Microsoft Office / Software Applications

Microsoft Project 2007

Managing Resources in a Project Plan

As a project manager, you should have resources available to you to complete the project. These resources range from staff members to equipment and you can manage each within Microsoft Project. This allows you to manage the hours and costs for the project – as well as manage which resources are available for your project versus other projects so multiple project managers do not overbook a certain resource.

In this section of the free Microsoft Project 2007 tutorial, you will learn how to:

  • Create a resource calendar
  • Assign resources to tasks
  • Enter costs for the resources
  • Enter values for other resources
  • Resolve resource conflicts

Create a Resource Calendar

A resource calendar is useful in Microsoft Project 2007 when you want to schedule certain resources to take time off. This is the same as creating a schedule for employees. Not every employee will work at the same time nor will every employee have the same days off (most likely). In addition, not every employee will take a vacation at the same time nor will every employee work the same shift. Therefore, you need to create a resource calendar to schedule your resources to work around one another. This in turn will create an efficient work environment for your project and will ensure tasks are being performed as often as possible.

How to Create a Resource Calendar

Click “View” and select “Resource Sheet.”

Select “Tools” and select “Change Working Time.”

In the “For Calendar” list choose which resource you want to schedule (I chose the resource “Tom”). Select the “base calendar” (or the shift the resource works – “Tom” works the “night-shift” in my case).

Select “Make a copy of ___calendar” (in my case I chose the “Night-Shift” calendar) and select “OK.”

Select the “Work Weeks” tab and select “Details.” You can now choose when a week starts, when the fiscal year starts, and the time the day begins and ends for “Tom,” and so on. Once finished, click “OK.” To create a resource calendar.

Assign Resources to Tasks

Click “View” and double-click on the “Task Name” you wish to assign resources to.

For this section, I chose to assign “David” and “John” as my two resources to “Task B.” Once you have chosen your resources, click “OK” to assign your designated resources to your designated task.

Enter Costs for Resources

To enter a cost for a resource, click “View” and select “Resource Sheet.”

Highlight a “Resource Name” in the “Resource Name” field (for this tutorial, I highlighted “Wallace”).

Change the “Std. Rate” and “Ovt. Rate” to the proper standard and overtime rate (for “Wallace,” he earns “$10.00/hr.” for his standard rate and earns “$15.00/hr.” for his overtime rate. In addition, change the “cost/use” you have calculated for your resource. Once accomplished, your resource will now reflect their appropriate cost.

Enter Values for Other Resources

You may also enter additional values for various resources in your project. You may choose to add them to a “group” or develop a “material label” for each resource. Additionally, you can also add a code to each resource if you wish to go that route. All of this can be accomplished in the “Resource Sheet” (click “View” and then “Resource Sheet”). However, which value you wish to assign to your other resources is entirely customizable and entirely up to you.

Resolving Resource Conflicts

When you assign a resource to a task, Microsoft Project 2007 will check the resource’s calendar to ensure it is working. However, what it does not do is check to see whether the resource is obligated to another task. This in turn could cause the resource to “over allocate” which in turn will cause your task to run slower. It is the same principle as normal workers; if a worker’s duties is to carry 50 pounds equipment to a certain spot every day (and they are able to stay on schedule) then the worker is working at normal allocation. However, if you make the worker perform his normal duties AND sweep the floor, then suddenly they are unable to accomplish either task in the amount of time you would want them to. By checking your resources, schedule and ensuring they are working efficiently at all times, you will resolve resource conflicts and will stay on schedule at the same time.