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Managing resources in a matrixed organization for future projects

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  • #402352 Reply
    Earl Wojciechowski

    I have just started in a matrixed project management/portfolio management role. There are existing projects in progress and a backlog of projects. Having matrixed staff is causing challenges in trying to track staffing shortages. Each of the projects has a “Notional” staffing assigned. This notional staffing represents what the team believes it needs to complete the project. The staff are in three general unique groups. I need to be able to track and report the differences between what the projected staffing model is against what the actual current staffing model is.

    I am looking for suggestions as to how to track this delta in staffing.

    I am thinking that possibly using two resource fields, one for projected and the other for actual and then running some type of macro of report to do the calculations. Still need to account for which group they fall into. Not sure if the group attribute would work within this model.

    Again, appreciate any help.

    #402353 Reply
    Larry Christofaro

    Earl, I’m not sure what a resource field will do for you as it is tied to the resource (not the project) and not time phased. I might suggest two ways of tracking both the notional (original) staffing (estimates) to current. The first obvious that comes to mind is the baseline. That is designed as the original plan. If that’s too complicated or the project isn’t in a schedule at the time, you should take a look at Resource Plans (or Resource Engagements if you are using Project Online). This is designed as a higher, project level staffing requirement for a project. Hope that helps…

    #402357 Reply
    Earl Wojciechowski

    thanks for the quick response. I may not have clearly identified the challenge.

    The environment is currently using Project 2013. No Project server in the environment. No plans to move to Project 2016 or a cloud environment.

    When the plan is initially built the types of staff required are known but not the specific individuals, it identifies that the following total resources are required:
    Software developers: 5 FTE
    Data base administrators: 2 FTE
    System Engineers: 3 FTE

    Each task may have multiple different types of resources assigned from above.

    when the project actually starts and individuals are starting to be assigned, need to know what type of resource they are (i.e. developers, database admin, system engineer) and need to maintain what the original staffing plan was. Additionally need to report on staffing shortages, ie planned for 5 software developers but only 2 are currently assigned.

    Also would like to be able to present a staffing plan over time.

    The above is for a single project, now need to do this for a portfolio of projects, how does this change the solution?

    I am unclear as to how using the baseline feature is going to help manage the above scenarios.

    I am not familiar with the resource plans, is this a feature within Project that requires Project Server or can it be used with

    #402358 Reply
    Larry Christofaro

    Earl, sorry for the misinterpretation but that helps a lot. From what you provided I still believe that the baseline is your best option. You may want to create a single task at the front of your project to house the initial resource assignments. Assign the generic, role based resources and then baseline your project. That identifies the dates and expected utilization for each resource type. You can then zero out the work for this task/those resources and begin scheduling your project. You can also create a resource custom field for role to identify and map your generic and named resources together. That’s one option but from your initial requirements seems like a good option.

    Now expanding that to your portfolio depends a lot on the number of projects, but here you go. Create a shared resource pool and assign resources to projects using that shared resource pool. That allows you to share resource demand across multiple projects. Details are too complex for a forum question but there are lots of blogs and articles that show you how and identify the considerations.

    Last note, as you get more than 10-15+ project or 25-30+ resources it can become quite a challenge pretty quickly. It can also introduce corruption if not done correctly. At some point it becomes a job for Project Online/Server. Hope that helps…

    #402359 Reply

    Here’s another thought. There are several different types of resources available. Enterprise (if you are using server which you’re not), local, and generic. You might be able to use this resource type field to your advantage. For example, in our company, we used generic resources as placeholder resource assignments. So we would have a generic resource named C# Developer or Tester. We used these generic types of resources when we built the initial schedule. We then replace these resources with the real resources assigned (the local resources in your case) as the people are assigned. You can do this replace function in the Assign Resources window and it’s pretty slick. Reporting now may be as simple as looking at the resource type field to designate if it’s a real assigned person or a role/placeholder resource. This model not only allows you to see what’s needed in the project, but you can also drill into the schedule and see when they are needed, how many hours per week, and how long they are required. You can do this using a Resource Usage type view grouped by the resource type.

    #402360 Reply
    Larry Christofaro

    Got thinking some more. You might want to consider using Budget resources for the initial staffing assignment. This is a special resource type that is assigned directly to the project summary task and represents project level budgets. You will need to create the necessary custom fields to map this to your named resources. The advantage to this is that it doesn’t affect the schedule resources or the normal work/costs fields. Just a thought…

    #402625 Reply
    Earl Wojciechowski

    Thanks to Larry and Daryl. I will spend some time doing some further research on both your solutions.
    Daryl, I have used your approach in the past but applied to a single project, not a portfolio. Need to play around to see if this will work.

    Larry, never heard of budget resource, and definitely need to explore.

    Again, thank you both for the help.

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