Analyzing Enterprise Projects

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Chapter 24 identifies several roles for users of Microsoft Project Professional 2003, including portfolio managers, project managers, resource managers, and executives.

This section describes how executives, portfolio managers, project managers, and others use Project Web Access Portfolio Analyzer and Portfolio Modeler functions to analyze project data and provide answers to business questions such as the following:

  • Which resources are working on projects?

  • Which resources are overloaded or have excess capacity?

  • What happens to project delivery if we change resource assignments?

  • How much actual work has occurred across a portfolio of projects?

  • What are the predicted future costs of multiple projects within corporate initiatives?

Through Project Web Access, a user can see the project and resource information for which he or she has the appropriate permissions.

When reading about the Project Center analysis functions, keep in mind the following:

  • Each view or report provides part of the information you need, so don't try to obtain all the information you need from a single view.

  • You should look at the same data from a variety of perspectives to make sure that what you think the data is telling you is correct and/or reasonable. You should look for data that disproves any conclusion that you've come to. If you can't find any, then your conclusions might be right.

  • Your job might be to have enough data to ask the right questions, rather than to answer those questions. For example, as an executive, you might use the portfolio modeler to determine that resource bottlenecks exist. It might fall to a portfolio manager, resource managers, and/or project managers to resolve the issue. Depending on your role, then, you might require access to the tools and data available in Microsoft Project Professional 2003 as well as the views in Project Web Access.

  • Microsoft Project 2003 Professional and Project Web Access provide a great deal of power and flexibility in terms of data generation, capture, and analysis. You should use the information in this section as a place to begin your exploration.

The primary difference between the Portfolio Modeler and the Portfolio Analyzer is that the Portfolio Modeler provides a broad view of the portfolio data, whereas the Portfolio Analyzer provides the detailed data required to "slice and dice" the portfolio data to the level of detail required. Table 26.3 lists additional differences between the Portfolio Modeler and Portfolio Analyzer.

Table 26.3. Portfolio Analyzer and Portfolio Modeler Comparison

Comparison Area

Portfolio Analyzer

Portfolio Modeler

Data source

Portfolio Analyzer uses data from the selected SQL Server OLAP cube.

Portfolio Modeler gets data directly from the Project Server database.

Data currency

The data in a Portfolio Analyzer view is current as of the date and time the OLAP cube was generated.

The data in a Portfolio Modeler view is current as of the date and time the model was generated or refreshed.

Data specification

The data in a Portfolio Analyzer view always includes the Published version of all projects in the Project Server, as well as all resources in the enterprise resource pool, when the OLAP cube is generated.

You can specify date ranges for the data included in the Portfolio Analyzer.

You can specify which projects (and their versions) to include in a portfolio model.

You can specify which resources to include in a portfolio model.

You can specify different resource modeling options for each project included in the model (for example, you might choose to have all projects in the model be as-is, except for a new project to examine the impact of the new project on the current project portfolio).

Modeling tools

The SQL Server 2000 Analysis tools are available through Project Web Access.

The Analyze option in the Modeler is available through Project Web Access.

See "Building OLAP Cubes and Updating Resource Tables," p. 994 , for the parameters that are available when creating OLAP cubes, and see "Creating New Portfolio Models" p. 1056 , for the parameters available when specifying portfolio models.


Analyzing Projects in the Portfolio Analyzer

The Portfolio Analyzer gives executives and managers easy access to summary information about the Published versions of projects and resources. The data can be grouped in a variety of ways, and the user can choose which data and which grouping to display in the view, by using PivotTable controls like those in Microsoft Excel.

Before you can look at a Portfolio Analyzer view, the administrator must first create the view.

NOTE

The data and functionality available in each Portfolio Analyzer view depends on the data and options that the administrator has allowed when creating the view. Your ability to alter Portfolio Analyzer view also depends on having an Office 2003 family application installed on your system. The examples within this section assume you have sufficient privileges to modify view formats within the Portfolio Analyzer and that you have an Office 2003 family application installed on your computer.


