Multiple Projects and Resource Management

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      Leah Roedler

      Hello – I’m trying to use MS Project 2016 to plan and manage multiple projects simultaneously in order to accurately predict resource availability and I’m not sure if this software can be used the way I need it to. While I am very familiar with project management principles and practices, I am not overly familiar with MS Project. I recently completed MS Project 2016 basic and advanced training through Udemy. Unfortunately, I still have very little experience with the software and I can’t figure how or if MS project can do what I need it to do.

      I am a facilitator and manage and deliver projects to multiple clients at the same time. The project plans for each of these projects are very similar if not identical (basic plan below). Project durations per client vary between 40 hours – 100 hours or more depending on the type of services I will provide to each client. Project timelines from the time the project is assigned to when the project is closed can be 2-3 months. I am trying to develop a way within MS Project to plan and manage my projects as well as forecast my time. My normal work week is 7.25 hour day Monday-Friday; however, the nature of my work means that often the service delivery phase can occur outside of normal hours (evenings and weekends) at overtime rates. My first few attempts and setting this up are not working as I need to be able to track each task in hours not days and I can’t seem to figure out how to make start/finish work with duration and. I do not need MS project to track costs at all. My focus is only on resource allocation and availability.

      What I am trying to with MS Project is to plan and manage all of my projects so that I can
      a) have data to assess variance based on planned vs actuals,
      b) estimate overtime required (hours not costs)
      c) be able to quickly and accurately determine my availability to take on additional projects.

      Typical project phases/tasks
      Phase 1: Preliminary planning and design
      a) scope project
      b) develop a preliminary service plan
      c) approval from my manager

      Phase 2: Detailed project design (for in-person services and/or coaching)
      a) detailed assessment and diagnosis of issues and challenges
      b) detailed agenda and process design
      c) preparation for in-person service delivery or coaching

      Phase 3: Delivery of services – (in-person services and/or coaching)
      a) deliver services in-person
      b) deliver services through coaching

      Phase 4: Follow-up
      a) post-session summary report
      b) client debrief
      c) evaluation

      Travel time – I need to factor in all travel time related to the project

      Project Management and Project close out processes
      a) post-project analysis
      b) project close out in our internal database.

      Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions on if and how I can do what I’m trying to do with MS project?

      Thanks – Leah

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