MS Project Server 2010 – Managing Enterprise Resources

Enterprise Resource Pool Overview

The Enterprise Resource Pool in Microsoft Office Project Server 2010 contains all of the enterprise resources needed to perform project work in your organization. Defined in simple terms, resources are the people, equipment, and materials required to execute a project. Defined in accounting terms, resources are the elements of project direct costs. As such, resource pool attribution drives the ability to track activity-based project costs as well as material consumption. Project cost drives meaningful performance measures in the system, generating cost data that can enhance business decisions.

Building a well-structured Enterprise Resource Pool enables you to use the important resource management features of Project Server 2010. Enterprise custom fields are a major factor in designing the Enterprise Resource Pool as meaningful output from the system in completely dependent on the custom enterprise Resource fields you created in Chapter 2. Before you build the Enterprise Resource Pool, you need to know where to obtain your organization’s resource data, and whether to create the resources manually, import them automatically through Active Directory synchronization, or import them from existing projects.

Whether you pull this data from Active Directory, Exchange, Outlook, Excel, or from any other source, chances are that you will be doing significant manual updating. This is mostly because the custom fields you apply are very likely to be new constructs for your organization. Those that are not new to the organization may come from a variety of sources, such as your organization’s HR and Accounting department.

Understanding Enterprise vs. Local Resources

Project Server 2010 allows your organization to use both local and enterprise resources within the system:

  • Enterprise resources exist in the Enterprise Resource Pool and are available for use across the portfolio of projects. Only those users with specific permissions in the system can create enterprise resources.
  • Local resources are non-enterprise resources that exist only in a local project plan and are not part of the Enterprise Resource Pool. Anyone who manages an enterprise project using Project Professional 2010 can create local resources.

You can maintain tighter control over the system when you manage all your resources through the Enterprise Resource Pool. Because you cannot prevent project managers from entering local resources in their project plans, at least no without using custom software code, this becomes a training and policy issue. Therefore, you should establish a definite workflow for how your organization handles the creating of resources.

Understanding Enterprise Resource Types

Project Server 2010 defines resources in a variety of ways, and organizes them in the Resources hierarchy.

Project Server 2010 allows you to define three basic resource types: Work, Material, and Cost. You use Work resources to model people and equipment while you use Material resources to represent the supplies consumed during the project lifecycle. You can use Cost resources to track budget costs and budget expenses unrelated to the Work resources assigned to tasks. Work resources affect both the schedule and the cost of the project, while Material and Cost resources affect only the project cost.

Project Server 2010 organizes Work resources into three groups: Generic, non-Generic (or Human resources), and Team resources. A Human resource is a specific individual you can identify by name. A Generic resource is a skill-based placeholder resource, such as a C++ Software Developer. Generic resources allow you to specify the skills required for a task assignment before you know which specific Human resources are available to work on the task. Your project managers can use skill-set matching and resource substitution to replace Generic resources with available Human resources who possess the same skills.

A Team resource is actually a special type of Generic resource that represents a team of people. You should create Team resources in either of the following situations:

  • Your organization uses dedicated project teams and the team members do not change from project to project.
  • Your organization needs to track work that might not be resource-specific, such as maintenance tasks flowing from a trouble ticket system.

Team resources support the construct of “pickup” work, whereby any one of a number of people can do the work and can self-assign their tasks. Before you can create and use Team resources, you must create a custom Lookup Table, populate it with a list of team names in your organization, and then attach the Lookup Table to the Team Name built-in custom field.

Creating Work Resources

Before you can manually enter your organization’s enterprise resources, you must open the Enterprise Resource Pool. To open the Enterprise Resource Pool, complete the following steps:

  1. Log in to Project Server through Project Professional 2010 or in to PWA with Administration permissions.
  2. In Project Professional click the Resource tab – Resource Pool button and select Enterprise Resource Pool. This will open the Resource Center in PWA. You can also log directly in to PWA and click on the Resource Center link.
  3. Click on the New Resource button.

The first step in defining enterprise Work resources is to enter basic resource information about each resource. Enter this information in the following fields of the Resource Sheet view for each enterprise Work resource:

  • In the Resource Name field, enter the full name of each Work resource.
  • In the Type field, leave the value set as the default Work value.
  • In the Initials field, enter the initials of each resource. By default, Project Professional 2010 enters only the first initial of the first word in the Resource Name Column.
  • In the Group field, enter the skill, team, department, or some other manner to group the resources.
  • In the Max. Units field, enter a percentage representing the maximum amount of an average working day the resource is available for project work on this project. Enter 100% or your discounted availability only for resources that are available for full-time project work, and enter a value less than 100% for resources who are available to work less than full-time.
  • In the Std. Rate field, enter the rate at which you cost the resource’s work. The default measure is hourly cost, such as $50.00/hr., but you may also enter a cost using any other time units, such as $2,000/wk.
  • In the Ovt. Rate field, enter the rate at which you cost overtime work. In Project Server 2010, overtime work is any work the user of Project manager enters explicitly in the Overtime Work field.
  • In the Cost/Use field, enter the “flat rate” that accrues each time a project manager uses the resource in the project. The Cost/Use field is similar to the “trip charge” billed by a plumber to get the plumber to show up at your home. The system applies the Cost/Use rate in addition to any application hourly rate you set.
  • In the Accrue At field, select value that determines how Project Server 2010 realizes the costs when you assign the selected resource to a task. You can realize the cost at the beginning of the task by selecting the Start value, or realize the cost at the end of the task by selecting the End value. The default value, Prorated, realizes that cost evenly across the Duration of the task.
  • In the Base Calendar column, select the base calendar that Project Server 2010 uses to set up the resource’s personal calendar. If you entered your company holidays on the Standard calendar, and then you specify this calendar as the resource’s Base Calendar, then the resource’s personal calendar automatically inherits all company holidays.
  • The Code field is a free text field in which you may enter any type of additional information about the resource, such as the cost center code or work phone number for the resource.

