Working with Enterprise Resources

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In Microsoft Project Professional 2003, enterprise resources are the people, equipment, and materials that a project manager can assign to schedules in order to get work done.

For more detailed information about the different types of resources available in Microsoft Project, see "Defining Resources and Costs" p. 277.


Microsoft Project Professional provides a variety of capabilities that enable the management of resources across an enterprise. The following is an overview of the key resource management elements in Microsoft Project Professional, each of which is described in more detail later in this chapter:

  • The enterprise resource pool All enterprise resources are stored in a repository on a Microsoft Project server called the enterprise resource pool. Portfolio or resource managers enter enterprise resources into the enterprise resource pool, and project managers can take them from the resource pool to add them to schedules. Each resource has skills, attributes, and availability that determine his or her appropriateness for specific project assignments.

  • Generic and actual resources Generic resources are useful for doing preliminary planning and for skill-based resource substitution. Actual resources represent each individual in an organization who can be assigned to work.

  • Local and enterprise resources Enterprise resources are available for assignment to any project in the enterprise by any project manager. In addition, project managers have the option of defining local resources, which are visible only to their own projects.

  • The Enterprise Resource Pool Wizard This wizard allows the user to add new resources to the enterprise resource pool from external sources quickly and easily.

  • Enterprise resource outline codes and custom fields Resources can be tagged with enterprise (project) outline codes that describe key attributes of the particular resource. These enterprise outline codes can be used later to provide a variety of reports on resource availability and utilization, or to assign resources to projects based on skills and availability. Enterprise custom fields are an extension of the custom fields' capabilities provided in earlier releases of Microsoft Project; they provide for standardized category definitions for grouping and reporting purposes.

  • The Enterprise Team Builder The Enterprise Team Builder allows a project manager to add resources to his or her project schedule quickly and easily. The project manager then has the option of assigning those resources to tasks manually or using the Resource Substitution Wizard to assign them to tasks automatically. Only resources assigned to a project are listed on the project's Resource Sheet view. You can run the Enterprise Team Builder as many times as you need to, in order to add resources to or remove them from a project schedule.

    For information on the Enterprise Team Builder, see "Using the Project Center Build Team," p. 1036 .


  • The Resource Substitution Wizard Resources can be automatically assigned to schedule templates based on matching enterprise outline codes between each generic resource's (in a schedule template) and actual resource's (in the enterprise resource pool) skills.

For details about the Resource Substitution Wizard, see "Using the Resource Substitution Wizard," p. 1110.


Working with the Enterprise Resource Pool

Enterprise resources are stored in the enterprise resource pool, which provides a single repository for all enterprise resources and eliminates the scalability issues associated with resource pools from earlier versions of Project.

Whereas enterprise resource information is stored in the enterprise resource pool, enterprise, company, and department wide standard project information, such as the enterprise outline codes, is stored in the Enterprise Global.

NOTE

The Enterprise Global template contains enterprise-level project and resource custom fields and view settings. The enterprise resource pool contains all other resource data.


After the enterprise outline codes and custom fields have been stored in the Enterprise Global template, you can associate them with enterprise resources by opening the enterprise resource pool and editing each resource's information sheet.

For more information on outline codes, see "Applying Outline Codes and Custom Fields to Resources" p. 1096 .


Using Generic and Actual Resources

Generic resources are a type of resource that have been added to Microsoft Project Professional 2002 and have been kept in Microsoft Project 2003. A generic resource is a placeholder for a skill-set or role on a project, but it isn't associated with an actual person.

An actual resource in Microsoft Project Professional is a person in the company who can actually be put into a role on a project and complete assigned tasks.

Using Enterprise Generic Resources

Generic resources, like actual resources, can be stored in the enterprise resource pool (where they are available for assignment in other projects) or in a local project (where they are available to that project only). Storing generic resources in the enterprise resource pool ensures that the generic resources assigned to projects always have the same attributes and skills when assigned across multiple projects.

The Generic check box has been added to the General tab of the Resource Information dialog box for each resource defined in the enterprise resource pool. If the Generic check box is checked, the resource is generic, as shown in Figure 27.19.

Figure 27.19. You can select the Generic check box to define a generic resource.

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As shown in Figure 27.20, icons in the Indicators field in the Resources view specify whether a resource is local and/or generic.

Figure 27.20. Note the different combinations of icons for local, local generic, enterprise, and enterprise generic resources.

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Generic resources need to be assigned enterprise resource outline codes to support skills-based resource replacement via the Resource Substitution Wizard, and to support the viewing of enterprise resource data by resource and skill. For more information about replacing generic resources with actual resources based on skill codes, see "Using the Resource Substitution Wizard," p. 1110.


