Managing Resources with Project Server 2016 / Project Online

For resource managers, line or department managers and their support staff that use Project Web App (PWA in Project Server) or Project Online

About this Course
This 2-day course prepares resource managers to manage their resources effectively in a Project Server or Project Online environment: Many organizations have an opportunity to improve resource management within their organization. The course is a hands-on workshop in which participants will work with a real database of projects of a virtual organization. Participants will do hands-on exercises.

Each participant will receive a copy of the course manual and an electronic certificate with PDUs upon completion.

Learning Objectives
After this course, you will:

  • Be aware of the main areas of resource management: Resource Capacity Planning, Resource Demand Management, Resource Balancing, Resource Allocation, Resource Usage Optimization, and Workload Leveling
  • Know business processes for allocating resources in a pure functional organization, matrix or pure project organization
  • Be able to determine a target resource capacity for the longer term (Resource Capacity Planning) or adjust the demand for resources to stay within their capacity (Demand Management / Workload Leveling)
  • Be able to monitor resource workloads and resolve over-allocations (Resource Leveling) in an enterprise resource pool
  • Be able to optimize the resource usage on the short term by optimizing the use of critical resources or by substituting resources
  • Know how to collect and monitor administrative and maintenance hours
  • Be able to capture individual resource vacations in the enterprise resource pool
In this course, we will focus on how organizations can improve their resource management with Microsoft PPM-applications. In our experience, resource management can often be improved by proper planning of the desired resource capacity, adjusting the demand for resources in projects, maximizing the utilization of resources and the equal spread of workload across resources. There are many other aspects of resource management (job satisfaction, motivation, team dynamics, remuneration etc.) that are outside the scope of this course.
    Course Topics
    Resource management consists of:
    • Resource Capacity Planning: Determining the right number of resources by role for the organization to address fluctuating demand on the long term
    • Resource Demand Management: Determining the right start date for each project in such a way that the demand for resources does not exceed the resource capacity fixed in the medium term (a.k.a. 'staggering' projects).
    • Resource Balancing: Finding out what the ideal composition of the project or program team is in terms of number of FTEs in each role based on the schedule at hand
    • Resource Allocation: Finding the right resources for all projects in the portfolio and authorizing the project managers to use them
    • Resource Usage Optimization: Maximizing the workload of resources within their capacity on the short term
    • Resource Workload Leveling: Keeping the total workloads across all projects (and operations) within the capacity of (generic or actual) resources
    These topics will be elaborated below.

      Resource Capacity Planning

          If you do the capacity planning well (proactive), you will have little workload leveling to do (reactive).
          The importance of using Team Assignment Pools as generic resources, because they have zero capacity by default.
            Modeling different resource availabilities in the Enterprise Resource Pool:
            • Temporary and varying availability
            • Part-time and full-time
            • Compressed workweeks: 4-40 workweek or 9-80 workweek
            • Overtime
            • Consolidated resources
            Questions for resource capacity planning
            • Plan the capacity for: project work and/or operations (ongoing) and/or administrative (personal time)?
            • Typically, the resource capacity is flexible on the longer term, but fixed on the short term (constraint): for how many weeks/months from now is the resource capacity fixed for your organization?
            • Monitoring all resources or only critical resources?
            • Using resource engagements or template schedules with generic resources to model resources needed (resource demand)? Pro's and con's
            • Do your resources have one (primary) role or multiple roles? Business processes for both situations.
            Strategies for resource capacity management:
              • Adjust the resource capacity to the demand (resource capacity planning): the goal is to find the optimum resource capacity given projected workloads. Resources will be hired or trained to adjust the capacity, which takes time.
              • Adjust the resource demand to the capacity (resource demand management / workload leveling): the goal is determine the start date for each project to level workloads on the short term given a certain resource capacity. Projects and tasks will be delayed to fit in the capacity.
              • Combination of both resource capacity planning and demand management (workload leveling): For many organizations, the resource capacity is fixed in the next 0-3 months ahead and flexible in the next 3-6 months ahead, which requires a combination of capacity planning AND demand management. 
                How to Perform Resource Capacity Planning?
                  • How to create a headcount report with number of resources available in each role (capacity by role) versus needed by department or region
                  • Determine the most critical resource (skill) for the 3-6 month time frame. Decide if you should hire or train more people in these critical skills, or if you need to trim non-critical resources to balance the organization.

