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Managing Projects in ResourceFirst

Typically, resource managers create and modify resources, project or portfolio managers create and modify projects, and resource/project managers create/modify assignments in close collaboration. The main, basic aspects of managing projects are for project managers to set up the project initially, forecast resource needs for the project, and schedule its expected execution.

Below is an introduction to the main functions a project manager would use.

Setting Up Projects

Click the Projects button (the briefcase icon along the upper left set of icons) to open the role-based center for managing projects.

Icons_Main_Center.JPG

 

A project tab will be opened, with several main tabs for managing a portfolio of projects. 

Projects_Header.JPG

 

There main tabs are as follows:

  • Data- Important project data (i.e., the main project list for the portfolio, within the filters you've set)

  • Demand- Total time-based resource/skill demand summarized for each project

  • Initiation - Project requests awaiting approval

  • Forecast- All resource/skill assignments for projects in the portfolio

  • Requests- Manage requests

Note: The projects and related data that appears is based on the selection in your filter, which is the filter icon at the top right of your screen (the upper right control panel is below):

Icons_Upper_Right.JPG

See ResourceFirst Navigation for more on setting filters.

Project Data

The Project Data page lists all the projects in the Portfolio contained within the filtering parameters. Project Data views contain a combination of attribute data and status fields. Multiple views are available to show the project list with different parameters. Project data views allow the addition of new projects and the editing of project information for users with the appropriate right level.

Projects_Data.JPG

 

Note in particular the actions possible using the two buttons in the upper left.  Hovering over the buttons shows the functionality. The + sign is to add projects and the X is to delete a project.

 

The Save icon is used by Project Managers to save Project Data.  To export to Excel, click the Export icon.

The Import Project icon functionality is beyond the scope of this article.

 

Project Data Fields

The detailed project information is presented in a custom view created by the administrator.  To switch between views, click on the Project Views drop down at upper right and select the view desired.  Users can select a subset of view fields to be displayed by clicking the drop down on any field header and selecting columns.  

Following are some of the important Project Data fields.  In addition to standard fields, PDWare provides User Defined Fields for additional needs.

  • Status- Indicates in color what the status of a project is. Available colors are 
  • Project Name- The name of the project.

  • Unit Priority- Project priority in values 0-9999 where 0 is highest priority and 9999 is the lowest priority

  • Organization- The node in the project OBS in which the project is stored.

  • Project Manager – The project manager. Note that several users might have P1 right to a project but only one can be specified as the manager.
  • Start/Finish/phase  gates- Key dates for the project.

  • State – Project state.

  • Key – This field is often used to uniquely identify the project and integrate with other systems.

  • Active – Indicates if a project is active or inactive.

  • User Defined Fields- Additional fields may be defined for customer specific purposes.  Common examples are Location, Project Type and Customer.

Edit Project

To edit project information in the Project Data tab, select the project record, and click on the cell you want to edit. The grid will automatically change the input control to match the data required for the field (text, list, and date).

You can edit multiple records, before saving your changes to the database. Each edited field will have a small red marker on it to indicate a change.

Add

Clicking the “+” sign (the Add button) opens a dialog box for the user to select the Project OBS node and enter the name of the new project. Wild card searching is possible for the node.  A wild card “*” is automatically added before and after the search key.

Note: For information on adding and/or maintaining a project OBS, please note that this is currently only able to be performed in our ResourceFirst Portfolio Desktop solution, and is outlined in the article, Maintaining the Project and Resource Organizational Breakdown Structures. For more on the Portfolio Desktop application, visit the Portfolio Desktop section on this site from the home page. 

 

After selecting the node, enter the project name.

There are 3 options: Add, Initiate and Cancel.  Selecting Add or Initiate will insert the project into the database and allow the user to fill in additional information for the project using forms created by the administrator.

If Add was selected, and Save is clicked after filling in any additional information desired, the project will be inserted directly into the database.

If Initiate was selected, and Save is clicked after filling in any additional information desired, a workflow process will be initiated to seek approval for adding the project into the database.  Until the initiation approval is complete, the project will not appear in Project Data.  The Project Initiation and Approval Workflow process is covered in a separate training module.

Selecting Cancel terminates the Add action with no project added.

Delete/Deactivate

Selecting one or more Project rows and clicking the X (the “Delete” button) will remove the Project and all of its assignment/actuals history from the database.  A warning is provided.  In many cases, it may be better to deactivate the project instead, using the Active field. See next section.

When you uncheck the active flag of a project, the project is inactivated. The project and its assignments will no longer be visible, unless inactive projects are included in the selected filter. See ResourceFirst Navigation for more on setting filters.