Using Local Generic Resources

Local generic resources are similar to generic resources, but they are available only to the project plan in which they are defined.

NOTE

A local resource has a head icon with a page behind it in the Indicators column. Don't confuse this icon with the two-heads icon in the Indicator column that indicates a generic resource.


Using Enterprise Actual Resources

Enterprise actual resources should be defined and created during an initial resource planning phase, after which the resources are available for assignment to projects across the enterprise. As with generic resource planning, creating a set of criteria for all enterprise resources ensures consistency and integrity with all enterprise resource allocation.

Using Local Actual Resources

Local actual resources are resources that represent actual human beings and that are defined in a single Microsoft Project schedule only. These resources are available to the project schedule in which they are defined, but to no others.

In an enterprise setting, it isn't recommended that a project manager use local actual resources because they defeat the purpose of being able to gather and analyze resource utilization and availability information at the enterprise level.

NOTE

For most organizations, it is recommended that there be a process defined whereby project managers can request that new actual and generic enterprise resources be added to the enterprise resource pool or changed as necessary.


Creating a New Enterprise Resource

You enter resources into Project so you can assign them to tasks in a project plan. You use the same procedure to create both generic and actual resources; the only difference is the selection of the Generic box in the Resource Details dialog box.

You can create resources from scratch or import them from a variety of sources, such as old projects or a Microsoft Outlook Contacts file. The following steps are necessary for adding a new resource to the enterprise resource pool:

  1. Launch Microsoft Project.

  2. Make sure you have the appropriate permissions. With Microsoft Project Professional's default group permissions, only the administrator, portfolio manager, and resource manager can add new resources.

  3. Choose Tools, Enterprise Options, Open Enterprise Resource Pool. The Open Enterprise Resources dialog box, shown in Figure 27.21, appears. It lists all the enterprise resources that are currently in the Server database. Select the resources that you want to edit and click the Open/Add button. Click the Open /Add button without selecting any resources to enter just new resources.

    Figure 27.21. You can select the enterprise resources that you want to edit and then click the Open/Add button.

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  4. To modify a resource, right-click a resource's cell and select Resource Information from the pull-down menu. Use the dialog box shown in Figure 27.22 to modify the resource's details.

    Figure 27.22. You enter new or changed resource information in the Resource Information dialog box.

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  5. On the General tab, fill in the appropriate information, and if the resource is to be a generic resource, select the Generic check box.

  6. Select a collaboration method from the Workgroup drop-down list. The Default selection allows you to collaborate with this resource via the default method that has been set up by the system administrator. The Project Server selection allows collaboration to happen via the Project Server only. The E-mail Only selection permits collaboration information to only be sent in email messages. The None selection means that you do not want to collaborate with this resource.

  7. Select the Custom Fields tab and assign the appropriate selections for each defined enterprise outline code and custom field, as shown in Figure 27.23. If there is an asterisk (*) at the end of an Enterprise Resource Outline Code, that asterisk indicates that it is a required field.

    Figure 27.23. You can edit the custom Enterprise Resource Outline Codes in the Resource Information dialog box.

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  8. Save and close the enterprise resource pool.

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To make multiple resources generic, select more than one resource in the table, click the Task Information icon, select the Generic check box, and click OK.


Applying Outline Codes and Custom Fields to Resources

After enterprise outline codes and custom fields have been entered into the Enterprise Global template and resources have been entered into the enterprise resource pool, the resources in the enterprise resource pool need to have the enterprise outline codes and custom fields assigned to them.

To apply enterprise outline codes to enterprise resources, follow these steps:

  1. Select Tools, Enterprise Options, Open Enterprise Resource Pool.

  2. Click the Select/Deselect All button to choose all the resources in the resource pool, then click the Open/Add button, as shown in Figure 27.21, to open the selected enterprise resources in a Resource Sheet view.

  3. Assign the enterprise resource outline codes to the enterprise resources.

    TIP

    One quick and easy way to assign outline codes to resources is to create a new Outline Codes view and table in the Enterprise Global template, where the columns in your new view include the enterprise resource outline codes. This way you can easily assign and maintain outline code information for every resource.

  4. When you are done, save your work and exit the enterprise resource pool.

NOTE

If you find that you cannot select enterprise resources to open in the enterprise resource pool, those enterprise resources might already be checked out. You can make sure that all enterprise resources are checked in by selecting Admin, Enterprise Options, and checking the enterprise resources in Web Access.


NOTE

After enterprise resource outline codes and custom fields contents are established, you can edit them by selecting a resource and clicking Edit Resource Details in the Resource Center of Web Access.