To demonstrate the power and value of the Portfolio Analyzer, this section continues using the Microsoft-supplied sample database that can be easily installed by using installation wizard on the Project Server software media.

Let's assume you are an executive and you want to evaluate how projects are performing to projections within the Information Technology organization. You are particularly interested in workload projects versus budgeted work for projects during a certain fiscal quarter.

You can begin understanding how the projects are performing by using the project Web Access Project Center, Analyze Projects in Portfolio Analyzer function. When you select the view called IT Workload Comparison to Plan, you see a graphic chart similar to the one that appears in Figure 26.15.

Figure 26.15. You can use the Portfolio Analyzer to examine portfolio data.

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Using Portfolio Analyzer Views

Before we begin understanding what the data in Figure 26.15 tells us, let's discuss various features available on this screen.

  • View Options If you have been given permission, you can use the Show Field List option, also shown in the toolbar, to manipulate the various data fields. The Show Toolbars option allows you additional controls to manipulate the display and export data to Microsoft Excel.

  • Save a Link Allows you to create a personal link so you can quickly return to the Portfolio Analyzer view.

  • PivotTable This button enables you to analyze information by sorting, grouping, filtering, and pivoting on data in a spreadsheet format, similar to Microsoft Excel.

  • Chart Charts graphically display information from the PivotTable.

  • Combination PivotTable and chart Data is presented in both a PivotTable and chart format. The data is the same for each view, so actions you take in one view immediately affect the other view content.

  • Save as GIF Allows you to save the graphical representation of the chart or pivot table into a graphic GIF file that can be inserted into another application like Microsoft Word or PowerPoint.

  • Drop-down lists You can control what data is shown by using the data field drop-down lists such as Versions, Resource Department, and Years, as shown within Figure 26.15. When you select a drop-down list, you can then click on the data options you want to view. When you click OK, the chart and/or pivot table views are immediately updated to include the data you chose.

Changing Portfolio Analyzer View Content

When you use the Portfolio Analyzer to view project information, you can manipulate certain viewing formats if the Project Web Access administrator has given you permission.

For example, if you start with a Portfolio Analyzer view like the one shown in Figure 26.15, then you can add or remove data fields. Follow these steps to show additional information within the IT Workload Comparison to Plan view:

  1. Change the view so you see the PivotTable only.

  2. Use the View Options tab to click the Show Toolbars button.

  3. From the Toolbars buttons , click on the Field List item to display all of the defined data fields available for this OLAP cube. See Figure 26.16.

    Figure 26.16. Use the Field List to add or remove data fields from a Portfolio Analyzer view.

    graphics/26fig16.jpg

  4. Now use the mouse to drag and drop the data item called Project Location to the area of the pivot table header called Drop Column Fields Here. This action adds the Project Location data to the pivot table and chart.

  5. Close the Field List window so you can clearly see the new data display.

  6. Next use the drop-down arrow on the Project Location group to set only the USA West item.

    TIP

    Uncheck the All item at the top of the list to clear all settings, then use the + sign to expand the list so you can click the specific item(s) you want.

  7. Now manipulate the data fields to display only a single fiscal quarter. Your view should look something like Figure 26.17.

    Figure 26.17. Manipulate the Portfolio Analyzer fields to show the information you need.

    graphics/26fig17.jpg

The pivot table data shown in Figure 26.17 allows you to better understand the workload characteristics of the projects within the Corporate Information Technologies group in the USA West sector. If you select the PivotTable and Chart viewing option, then you can see the graphic chart and numerical data within the same window as shown in Figure 26.18.

Figure 26.18. Use Portfolio Analyzer views to analyze complex project performance information.

graphics/26fig18.jpg

TIP

Changes you make to the Portfolio Analyzer view information are not permanent. By default, the columns and viewing content are reset to the original format when you re-enter the Portfolio Analyzer functions. Use the Save Link function to create a shortcut that recovers the viewing format you modified.


