Il est bien plus beau de savoir quelque chose de tout que de savoir tout d'une chose. [Blaise Pascal]

Creating a resource plan

Within Microsoft Project Server, a resource plan is a forecasting tool for estimation, used at the early stages of project initiation. It’s a way to estimate resource capacity where projects are in different state, in other words, it helps you to define high level resource needs for each project or initiative.

Because you can use it during early stages of projects, there might not be any task or WBS defined yet, some projects might be just proposed and not handed over to Project Manager.

More often, resource plan utilize resources that are generic just to get some idea of capacity. Using named resources might also help resource managers to understand their team’s availability and capacity.

Let see how it works:

1) First you create a project: Open the Project Center on PWA and create a new project.

2) Your project is selected, on the ribbon, Project tab, click on Resource plan, to open the resource plan:

3) On the resource plans page, Plan tab, click on Build team:

Select the resources you would like to add to your resource plan. You can easily filter generic resources by clicking on column header.

Once all team members are selected, click on Save & Close.

4) Back to the resource plans page, you can customize your resource plan.
First, you can select from what your resource utilization is calculated from:

You can calculate capacity from the following 3 options:
  • Resource Plan: This is used at early stage of projects/initiatives for rough estimates
  • Project Plan: When the project is scoped, resource estimates are more accurate
  • Project Plan until: This is used for rolling estimates. If you have part of the project in execution and resource plans for other parts (e.g. phase 2)
For our example, we will chose from Resource plan. Be careful, the default value is Project Plan.

Second element to configure is the Date Range. You have to estimate your project start and end date. Based on my experience, you can use previous project’s lessons learned to estimate project duration. This is called the “Historical analysis” technique.

5) Set the working units: During your resource plan exercise, you can work with different work units:
  • Hours
  • Days
  • Full-time Equivalent (FTE)
Sharing my own experience, it’s easier to work with FTE, especially if your day is not exactly 8 hours long (you will avoid decimals everywhere J)

6) Depending on the duration of your project, you can display your resource plan with different time scales:
  • Days
  • Weeks
  • Months
  • Quarters
  • Years
7) Select also the booking type of each resources (proposed/committed)
The difference between those 2 booking types is well explained on MSDN: “Select Committed if you want to commit the resource to the project, or select Proposed if you do not yet have authorization to commit the resource to the project.”

8) Export to Excel is also available, no need to explain more about that feature 

9) Publish your resource plan when you are done. Once published, it’s part of the resource utilization. Let’s see this.

10) Select the Architect role and click on Resource Availability button.

If only committed resources are displayed (Do not include proposed bookings) you can see the assignment work of the Architect, with no over allocation. On the table below, you see also the utilization from (Resource plan).

Including proposed booking, you see our architect has been proposed for one project (New corporate architecture) which make him over allocated. This is a very useful tool for resource managers.

11) Next steps? When your project is approved, you can easily move resource plan’s team to project team.

12) Resource plans and strategic portfolio analysis
Resource plans are the main input to the Portfolio engine when the portfolio analyst or PMO start evaluating proposals. Resource analysis is mainly based on resource plans as projects are not all yet authorized.


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  2. Hi,
    Nice information and can you explain about How do you save a Microsoft Project file as a PDF?
    Ms Project Developer

  3. To export as PDF, simply use: FILE tab > Export > Create PDF/XPS Document

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