Working with the Resource Pool in Microsoft Project Web Access

Microsoft Project 2002 introduced powerful resource management functions that allow resources to be selected and used from the Enterprise Global Resource Pool. Microsoft Project 2003 Professional extends the flexibility to attach resources to projects.

Project Web Access with Microsoft Office Project 2003 now contains a function that allows the project or resource manager to use the Project Web Access and Project Center to select team members from the Enterprise Resource Pool and attach those resources to a specific project.

Resource managers can now use Project Web Access search and replace features to find Enterprise Resources and substitute Actual resources for Generic resources within a project.

Build Team from Enterprise Global Resource Pool

This new feature allows project or resource managers to add or remove resources related to a specific project schedules. To access this feature from the Project Web Access, select Projects, then Build Team.

The Build Team dialog has several options as discussed in the next section.

Add Enterprise Global Resources to a Project

You can use the Project Web Access Project Center Build Team function to add team members to a project.

Figure 27.24. You can add resources to a project from Enterprise Global Resource Pool in Project Web Access Build Team.

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Resources are added to a project team by selecting the name from the left side and using the Add button to attach them to the project. This action alone does not assign resources to specific tasks; as a result of this action, team members are simply added to the resources within the project. Specific task work assignments are made within Microsoft Project 2003 Professional by selecting the resources that have been added to the project team.

NOTE

The Add Team Member function relies on the Category settings that use the Resource Breakdown Structure (RBS) to determine which resources a project manager can add to a project team. The relative position of the project or resource manager to the team resources determines whether the project manager can add a resource to the project team. If the resource being added is not within the same RBS "branch" as the project or resource manager, an error message will be displayed informing you that you are not allowed to assign resources to the project.


Remove Enterprise Global Resources from the Project

There are three major conditions you should consider before removing resources from a project:

  • Resources can be added to the project team, but are not assigned working tasks. When resources are simply a member of the project team but are not assigned to working tasks, then there is no overall effect caused by removing a resource from the project.

  • Resources can be assigned to working tasks but no actual work has been recorded. There are several conditions that may be true for every resource assigned to a working task. You need to consider resource conditions such as resource units, resource work contour, planned versus baseline delivery dates, project costs, and so on.

  • Resources may be assigned to working tasks and those resources may have already reported actual work for those tasks. Actual work may have be submitted for update but not yet posted to the project.

The Remove action extracts the indicated resource(s) from the project. If those resources are assigned to a working task, then the selected resources disappear from the project. If resources have reported actual work for the tasks, the actual work remains but the resource disappears from the task.

Replace a Resource with Another

The Project Web Access Built Team function also allows you to select resources from the left side of the selection dialog to replace resources within the project.

This feature allows you to do a general substitution of a resource within the project for one found in the Enterprise Resource Pool.

Figure 27.25. You can replace resources within the Build Team screen.

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NOTE

When you substitute a resource that has actual values posted with another one, there are two things that will happen: First, Microsoft Project will add the new resource to the task, and second, it will protect the actual values posted by the substituted resource from being deleted. By doing that, you have a true picture of the assignments for a particular task: who has been working in the past and for how long, and who will be working the future.


Match Enterprise Resources

This function allows you to easily find resources within the Enterprise Global Resource Pool that match the characteristics of the resource you select from the right side of the dialog window. When you use the Match button, the system automatically uses the resource characteristics from the item on the right to search the Enterprise Global Resource Pool for resources that match those criteria.

NOTE

The Match function uses a combination of Enterprise Global Outline Resource Codes that you have established for your implementation. The Match function compares the codes marked with the Use This Code for Matching Generic Resources condition to find resources that equal all of the characteristics of each resource. Refer to information relating to Enterprise Global setup and configuration for more information.


Figure 27.26. You can match resources within the Build Team screen and replace them as needed.

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Filter Enterprise Resources

This function is similar in concept to the Match function, but the filter allows you much more flexibility to easily find resources that contain certain characteristics within the Enterprise Global Resource Pool.

Change Booking Type

The Change Booking Type option allows you to toggle between the default Committed condition and Proposed, as shown in Figure 27.27.

Figure 27.27. You can filter enterprise resources within the Build Team screen to easily find resources with certain characteristics and change the booking type for a resource within the Build Team screen.

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The Booking Type allows resource managers to have an accurate representation of the demand for a particular skill-set or resource. This is particularly important when an organization is trying to synchronize the available resource with the project's pipeline and balance the supply with the demand.

Proposed Versus Committed Booking

Microsoft Project 2003 has a new mechanism to designate status of resources as Committed (default option) or Proposed (optional). Key benefits to this feature include

  • Proposed resources can be assigned to tasks without timesheet entries appearing on the resource Tasks list, and allow project and resource managers to simulate workloads while a project is still in the proposal lifecycle phase.