Using Portfolio Analyzer to Assess Projects

Managers who have permission to view Portfolio Analyzer data can use the available views to assess how projects are progressing compared to projections. Access to this type of data is a powerful management tool that enables organization management to better predict problems in the future.

Let's return to the scenario we started at the beginning of this section: You are an organization executive who needs to determine conditions about Information Technology projects. We can use Figure 26.18 as a reference for our analysis.

So what are some of the conclusions or questions we can derive from reviewing data in Figure 26.18?

  • The total Baseline Work of project in the IT USA West sector for fiscal quarter 4 in 2003 shows 1,439 hours. The total Work for the same period is 1,189 hours so projected work is lower than baseline for this quarter.

  • The Work column shows a decreasing load from October, through November and December. This tends to indicate the organization will need more work to do as the year comes to a close. As the executive in charge, you should begin planning for more project activity or a staffing redistribution.

  • The cumulative work in the Work to Date column is greater than the cumulated baseline work shown in the Planned Work to Date column. This tends to validate a general cost overrun from the expected baseline levels for the entire year.

    TIP

    You can learn more about the calculations of each pivot table column if you click on the column header, for instance Planned Work to Date in Figure 26.18, then right-click with the mouse and select the Commands and Options menu item. Then you can examine the Calculations tab to see the column formula. Be careful not to accidentally corrupt these formulas.


  • One key question from this analysis is, "Which projects are causing the overall workload overrun?" This clearly needs more investigation by using other Portfolio Analyzer views and various other Project Center views. Once you identify projects with problems, you probably need to discuss the issues with the project managers.

  • Another key question is, "What projects will we assign people to work on near the end of the year?" If there are no other projects that need attention, then you probably need to redistribute staff to avoid real staff reductions.

Clearly, the Portfolio Analyzer views provide managers a great deal of information and ability to predict future problems. When problems are spotted early in the project or budget lifecycle, solutions can be determined before the problems turn into disasters.

Modeling Projects with the Portfolio Modeler

With portfolio modeling you can interactively simulate changes to projects or resource staffing and immediately view the impact of those changes on a group of projects without altering the actual schedules involved. This is known as modeling changes to schedules. See the section, "Transferring Portfolio Models to Actual Schedules," later in this chapter, for information on how to alter actual schedules to match results of modeling simulations.

NOTE

For the purposes of this chapter, portfolio modeling is defined as creating information about a project schedule or group of schedules from data about those schedules. Applying user-controlled parameters to test the effect of the changes on the models can simulate changes to overall duration and resource usage.

For example, one model might show the results (in terms of schedule duration and resource utilization) if Project ABC is the highest priority in the portfolio and the other projects are of lesser priority. A different model might show the results if Project XYZ is the same priority as the other projects in the portfolio.


Modeling different project and resource scenarios provides a fast and powerful way to find overallocated resources, determine the schedule feasibility of new projects, and identify the best staffing strategies to support projects across an organization.

You can use the Portfolio Modeler to answer questions such as

  • What is the organization's work capacity within a specific calendar period?

  • What resource bottlenecks are associated with multiple projects using the same resources?

  • What is the effect on project schedules if resource skills are overused or underutilized ?

  • What is the impact to your project portfolio if you add a new project to the portfolio?

To answer these questions, you can use the following general approach to analyzing portfolios of projects:

  1. Use the Project Center Tracking views and Grouping tools to review key metrics about each project within a portfolio list.

  2. Create an "as-is" portfolio model that shows the current combined state of the projects within the portfolio list. With Portfolio Modeler models, you see each project as one line on a Gantt Chart; however, the Gantt bars are color -coded based on resource allocation over the calendar period. Use this model to determine if the projects within the portfolio model are likely to have schedule delivery or overallocated resources.

  3. Create an "optimized" portfolio model to determine what happens to each project in the portfolio is changed restructure workloads on resources. Optimized means that the portfolio-modeling tool will substitute an available resource with matching resource attributes, from the model's resource pool, for an overallocated resource in the schedule.

