Join Bonnie Biafore for an in-depth discussion in this video Developing a project resource plan, part of Managing Resource-Constrained Projects with Microsoft Project.
- Your management team wants to see whether the company has enough people to work on the House Remodel project. In Project, you can build a resource plan using generic resources to show resource requirements by skill set. Let's head to the Resource Sheet view for this project. On the View tab, in the Resource View section, there's Resource Sheet. Go ahead and click that. This shows all the resources in the project file and it includes named resources, specific people, as well as generic resources, like "Carpenter." I'm going to double-click the "Carpenter" resource.
That opens up the resource in the Resource Information dialogue box. Take a look at the right side of the screen. There's a check box labelled "Generic" and it's turned on. That means that this is a generic resource and it's named for the skill set that it represents. Go ahead and click OK. In the Indicators column, there's an icon and it looks like two heads in profile. When I point at it, it says "Generic Resource." That icon tells you which of the resources are generic and there are several in this project.
The other thing to pay attention to is the Max unit cell. The "Carpenter" resource is set to 300%. That represents three full-time carpenters that the company has. Now let's head back to the Gantt chart. We're going to assign some generic resources to tasks. I'm going to click the top half of the Gantt chart button. The other thing I'm going to do is turn on the task form in the Details pane. In the Split View section of the View tab, turn on the Details check box and Project automatically displays the task form.
Let's start with the task "Remove fixtures and cabinets." Select it in the Gantt chart and it shows up in the Details pane in the Task form. I'm going to assign the crew to this task. In the Task form, you can select the first blank resource name cell. When you do that, a down arrow appears. Click it and find the "Crew" resource. When you choose it in the drop-down list, you've got that resource assigned. I want two people working on this task.
While I used the resource name "Crew," what I do though, is in the unit cell, I'm going to type 200. Project's going to make that 200%, which represents two full-time workers. Well, what do you think is going to happen when I click OK? That's right, Project automatically takes the two day duration, the 200% units. So I've got two people working full-time for two days. That's eight hours a day for each person for a grand total of 32 hours of work and Project calculates that and fills it in in the work cell.
Now that we have the crew assigned to this first task, it's really easy to assign them to the next two. I'm going to select the resource name cell where it says crew and then in brackets, 200%. Let me drag this vertical divider over to the right just a little bit so I can see this green rectangle down at the bottom right corner. When I point at that, the cursor changes to a plus sign and that's my indication that I can just drag over the next two resource name cells.
And just that fast, assign two people from the crew to the next two tasks. Now we're going to jump down to the task to excavate the foundation. I'm going to do this assignment right in this table. I click the resource name cell in that row and then click the down arrow. I find the resource that I want. It's the generic resource "Site Excavation Contractor." Go ahead and turn on the check box and press Enter. That's all it takes to assign that resource at 100%.
I'm also going to assign the same resource to "Backfill foundation," task 10. In this case, I'm going to use Control+C to copy the value from the selected cell and then come down, select the resource name cell for "Backfill foundation" and, you guessed it, Control+V copies it in. Finally, let's add a resource to "Build Foundation." I select that row and I'm going to use the Task Form again. When I select it, that task shows up down in the Task Form.
I can head down to the first blank resource name cell. I'm going to use "Carpenter." I start to type in the name and Project selects that generic resource. Now I can head right to the unit cell because I want two carpenters on this task. Just like we did before, I type in 200 for 200% and click OK. Project takes the three day duration, 200% units and calculates the work to be 48 hours. At this point, I'm going to open up another file that has generic resources assigned to all the tasks in the project.
Head over to the File tab and click Open. Now I'm going to go to my Computer and in the list, select Desktop because I have the exercise files on the Desktop. I'm going to go to the subfolder for Chapter one and the file that I want is Home_remodel_01_01_resourceplan. Select the name and click Open. If you scroll down the task list, you'll see that all of the work tasks in this project have generic resources in the resource names column.
Well, let's go ahead and create a view to look at our resource work loads. I'm going to start by going to the Resource Usage view. On the View tab, in the Resource View section, just click Resource Usage. That shows all the assignments for each of the resources in the project. I'm going to make some customizations to the view, so I want to save this with a new name before I do anything else. To do that, click any of the down arrows on the View tab and choose Save View.
In the Save View dialogue box, I'm going to type the name "Resource Plan" then click OK. I know I'm looking at the Resource Plan view because the name shows up on the left side of the screen. Now let's start making some changes to this view. The first thing I want to do is I want to filter it to only show the generic resources. Here's one way to do that. In the table in the view, right click in the heading area and choose "Insert Column." Start to type "Generic" and pretty soon you'll see just that one field.
Go ahead and click it and now you have the generic column in the table. That makes it really easy to filter. Just click the down arrow to the right of the label "Generic." In the drop-down menu, turn off "Select all" and turn on just the "yes" check box. When you click OK, it only shows the resources that are generic. I also want to collapse it so all I see are the names of the generic resources. I don't need to see all of the assignments.
Well here's how you do that. Head up to the top left corner of the table. This is called the Select All cell. If you click it, it selects all the cells in the table. Well now that you selected the entire table, you can go to the outline button in the View tab and say "Hide Subtasks." Now I have a row for each of my generic resources. One last thing, I want to see my entire project all at the same time.
I'm going to change the timescale from days to weeks. On the view tab, over in the Zoom section, there's a Timescale label. Click the down arrow and change it from Days to Weeks. There's my short project. It's only a few weeks long. To get a better look at the work loads, I'm going to add the Resource Graph to the Details pane. In the Split View section, turn on the Details check box. Initially, the Resource Form appears.
I'm gong to click the down arrow next to Details and choose Resource Graph instead. Now, when I select a resource up in the top half of the view in the Resource Plan, like "Carpenter" here, the Resource Graph in the Details pane shows the work load for that resource. Well, the work load for the Carpenter generic resource isn't too bad. The first three weeks are fine. If you look at this view, the black horizontal line represents the availability for the carpenter resource.
It's 300%, so the first three weeks are great. It's that fourth week where there's some over allocation going on. The good news is, it's only for that one week so it's not too bad. Now if I go up and click "Crew" in the Resource Plan in the top half, the Resource Graph shows the work load for the crew. The crew has a little bit of over allocation in the first week, but then the rest of the project, it's fine. Notice that the "Carpenter" and "Crew" resources are in red bold text.
That means that they're over allocated. Also, we've got the over allocation indicators in the indicators column. Fortunately, none of the other generic resources are over allocated. Despite a couple of over allocations, the initial resource plan looks feasible. So let's go ahead and jump back to the Gantt chart. That's how you use generic resources to develop a Resource Plan. In other movies, you'll see how to replace generic resources with named resources.
and handle over allocations.
Taught by expert project manager Bonnie Biafore, this course first shows how to create a resource plan to see if a project is feasible given the available resources. Then learn how to schedule project resources, assign them to tasks, check for overallocations, and resolve issues with techniques like substituting resources and extending and delaying tasks. Once the plan is established and work is ready to start, Bonnie shows how to execute the schedule by setting a baseline, entering actuals for the project, and recording overtime.
Note: This course was designed in collaboration with author John Riopel.
Lynda.com is a PMI Registered Education Provider. This course qualifies for professional development units (PDUs). To view the activity and PDU details for this course, click here.
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- Developing a project resource plan
- Replacing and substituting resources
- Tracking down overallocations
- Assigning contractors to offload work
- Adding resources
- Leveling resources
- Recording project progress
- Assigning overtime