  • Project and resource managers can use combinations of Committed and Proposed resource status to do what-if analysis when various projects are competing to use the same resources.

  • Specific resources can be designated Proposed for one project and Committed for another. When a Proposed resource is switched to Committed within a project schedule, the resource will automatically receive task assignment messages the next time the project schedule is published.

The Proposed and Committed booking types can be used for Actual or Generic resources attached to project teams .

NOTE

Booking Type can only be applied for resources for an entire project schedule. It does not apply to individual tasks only.


Project Web Access 2003 and Microsoft Project 2003 Professional each have functions that allow project and resource managers to set the Proposed or Committed status for resources within a specific project schedule. This booking status can be easily toggled between Proposed and Committed with Project Web Access Project Center's Build Team function or Microsoft Project 2003 Professional.

Changing Resource Booking Type in Microsoft Project 2003 Professional

The booking type can also be changed within Microsoft Project 2003 Professional functions. The project manager can simply toggle the booking type for each resource as needed.

Viewing Resource Booking Status Within a Project

The Booking Type column within the Build Team for Enterprise dialog can be used to inspect the booking status of resources. Figure 27.29 shows which team members are Committed and Proposed.

Figure 27.29. You can include proposed bookings when determining availability and total assigned work.

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Figure 27.28. You can use the Resource Information dialog window to change the resource booking type.

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You can also use the Include Proposed Bookings When Determining Availability and Total Assigned Work check box to filter resources that are available to work on this project.

Working with the Resource Pool in Microsoft Project Professional

You can use the Team Builder to add resources from the enterprise resource pool to a schedule. When a resource is added to a schedule, you can assign the resources to tasks by using the Assign Resource dialog box.

Adding Resources to a Project Schedule

To use the Team Builder effectively, all enterprise resources must already be stored in the enterprise resource pool, and each resource must be assigned one or more enterprise outline codes or custom fields from the Enterprise Global template.

If you dont know what the enterprise resource and project outline codes, custom fields, and generic resource names are for your organization, talk to your portfolio manager or administrator. If you are the portfolio manager or administrator and you need detailed information on how to plan, create, and use enterprise outline codes, see "Using Enterprise Outline Codes and Custom Fields," p. 1010.


For example, assume that you are a project manager and you are responsible for developing a preliminary schedule for a new software deployment project. The organization's portfolio manager has provided you with the following information:

  • The enterprise generic resources that you need are already defined in the Enterprise Global template.

  • The RBS Enterprise Outline Code indicates the location of the resources.

  • Enterprise Project Outline Code 1 specifies the location of the project.

  • Enterprise Project Outline Code 2 specifies the project's phase.

  • The start date for your new project is January 2.

  • You should save your schedule with the organization calendar.

Also, for the purposes of this example, assume that you built your project schedule using a project template called Software Development and you have made the following modifications to the project template as the basis for your preliminary schedule:

  • You have added several system administration tasks.

  • You have modified the effort or duration of each task in the schedule, based on your organization's estimation methods .

  • You have modified each task's predecessors and successors, as appropriate.

The following steps show how you can use the Team Builder to add enterprise generic resources to your new preliminary schedule. Note that these same steps can also be used to add enterprise actual resources to a schedule.

  1. With your schedule open, select Tools, Build Team from Enterprise. If more than 1,000 Resources are available for display, a prefilter dialog box automatically appears. You can use an existing filter or a custom filter to reduce the list of resources displayed.

    Because the schedules resources aren't assigned to an enterprise calendar yet, you receive the warning "Enterprise Standard Calendars Are Needed," which you can ignore for now. See "Managing Enterprise Calendars," in Chapter 28 for information on using enterprise calendars.


    NOTE

    If the Build Team for Enterprise option is unavailable, you are either not connected to Microsoft Project Server, you have opened your schedule in read-only mode, or you do not have a schedule open.

  2. To replace the local resources in your project file with generic resources from the enterprise resource pool, first you should list just the generic enterprise resources in the Enterprise Resource list. To do this, expand the Customize filters, enter generic in the Field Name, enter equals as the Test, enter Yes as the Value, and click the Apply Filter button. You should see just the generic resources in the Enterprise Resource list, as shown in Figure 27.30.

    Figure 27.30. You can use the filter mechanisms to reduce or identify the attributes of the resources in the enterprise resource pool.