    NOTE

    Optimizing the resources may cause each project's scheduled end date to be significantly delayed, because there may be resource bottlenecks across the portfolio of projects.

  4. Create variations of the project portfolio models, altering characteristics such as project priority, using resources within a set of projects, and so on.

  5. Compare the results of the portfolio models to determine which projects need further detailed attention.

  6. Discuss the modeling results with appropriate project managers to determine how the individual project details can be changed to better optimize project schedules and resource utilization.

You can access the portfolio modeling features by logging in to Microsoft Project Web Access, clicking Projects, and then selecting the Model Projects with Portfolio Modeler link.

Any existing portfolio models are listed on the initial Portfolio Modeler page, as in the Figure 26.19 examples.

Figure 26.19. List of defined models within the Portfolio Modeler page.

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From this screen you can add, open , modify, analyze, delete, or unlock portfolio models. Each of these functions is described in the following sections.

Creating New Portfolio Models

When you look at the list of projects by using a typical Project Center Gantt Chart views, you can see the current schedules for the each project. How viable are these schedules?

To find out how viable these schedules are from a resource allocation perspective, you can create a new portfolio model containing a set of projects you want to analyze.

To create the new portfolio model you need to follow these general steps:

  1. Select the New tab on the Model Projects with Portfolio Modeler page, as shown in Figure 26.19.

  2. Give your new model a name that implies the general purpose of the model and provide a description.

  3. Select the projects to be included in the model, as shown in the Figure 26.20 example.

    Figure 26.20. New portfolio model as "What-if?"

    graphics/26fig20.gif

  4. Then select how the model should consider resources.

    For some types of modeling, you need to choose from one of these three mutually exclusive ways to define the resources available to the modeler when creating the model:

    • Include Resources in the Model's Projects This option limits the modeler's resource substitution to the list of resources already attached to the projects selected for the model.

    • Include Resources at or below RBS Level This option limits the modeler's resource substitution to the list of resources associated with the specified RBS level, where RBS is the Resource Breakdown Structure.

    • Include Resources Specified Below This option limits the modeler's resource substitution to the specific list of resources selected from the Enterprise Global Resource Pool.

  5. After you have specified the projects and resources for the model, click the Next button at the bottom of the page.

  6. As shown in Figure 26.21, the second step in creating a new portfolio model is to decide which, if any, additional related projects to include in the model.

    Figure 26.21. If you select additional projects, then the resource and schedule data from those projects will affect the projects within the model.

    graphics/26fig21.jpg

    The Relationship column specifies whether the related project shares an external dependency (that is, projects with task links across projects) or shares resources with the projects in the Related To column. Click Next to continue defining the model.

  7. Define the three scheduling optionsPriority, Scheduling Options, and Start No Earlier Than Dateas shown in Figure 26.22. These options are described as follows :

    • Priority Overallocated resources in higher-priority projects are substituted for first, where 1000 is the highest priority.

    • Scheduling Options The Scheduling Options define how the modeler is to use the resources available to the modeler. The four scheduling options and their definitions are as follows:

      Keep Dates and Assignments Specifies that task start and end dates for resource assignments do not change when you create a model. This setting prevents the modeler from changing a project's resource assignments.

      Use Current Assignments Specifies that resource assignments do not change; however, task start and end dates may change as the assigned workload is redistributed.

      Reassign Resources in Project Specifies that the modeler can reassign resources within each project only. No resources from outside the project are used.

      Reassign Resource in Model's Pool Allows the modeler to reassign resources, using any of the resources that you have included in the model's resource pool. The modeler uses RBS and other Enterprise Global resource codes for matching purposes.

      You can specify different scheduling options for each project in a model.

    • Start No Earlier Than Date Specifies the earliest date on which a project can begin for the model.

    Figure 26.22. Choose the scheduling options for the model.

    graphics/26fig22.jpg

  8. After you have selected the scheduling options for your model, click Next to create the model and return to the initial Portfolio Modeler screen.

You can now use the new model to analyze project performance and compare against other models you may create.