Changing Working Time

There are several situations that require you to change the working schedule for a resource, which are:

  • The resource works a schedule different from the schedule on the enterprise Standard calendar.
  • You need to add nonworking time for the resource, such as vacation or planned sick leave.
  • You need to make minor modifications to the resource’s working schedule, such as adding Saturday work for a specific period of time.

I discuss how to configure each of these schedule needs separately.

Setting an Alternate Working Schedule

If you need to create an alternate working schedule for a resource, and the schedule differs from the enterprise Standard calendar, there are two ways to accomplish this. To use the first method, you must first create a custom enterprise Base calendar in the system. Refer back to Chapter 2, if necessary, for the steps to create a custom Base Calendar. After you create the custom Base Calendar, simply select that new calendar as the Base Calendar column for the selected resource.

If you do not wish to create a custom Base Calendar with the desired schedule, you can specify the non-standard working schedule for the resource by completing the following steps:

  1. From PWA on the Resources tab, select a resource and click on the Open button . Project Professional opens and shows resource in data grid view.
  2. Click the Change Working Time button under the Project tab. The opens Project Professional and the system displays the Change Working Time dialog as seen in earlier steps.
  3. Click the Work Weeks tab.
  4. Select the [Default] item in the Work Weeks data grid and then click the Details button. The software displays the Details dialog shown in Figure 3-1.

     

    Figure 3-1

     

  5. In the Select day(s) list, select the days for which you want to change the schedule.
  6. Select one of the three working times options in the upper right corner of the dialog, such as the Set day(s) to these specific working times option.
  7. Enter the alternate working schedule in the Working times data grid.
  8. Click the OK button to close the Details dialog.

Entering Nonworking Time

Project Server 2010 allows you to enter nonworking time, such as vacations, and sick leave, for each individual resource in the Enterprise Resource Pool. To enter nonworking time for a selected resource, complete the following steps:

  1. From PWA on the Resources tab, select a resource and click on the Open button . Project Professional opens and shows resource in data grid view.
  2. Click the Change Working Time button under the Project tab. The opens Project Professional and the system displays the Change Working Time dialog as seen in earlier steps.
  3. Click the Exceptions tab.
  4. In the calendar object at the top of the page, select the days to set as nonworking time.
  5. In the first blank line of Name column, enter a name for the nonworking time instance, such as Vacation.
  6. Press the Right-Arrow key on the keyboard.

 

Setting Working Schedule Changes

To set a change to the regular working schedule for the resource, such as when a resource might be asked to extend their work week for a specified period of time, complete the following steps:

  1. From PWA on the Resources tab, select a resource and click on the Open button . Project Professional opens and shows resource in data grid view.
  2. Click the Change Working Time button under the Project tab. The opens Project Professional and the system displays the Change Working Time dialog as seen in earlier steps.
  3. Click the Work Weeks tab.
  4. In the first blank line of Name column, enter a name for the schedule change and then press the Right-Arrow key.
  5. Enter the starting date of the schedule change in the Start field and enter the ending date in the Finish field.
  6. Click the Details button.
  7. Enter the working time for each day of the week in the selected time period.
  8. Click the OK button to close the Details dialog.

Entering Cost Information

In the Resource Information dialog, click the Costs tab to view the cost rates for the selected resource, as shown in Figure 3-2. The Costs page displays the Standard Rate, Overtime Rate, and Per Use Costs for the selected resource. In addition, this page also contains five Cost Rate tables labeled A through E. Cost Rate Table A contains the default rates you entered in the Resource Sheet view for Standard, Overtime, and Per Use Cost rates. You can use Cost Rate Tables B through E for alternate cost rates. You can set any of the rates on the Cost Rate Tables A through E so that the rate changes on a given day.

Figure 3-2


 

As a part of your organization’s project-cost model, you may need to change cost rates on a specific date for a selected resource. For example, on January 1, 2008, the Standard and Overtime Rates increase for a specific user due to a change in seniority. To define a new cost rate that begins on a specific date, enter the date in the Effective Date field on the first blank line of the data grid and then enter the new rates on the same line.

Entering Resource Notes

Click the Notes tab in the Resource Information dialog to record additional information about the selected resource such as changes in availability and notes about how to use the rates in the alternate Cost Rate Tables. Figure 3-3 shows the Notes page.

Figure 3-3

 


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