This post is part of a series I’m creating connected with Project Service Automation (PSA) for Microsoft Dynamics 365. This time I will review resource management on projects.
Obviously, Project Service Automation contains some powerful and flexible features for resource management. Meaning we have a lot to cover! I will therefore break this post down into the following sections.
- Adding Generic Resources
- Find a Team Member to Hard Book
- Booking a Team Member
- Maintaining Bookings
Then in this post I will expand on these capabilities and describe how Resource Management might be tackled in a centralised resource management scenario.
In previous posts, we have already covered the sales cycle and ultimately how a project is created. On our project we already have some information that is significant as we start to schedule recourses. That being the calendar template to be used, the estimated start date and the estimated completion date.
The calendar template is used to define standard working days / hours for the project.
On the project there is a significant tab which will who the team members for this project. This is the group of people that collectively will “get the job done”. Initially, by default, the team will simply include the project manager.
Adding Generic Resources
To add a team member I click on the “+” icon and select the role I want this team member to fulfil on my project.
Notice that the allocation method I have used is full capacity, as I am looking for someone who can be full time on my project. Other options include “Percentage Capacity”, when I could state that I need someone 50% of the time. Other options allow for allocation by hours. Which can be distributed evenly or front loaded.
See below that this has added what is called a generic resource into the team. I have essentially stated that I need a functional consultant from 1st Feb for 240 hours. And linked to that functional consultant role will be a number of skills that are required.
I guess we could think of this generic resource as a place holder creating a slot that will be filled by a real resource when I find the right person.
At this point, I can click on the “Resource Requirement” link and specify any additional specific requirements that are needed for this engagement. See below that I can add additional roles, preferred resources, organizational units and skills. As an example I have added an additional skill of being familiar with the Agile Methodology.
On the resource requirement, I can also specify pricing information. The cost price we can afford.
Find a Team Member to Hard Book
The process known as hard booking is how we decide who to actually allocate to the team. Based on the resource requirement defined on the generic resource we will search for possible candidates. To do this open the generic resource record added to the project and select the HARD BOOK option.
Selecting HARD BOOK puts me into the availability view. This is a pretty flexible screen so you might want to experiment a little with the options available.
On the left hand side I have many filters that I can apply. For example I might want to only look for resources in a particular organizational unit. In my example I have gone for UK.
The SORT option lets me rank resources in terms of their name, skill or availability. Commonly we might want to sort by availability so that the people with the most time for the project are listed first.
The VIEW option lets me change from an availability view or a candidate card view. The card view will show a graphical representation of all the resources skills.
OPTIONS lets me control how the date is viewed. For example, I opted to view the % of time booked for a resource rather than the total hours.
When we select a possible resource additional information is displayed. Notice we can see cost information, availability percentages and also skills with proficiency levels. Note the black like on Agile methodology. The black line significes that I need someone with that level of Agile experience. The green bar shows me that this resource exceeds my requirement for Agile methodology.
Another neat feature is the ability to compare resources. My search showed me that I have two resources available that could meet my requirements. By selecting both of them a compare resources option becomes available.
I can now see the detailed information for both people side by side. In this example I can clearly see that one resource has a higher skill level than the other. This information might help me decide which is the right person for this job.
Booking a Team Member
Having found the ideal person for my project I simply select the resource and then use the BOOK option to add them to the project.
We can now see on the project team that this resource has replaced the generic resource.
Having created the project team, you may need to maintain the booking, maybe a resource is no longer available. Below you can see that we have the MAINTAIN BOOKINGS option on the team view within the project.
Below you can see the maintain booking screen. Notice that I have selected the project one of my resources is assigned. It might be that “Bob” is no longer available, in that situation I can then use the FIND SUBSTITUE button to find and assign an alternative resource.
Another aspect of this view which is useful is the “Total Hard Booked Hours” column at the top of the screen. As this is a quick way to observe the total hours allocated on the project.
Additionally, you can also simply edit the hours someone is available to the project by day, week or month. If however you overbook someone by manually entering hours then the blue bars may turn red to signify this.
Hopefully I have given a good overview of resource management, in real world situations managing resources can be a complex and important task. PSA provides some comprehensive features to assist. J
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