Project Online: Resource Management and Capacity Planning


I had a nice surprise when visiting my Project Online support tenant today – I can see that the new Resource Management and Capacity Planning features have been rolled out to my tenant.  The roll out started today (9/23/2015) and could take a little while before every tenant has the opportunity to activate the tenant – so just be patient if you have not seen it yet.  The first indicator is in the Message Center, and this should be there for all Project Online tenants in the Admin Center – so hopefully your tenant admin let you know what’s coming:

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The “Complete action by” isn’t really relevant here – there isn’t anything urgent you need to do – quite the opposite in fact – I’d certainly suggest playing around with the new feature in a test PWA site before activating in your production systems.

*** Update 9/25 - the message has been changed to "Awareness" with no "Complete action by" date - so it will look a little different from the above screen shot. ***

Once it has been rolled out to your tenant then you will see a yellow banner in the home page, the Resource Center and the PWA Server Settings page:

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When you visit Additional Server Settings on the PWA Server Settings page you will see a new option to Activate these features – and when you check it you will get an informative pop-up:

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As the pop-up says this will set your PWA instance to start the migration process – and published resource plans with time phased resource data will get turned into resource engagements (see the FAQ document in the list of documents below for more information).  You can cancel out at this point – and even if you click OK you still have one more chance as you need to SAVE the page before the action will really be set in stone.  Once you do activate and SAVE It is NOT reversible – so as I mentioned – familiarize yourself with the feature before taking this step.

The link to ‘this guide’ – will take you here - https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Overview-Resource-engagements-73eefb5a-81fe-42bf-980e-9532b1bdc870?ui=en-US&rs=en-US&ad=US 

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A very useful read on the new features.  Worth stressing the note there - IMPORTANT   Resource engagements are only available if you're using Project Professional 2016 or Project Pro for Office 365, connected to Project Online or Project Server 2016 Preview. Project Standard 2016 does not include resource engagements.

Thanks Sonia for the great supporting documentation:

· Overview: Resource engagements

· Request a resource's time

· Accept or reject an engagement request

· Evaluate resource capacity

· Add a resource to Project Web App

· Activate resource engagements in Project Online

· FAQ: Resource engagements are replacing the old resource plans

I hope you like the new feature – and keep an eye on the Office365 Roadmap for more project goodness.

Comments (10)

  1. anonymouscommenter says:

    Thanks you Brian we had the same good surprise yesterday in Europe too!
    As Resource plan are replaced by Engagements, can you still mix Project Pro assignments in the past + near future and Engagement plans in the long term so that the full plan can be forecasted as an exhaustive schedule ?

  2. anonymouscommenter says:

    @Didier: The 'Calculate Resource Utilization from' dialog has been moved to the Project Information dialog box within Project Pro 2016 (or updated Project Pro for Office 365) once you publish with an engagement. It still has the setting for 'Project Plan
    until:' and lets you specify a date.

  3. anonymouscommenter says:

    Does anyone know how this will affect existing Resource Plans? Since we clicked 'Activate' this morning, all of our Resource Plans are inaccessible. We've been told we have to wait for nightly processing before they become visible again. But has anyone
    experienced issues with their existing Resource Plans, as a result of this?

  4. anonymouscommenter says:

    I should add, existing Resource Plans in Project Server (Project Online)...

  5. anonymouscommenter says:

    Still waiting for this feature is tenants of my clients. When will it be available? Is it possible to arrange something to have this awesome feature available a.s.a.p. in one of my tenants? I really need this for one of my clients immediately.

  6. anonymouscommenter says:

    Since I've activated the Resource Plan button is no longer an option. How are we supposed to create new resource plans for generic resources? Engagement function isn't need for portfolio analyses so it's unclear why removing this function would be a part
    of this release.

  7. anonymouscommenter says:

    We have been using this a while now in my organisation and frankly I'm a bit shocked. I don't know how other companies do their resourcing, or if this tool is meant for smaller organisations, but for us it's practically useless now. We divide our projects
    into regions, so the projects would have in their metadata the region they're in. Also we use project stages, so project might be in sales or pipeline or delivery or closed even. In the old version, resource managers grouped the projects by region and stage
    and then proceeded to supply the most urgent first and ignore the closed and pipeline ones (which we still need there for reporting purposes). Now in the Resource Requests page - you cannot group projects by region or stage anymore, so resource managers in
    all regions are forced to look at all projects everywhere and in every stage - and they have no clue as to whether the project is in sales or delivery or what.
    Another thing - now you are forced to choose the people you are supplying, in advance from the resource pool. Once you are in Resource Request page and think of giving a person to match a generic demand, you can only choose from the list that you happened to
    check from the resource pool. If you at this point decide you want to supply someone else - maybe from another team - you have to go back and check them in resource pool. You can't group the people like you did in the earlier version either. OK workaround
    - I check everyone in the resource pool. Well, then the capacity heat map gets useless because it has too many names (or doesn't display at all because I have checked m ore than 100 resources).
    So... If you are working in a larger organisation having global projects and resoucres across the world... I would think twice about pressing that upgrade button. (Microsoft has been informed but the answer we got was that they are waiting for more feedback
    so they know how serious this problem is before they will look into it)

  8. anonymouscommenter says:

    Oh, another thing. So - I'm a resource manager for a team in Europe. I have checked my team (and generic resoutces) in resource pool and procede to resource requests. I see a bunch of projects needing resources so I proceed to edit the engagement. But
    - the project also has resources from our Asian office and I would like to see them so I k now who's in the project already - maybe I'm not in charge of the solution architects so I want to see who's the solution architect before I add engineers. But I can't
    see that now - because I didn't pick all resources from the resource pool - I only picked my guys. Also, I can't see the projects whole resource plan like I could see in the 2013 version.

  9. Thanks for nice blog, Same we can configure for on premises environment.

  10. Hello Brain, since a couple of weeks we'll facing problems with generic resources. So far we did set up generic resources with a max. availability of 0 %, so that no capacity is calcualated and a demand is transparent. Formerly the work was calculated normally, if an assignment is done, but recently the work is going to zero - which makes this approach not doable anymore, even if you change the type (e.g. fixed duration, fixed work). Is this behavior by design? Will there be a fix available soon? Thanks in advance. Julian

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