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Administering Your Enterprise Project Management Solution in Microsoft Project 2010

Administering the Enterprise Resource Pool

The enterprise resource pool is the set of people, equipment, and materials that can be assigned to carry out the work of projects throughout an organization. The organization can be as compact as a small department or as wide ranging as all employees in all regions of a worldwide corporation. The enterprise resource pool contains fundamental information about resources, such as skill sets and availability, which helps project managers find the right resources for their projects.

The enterprise resource pool also contains cost information, which not only helps project managers work within their allotted budgets, but also helps accounting and human resource departments figure costs from their points of view.

With the enterprise resource pool, high-level visibility of resource availabilities, skills, roles, and utilization is now possible. Project managers as well as upper management can see when additional staff is needed and where there are underutilized resources. They also can view the basic data for all project resources in one place.

Furthermore, project managers can plan for project staffing needs with accurate and current resource information from the entire enterprise instead of from just their own team or group. The advantages of the multiple project resource pool, such as resource sharing between project managers, are magnified when applied to the entire enterprise.

Resource managers can use the enterprise resource pool to staff, plan, and budget with more accuracy and confidence. They can see resources by skill level and definition, availability, and organizational hierarchy (Resource Breakdown Structure). In addition, they can assist project managers with current and anticipated resource requirements by analyzing the enterprise resource database. Together with project managers, resource managers can work with generic resources in the enterprise resource pool as well as with roles and departments to perform planning and contingency analyses.

The project server administrator is often the one who sets up and maintains the enterprise resource pool. However, because of the specialized information related to resource skills, costs, and availability, specialists such as a portfolio manager, resource manager, or human resources representative might also be involved in the setup. By default, the project server administrator, portfolio manager, and resource managers are given the permission to add and edit enterprise resource data.

A user with the permission to edit enterprise resource data can do the following:

  • Create and add users to the enterprise resource pool.

  • Update information on resources in the enterprise resource pool.

  • Customize resource fields for use in the enterprise resource pool.

  • Specify multiple properties for resources in the enterprise resource pool.

Creating the Enterprise Resource Pool

After you create the enterprise resource pool, project managers can access it and build project teams from it. If you want to, you can add the bulk of your resources at one time. You can, however, always add individual resources as time goes on. Project managers who have been working with their own resources can also import those local resources into the enterprise resource pool. You can add a team resource such as Accounting or Research. You can also associate resources to roles so that the project manager can plan for a role instead of a specific resource, and you can add generic resources. Any individual enterprise resource that’s a member of that team can do the work on tasks assigned to the team resource.

Adding Multiple Enterprise Resources

If you want to add several resources at one time to your enterprise resource pool, along with information about each resource, you can use the Project 2010 Resource Sheet. Be sure that your user profile allows the Edit Enterprise Resource Data permission in your project server. If you are the project server administrator or portfolio manager, you have this permission by default.

To add multiple enterprise resources, follow these steps:

  1. On the Quick Launch, under Resources, click Resource Center.

    Here you can see the list of all the enterprise resources.

  2. On the Resources tab, in the Editing group, click Open.

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    Project Professional opens.

  3. In Project Professional, display the Resource Sheet by clicking View, Resource Views, Resource Sheet.

    The Resource Sheet appears, labeled as Checked-Out Enterprise Resources window, as shown in Figure 23-6. If you did not select any resources in the Resource Center, the sheet is empty.

    Figure 23-6

    Figure 23-6 The Checked-Out Enterprise Resources window shows the enterprise resource pool in the Resource Center.

  4. In the Resource Sheet, enter the names and information for the new enterprise resources you want to add.

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    You can enter the resource type, group, maximum units, cost rates, and base calendar. (See Figure 23-7.)

    If you want to add more complete resource information, on the Resource tab, in the Properties group, click Information. On the various tabs of the Resource Information dialog box, enter information as appropriate to this resource. When you have finished, click OK.

    Figure 23-7

    Figure 23-7 Enter resource names and associated information in the Checked-Out Enterprise Resources window.

  5. To save changes, on the File tab, click Save.

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  6. When you are finished adding resources and want to check in the enterprise resource pool and its new information, click File, Close.

  7. If a prompt asks whether you want to save your changes, click Yes. When you return to Project Web App and click Resource Center, you’ll see that the new resources have been added to the enterprise resource pool.

