Individual and Team Optimization with Microsoft Project Online

Project managers and resource managers need to understand the true capacity, demand and labor costs of their organization’s resources. All of these have a direct impact on the timely delivery of projects and accurate forecasts. Enter Microsoft Project Online.

Executives want to evaluate incoming projects against resource availability to ensure the optimal strategic portfolio. Assigning the right resources to the right projects at the right time improves outcomes and maximizes business value.

Microsoft Project Online enables organizations to proactively manage resource utilization, identify bottlenecks early, accurately forecast resource needs and improve project selection and timely delivery.

Improved Resource Visibility

Microsoft Project Online provides the ability to fully describe the usage of individual team members to ensure that the organization understands how roles, teams, and departments are staffed to do project work. This model can also be extended to cover skills, subject matter expertise, application knowledge and other personnel attributes.

Team members have calendars that describe their work schedules, which helps support project planning and collaboration between teams across geographies. Managers specify the percentage of the working time that the resource is available for scheduled work to allow for the calculation of capacity for a named individual and rolled up to teams and departments.

Resources have associated labor costs that can be managed with Microsoft Project Online. Managers may assign the appropriate labor cost rate for the type of work being performed, and account for both standard and overtime labor costs.

The resource manager can then view and report on capacity and all work demand across roles, teams and departments.

Structured Staffing Requests

All incoming project proposals should capture high-level resource needs, typically by role, to help understand the full picture of demand on resources.

Requests for resources can be formally submitted to resource managers, allowing the project manager and the resource manager to have a common understanding of resource commitment. Project managers can also use detailed project assignments as a method of representing demand for resources.

Resources can be allocated to on-going support activities for a portion of their time to reflect a real-time view of capacity for project work. Company holidays and Personal Time Off are reflected in calendars and are accounted for in project schedules.

When evaluating capacity/demand, the organization is better able to determine what long-term hiring needs are and where bottlenecks exist on current projects.

Resources Aligned to Strategic Portfolio

During the budgeting cycle and throughout the year, resource capacity and demand should be carefully managed.

At the beginning of the fiscal year, all proposed initiatives can enter a formal process that validates their business value with a full business case, strategic assessment, cost estimates, and resource requirements. Not only does this process ensure that the right projects are approved into the portfolio, but it also aligns resources to the projects that will provide the greatest return on investment or provide the biggest benefit to the organization.

As the active, in-flight projects progress through the execution phase,

Microsoft Project Online provides tools to handle unexpected delays and other changes by increasing transparency in resource utilization. Resource managers can closely monitor actual progress and updated forecasts on projects and resource needs throughout the year.

Microsoft Project Online provides comprehensive reporting to allow resource managers, project managers and executives full visibility into assignments and availability of enterprise resources.