In Project Management, resources are typically your people, equipment, and materials. Most commonly, and for the purposes of this article, we’ll focus on people. But we see many of the same principles used for equipment as well.

This is also the topic of our next free webinar.  It’ll be on Thursday, February 19th, from 2:00 to 2:30 PM (EST).  Click here to learn more and RSVP.

Many companies face the challenge of trying to determine who’s doing what, who’s got too much on their plate, who’s got some extra time to take on more work, etc. Having resources allocated to multiple projects does make it more difficult to manually track their utilization, but MS Project and Project Web App make it very easy!

Once your project schedules have been created, and resources have been assigned to tasks, you can start managing resource allocation and availability in MS Project and Project Web App. Microsoft Project offers standard reports showing resources information such as the Resource Status report below. This report shows when resources are scheduled to start and finish their tasks, and how much remaining work they have yet to do at any given point in time.

There are several different types of resources available to meet your needs:

  1. Individual Resources: an individual person, such as Bob Coppedge, or Patti Smerk
    1. These can be local to one project, or part of an Enterprise Pool, where resource management is more centralized. Project Managers can just access the pool and select who will be on their team, rather than re-entering resources over and over for difference projects.
    2. Generic Resources: Resources by job role or skillset, such as Accountant, Programmer, Electrician etc. These are used for planning purposes when an individual resource cannot be identified.
    3. Team Resources: Tasks can be assigned to a team such as Quality Assurance or Cleveland Testers, and then resources from that team can take the initiative to go claim a task and assign it to themselves.

For the most part, resource management is far more robust when using Enterprise Resources. Not only does it give the Project Manager visibility in to who’s doing what, but it also holds resources more accountable when tasks are assigned to a specific person.

In Project Web Access, there are many views and reports that help the team member (aka resource) as well as the Project Manager.  There’s a great Tasks view that shows a resource all the tasks they have been assigned from all projects. So from a resource or team member perspective, it’s easy to manage tasks across multiple projects, it’s almost like a personal dashboard or to do list for them.

Project Web App also has views to assist Project Managers in Resource Planning. The Resource Assignments view shows each resource’s project assignments, making it easier to identify over or under tasked resources:

The Assignment Resource by Project report is another nice report in PWA showing how much work is assigned by each project. This one is great for analyzing project work across an entire portfolio.

The next Project Management Webinar will be on February 19th at 2:00. We’ll talk specifically about Resources and all the great information you can easily get from having a good Resource Plan in place.