Adding Resources by Synchronizing with Active Directory

If your organization uses Active Directory, you have at your fingertips the easiest method for generating your enterprise resource pool. You can synchronize Active Directory security groups with those in your project server. In this way, resources from a specific Active Directory group are instantly mapped to the enterprise resource pool. Not only does this add the resources to your server, but the periodic synchronization helps keep your list of users and resources up to date. If the resource exists in Active Directory, the resource is automatically added to the enterprise resource pool upon the next scheduled Active Directory update to your project server.

Resources that no longer exist in Active Directory are likewise removed from the project server. This is a one-way synchronization, from Active Directory to your project server.

The Active Directory synchronization options are set as part of your project server configuration. These options can be set during initial configuration, or they can be set anytime afterward. To synchronize project server with Active Directory, follow these steps:

  1. On the Quick Launch, under Settings, click Server Settings.

  2. Under Operational Policies, click Active Directory Resource Pool Synchronization.

    The Active Directory Enterprise Resource Pool Synchronization page appears. (See Figure 23-8.)

    Figure 23-8

    Figure 23-8 Set scheduling and resource options to synchronize an Active Directory group with your enterprise resource pool.

  3. In the Active Directory Group section, click the Find Group button, and then select the Active Directory group you want to synchronize with your enterprise resource pool. You can search for the group by entering all or part of the group name.

  4. In the Scheduling Options section, select the Schedule Synchronization check box, and then specify the frequency at which your project server should be synchronized with Active Directory—for example, every week or every 2 months. Specify the date when updates should begin and the time of day when updates should occur.

  5. When you have finished, click Save And Synchronize Now or click Save.

Adding an Individual Enterprise Resource

To add an individual resource to the enterprise resource pool, follow these steps:

  1. On the Quick Launch, under Resources, click Resource Center.

  2. On the Resources tab, in the Editing group, click New Resource.

  3. In the New Resource page, complete all the sections as they apply to the resource you’re creating.

  4. If this resource should also be a user of your project server, be sure to select the check box labeled Resource Can Logon To Project Server.

  5. When you have finished, click Save.

    The new resource is saved as a new member of the enterprise resource pool.

Adding a Team Resource

Suppose your organization has several resources in the product testing department who are all capable of carrying out the same tasks. The project manager could assign Chris to do one task, Sam to do another, and Maria to do a third. But it might be easier to assign all three tasks to a resource named Product Testing Team, and let Chris, Sam, and Maria decide among themselves who should do what.

You can create a resource that represents a group of resources—that is, a team. A project manager can then assign tasks to the team. Resources that are identified as part of that team can assign themselves to a team task, report on it, and complete it.

To create a team resource in Project Web App, follow these steps:

  1. On the Quick Launch, under Resources, click Resource Center.

  2. On the Resources tab, in the Editing Group, click New Resource.

  3. In the Type section, be sure that the Generic check box is cleared.

  4. In the Identification Information section, clear the check box labeled Resource Can Logon To Project Server.

  5. In the Display Name box, enter the name of the team resource—for example, Drafters or Writers.

  6. In the Assignment Attributes section, specify the options for leveling, base calendar, default booking type, and availability dates for the collective resources that will make up this team. Enter a resource in the Timesheet Manager and Default Assignment Owner boxes.

  7. Complete the fields in the Resource Custom Fields and Group Fields sections as applicable to this team resource.

  8. In the Team Details section, select the Team Assignment Pool check box. This identifies this resource as a team resource.

  9. When you have finished, click Save.

    The team resource is created as part of your enterprise resource pool in your project server, and project managers can now assign tasks to this team resource.

To create the list of teams in your enterprise, you can use a built-in custom field named Team Name. You create and associate a lookup table with the Team Name field. The lookup table of teams becomes available in the Team Name drop-down list in the Edit Users and Edit Resources pages in Project Web App.

To create your list of teams for the Team Name field, follow these steps:

  1. On the Quick Launch, under Settings, click Server Settings.

  2. On the Server Settings page, under Enterprise Data, click Enterprise Custom Fields and Lookup Tables.

  3. Scroll down below the Enterprise Custom Fields table to get to the Lookup Tables For Custom Fields table.

  4. In the toolbar above the table, click New Lookup Table.

  5. In the Name field, enter a name for your team lookup table—for example, Team Pools.

  6. Scroll down to the Lookup Table section.

  7. To define a new team, click in an available row, and then type the name of the team. (See Figure 23-9.)

  8. To insert a team name between two others, click the team name below which you want to insert a new team, and then click the Insert Row button. Type the name of the team.

