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Resource Engagements—coming soon to Project 2016

Today’s post was written by Julie Kohler, program manager for the Project Engineering team.

In listening to your feedback, we’ve learned that resource managers and project managers find it challenging to agree on and assign resources for specific projects and tasks. With no clear way to track who is working where, who is over-allocated—and with crossed lines of communication, things can start to break down.

To address these challenges, we are introducing a new capability in the next update of Project called Resource Engagements, which helps align project managers and resource managers on the specific amount of work and time period associated with a project. Resource Engagements are an evolution of the old Resource Plan feature in PWA and all of your existing Resource Plan data will be converted to engagements upon activation or upgrade.

What can project managers do?

As a project manager, in Project Pro you’ll be able to create requests for resources in the new Resource Plan view.

Screenshot 1 - New Engagement PM v2

You can specify the dates and amount of work, and also request either a specific resource or a generic one. When you’re ready, submit your requests.

Simply refresh your view to see the status of your requests and the decisions made for each. If you requested a generic resource, the resource manager may have swapped it out for a named resource in that role. You can always make edits and re-submit if you need to negotiate.

Screenshot 2 - Refresh the view v2

What can resource managers do?

As a resource manager, you can view the requests for the resources that you manage across all projects on the new Resource Requests page.

Screenshot 3 - RM view of proposals v2

You can make decisions about who is available using the capacity planning heat map. In the example below, you see that Allie Mack already has too many engagements for most of June but Kat Larrson has availability starting the week of the 6/14/2015.  You wouldn’t want to accept any more incoming requests for Allie Mack in June, and can also look back at the existing engagements to see what needs to be updated.

Screenshot 4 - Heatmap v2

You can then edit, accept, or reject the requests on the Resource Requests page. In this example the resource manager is about to reject the request for Allie Mack since she is already over engaged.

Screenshot 5 - Rejection of request v2

You can create a New Engagement, which is automatically accepted and visible to the project manager who owns the project.

Resource Engagements 6

What happens to my old Resource Plans?

Existing Resource Plans in PWA will all be automatically converted into Engagements, and the old Resource Plan view will be removed. If you’re an on-premises customer, this will happen when you upgrade to Project Server 2016. For those of you on Project Online, you’ll be able to decide when you want to activate the new features, which will then migrate your old Resource Plans into Engagements.

What about reporting?

If you want to generate reports on how resources are being used in relation to engagements, you can create a custom report using OData, which supports the new engagement fields.

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