Project management goal: Manage resources

Use resources

The people on your team include not only those individuals assigned work to your project.

Within project management, people are part of a large category of resources that can also include anything used to complete a project, such as equipment or materials.

This overview walks you through how to add and manage people and other resources to help you end your project on time and in good shape.

This article is one of many project management goals on the Project Road Map.

In this article


Example One: The accidental project manager   : You’ve been pretty good with Microsoft Project. You’re tasks are organized, linked up, and have the correct durations. Now you want to take the next big leap and assign people to the tasks. Suddenly, you’re worried about the extra views you need to master. Not only that, you realize that you need to add people to your schedule before you can assign them. And you’re also worried that too much personal information is going to be displayed about these people, such as salary, phone numbers, email addresses, and so forth.

However, adding people to a project and assigning them to tasks is fairly straightforward—as long as you start with easy steps and slowly build your skills.

Here a few things to get you started.

Here are three easy steps to get you started feeling comfortable about assigning people to project tasks.

  1. Add people to your project and assign them in one step. On the Gantt chart, scroll over to the Resources column, and begin typing the names of people you want to assign to those tasks. You can also type generic names, like “Team,” “Consultant,” or “Caterer.”
    When you do this, notice that people’s names will appear next to the Gantt bars.
  2. Add details to people’s work on these tasks. Click the Views tab, and then in the Resource Views group, click the Resource Sheet view.
  3. View all these assigned tasks from the perspective of the Team Planner in Project 2010. Click the View tab, and then click Team Planer.

 Tip    Hide columns that you don’t want everyone to see. Right click a column header, and then click Hide Column.
Don’t worry. The information in the column won’t be deleted when you hide the column. You can always display the column again by clicking Insert column.

Example Two: The seasoned project manager   : You’ve been at this a long time. But now a new sponsor shows up at your door inquiring about a new contract that the company won that involves a project more complicated than you’re comfortable with, with vendor assignments, borrowed resources from other department, and advanced tracking, such as earned value. Now you’re worried. And the weekend is just about to start.

Fortunately, Microsoft Project has the tools you need.

Keep in mind, though, that the bigger and more complicated your organization, the more things you have to worry about when it comes to entering, analyzing, and controlling the people in your project.

Here are a few best practices to think about.

  • Export project data to Excel for further analysis   . For example, you can export information from earned value tables to Excel, and then display the information using sparklines in Excel 2010. Earned value gives you information about how costs are being spent and how work is being performed.
    EVM in Excel using sparklines

    You can also use Visual Reports in Project to create a more sophisticated PivotChart of earned value (commonly known as an S curve).
    Earned Value table in Excel
  • Learn a few new things about human behavior    Be like the larger organizations. They often invest large sums of money to train their employees how to work in diverse environments. Convince your management to train key staff on leadership and communication skills. There are numerous training formats, but they all center around understanding and working with the difference personalities and work styles encountered in the workforce. Some examples of approaches include: Myers-Brigg and the numerous methods that grew from their work, one-day seminars on cross-group communication, and so on.

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Add resources

Add resources to your project

Text | Video

First things first — you need to add some people or other resources to your project. The other resources could include material resources (like cement or paint), or cost resources (like airfare and dining).
Add resources to the enterprise resource pool If you have Project Professional and you are connected to Project Server, you can add people and other resources to the collection of resources across your organization (or enterprise resource pool).
Export or import data to Excel or Visio Sometimes you need more than Project to analyze project data. Excel's powerful mathematical and statistical capabilities can help you further analyze and report on resource information.
Remove or replace a resource assignment If the person or other resource isn't the right one for the job, replace (or remove) the resource.
Enter or change enterprise resource information Once an enterprise resource has been added to the collection of resource for your organization, you can modify information about the resource, such as pay rate, work calendar, or e-mail address.

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Manage resources

Resource planning: A study guide for Project 2010 Learn from Project MVP Gary Chefetz about the details of managing and optimizing people and other resources in your project
Use the Team Planner The new Team Planner view will help you assign work to resources, and move work around by dragging and dropping. Managing your team's work has become much easier in Project 2010.
Print a view or report of resource information One of the most common activities in project management is printing project information. Printing project information has become much easier in Project 2010.
Update work on a project Tracking the work on a project is not only critical to ensuring your project ends on time. It is also allows you to learn from mistakes that were made in a project by providing a history of project risks, issues, and successes.
Distribute project work evenly (level resource assignments) People can get overworked, especially if they are working on two things at the same time. Leveling resource assignments is one way to even out the load.
Set working times, vacations, and holidays for your project We all need vacations. We all get sick. And we all like our holidays. Learn how to account for this unscheduled time by adding it to the schedule.
Change the default unit format for assignments You can display assignments for people and other resources either as a percentage or as a decimal value.
Use social media sites to help manage your team There is more to ensuring the success of a project than collecting actuals and checking for resource overallocations. Putting faces on the people assigned to the tasks in your project is often forgotten in the maze of software functionality.
Overcome resistance to tracking Organizational resistance to tracking project management data is normal. Learn a few methods for dealing with it.

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Applies to:
Project 2010