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  3. To perform the replace function, select the team resource named Project Manager, select the enterprise resource named Project Manager, and click the Replace button. Repeat this process to replace each team resource with its corresponding enterprise resource, as follows :

    Team Resource : Enterprise Resource

    Manager : Project Manager

    Analyst : Business Analyst

    Developer : Web Programmer

    Testers : Tester

    Trainers : Trainer

    Technical Communicators : Tech Writers

    Deployment Team : Operations

    Your Software Development schedule is now populated with enterprise generic resources. Notice that you can't assign a resource to a task by using the Team Builder except by using the Replace function.

  4. You can now save your schedule.

So far you've used the Filter, Add, and Replace features of the Team Builder. The following list describes all the features of the Team Builder, as shown in Figure 27.30:

  • Existing Filters This is a pull-down list of all filters currently available to you. You can create new filters by using the Save Filter button on the Customize Filter dialog box.

  • Customize Filters You can use Customize Filters to create and save new filters. This optional field is collapsed when you first enter the Team Builder. You can click the + button to expand this selection and display a grid with tools for building a filter. You can use the Apply Filter command to apply a filter to the list of enterprise resources, and then you can save your new filters by clicking the Save Filter button.

  • Available to Work You can use the Available to Work check box when you want to reduce the list of available resources to only those that have an amount of available time greater than or equal to the amount you enter, between the dates you specify. For example, if you need everyone on a project to be 100% available over a 6-month period, you enter 6mo in the Available to Work field and then select the start and end dates that are assumed to be the start and end dates of the project.

  • Group By You can use Group By to organize the resources in the enterprise resource pool differently than the default alphabetical order. Because Contoso company has established the enterprise Resource Breakdown Structure (RBS) code to represent resource location, if you want to know who in the enterprise resource pool list is from Sacramento, you can enter RBS in the Group By field to group the enterprise resources by location.

  • Enterprise Resource The resources in this column on the left side of the dialog box are defined in the enterprise resource pool. You can select any of these resources to build a project team. The Avail column, next to the Enterprise Resource, shows how many hours each resource is available to work within the date and filter range criteria. Remember that other projects in Contoso company are using people from the same resource pool, so you might need to coordinate the selection of the resource for your project with the resource's manager. Notice that each generic resource has a small icon to the left of its name.

    NOTE

    With all the Team Builder resource lists, you can click and use Shift+click and Ctrl+click to select resources.


  • Team Resource The resources in this list are already assigned to the project or will be added to the project schedule when you click OK. The Work column shows how many hours each resource is assigned to work within the project's start and end dates.

  • Add You use the Add button to move a resource from the Enterprise Resource list to the Team Resource list. As you add resources to the project plan, the Work column reflects the load on those resources across all projects. This gives you an idea of how much work those resources are scheduled to perform for other projects in the enterprise.

  • Remove You use the Remove button to remove the selected member(s) from the Team Resources list. You are warned if the resource is assigned to tasks in the current project, and you cannot remove the selected member(s) until the resource(s) is no longer assigned to any tasks in the current project.

  • Replace You use the Replace button to replace the selected team resource with the selected enterprise resource. You can select only one team resource and one enterprise resource in order for the function to work. If the resource you are attempting to replace has actual hours reported within the project, a pop-up window appears, indicating that you must do the resource substitution by alternate means.

  • Match You use Match to find resources in the enterprise resource pool that meet the enterprise resource outline code criteria specified by the resource being matched. For example, if you have a resource named Tech Writer-French who has two enterprise resource outline codesTech Writer (Code1) and French (Code2)and if both enterprise resource outline codes are marked as Use This Code for Matching Generic Resources in the Enterprise Global template, only resources in the enterprise resource pool that exactly match those two criteria will be displayed.

    TIP

    If you have problems getting the Match function to work, look at the filter created in the Team Builder when you click the Match button. If, for example, your actual resources have skill levels per skill, you can either create a generic resource that matches each skill per skill level or you can create your own custom filters that find actual resources based on any combination of skill code and skill level.


  • Details You use the Details button to view the information sheet for the selected resource.

  • Graphs You use the Graphs button to view the availability graphs of the currently selected resources. This is a convenient way to visually determine the workload and availability for the resources you've selected. When you use this feature, you can inspect scheduled work or remaining availability for each person selected along a calendar time line. You can zoom to desired timescale increments , including every 15 minutes, hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, biannually, and yearly resolutions .

After you have created a preliminary schedule using generic resources, you might want to ask the portfolio manager to turn your preliminary schedule into an enterprise template.

Using the Assign Resources Dialog Box

Using the Assign Resources dialog box is a very quick and easy way to both add resources to a schedule and assign them to tasks. Because the Assign Resources dialog incorporates all the Team Builder menus and functions, it is how most project managers add enterprise resources to schedules and assign them to tasks.