Opening Portfolio Models

To open an existing portfolio model, select the Project Center Projects tab, then Model Projects with Portfolio Manager. Next, select a model and click Open.

As shown in Figure 26.23, the opened model screen displays projects using color-coded Gantt Chart bars to identify the degree to which project resources are overallocated. The Gantt Chart bars can display red, yellow, or green to show the time periods where the total resource demand meets or exceeds the available capacity. For each time period

  • Green If the workload demand is less than the resource capacity, the bar is set to green.

  • Yellow If the demand exceeds the capacity by less than 10%, the bar is set to yellow.

  • Red If the demand exceeds the capacity by greater than 10%, the bar is set to red.

Figure 26.23. Example of Manufacturing High ROI Projects model showing resource overallocation Gantt Chart.

graphics/26fig23.jpg

You can analyze or modify a portfolio model from the initial Model Projects with Portfolio Modeler screen, but you must open a model before you can use the Compare function or use the Model Property toolbox.

The Portfolio Modeler toolbox allows you to modify some of the model's parameters without going through all the screens associated with modifying a model. See the section, "Using the Portfolio Model Toolbox to Change Properties," later in this chapter, for details.

When you open a portfolio model, you see a portfolio model Gantt Chart and you also see a Resource Assignments chart, as shown in Figure 26.24.

Figure 26.24. Analyze projects and resource allocation.

graphics/26fig24.jpg

CAUTION

The Resource Assignments for Selected Project chart displays resource availability for one project only, the project selected in the Gantt Chart, and not for the portfolio of projects in the model.


Each graphic bar in the Resource Assignments chart represents one resource or more resources, and the scale used on the chart's vertical axis represents the total number of work hours, based on the timescale .

The Timescale drop-down list box controls the units for each period on the graph. The options are Day, Week, Month, Quarter, Year, and Auto. The option that is selected defines the timescale at the bottom of the chart. The Auto option allows the Portfolio Modeler to determine which of the timescale options provides the best view and granularity.

If you use the mouse pointer to hover over graph bars in the Resource Assignments chart, a ScreenTip window displays detailed information about the resource represented by a graph bar, as shown in Figure 26.24.

The block representing each resource for a time period can appear in red, yellow, or green, to show the time periods where the demand for that resource meets or exceeds the resource's available capacity, usually the Max Units setting. The color coding is the same as the color coding used with the Portfolio Modeler's Gantt Chart.

Using the Portfolio Model Toolbox to Change Properties

The advantage of using the Portfolio Model Property toolbox is that you can bring up the toolbox while you have a model open, make changes to a project in the model, and then view the changes you have made immediately after you apply the changes. The disadvantage is that you can't modify all of a model's parameters with the toolbox.

To use the toolbox, open a portfolio model, select a project, and then click the Toolbox icon. Figure 26.25 shows the portfolio model parameters that can be changed via the toolbox. Each of these parameters is described in detail in the section "Creating New Portfolio Models," earlier in this chapter.

Figure 26.25. When you click the Toolbox icon, the Model Property Toolbox is displayed, prepopulated with the model's current parameter values.

graphics/26fig25.jpg

Click Apply when you have finished making changes in the toolbox to see the changes applied to the open model.

Comparing Portfolio Models

After you create portfolio models, you often want to compare models to see what effects changes produce.

To compare models, you need to open a portfolio model and click the Compare icon. Figure 26.26 shows an example of two models selected for comparison.

Figure 26.26. Two portfolio models are selected for comparison.

graphics/26fig26.gif

NOTE

The order in which the portfolio models are selected is the order in which they are displayed.


After you have selected the models to be compared and their order of display, click OK to see the portfolio models compared.

When you select individual projects within the compared models, you can see the resource workloads within the bar graph as shown in Figure 26.27. Select multiple resources from the list and click Refresh to view a composite graph with each selected resource.

