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Reply To: MS Project: Appropriate for Non-project Work (Business Process or Operations Management)?

Home Forums Discussion MS Project: Appropriate for Non-project Work (Business Process or Operations Management)? Reply To: MS Project: Appropriate for Non-project Work (Business Process or Operations Management)?

Daryl Deffler

Resource management involves both managing demand and tracking actual work. I worked in an environment that required both and we managed to establish that environment within MS Project using the following concepts.

Operational work, day to day repetitive functions are not projects, as noted in an earlier post. However we used MS Project to forecast operational demand, project availability, and project demand along with actual work applied to both project and operational work. To do this, we;

Established operational work project schedules by group/department, etc. These schedules;
* Identified operational tasks that each groups management wanted to track. Meaning tasks based on the functions of their operational group. For example, Dept A which was App Support might want internal/external customer support hours tracked separately while Dept B which is internal PC Desktop support might want hours tracked by each internal Department.
* Established year long demand for each resource’s expected operational support hours. Ex: Bob was expected to spend 75% of his time on operational work and be available 25% for project work. In the operational schedule in which Bob was assigned, he would be allocated to a task that would forecast and show he was scheduled for 30hrs per week (75%). If Joe in the same group was not available for project work, Joe would be allocated 100% future demand on just operational tasks.
* Resources in each Department were then assigned to the appropriate tasks for weekly time entry
* When time was entered, Bob selected the task to assign actual hours (from those tasks identified by his management)

We also established individual project schedules for each approved/unique project.
* Project resources were assigned to project tasks not to exceed a percentage value provided by their resource manager. For example, Bob would be assigned to tasks no more than 25%

From a resource demand/forecasting/allocation perspective, this Operational/Project structure allowed Bob for example to be seen with future allocation already set to 75% and 25% availability to projects.
From a resource utilization perspective, actual hours entered in both operational and project plans could be used to determine where operational hours were going, the reality of operational hours vs. project hours and so on.

Its not an easy effort to establish this type of an environment, but it can be done. And it will take identified resources with MS Project skills and access to maintain (specifically the operational side).

And, as with anything in MS Project, the resulting data is only as good as the level of accuracy applied by the actual resources entering time sheets.

So this was not a detailed how to, but just a high level concept of how it can be done and how my prior organization accomplished it.

Hope that helps.