Goal: Share resources among projects

Applies to
Microsoft Office Project 2003
Microsoft Office Project Server 2003
Microsoft Project 2000 and 2002

Project makes it easier for you to share resources across multiple projects in which the same people, materials, or equipment will be used.

 Tip   This article is part of a series of articles that describe a broad set of project management activities. We call these activities "goals" because they are organized around the project management life cycle: Build a plan, track and manage a project, and close a project. The project life cycle is outlined in The Project Map, where you can find a link to an article about each project management goal. Most of the articles include links to supporting information or procedures that you perform in Project or Project Server. These "goal" articles were designed to help you not only use Project but also better understand project management.

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See all goals on the Project Map

Resources working on multiple projects

number 1  Plan for resources who are working on different projects     Learn more about how sharing resources can help you manage teams and individuals working on multiple projects.

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It's rare for people to be assigned to one project from start to finish with no additional responsibilities. Sharing resources (resources: The people, equipment, and material that are used to complete tasks in a project.) among projects affords more flexibility and control for resource management. If any of the following conditions exists in your situation, you should consider sharing resources:

If you are using Project Professional, you do not use a resource pool. Instead, you can use enterprise resources (enterprise resources: Resources that are part of an organization's entire list of resources. Enterprise resources can be shared across projects.) to share resources across projects.

  • Resources organized by functional group     If you need to assign resources like auditors or accountants who work on many projects as part of a management process, it makes sense to use resources for those tasks. Then the manager of the functional group can level the resources' workloads and replace or reassign resources to meet the schedule.

If it makes no difference which resource performs the task, the resources can be managed outside the scope of the project for optimum effectiveness in scheduling. But if you need to retain control over who does what, you can set up a change process that allows you to approve resource assignments before any resources are assigned to a project.

  • Workload forecasting across many projects     Using resources can be very effective for forecasting the workloads of people with similar job descriptions. You can assign resources with generic names, such as Architect I and Architect II, to designate different levels of experience needed for the task.

The overallocation value for each job description indicates how many of a specific type of resource you need to complete the scheduled work across the projects. For example, 300% overallocation for Architect I means you need three junior architects to complete the work. Then, as you refine your resource list, you can enter specific names for each job description and reassign the work to the actual individuals who will do it.

Number 2  Share resources among projects      You can choose to share resources from another project plan or from a file designated as a resource pool, or you can move existing resource information from your project to a new resource pool file.

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