 

Project Workspace

Double-clicking on the project name takes the user to the Project Workspace for that individual project (a tab is opened for that specific project, with a new set of project-specific sub-tabs).

Many additional actions are possible for the Project Manager from the Project workspace.  Click the tab needed to perform actions in that area.

Project Info

The Project Info tab allows the user to initiate a project or modify project information via the set of data entry forms created by the administrator. To edit a field, click on the cell you want to edit. To change forms, click on the Project Forms field on the right and select the one desired.  When finished entering/modifying project information, click the Save button to the far right.

When editing the project information, different fields will force different data:

  • Text Fields – Free form entry

  • Lists – A value must be selected from the displayed values

  • Dates – a date must be specified by selecting from the date control or typing in a valid date

  • Status – a value of G,Y,R,NA must be selected from the list

 

Forecast

For details, see the main "Project Forecast" section further down in this article.  Actions within this project-focused Forecast are similar to the portfolio-focused Project Forecast section.

Demand Analysis

This tab provides a graphical view of the overall demand for the project by interval, with blue showing the demand that has been allocated to named resources (and is not excess demand on those resources), and red showing the shortfall (skill demand and excess allocations to named resources).

Scheduler

See Adding, Editing, and Scheduling Projects for details.
 

Risks and Issues

Project managers can create and modify risks and issues using this sheet. Risks affect the outcome of a project and have a probability and impact. Issues have impact and affect the progression of a project.

Documents

Project managers can store and retrieve documents related to a project using this sheet.

Discussion

Project focused discussions can take place in this context.

Key Performance Indicators

PDWare assesses key performance indicators for each project based on data in the database.  A summary of these KPIs is provided for the project in the upper right of the Project Workspace. The KPIs and a description of each is below:

Projects_KPI_Descriptions.JPG

 

 

Project Forms

In the Project Information sheet, project forms previously created by the administrator may be used to simplify data entry and modification. To select a different form, click in the Project Forms area and select from the drop down list.

Project Demand

The Project Demand sheet is a read only summary, showing the total resource/skill demand for each project (for periods/Projects/Resources specified with Get Data). The color thresholds are set by the administrator for all users. The severity of under-staffing increases from yelloworangered.

Projects_Demand.JPG

Double Click Drill Down to Project Forecast

By double-clicking in any effort cell in the Project Demand sheet, the Forecast sheet will be opened, filtered to only show that Project’s assignments. Then you can see where the shortfall is (i.e., which resources are constrained). For example,in the image above, if you went to project A1003 and clicked on the first data cell for that project (the 1.50 FTEs in Red under 2/1/2017), you would be presented with the following Forecast screen for just this project. Note which resources are overloaded.

Projects_Project_Specific_Forecast.JPG

 

 

When highlighting a particular forecast line, it is possible to filter by that Resource, by that Project, or to remove filters (i.e., "Show All") using the filters in upper right. You can also revise the date range.

Projects_Forecast_Filter.JPG

 

If you make changes to the forecast cells, don't forget to click the Save button in the upper right. Also, in order to see the colored indicators reflect your changes, you need to click the Recalculate button at the bottom left of your screen (the rightmost button in the panel below):

Projects_Forecast_Recalculate.JPG

 

Project Initiation

The Project Initiation process allows for a project to be requested, where it will go into a queue of candidate projects. Once it becomes finalized and approved, appropriate notifications are sent and work on the project can begin. View the short video below for more.

 

Project Forecast

The Forecast tab shows the forecast to each project, of each resource/skill, by period (based on the filter parameters). While Resource Managers “own” the data on the Effort Forecast table, Project Managers collaborate with Resource Managers and can request additions/updates to project forecasts.

Understanding Assignments, Forecasts, and Demand in PDWare

Assignments and Forecasts

An assignment is an association between a project and a resource or skill from a resource organization. An assignment appears as a row on the Forecasts sheet. The Forecasts sheet is where the resource manager enters the amount of time per period a resource is required for work on a project. This is referred to as an effort forecast. If entering data in units of effort (Full Time Equivalent or FTE), 1.00 indicates one FTE/period. Demand and supply (capacity) can also be entered in hours.

Planning

When you are initially scoping the resource requirements for a new project or defining the requirements for an upcoming phase of an on-going project, the demand should reflect the needs of the project, even if that need creates overloading of resources. Given the scope of the project and its target schedule, how much effort is required from each resource in each time period? At this point the priority of the project is usually not defined.

Agreement/Contract

After the scoping has been done (whether for a new project or new phases of an existing project), the project team and functional resource managers work through portfolio achievability analysis to trade off timing, scope, and resources until agreement is reached. At that point the resource baseline is set, equal to the agreed-upon demand (in addition to schedule and scope baselines).

