you explain to me in details the use of Timesheet?? We use My tasks/my wotk for keeping track of actual work on projects and we use Plan adm time for vacation, sickleave etc, but.. what is Timesheet for????
There is an excellent document that Microsoft has online for download that details timesheets. It even tells the differences between Project Server 2003 and 2007--which, by the way, when it comes to timesheets there are some major differences.
To nabeelmahmood: On page 15 of the mentioned document, the heading is Approval Routing. It will answer your questions.
Document link: Managing timesheets in Microsoft Office Project Server 2007 (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=106426)
What is the upper limit of no-of-resources (Scalability) of MS Office Project Server 2008?.
i.e. How many users can the MS Office Project Server 2008 does suuport?