Resource Plans – How to use them with a rolling project plan


As discussed in my previous post EPM2007 allows for some new scenarios regarding resource management. This blog discusses using a resource plan in conjunction with a full blown project plan (termed an Enterprise Project), which enables us to perform rolling plan management. For the purposes of this blog I have defined an Enterprise Project as one which is edited in Project Professional 2007. Also, you need to read the previous blog in order to understand this one.

1st, a couple of definitions:-

Rolling Project Plan – one that never finishes, e.g. maintenance plans on a plant, painting the Forth Rail Bridge etc.

Planning horizon – the number of weeks or months that an organisation creates detailed plans for. Beyond the planning horizon plans need further refinement.

Horizon Date – the end date of the planning horizon.

Let’s assume our planning horizon is 6 weeks, and we re plan on a weekly basis. We’ll start with a new Enterprise Project, which is as good a way as any, though of course, you could have started with a proposal or activity and then converted it to an Enterprise Project.

Step 1 is to create our project plan and assign resources from the Enterprise Resource pool in the normal way.

Figure 1 – Tasks 1-10 are well defined with estimates and assignments. I have not yet defined Phases 3-6 as they are beyond my 6 week planning horizon.

I’ve planned for the next 6 weeks, with assignments, but I haven’t planned in detail beyond that, except to place some placeholders in the project for Phases 3-6, which I expect to take 3 weeks each. Note also I’ve not placed any dependencies on these phases, this is just personal preference and if I was to do so I would need to remove them at a later date as they will become summary tasks.

If we have a look at the resource availability for our resource for the next 8 full weeks starting from this week we see the following screen shot. This nicely shows the demand for the 6 weeks we have planned in detail.

Figure 2 – the assignments from the Enterprise Project are nicely shown.

Now, we know that we’ll need some more of Brian Johnson’s time for Phases 3-6, but because I haven’t planned those tasks in detail yet I’ve haven’t got anywhere to place the assignments. I could of course (and this is how I would have had to do this in MSP2003), create some “holding” tasks and create assignments against them. However, if I wanted to have multiple resources assigned to a task, and have some of them allocated at less than 100%, then in order to reserve their time correctly, I’d have to create one task for each assignment and then change task the resource units in order to show the time properly. In addition, these tasks would be automatically scheduled… – argh, way too much trouble!

So, step 2 is to create a Resource Plan to create the demand for the resources for the period beyond our planning horizon, currently for the period after 3/31/07.

Within the Project Center, select the project plan. Mine is called Rolling Plan

Figure 3 – Highlight the required plan and click on Resource Plan to create or edit the resource plan for the project

Click on Build Team to select the resources for the resource plan.

Figure 4 – Click on build team to assign enterprise resources to the Resource Plan

I still want Brian Johnson to work on the plan, but I’m slowly going to decrease his work over the next 4 phases and replace him with David Ahs, who will have a corresponding increase in work. So I select both resources in the team builder menu….

Figure 5 – Select the resources and add them to the team

and add both resources to the Resource Plan. Next, I change the date range to suit so I can plan for so many weeks ahead. The key field here is the Calculate resource utilization from: and here you need to select Project plan until: and then in the calendar field, type in the horizon date. What we are now telling the system is this; Use the assignments from the project plan until the horizon date, and there after, use the resource plan.

Figure 6 – The current planning horizon date is 3/31/2007 and the resource requirement changes throughout the period.

You can see that I’ve started to decrease Brian Johnson’s requirement, to the point where in the final 3 weeks of my resource plan he is at 0, whilst David Ahs’ requirement slowly increases. I can’t show all the planning periods on the screen but it will become obvious when we view the resource availability.

Save and Publish the resource plan, and then open up the resource center again to view the availability for the resources. We can see that our resource plan kicks in after the planning horizon date (3/31/2007), and we have resource demand even though we have no assignments on the project. The decreased requirement for Brian Johnson and increased requirement for David Ahs is very apparent.

Figure 7 – Here we can see the result of the resource requirements from both the project plan and the resource plan. The project plan cuts of at 3/31/2007 and the resource plan kicks in after that.

So that’s it. When you are testing this, make sure you work this through with correct dates etc, especially the date ranges in the resource plan, making sure they correspond to the chosen intervals. If you don’t you’ll get some data that is correct, but looks funny 🙂

Enjoy –

Credit to Trebb Gatte (again)