                  Resource Demand Management

                  Staggering the projects in such a way that the demand for resources does not exceed the resource capacity that is fixed in the medium term.

                  On the medium term (typically between 0 and 4 months projected into the future), the resource capacity is fixed and cannot be adjusted. What you can do is delay the start of projects (stagger) in such a way that the demand for resources does not exceed the fixed capacity.

                  Resource Balancing

                • Resource balancing for program managers is finding out what the ideal composition is of their team in terms of number of FTEs in each role: e.g. should a program manager in a software development program have 3 system analysts, 8 developers and 4 testers or 2, 7 and 5 respectively? What composition leads to the earliest completion of the program and the highest resource usage?
                • Resource Balancing requires you to have (generic) resource roles in your shared pool and assigned to the activities in the program. 
                  • Resource Allocation
                      • Making an inventory of the human resources of your organization:
                        • What skillsets (roles) are available?
                        • What levels of competency do your resources have in these roles?
                        • What diplomas or certificates are relevant?
                        • What work experience is unique in your organization and relevant for finding the right resource?
                        • How many people are available in each role?
                      • What type of organization are you in: pure functional, matrix or pure project organization?
                      • Resource allocation processes for each type of organization
                      • Using Resource Engagements and/or (template) schedules to capture the need for resources by proposed project
                      • Important decision upfront: Allow project managers to over-allocate resources (reactive workload leveling) or not (proactive workload leveling) when they plan their project?
                      • Matching human resources with resource needs: skillsets (roles) and/or availability.
                      • Different ways to check if the resource has the right skillset and the right availability.
                      • Resource Usage Optimization
                        • Calculating resource utilization and improving it:
                          • Formula to calculate the resource utilization
                          • Creating a resource utilization pivot table by role, by department or by region (in Excel or in PowerBI)
                          Improving resource utilization in the 0-3 month time frame:
                            • Principle: Re-assigning the best-resources to the most-critical tasks
                            • Resource Substitution: Manual resource substitution or Automatic resource substitution: ins and outs
                            • Optimizing the Most-Critical Resources (see next)
                            Optimizing the Most-Critical Resources
                            • Theory of constraints: the critical resource determines the throughput capacity of (a subset of) the organization
                            • Having limited resources and the importance of ranking all projects and programs
                            • Determine the most-critical resource for the 0-3 month time frame (fixed resource capacity) and explore how to maximize throughput on this resource:
                              • Are the Most-critical resources the best resources within their skill category? If not, re-assign work from the most-critical resources to the best resources (adjust estimates?).
                              • Are the most-critical resources multi-tasked or single-tasked? Multi-tasking (part-time assignments) is known to be less productive than single-tasking (full-time assignments).
                              • Will you make these most-critical resources king-of-their-team while they are the most-critical resource? Give the most-critical resource the King’s crown so that all team members recognize who is the most-critical resource and help him/her.
                              • Do the most-critical resources manage their valuable time well:
                                • Do they use disruption-avoidance techniques well?
                                • Do they use concentration-enhancement techniques?
                                • Do they not worry unnecessarily?
                                • Do they use their most productive hours (morning / afternoon / evening) on the most-critical tasks?
                                • Do they not tire themselves out unnecessarily?
                                • Do they work regularly rather than in spurts?
                                • Do they strive for perfection rather than good-enough?

                            Resource Workload Leveling

                            Proactive workload leveling with Microsoft Project or PWA:
                            • Leveling workloads in project portfolios(staggering projects) using Portfolio Analyses in PWA to ensure that authorized projects will have access to the resources they need.
                            • Never allowing project managers to create over-allocations in the first place in Microsoft Project (without talking to the manager/owner of the resources to be over-allocated)
                            Reactive workload leveling with Microsoft Project:
                              • Automatic leveling
                                • What the scheduling engine can and cannot do for you?
                                • Quantifying the time risk caused by over-allocations in a portfolio: what is the minimum and maximum time needed?
                                • Level workloads across many projects using project Priority numbers in temporary master schedules
                                • Leveling options: exclusions, priority numbers, time frame
                                • Checking the results; are there over-allocations left? Why?
                              • Manual leveling
                                  • 15 ways to level workloads
                                  • When delaying tasks: Using Free Slack or Total Slack?
                                  • Improving the Resource Allocation View with Free Slack and Total Slack lines