    Figure 23-9

    Figure 23-9 Define your teams on the New Lookup Table page, and then associate that lookup table with the Team Name built-in custom field.

  9. To edit an existing team name, drag across a team name, and then type to make the change you want.

  10. Use the Outdent and Indent buttons to specify the team position in the hierarchy, if applicable.

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  11. Use the Move buttons to change the sequence of the team names as necessary.

  12. To delete a team name, click in its row, and then click Delete Row.

  13. Click Save.

To associate the Team Name enterprise custom field with your team lookup table, follow these steps:

  1. On the Enterprise Custom Fields And Lookup Tables page, in the Enterprise Custom Fields table, scroll down and click Team Name.

    Team Name is the built-in custom field designed for the team resource function.

    The Edit Custom Field: Team Name page appears.

  2. In the Custom Attributes section, in the Lookup Table box, select the name of your team definition lookup table.

  3. Click Save.

After team resources have been created and identified as such, you need to identify the resources that belong to each team. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. In the Resource Center, select the check boxes next to the names of the resources that should be identified as members of a particular team.

  2. On the Resources tab, in the Editing group, click Edit Resource.

  3. In the Edit Resource page for the first selected resource, scroll down to the Team Details section. In the Team Name box, select the name of the team to which this resource belongs.

  4. Click the Save And Continue button. The second selected resource appears.

  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for that resource. Continue in this manner until all appropriate resources have been associated with their team resource.

Resources who want to assign themselves to a team task can follow these steps:

  1. On the Quick Launch, click My Work.

  2. Select the team task to which you want to assign yourself.

  3. On the Tasks tab, in the Tasks group, click Insert Row, and then click Add Yourself To A Task.

  4. Select the project, the phase, and the task. Modify the start and end date if needed.

  5. On the Tasks tab, in the Submit group, click Send Status, and then click Selected Tasks.

    The request to assign yourself to a team task is sent to the manager.

Importing Existing Local Resources to the Project Server

A number of resources, complete with reliable availability and cost information, might already exist in enterprise and nonenterprise projects. You can easily open those projects and import the resources into the enterprise resource pool by using the Import Resource Wizard.

Local resources are flagged with the Local Resource icon in the Indicators field of the Resource Sheet.

Follow these steps to import local (nonenterprise) resources from an existing project to the enterprise resource pool:

  1. Be sure you’re signed in to the project server through Project Professional. It doesn’t matter whether the project containing the local resources is open.

  2. On the Resource tab, in the Insert group, click Add Resources, and then click Import Resources To Enterprise.

  3. If the resources you want to import are in an enterprise project, click the name of that project, and then click Open.

    If the resources are in a local project stored on your computer or network, find its general location in the Look In task pane. Browse to the file, and then double-click the file to open it.

    The Import Resources Wizard appears. (See Figure 23-10.)

    Figure 23-10

    Figure 23-10 The Import Resources Wizard helps you import local resources to your project server.

  4. If any custom resource fields in this project also need to be imported with the resources, click the Map Resource Fields link.

    Map any custom resource fields from the original project to the enterprise resource pool. (See Figure 23-11.) This step ensures that all the necessary information associated with the resource is imported to the enterprise resource pool. When you have finished, click OK.

    Figure 23-11

    Figure 23-11 Map any custom resource fields to the enterprise resource pool.

  5. Click the Continue To Step 2 link to open the Confirm Resources task pane.

    This task pane lists the number of local resources to be imported and the number of import errors that are anticipated. The nature of any errors is listed in the Errors column next to the resource name in the Import Resource sheet.

  6. If there are any resources you do not want to import, click No in the Import field for that resource.

  7. To resolve any errors, double-click the resource name to make the necessary changes in the Resource Information dialog box.

  8. To check for errors again, click the Validate Resources button in the task pane.

  9. When all errors are resolved, click the Save And Finish link.

    The resources and their associated calendar, cost, and other information are imported to the project server to become part of your enterprise resource pool.

Updating Resource Information

After resources are added to the enterprise resource pool, you can edit their resource information by making the necessary changes in the Edit Resource page in Project Web App.

You can also edit resource information in the Project Professional Resource Sheet by checking the resources out, making the necessary changes, and then checking them in again.

Any resource information—such as base calendar, group name, and resource custom fields—can be edited this way.