Execution

After the baseline is set, further effort forecast values for resources on the baselined project reflect the resource manager's prediction of how resources will be deployed. This can be thought of as the current staffing plan which may vary from the baseline (but usually should not vary widely without changes to scope or schedule).

Managing Overallocation

For data cells on the Forecast tab (representing the effort forecast), yellow/orange/red shows the assignments that are overallocated, ideally after all assignments are addressed in priority order with the available capacity of the resource/skill.  The color thresholds are set by the administrator for all users.

NOTE: Optionally, you can click on a project to see the forecast for only that project, or you can click on a resource to see only the projects that resource is forecasted for.

Projects_Forecast_MultiProject.JPG

Edit Assignment

To edit an assignment, select the assignment row, and click on the cell you want to edit.

You can edit multiple records, before requesting your changes to the database. Each edited field will have a small red marker on it to indicate a change.

Request/Response

When adding new assignments or modifying existing ones, under the recommended configuration, Project Managers do not directly Save their forecast changes to the database. Instead, after additions/changes have been made, all of the changes in that context are submitted as requests to the appropriate resource manager(s). For details on the resource request process and how to submit requests, see the article Understanding the Resource Request Process.

 

Recalculation

The PDWare allocation algorithm that creates the colors on the views is a powerful process that runs in the background and sometimes is not instantaneous.  The Recalculate button, in the bottom left footer panel on your screen, will force this process to run on the records on your screen to make sure your view is up to date. WARNING: It is best to use the "Save" button to save your changes prior to clicking Recalculate. (The Recalculate button is the rightmost button in the image below):

Projects_Forecast_Recalculate.JPG

 

Sample uses:

  1. After a save the modified records did not update their colors.
  2. The colors do not look up to date and I want to verify they are correct.

Adding an Assignment

To add a Resource or Skill assignment, click the “Add” button or the dropdown arrow (the leftmost button in the diagram below) and select either Resource Assignment or Skill Assignment option. A skill assignment is to assign a generic skill, which can later be filled by a named resource. A resource assignment will assign a named resource immediately.

Note that adding an assignment merely adds the row for that project/resource. After adding the assignment, you must then enter the effort forecast for that assignment in the data cells to the right.

Projects_Forecast_Add_Delete_Request_Buttons.JPG

Add Skill Assignment

When Add Resource Assignment is selected, a dialog box opens to specify the Project, Resource OBS and Required Skill.  All three fields are required.  Wildcard searching is possible in each field.

The Resource OBS node specifies which organization the skill need is normally expected to be filled by.

After entering a portion of the desired field value (e.g., “…Devel…” Resource OBS node below), items matching the search value will be displayed.  Select the desired item by clicking on it.

Then, go to the Skill field and search for/select the item(s) desired.

Select the skill(s) desired, and click Add to insert the assignment into the Forecast sheet.

Next, enter the forecast values for each interval.  After entering forecasts, you can use the Request capability in the upper left control panel (to the right of the X) to request the changes be submitted for approval/acknowledgement by the responsible Resource Manager.

Projects_Forecast.JPG

 

Add Resource Assignment

Note: In general, when adding assignments, Project Managers should be adding Skill, not Resource, Assignments.  Resource Managers should allocate Resources to the new Skill assignments.

When Add Resource Assignment is selected, a dialog box opens to specify the Project, Required Skill (optional) and Resource.  Wildcard searching is possible in each field.

After entering a portion of the desired field value (e.g., “Bar…” project below), items matching the search value will be displayed.  Select the desired item by clicking on it.

Then, go to the next field.  In this case, the Required Skill is being defaulted and will be populated in the Assignment from the Primary Skill of the Resource selected.  After entering a portion of the resource’s name (or a “*” as wildcard),  click the search icon  to show the list of matching resources.

After all needed fields have been populated, click Add to insert the assignment into the Forecast sheet.

Note: If the required skill is filled in, the check in the “Has Skill” button will cause only those resources with that skill to appear as candidates.  The “Include Assigned”, when checked, will allow resources already assigned to that project to appear.

Next, enter the forecast values for each time period.  After entering forecasts, you can use the Request capability to request the changes be submitted for approval/acknowledgement by the responsible Resource Manager.

Deleting an Assignment

Note: In general, Project Managers should consult with Resource Managers when they believe an assignment should be deleted and ask them to delete the assignment.  

Converting to Skill

Note: In general, Resource Managers will be Converting to Skill when needed.

Candidates

Note: In general, candidate selection and allocation will be done by Resource Managers, not Project Managers.

Save and Cancel

To save Project Data changes to the database, click on the  Save button at upper right. If you do not want to save the changes made in a role-based section (e.g., Projects), simply exit the section session by clicking the “x” in the upper right of the role-based section header:

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