An apology first off to any of you who being aware of my cultural references thought this article might in some way make reference to Nemo, his friends and enemies.

There is a saying that Project Management is a discipline for masochists as there is never enough time, money or resource available to deliver what is required.

A common challenge confronting Project Managers is the fact that whilst they are accountable for delivery of a project they are often not invested with the authority to recruit people directly to be engaged in their projects.

The Project Manager will frequently have to negotiate with managers to acquire sufficient resource to make their project happen, resources translate a plan into action, and the challenge is often in recruiting suitable resources to the project team.

With the organisational changes that have been wrought over the past 2 decades organisations have moved from being departmental and silo oriented to more flexible ‘Matrix Management’ oriented.

This in itself can be problematic as often as not a line manager will have conflicting demands upon their own resources, and may well prioritise their own demand for resource over that from Projects and Project Managers.

So how can Project Server be configured to suit a “Matrix Management” environment?

Taking a lead from PRINCE2 methodology we can design an instance of Project Server where there are both demand and supply elements.

  • Demand for resource can be expressed by the published Project schedule.
  • Supply of resource can be satisfied by resource managers within the organisation.

In order to realise this approach there are several factors that need to be considered and available in the configuration of an instance of Project Server.

  • A defined RBS (Resource Breakdown Structure).
  • Generic Resources representing roles, skills or competencies with appropriate RBS values.
  • Enterprise Project Types with schedules resourced with Generic Resources.
  • “Demand Side” Project Managers invested with the facility to either recruit Generic Resources to their Project Team and/or to assign Generic Resources to tasks in their schedules.
  • “Supply Side” Resource Managers with the permission to edit and publish schedules where Generic Resources that they manage can be “Matched” to real resources that they manage, by means of the RBS, are assigned.

For the sake of expediency this article assumes that Generic Resources and Enterprise Project Types with Generic Resources assigned to tasks in Project Templates have been configured.

The RBS can be configured so that Resource Managers have visibility over a discrete core of resources that they manage, in this case the RBS can be regarded as being a reflection of an established Organogram identifying who manages who and who reports to who. An RBS need not be designed this way, this Microsoft guide provides illustrations as to how else you can configure an RBS. RBS values would then need to be assigned to resources including Generic Resources.

This in turn could pose a problem in that Project Managers may not be invested with “Resource Management” permissions or may not be in the relevant branch of a defined RBS. These challenges can be addressed by configuring security permissions for Project Managers and giving them “specific” rights over Generic Resources through the device a Security Category.

There need to be similar considerations given to Resource Managers and their permissions, they need to be given some Project Manager permissions but not too many.
If your Resource Managers are unlikely to be given the permission to connect to Project Server from Project Professional then the configuration of specific Project Views in Project Web App can give our Resource Managers access to only certain fields in a Project schedule.

Note however that as Resource Managers need to be given edit and publish permissions on projects where their resources are assigned they can in theory be invested with all the functions provided on the Ribbon in Project Views in PWA, as a precaution I would suggest removing the “Save Baseline” option from Resource Managers as it is a feature that is available in Project Web App 2013.

[ribbon-light]Proof of Approach – Demand Side[/ribbon-light]The project manager can create a new project which has been populated with Generic Resource.

Whilst Matrix Project Managers are invested with the “Build Team” permission in this example this functionality is limited to just Generic Resources as a result of only these resources being permitted by the Security Category applied to this group.

Generic Resources Project Server

Matrix Project Managers are permitted to assign resources to tasks in their project, those resources being limited to either Generic Resources already assigned to tasks in the schedule or Generic Resources added to the project team by the manager.

Matrix Project Manager


Once the Matrix Project Manager has completed editing their schedule it can be published, this results in demand for resource being expressed to the supply side of the equation.

[ribbon-light]Proof of Approach – Supply Side[/ribbon-light]Matrix Resource Managers can see and access projects where their resources are assigned. They are permitted to edit these projects.

Signed in as an Administrator I can see all projects on the Server

Matrix Resource Managers


Acting as a Delegate for one of the Matrix Resource Managers I can only see projects where Resources managed by the relevant Matrix Resource Manager are assigned.

Matrix Resource Manager


Acting as a Delegate for one of the Matrix Project Managers I can only see projects which they have created.

Matrix Management and Resourcing Schedules - Project Server

Acting as a Matrix Resource Manager I can access and edit in PWA one of the Projects where my Generic resources via the RBS are assigned. Selecting the “Build Team” option results in the following screen being displayed.

