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forcast the budget implications of staffing - Microsoft Project

How can Project help me forcast the budget implications of different staffing plans? We have few project tasks outlined, but may change staffing (and so, rates) on multiyear projects. MS Project does not appear to help here. What am i missing?...

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  1. #1

    forcast the budget implications of staffing

    How can Project help me forcast the budget implications of different staffing
    plans? We have few project tasks outlined, but may change staffing (and so,
    rates) on multiyear projects. MS Project does not appear to help here.
    What am i missing?
    GeoFru
  2. #2

    RE: forcast the budget implications of staffing

    Hi!

    There are several approaches to this, but here's some food for thought:

    From an MSP perspective, you'll probably want to use a resource pool...
    especially if you have multiple projects lined up. Two main approaches to
    setting up your resources for forecasting are a) generic resources by labor
    category or skill set or specific resources. There are advantages to both
    where "a" is probably easier / quicker to set up and gives you an "FTE"
    approach to forecasting and "b" can be more realistic and shows over
    allocations for specific resource much easier. Either approach can handle
    rates using the Cost Rate tables where you can set up to 5 different rates
    for each resource and also can set date ranges where the rates can change
    based on contractual terms, fiscal/calendar years, etc.

    You'll need to set up your schedules with tasks where you assign resources
    to them. Whether or not you develop high-level / top-down estimated
    schedules or detailed schedules, you'll need to have resource assignments for
    a greater degree of accuracy. I prefer the "b" approach because you can
    re-use the resource or actually start managing and tracking to the schedules.
    Conversely, the generic resource method is for estimation / forecasting and
    would take a little effort to convert to specific resources.

    This is high level and there are certainly other approaches / methods.
    Other considerations / views/ tools to use are a master schedule with
    inserted "sub" schedules. This gives you a portfolio / program view of your
    schedules and is also another way to see resource allocations across all of
    your projects.

    Hope this helps!

    Cheers,

    Ian Coletti, PMP
    com

    "GeoFru" wrote:
     
    Ian
  3. #3

    RE: forcast the budget implications of staffing

    Ian:
    thanks. that helps alot.

    If I use "b", will I see over/under use of *each* employee for period? Can
    period be a month?
    Can I grab actual expense $ from an ODBC source and use in my project
    report? And add or subtract the ODBC $ to cal a budget ramaining?
    George

    "Ian Coletti" wrote:
     
    GeoFru
  4. #4

    RE: forcast the budget implications of staffing

    Hi George,

    Using a "Resoure Usage" view, you will be able to see the allocations for an
    employee by whatever timescale you choose. Once in that view, select
    "Format" then "Timescale" and you can adjust the timescale to show "Months"
    and "Weeks" (the version of Project you use will dictate whether you have 2
    levels of timescale or 3). I find Months/Weeks useful because you can see
    whether folks are allocated around 40 hours / week. Also, if you right click
    on the right side (or time-phased) of the screen, you can add or delete rows
    for further ysis (see below for specifc fields).

    As for the second part of your question, you've switched from a forecasting
    to a managing and tracking issue. Typically, we'll use project to enter
    actual hours for tasks by resource. If the rates are set up properly for
    each resource and all of your tasks (either high level or detailed) are
    captured, you should be able to both baseline at the beginning (which will
    give you a "budgeted amount") AND enter actual hours... which will give you
    "actual cost." This is not something that you can do overnight if you are
    trying to develop a fully robust management system.

    I use this method every day for my clients, but our processes have been in
    place for a while. I also compare what was submitted in terms of hours on my
    schedules to what was billed to the program. Being disciplined about this...
    you can achieve realistic results with very little varience plus you get the
    added benefit of project management reporting and ysis with MS Project.

    Back to your first question, you can add Baseline Work & Cost to the Task
    Usage view as well as Actual Work, Actual Cost, and Overallocation.

    I have a couple custom views that shows summary level data as well as
    detailed Earnved Value data. You can do the same thig with the "Task Usage"
    view to look at the same type of data at the project or task level instead of
    from a resource perspective.

    Also, I know lots of people either try to or actually use ODBC connections
    or macros to populate Project with actuals from other systems. This is an
    option, but we usually enter this stuff manually for the most control over
    and subsequent ysis of our data. Since there are a lot of calculations
    going on behind the scenes in Project, I try to avoid automated entry into
    the system where possible (with the exception of Project Server, of course).

    Hope this helps!

    Ian Coletti, PMP

    "GeoFru" wrote:
     
    Ian

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