Inside Out

Project's prime directive

Although resource management is typically a large part of the project manager's job, it's important to keep in mind that the primary job of Microsoft Project is to schedule and track tasks. Traditionally, the resource management functions of Microsoft Project have been more rudimentary. However, starting with Microsoft Project 2002 and certainly with Microsoft Project 2003, there are more features devoted to resource management than in past versions. The new resource availability features attest to this, as do the continuing improvements in team collaboration and delegation capabilities through Microsoft Office Project Server 2003 and Microsoft Office Project Web Access 2003. The Resource Substi tution Wizard, Enterprise Resource Pool, Team Builder, and other enterprise resource fea tures available through Microsoft Office Project Professional 2003 have taken resource management in projects to a higher level.

Viewing Resource Workloads

When you analyze resource workloads, you're actually reviewing the way resources are assigned. The optimum situation is when all resources in your project are assigned at their full availability, no more and no less, throughout their time on the project.

However, there might be resources for whom you are not able to fill every hour. These resources are said to be underallocated. You might have to pay for these resources' time even when they're not directly carrying out project tasks, and therefore can adversely affect your project budget.

Other resources might consistently have more work than time. These resources are overallo-cated. Such a situation represents risk to the project. If there's more work than available time, it's highly probable that deadlines will be missed, quality will suffer, costs will increase, or scope will have to be cut.

At this point in the project, just before work actually begins, you can look at scheduled underallocations and overallocations, make the necessary changes to maximize your resource contributions, and reduce your risk from overallocation. The goal is to balance the workload as much as possible so that you're not wasting resource dollars and burning out a handful of key resources.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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