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Use of Generic Resources RRS feed

  • Question

  • I think I'm in a chicken and an egg scenario.....maybe someone can set me straight.

    I'm working with a SW Development team that wants to deploy MS Project Server 2010, using MS Project Pro 2010.

    As part of the planning phase (not using the proposal feature) the PM's will build their schedules but only have access to Enterprise Generic resources that we have built.  The generic resources are built by role and expertise (i.e. DBA I, DBA II, Java I, Java III, etc). 

    The thought being that the resource manager will review the SW development demand via the generic resources and determine which real resource has the availability to work on the project.

    Here is where I'm a bit confused:

    Fact - There could be many projects in this planning phase at the same time. 

    Scenario 1 - Some of the PM's like to use the Auto-Schedule feature.  When the PM's builds a schedule using the Auto-Schedule feature, I assume MS Project Pro 2010, will look to see when the resources are available to determine when a task(s) can be completed.  Therefore, when the PM has completed the planning phase of the project with generic resources, the delivery dates of the tasks are taking into account when this generic resource is available.  Hence sending a mis-leading time requirements to the resource manager.

    Scenario 2 - Some of the PM's like to use the Manually Schedule feature.  So as the PM(s) are building tasks, in order to provide an end date on a task there are providing a duration.  Some PM's anticipate resources having different priorities, hence making a 20 hr task with a duration of 5 days.  To me that is also sending out incorrect to data to the resource manager. 

    I would expect the resource manager to review what the raw demand for the SW development projects and tell the PM's that Joe Jones' (DBA - II) availability is 40% for the next 2 months and 70% for the following 2 months.  Then the PM can replace generic resource DBA II with Joe Jones (and his limited availability) to determine when the project delivery date.

    Does that make sense?  How do we get raw demand that does not take into account generic resource schedules?

    Thursday, June 6, 2013 5:38 PM

Answers

  • Hi,

    Not the entire answer but something that may already help you. The Autoschedule feature of Project does not natively take maximum availability of resources into account (you would have to activate another function clled Rsource Leveling). And in a project server environment, the Resource manager can set the availability of the generic resources thus steering the calculations by the PM.

    But of course whatever the feature you need some disciplin from the PMs. What they like to use cannot be the ultimate rule, you have to publish some basic rules that they must follow. I know that in some companies unrestrained creativity is deified, and disciplin is a four-letter word, but you cannot decently use EPM without some strict rules.

    Greetings,

    Thursday, June 6, 2013 8:25 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi there. I see 2 options:
    1- wether you set your generic resources as "proposed" in the booking type, when assigning tasks. Hence this load will not show in the other projects.
    2- more accurate, and that's we have done here in our competence centres, we defined generic resources also by skills, but putting a max unit reflecting real teams (eg: 600% for a team of 6 guys) We have added to the name the location as well, cause our PM's know location where the job is done. Then when resource manager will replace generic resources with real ones, he needs to select 6 guys and replace his team. Benefit is that you take in account real workload of the teams.... By the way and to be more precise: for holidays, instead of using calendars exceptions, we create a dummy project and add 1day of task assigned to the user, from an extraction of our holidays system. As this, there is no shift applied to the project but the resource is showing as overloaded during holidays... Hope this helps
    Jeff

    Thursday, June 6, 2013 9:46 PM

All replies

  • Hi,

    Not the entire answer but something that may already help you. The Autoschedule feature of Project does not natively take maximum availability of resources into account (you would have to activate another function clled Rsource Leveling). And in a project server environment, the Resource manager can set the availability of the generic resources thus steering the calculations by the PM.

    But of course whatever the feature you need some disciplin from the PMs. What they like to use cannot be the ultimate rule, you have to publish some basic rules that they must follow. I know that in some companies unrestrained creativity is deified, and disciplin is a four-letter word, but you cannot decently use EPM without some strict rules.