Microsoft Project Server Matrix Management and Resourcing Schedules

The resources displayed here tally with the Resources beneath the resource in question in the RBS.

Microsoft Project Server Matrix Management and Resourcing Schedules


Attempting to match Generic Resources NOT managed by the person in question results in a challenge as shown below.

Microsoft Project Server Matrix Management and Resourcing Schedules


Repeating the approach for a Generic Resource managed by the user results in a different outcome. In the example shown below matching for the Generic Resource “Software Engineer” who is “managed” by Carly Page by virtue of RBS results in a limited population of candidates for replacement being displayed.

Microsoft Project Server Matrix Management and Resourcing Schedules


The Matrix Resource Manager can match and replace Generic Resources that they manage with real people that they manage, ideally this process will be informed by an awareness of current workload and availability of the intended real resource.

In the Project Schedule in PWA the Matrix Resource Manager can edit assigned resources that they do not manage but can only replace them with resources that they do manage.

Webinar Invite: Microsoft Project Server Matrix Management and Resourcing Schedules


Microsoft Project Server Matrix Management and Resourcing Schedules

Whilst this does present a potential for anomalies to arise given that this Matrix Management approach is intended to allow “Supply Side” managers to satisfy demand communicated to them by the project schedule it would be counter-productive for a Resource Manager to elect to allocate their own resources to tasks that were not intended for resources that they manage. As mentioned before Project views cannot be filtered by RBS which would be a way to avoid this potential problem in the first place.

The one feature here where there is potential for problems is that a Resource Manager could remove resources that they DO NOT manage from tasks and once removed they are deprived of the facility to re-instate the original Generic Resource.

Microsoft Project Server Matrix Management and Resourcing Schedules

In this Illustration we can first see all the Generic Resources in the Project, secondly the Generic Resource assigned to a task and thirdly the Resources that the user does manage and could assign to the task, note that the originally assigned resource name is no longer available as they are not managed by the resource manager editing the schedule.

Intriguingly the list of available resources, those on the project team, is automatically “trimmed” to only allow assigning of resources managed by the person editing the schedule.

Microsoft Project Server Matrix Management and Resourcing Schedules


Editing the schedule in PWA with full permissions the list of resources shown in the Resource Names column comprises all resources in the Project Team.

Microsoft Project Server Matrix Management and Resourcing Schedules


Editing the same schedule but as a “Matrix Manager” the list of resources displayed in the drop down list is restricted to those resources in the Project Team that the Matrix Manager manages. They are permitted to add more resources to the Project Team but

Microsoft Project Server Matrix Management and Resourcing Schedules


They are permitted to add more resources to the Project Team but only resources that they manage.

Microsoft Project Server Matrix Management and Resourcing Schedules

Whilst a “Matrix Manager” can in theory remove resources from the Project Team that they personally DO NOT Manage whilst this will result in the removed resource no longer appearing in the Project team list they will not be removed from any existing assignments in the Project Schedule.

Microsoft Project Server Matrix Management and Resourcing Schedules


In this illustration the Project Manager was selected for removal from the Project Team but even though they were able to be removed from the Project Team they are still shown as being assigned to tasks in the Project schedule.

Once the Matrix Resource Manager has completed their transposing of assignments from Generic Resources to named individuals they can save and publish the schedule in PWA.

Even though they will have saved and published the project schedule the Matrix Resource Manager does not become the “Status Manager” for the assignment in the project schedule.

If more than one Matrix Resource Manager manages resources in project each of them would need to repeat this approach to transfer demand from Generic Resources to real people.

[ribbon-light]Exclusive Group Membership[/ribbon-light]The approach proposed in this example works so long as individuals are limited to being members of the Matrix Resource Manager Security group, if people are added to additional default security groups this can result in the boundaries becoming blurred and permissions contrary to those intended in “Matrix Management” being inherited.

Given that this approach is intended to address a very specific situation it would be sensible to follow a policy whereby users are restricted to just the intended “Matrix Management” security group, be it Resource Manager or Project Manager.

[ribbon-light]Conclusion[/ribbon-light]This approach can support the need for Matrix Management of Resource in a Project Oriented organisation with demand being expressed by the Project Schedule created by a Project Manager and supply being satisfied by the replacement of “Generic Resources” with real people by those Resource Managers authorised to manage their workload.

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Monthly Newsletter

By: Baz Khinda

Baz Khinda
Commercial Director, BA, MBS, MCTS, CertBusM, PRINCE2, Microsoft P-SSP (Partner Solution Sales professional)
Categories: Microsoft PPM

Published: 2 April 2014

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