Resource information cannot be changed casually by project managers. Only those users granted the Edit Enterprise Resource Data permission can check out and edit resource information. By default, the project server administrator, portfolio manager, and resource managers are the only ones granted this permission.

Finding and Selecting Resources

When working with an enterprise resource pool that supports even a handful of projects, you might soon find that your enterprise resource pool is quickly filled with dozens if not hundreds of resources. Because of this, it’s important to be able to deftly find and select the resources you need in the Resource Center without too much scanning and scrolling.

The Resource Center contains controls for helping you look at resources the way you need to and therefore find the resources you want to modify, as follows:

  • Select a view On the Resources tab, in the Data group, click in the View box to see a list of available resource views. For information about creating additional views, see “Creating and Managing Views” on page 887.

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  • Filter for resources On the Resources tab, in the Data group, click in the Filter box to show available resource filters. Using Custom Filter, you can create a custom filter and add it to the Filter box.

  • Group resources On the Resources tab, in the Data group, click in the Group By box to see available groupings. You can group resources by fields such as resource type, cost center, timesheet manager, and more. You can also create your own custom groupings.

To select all resources in the view, move your mouse pointer over the first column heading (above the check boxes). Click the arrow that appears in the heading, and then click Select All. To clear all selected resources, click Clear All.

These controls are fairly standard throughout Project Web App, and they apply to project views and task views as well.

Modifying Enterprise Resource Information

To modify enterprise resource information in Project Web App, follow these steps:

  1. In the Resource Center, select the check boxes next to the resources whose information you want to change.

  2. If you’re changing the department or the content of custom fields, on the Resources tab, in the Editing group, click Bulk Edit.

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  3. Make the changes on the Bulk Edit page, and then click Save.

    You only need to make the change once on this page, and the change is applied to all selected resources.

  4. For any other changes, on the Resources tab, in the Editing group, click Edit Resource.

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  5. In the Edit Resource page for the first resource, make your changes.

  6. Click the Save And Continue button.

  7. Repeat steps 5 and 6 for the second resource.

    Continue in this manner until you have changed the resource information for all selected resources.

  8. When you finish the last resource, click the Save button.

If you prefer, or if it’s easier given the accessibility of certain resource information fields, you can change resource information in Project Professional. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. In Project Web App, select the check boxes next to the resources whose information you want to change.

  2. On the Resource tab, in the Editing group, click Open.

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    Project Professional opens.

  3. On the View tab, in the Resource Views group, click Resource Sheet.

  4. Make the changes you want to the enterprise resources.

  5. If you need to work with additional resource information, double-click the resource name to open the Resource Information dialog box. Enter information on the various tabs as appropriate to this resource. When you have finished, click OK.

  6. Whenever you want to save changes, on the File tab, click Save.

  7. When you’re finished modifying the resource information, and you want to check the enterprise resources back into your project server, on the File tab, click Close.

  8. If a prompt asks whether you want to save your changes, click Yes.

If an enterprise resource is checked out by another user and you need to check this resource back into the enterprise resource pool (usually because of some extenuating circumstance), you can force a resource check-in as follows:

  1. On the Quick Launch, under Settings, click Server Settings.

  2. Under Database Administration, click Force Check-In Enterprise Objects.

  3. In the box labeled Select The Type Of Object You Want To Force Check-In, click Enterprise Resources. All resources that are currently checked out are listed in the table.

  4. Select the check boxes for the resources you want to check in, and then click Check-In.

Removing a Resource from the Enterprise Resource Pool

Although you can delete a Project Server user, it’s best to deactivate resources instead, as even obsolete resources are probably associated with assignments and actuals that are best retained for your archival project data. You can deactivate a resource by using the Edit Resources page in Project Web App or by checking out the enterprise resource in Project Professional.

To deactivate a resource with Project Web App, follow these steps:

  1. In the Project Web App Resource Center, select the check box next to the name of the resource(s) you want to deactivate.

  2. On the Resources tab, in the Editing group, click Edit Resource.

    The Edit Resource page appears.

  3. In the Identification Information section, in the Account Status box, click Inactive.

  4. Click Save. If you selected multiple resources, click Save And Continue.

The selected resource is deactivated. The deactivated user cannot sign in to your project server, and other users cannot send updates, tasks, or requests to the deactivated user. By default, the resource is still listed in the resource table, but its active flag has been changed from Yes to No. If you want to, you can create a filter or an autofilter that does not show inactive resources in the Resource Center.