    Greetings,

    Thursday, June 6, 2013 8:25 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi there. I see 2 options:
    1- wether you set your generic resources as "proposed" in the booking type, when assigning tasks. Hence this load will not show in the other projects.
    2- more accurate, and that's we have done here in our competence centres, we defined generic resources also by skills, but putting a max unit reflecting real teams (eg: 600% for a team of 6 guys) We have added to the name the location as well, cause our PM's know location where the job is done. Then when resource manager will replace generic resources with real ones, he needs to select 6 guys and replace his team. Benefit is that you take in account real workload of the teams.... By the way and to be more precise: for holidays, instead of using calendars exceptions, we create a dummy project and add 1day of task assigned to the user, from an extraction of our holidays system. As this, there is no shift applied to the project but the resource is showing as overloaded during holidays... Hope this helps
    Jeff

    Thursday, June 6, 2013 9:46 PM
  • Hello Jan,

    I wasn't sure if Autoschedule would initial try to find the best fit from a resource availabiltiy standpoint.  I did some tests and I do see that it does assign tasks to resources despite the resource being over-allocated.  Auto-Schedule for me is just such a bear sometimes to comprehend what it makes certain decisions. 

    Without a doubt; rules will need to be implemented....but I was trying to minimize these rules since this has been a top down directive to implement MS Project Server.

    Thank you for your response.

    Friday, June 7, 2013 2:44 PM
  • Jeff,

    I took your first recommendation and changed the booking type to "proposed".  I was afraid that was going to alter the way the resource manager uses PWA to check for availability ...... but surprise, it had no impact....it's difficult for me to assess if the future schedules will ignore the generic resource workload.  I'm still testing....in fact I don't see where the 'proposed' booking type is having any effect.  I will continue investigating that as well. 

    Can i ask you this, why are you the projects to manage holidays?  Do you have resources in mutiple countries?  What are you using the calendar exceptions to help with vacation time or any other non-working time?

    Thanks again for your response.

    Friday, June 7, 2013 2:51 PM
  • Hi,

    I have to quote myself by copy-paste because visibly you dod not read (or not believe) the following:

    "The Autoschedule feature of Project does not natively take maximum availability of resources into account (you would have to activate another function called Resource Leveling)"

    This implies what you "found out":

    it does assign tasks to resources despite the resource being over-allocated.

    It doesn't make ANY decision regarding resource over(allocation)! NONE at all.

    I know what we call resource leveling is called autoschedule in some other products but this is MS project with its own vocabulary.

    Greetings,

    Friday, June 7, 2013 7:25 PM
    Moderator
  • Jeff,

    I took your first recommendation and changed the booking type to "proposed".  I was afraid that was going to alter the way the resource manager uses PWA to check for availability ...... but surprise, it had no impact....it's difficult for me to assess if the future schedules will ignore the generic resource workload.  I'm still testing....in fact I don't see where the 'proposed' booking type is having any effect.  I will continue investigating that as well. 

    Can i ask you this, why are you the projects to manage holidays?  Do you have resources in mutiple countries?  What are you using the calendar exceptions to help with vacation time or any other non-working time?

    Thanks again for your response.

    1- impacts of setting resources to Proposed are:

    - Resources are not notified for a new allocation

    - Assignment is not taken in account in the global workload (as considered just as a proposal, not actual assignment

    - But this is just a temp solution, as resource manager will never see any allocation on the project where resources are assigned.

    2- about using a dedicated project for holidays: we have about 10 000 resources in +50 countries, and and in general, when a guy is in holidays, his job is done by someone else; then if we use exceptions in their calendars, there is automatically an impact on the plan schedule (the task assigned to the "tourist" is postponed, eventually changed into a hammoc task, during his holidays. When yuo use deliverables & dependencies, your can imagine the mess in the project.

    By using a dummy holidays project, the holidays are turned simply into an allocation, so a resource manager will interpret it as a unavailability (even if using leveling) and he has to check with the guy, or envetually reassign the task to someone else.

    Moreover, we are using several systems of holidays management (PeopleSoft, home made...) and integration is not so cool; thus we uniformed extracts (in flat files or web services) and aggregated it with PSI into an auto-updated project that is kept up to date: identification of the resources is done through their unique ID from our Active Directory, present in EPM as a custom field and in all the systems.

    Hoping I have been clear enough :)

    Bye

    Saturday, June 8, 2013 9:51 AM