TIP

You can add actual enterprise resources to a schedule at any time while you're building a schedule. However, it is a good idea to wait until you are ready to apply resources to tasks. If you add actual resources to a schedule too early, those people might not be available when your project needs them because they are deployed on other projects. Therefore, you should use generic resources on tasks until you're sure the people you need will actually be available.


You need to transform the preliminary schedule to a detailed schedule by adding actual resources to the project and assigning them to tasks. To discuss how to do this, let's continue with the Software Development example. As the project manager, you are looking for project team members from Colorado who have the appropriate skills and are available hours for work for the duration of your project.

Follow these steps to complete the detailed schedule by using the Assign Resources dialog box:

  1. Open your Software Development schedule by using Project Professional.

  2. graphics/versatile_icon.gif

    Bring up the Assign Resources dialog box by selecting the Assign Resources icon from the Standard toolbar, selecting Tools, Assign Resources, or pressing Alt+F10.

  3. Click Add Resources, as shown in Figure 27.31. The pull-down menu provides three options:

    Figure 27.31. By using the Assign Resources dialog box you can add resources to a schedule from an active directory, from an Outlook address book, or from a Microsoft Project server.

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    CAUTION

    You should only use resources from the enterprise resource pool on a Project Server unless your portfolio manager permits other options. If you use resources that are not found within the enterprise resource pool, Project Server analysis reporting functions might reflect inaccurate data.

    From Active Directory You use this option to select resources from the Windows Active Directory that is maintained by your Windows domain system administrators.

    From Address Book You use this option when adding resources from a Microsoft Outlook address book.

    From Microsoft Project Server You use this option to bring up the Team Builder, prepopulated with both resources in the enterprise resource pool and enterprise resources assigned to the project.

    For this example, select the From Project Server option, as shown in Figure 27.31. That opens up the Team Builder screen, as shown in Figure 27.32.

    Figure 27.32. The Team Builder's features are all available from the Build Team dialog box.

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  4. Identify the enterprise resources that are from Colorado and that match skills with the enterprise generic resources in your schedule by selecting RBS from the Group By pull-down list, selecting one of the team resources, and clicking Match (see Figure 27.32).

  5. As shown in Figure 27.32, in your enterprise resource pool, one Tester in Colorado has enough available hours. Replace the generic resource Tester with the enterprise actual resource Scott Gode by selecting Scott Gode from the Enterprise Resources column, selecting Web Programmer from the Team Resources column, and clicking Replace. Select and replace each of the remaining generic team resources.

  6. You are done adding resources to your schedule, so return to the Assign Resources dialog box by clicking OK on the Team Builder screen.

Resources that are assigned to a task are automatically brought to the top of the list of the resource names, making it easier to manage long resource lists, as shown in Figure 27.33. You can also assign multiple resources to a task by using the same Assign Resources dialog box.

Figure 27.33. Assigning multiple resources to a task.

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CAUTION

Be very careful when adding new local resources to a schedule. If a new local resource name exactly matches an enterprise resource name, you will have a hard time distinguishing between the two resources when you are using the Assign Resources dialog box. Also, data on local resources is not included in the views provided in the Project Center and the Resource Center.


TIP

To prevent accidental creation of local resources, open Microsoft Project Professional and select Tools, Options. Then select the General tab and uncheck Automatically Add New Resources and Tasks. Microsoft Project then prompts you when you attempt to add new resources to the local resource pool.

Your portfolio manager should provide you with the rules associated with using local resources for your organization.


So far you've used the Add Resources pull-down list and assigned resources by using the Assign Resources dialog box. The following are two other features of the Professional Edition's Assign Resources dialog box that are shown in Figure 27.33:

  • Resource List Options Expanding the resource list options by clicking on the + sign allows you to use preexisting and available to work filters to reduce the list of displayed resource names.

  • R/D You can request or demand that a resource not be substituted when using the Resource Substitution Wizard. See the section "Using the Resource Substitution Wizard," later in this chapter, for details.

Using the Resource Substitution Wizard

The Resource Substitution Wizard uses enterprise outline codes to match and replace generic resources with actual enterprise resources. You can think of this as a resource attribute matching function, where the attributes of generic resources (typically skills such as Tech Writer and capabilities such as Speaks French) are compared to those of actual resources in order to find a suitable substitution match.

In addition to assigning actual resources to tasks based on enterprise resource outline codes, the Resource Substitution Wizard can also "optimize" the allocation of resources across project schedules to minimize the duration of those schedules. If an actual resource is overallocated, the wizard looks in its resource pool for available resources with the same attributes to work the tasks.

There might be times, however, when you do not want an actual resource substituted. You can use the Assign Resource dialog box's Request/Demand field to control the Resource Substitution Wizard (see Figure 27.34).