Figure 26.27. Review workload for multiple resources.

graphics/26fig27.jpg

Figure 26.27 shows several resources that are overallocated for the indicated calendar times. Figure 26.28 shows how the comparison model used substituting new resources for those that were overloaded, so the workload has been redistributed. Notice how two new resources, without highlights in the list, have been selected to work in place of overloaded resources.

Figure 26.28. Workload can be redistributed to new resources.

graphics/26fig28.jpg

Modifying Portfolio Models

After you have created a portfolio model, you might want to change its parameters or create a new model, using the parameters of an existing model.

There are two ways to modify an existing portfolio model: by going through the Model Projects with Portfolio Modeler screens again or by using the Toolbox property (see the section "Opening Portfolio Models", earlier in this chapter).

The model-modification process prompts you with the same configuration screens that are used to create a model (see the section "Creating New Portfolio Models," earlier in this chapter), with the current parameters remembered .

You can modify the desired parameters as you move through the model definition screens to generate a model with the same name or a different name.

Using Portfolio Model Analyze Feature

You can use the Portfolio Modeler's Analyze feature to quickly and easily identify resource availability and bottlenecks for projects in a portfolio model.

NOTE

Don't confuse the Portfolio Modeler's Analyze feature with the Portfolio Analyzer (see the section "Analyzing Projects in the Portfolio Analyzer," earlier in this chapter).


Selecting a portfolio model and clicking the Analyze icon displays the details of the selected model. The model analysis screen provides useful information about the model you are working with. It also provides a chart that plots resource demand, capacity, and utilization for the entire model over time, and it tells you the scheduling options used per project to create the model.

The model analysis screen consists of four parts :

  • Model Name and Description This shows the name, description, owner, creation date, and last update.

  • Summary Statistics Summarizes statistics, with Shortest Schedule and Modeled Schedule for comparison.

  • The Demand/Capacity/Utilization Chart The Demand/Capacity/Utilization chart contains three separate line graphs, each line on the graph showing a cumulative value from the start of the model.

  • Model Scheduling Options This displays the scheduling parameters used to create the model for each project that is included in the model.

Use this information as the basis for discussion with project managers regarding detailed changes needed within affected project schedules.

Transferring Portfolio Models to Actual Schedules

Portfolio Modeler results are a starting point for making detailed changes to each project schedule. The project managers can use the general portfolio model information to change resources by using the Microsoft Project 2003 Professional Resource Substitution Wizard.

Table 26.4 compares the Portfolio Modeler and Resource Substitution Wizard tools.

For information on the Resource Substitution Wizards scheduling options, see "Using the Resource Substitution Wizard," p. 1110 .


Table 26.4. Comparison of Portfolio Modeler and Resource Substitution Wizard Scheduling Options

Portfolio Modeler Scheduling Option

Related Resource Substitution Wizard Scheduling Option

Differences Between Scheduling Options

Reassign Resource in Model's Pool

Resources in Pool

None. Both reassign resources from the resource pool you've established for the model or the wizard.

Keep Start/End Dates

Don't include the project when running the wizard

None. Both cause resource assignments and task start and end dates to not change.

Use Current Assignments

The Demand feature

None. Both cause resources assigned to tasks to not change; however, task start and end dates may change.

Reassign Resources

Use Resources in Project

None. Both reassign in Project resources within each project only. No resource substitutions occur from outside each project's resources.

Refresh Portfolio Modeler Views
graphics/new_icon.jpg

Project managers who have permissions to use the Portfolio Modeler functions can now use a new feature called Refresh to update model information. When you select this option, a caution window is displayed as shown in Figure 26.29.

Figure 26.29. Caution message during Refresh action request.

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If you select Yes then modeling conditions for the selected model are saved, recomputed, and updated to the Project Server database. This update involves opening the projects and resources within the model and using that information to recompute the entire model view.

NOTE

The model refresh action is computer intensive and may take several minutes to complete the update. General Project Web Access users may see a system slowdown during the update timeframe.


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Special Edition Using Microsoft Office Project 2003
Special Edition Using Microsoft Office Project 2003
ISBN: 0789730723
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 283
Authors: Tim Pyron

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