Understanding the Stages of Resource Management Maturity

Whilst one of Project Online’s greatest assets is the enterprise resource management capabilities, when considering using Project Online to tackle resource management, it’s important to realise that “Not all organisations are created equally”. 

In my previous article, I talked about how organisational maturity, culture and readiness, i.e. the ability to adopt change, will determine the pace at which resource management is implemented. I then proposed that Enterprise Resource Management can be implemented through a number of stages.

Part one of this series was understanding the stages of resource management maturity focused on Capacity Planning. Part two of this series will be focused on Resource Planning.

What is Resource Planning?

Whilst these terms are often used interchangeably, they are different processes with different outcomes.

  • Capacity Planning is the process of capturing demand against the project portfolio and calculating how many resources are required to then meet that demand. It operates at the role level.
  • Resource Planning is about coordinating resources and allocating them in the most efficient way between projects. Specifically, it involves looking at the resource demand for each project and allocating a named resource to that project, based on role, skills, and availability. Another term for this process is resource allocation. Resource planning happens after resource capacity planning.

Resource Planning in Project Online

The benefit of using Project Online for resource management is that, as well as providing Execs and PMOs with a holistic top-down view of the resource demand and capacity constraints across the project portfolio, it also allows Resource Managers/Team Leads to focus on the specific requirements, overall utilisation and availability for their direct reports, in the short and long term.

Resource managers will work closely with project managers to make sure that projects are staffed with the right set of resources and that resources have the skills required for the successful completion of tasks. In addition, a resource manager might work closely with the human resources department to make sure that new hires meet the resource demands for the projects that they support.

In the context of Project Online, Resource Managers will monitor, analyse and approve the request for resources by Project Managers. They can do so by using the built-in reporting capability via the Resource Center. How the Resource Center supports resource planning/allocation will be explored next.

 Resource Center in Project Online

The Resource Center provides centralised visibility of the enterprise resources in one location. Resources can be associated with a number of attributes (metadata)… such as Role, Team, Location and much more which will allow users to view and group the information as required to manage most effectively.

In addition, to work with individual resources users will need to select from the list. These selections will be remembered next time the user accesses the Resource Center.

Work with individual users in Resource CenterThis allows resource managers/team leads to permanently have members of their team selected for assignment and availability views.

Capacity Planning View

The purpose of this area of the tool is to enable Resource Managers to understand which team members have availability when a new request comes in.

A number of different views are available. The chart selected here provides a view comparing the resource capacity versus assigned workload for the selected resources.

Resource Utilisation in the Capacity Planning View

Resource Assignments View

To understand more detail about current and proposed/future assignments, Resource Managers can visit the Resource Assignments area. From here, users can see the detailed tasks within each project that a resource has been assigned to when the work is scheduled, as well as other details such as the total work assigned, work completed to date and work remaining.

Resource Managers and Team Members being assigned in Resource Center in Project Online

Note that the user is unable to edit in this view, it’s used for Resource Managers to gain insight into where and how their team members are being assigned.

Resource Requests

Project Online also supports a resource allocation workflow approval process. When implemented, the Resource Requests area provides resource managers visibility of the incoming requests so that they can assess, approve or reject.

A word of caution… depending on your organisation and maturity level, this feature may not be practical to implement due to the additional administrative burden on your project managers. Remember, when it comes to developing the resource management roadmap, the key is to start simple!
Starting simple doesn’t mean you can’t be ambitious about where you want to take the organisation overall on the resource management journey.

Approvals of resource requests may or may not be managed in Project Online. Regardless of the use of Project Online (or lack thereof), a business process should be in place and documented to support the correct, appropriate, and regular conversations regarding resource demand and availability to take place.

 Power BI Dashboard Reports

In addition to the built-in capability within the Resource Center, the Power BI content Pack also provides a number of Resource Management focused views that provide ‘real-time’ visibility. This enables users to quickly assess demand vs capacity and to see resource assignments amongst other useful insights to aid the resource planning and decision-making process.

Demand and Capacity in Project Online

Resource Assignments in Project Online

Now we have explored how Project Online can be used to capture demand and support resource allocation, the next stage of Implementing Resource Management will be focused on using the tool for Resource Tracking.

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