Figure 27.34. The Request/Demand options are Blank, Request, and Demand.

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The Request/Demand field can be set to one of the following values for each resource on a task:

  • Blank By default the field is blank. This tells the Resource Substitution Wizard that it can freely substitute another resource for this one, as long as it meets the skill and availability criteria for the task.

  • Request You should choose Request to tell the Resource Substitution Wizard to keep this resource assigned to this task but allow the wizard to make a substitution if the resource is found to be overallocated.

  • Demand You should choose Demand to tell the Resource Substitution Wizard to keep this resource assigned to this task, even if it leaves the resource overallocated. You then have to level the resource yourself.

NOTE

Microsoft Project does not allow you to request or demand generic resources.


The primary advantage of using the Resource Substitution Wizard is that it is the fastest way to assign enterprise resources to the tasks in a schedule. If you use templates or project schedules that have generic resources assigned to all tasks, and those generic resources have skill codes defined, the Resource Substitution Wizard can quickly substitute actual enterprise resources for the generic resources.

The following are some Resource Substitution Wizard behaviors that you need to consider before using the wizard:

  • The wizard substitutes for two or more generic resources on the same task, but it does not allow you to substitute two different actual resources for one generic resource that is allocated at 200%. For example, if you want two different Visual Basic programmers assigned to a task, you have to manually add the second Visual Basic programmer to the task.

  • The wizard substitutes correctly for any resource unit value.

  • If there are multiple enterprise resources that match an enterprise generic resource, the wizard substitutes using the first available actual resource that meets the criteria before moving on to the next available actual resource that meets the criteria. This might be fine for resources with skills such as tech writer or programmer, where resources are reasonably interchangeable; however, for skills such as project manager, where you most likely want the same project manager assigned to the entire project, it probably isn't appropriate.

  • The wizard replaces overloaded resources with alternates (from the pool that you have specified) that have the right skills and are not overloaded. If you prefer to not replace resources, you should use the Request/Demand feature in the Assign Resources dialog box.

  • The wizard does not level resources within schedules, although by optimizing resource allocation, it usually comes close. You should make it a practice to level resources within schedules after the Resource Substitution Wizard has applied resources to tasks.

  • Although you might not mind the fact that the wizard assigned multiple different actual resources to testing tasks in the same project, you probably don't want to have multiple project managers assigned to the project management tasks. To resolve this, you might want to consider using the Team Builder's Replace function for project manager type tasks, locking those assignments in place. To do this, you use the Assign Resource dialog box's Request/Demand feature and then use the Resource Substitution Wizard to complete the substitutions.

Two things must be in place before you can use the Resource Substitution Wizard:

  • Enterprise resource outline codes must have been assigned to the actual resources within the enterprise resource pool.

  • You must have opened a schedule that has the following characteristics:

    All working tasks have generic or actual resources assigned to them.

    Each generic resource that is assigned to a task has enterprise resource outline codes attached.

Suppose that you have added some new tasks to Office XP Deployment schedule and have assigned the generic resource called Project Management to them.

You need to follow these steps to substitute an actual resource (Judy Lew, in this example) for the Project Management generic resource:

  1. Open the Office XP Deployment. Make sure that the new tasks have been added to the schedule (Define final resources, in this example) and that the enterprise generic resource Project Management is assigned to these tasks.

  2. Start the Resource Substitution Wizard by selecting Tools, Substitute Resources, Resource Substitution Wizard. Click Next on the welcome screen. All open schedules should be listed as part of the wizard's Step 1, as shown in Figure 27.35. Select only the projects needed for resource substitution, in this case Office XP Deployment, and then click Next.

    Figure 27.35. You can select the open project(s) in which you want to substitute resources by selecting the check box to the left of the project's name.

    graphics/27fig35.gif

    TIP

    If you choose more than one project in which to substitute resources, you are actually asking the wizard to optimize resource assignments across all those projects. To avoid resource assignment confusion with the other projects, which might be underway, you should consider using the wizard to assign resources to your new schedule first and then optimizing resource assignments across projects as a later step.

  3. On Step 2 of the Resource Substitution Wizard, you need to identify the subset of resources from the enterprise resource pool that is to be considered during the resource substitution. As shown in Figure 27.36, for the Office XP Deployment project, you need to include resources at the RBS level of USA, specify a resource freeze horizon of the current date, and then click Next.

    Figure 27.36. You can specify that only resources from a certain location are to be considered by the wizard for assignment to tasks.

    graphics/27fig36.jpg

    You can choose from the following three options to specify the subset of resources to be used by the wizard:

    In the Selected Projects You can select this option to constrain the wizard to only substitute resources that are already in the selected projects. This option works well if your schedule(s) already contains all the enterprise actual resources you need.

    At or Below the Following Level in the Resource Breakdown Structure You can select this option to constrain the wizard to only substitute resources that are at or below the specified level in the RBS. This option allows you to limit the resources being considered for addition to your schedule by RBS code.

    Specified Below You can select this option to constrain the wizard to only substitute resources that you specifically select from the enterprise resource pool. If you select the Specified Below check box, you can click Add to bring up the screen shown in Figure 27.36. After you have added the desired resources to the schedule, click Next and continue with these steps.

    The Resource Substitution Wizard considers only assignments made after the Resource Freeze Horizon date. If, for example, you established a Resource Freeze Horizon that is two weeks out, all resources would have two weeks to complete or hand off their current assignments before moving on to their new projects and/or assignments. If you are substituting resources for a new schedule only, then you can let the Resource Freeze Horizon default to the current date.

  4. Step 3 of the wizard shows a list of related projects and their relationships, as shown in Figure 27.37. Because we are substituting resources for the Office XP Deployment project only, make sure that none of the related projects are selected, and then click Next.

    Figure 27.37. You should select none of the related Office XP Deployment projects because you want the wizard to substitute resources only in the Office XP Deployment.

    graphics/27fig37.jpg

    Projects are considered related if the projects share any resources from the pool of resources that you've established for the wizard or if the projects have cross-project links active between them.

  5. Step 4 of the Resource Substitution Wizard allows you to prioritize the projects you have selected and to establish the resource substitution options for each project being substituted for. You need to let the Office XP Deployment project's priority default to 500 (the priority doesn't matter because you are substituting for only one resource). Then choose Use Resources in Pool as the scheduling option (because the actual resource you want to substitute with, Judy Lew, is in the wizard's pool), as shown in Figure 27.38. When you are finished choosing scheduling options, click Next.

    Figure 27.38. You can specify scheduling options for the selected projects.

    graphics/27fig38.gif

    The priority field specifies which projects the wizard should substitute resources for first. The priority scheme used by the Resource Substitution Wizard is the same priority scheme used to prioritize tasks within a schedule: Priority numbers range from a low of 0 to a high of 1,000, with 500 as the default priority.

    The Options field specifies whether the wizard can substitute resources from the project only or from the pool of resources specified earlier. For the Office XP Deployment project example, the wizard's resource pool consists of all enterprise resources with an RBS of USA, as defined in Step 2 of the wizard.

    NOTE

    The priority and options settings that you assign in the Resource Substitution Wizard are not recorded anywhere in the Project Server.

  6. Step 5 of the Resource Substitution Wizard displays a summary of your configuration options so far, as shown in Figure 27.39. If you want to change one or more of these configuration items, click Back. In this example, these are the configuration items you want, so click Run. When the wizard finishes running, the Next button becomes available, and you need to click it to move to Step 6 of the wizard.

    Figure 27.39. You can click Run if the summary of instructions is correct.

    graphics/27fig39.gif

  7. The wizard computes a substitution solution, as shown in Figure 27.40. If you are happy with these substitutions, you can click the Next button to accept the results. If you are not happy with the results, you can click Cancel to start over or Back to return to the previous step.

    Figure 27.40. You can review the detailed results of the resource substitution in this screen.

    graphics/27fig40.jpg

  8. As the last step you are prompted for how you want to save the results of the Resource Substitution Wizard, as shown in Figure 27.41. Here you have two options that are discussed further down.

    Select Update Projects with Result of the Wizard if you want to have the Resource Substitution Wizard apply the recommended changes to all the projects that you selected. If you select Update Projects with Result of the Wizard, the wizard applies the resource assignment changes to each schedule but does not yet save the altered project plans.

    Select Save the Results of the Wizard if you want to save a report of the results of the Resource Substitution Wizard to a file. Click the Browse button to specify the folder where you'd like to save the report file.

    Figure 27.41. You can both update the projects with the results and save a report containing the results of the wizard.

    graphics/27fig41.gif

    After you have selected options, click Finish.

    When you are applying the substitution results, you might receive the confirmation dialog. This confirmation simply lets you know that you have modified the resource assignments for projects that have been published to the Project Server, and you will need to level and analyze the results of these changes before republishing them to the Project Server. If you get this message, click Yes to continue as shown in Figure 27.42.

    Figure 27.42. You might see this error when applying the Resource Substitution Wizard's results to the related project schedules.

    graphics/27fig42.gif

  9. Your Office XP Deployment project has been updated with the resource substitutions, but it has been neither saved nor published to the Project Server. You need to remember to save changed schedules after you inspect the results. For example, you might want to save these modified project schedules to a different version so they can be analyzed and/or approved.

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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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