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Project Server 2010: Earned Value reporting using WBS, OBS and RBS? RRS feed

  • Question

  • Hello,

    I’ve been asked to help configure our Project Server 2010 implementation so that we can produce specific reports using Earned Value calculations. (By way of background, I used to work in Project Server 2007 some years ago and have used Project Professional 2010). I’ve seen the EV columns that Project/Project Server have out-of-box, and those are a great start. However, I also have specific requirements to report EV values which are grouped/displayed based on elements of the project’s Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), Organizational Breakdown Structure (OBS), and Resource Breakdown Structure (RBS). Which means I need to set up some custom fields.

    I already have a custom enterprise field (type is Task) to hold cross-references to the WBS, which is a separate Project file with only tasks, so that in our actual Project schedule file (which is based on the WBS and with start/end dates, durations, and dependencies) we can cross-reference the specific WBS task number. So far, so good.

    Next I need to determine how best to set up the following fields:

    • Organizational Breakdown Structure (OBS) that lists each company name, as well as specific functions within each (security, engineering, training, etc.)
    • Resource Breakdown Structure (RBS) that lists each company name, function, and resource roles within that function

    (some of you may be thinking, “why not just have one OBS or RBS that encompasses both these, since there appears to be some overlap?” To which I can only say I’m sorry, I have to set them up separately for different reporting purposes). I plan to set up both the RBS and OBS as enterprise custom fields with lookup tables, each named for the specific project (like “Project X OBS”) since I anticipate that there will in the future be custom OBSes and RBSes for additional projects. That is part of the reason I wouldn’t use Project Server’s built-in RBS enterprise column, as I need to use a project-specific OBS and RBS.

    So my question is: given the reporting requirements, does it make the most sense to set up the OBS and RBS enterprise custom fields as type Resource? My thought there is that each resource on the project team will belong to a specific element within the OBS, as well as a specific element within the RBS. That *should* also make it not too difficult to produce an EV report based on the OBS or RBS element, since each resource within a given OBS/RBS element has specific tasks assigned to him/her, which will each have certain earned value depending on work completed. (I know Project Server has OOB views such as “Resources Earned Value”). For what it’s worth, we have to pull in resource actual work values to Project/Project Server from a separate time/cost application, likely in CSV/XLS format…

    Having said that, I could also see the OBS and RBS as Task fields, since then you could report on OBS or RBS elements at the task level, which reflects work completed, without having to worry about specific resources. As you can tell, I’m struggling with which is best.

    I should add that as far as the resources to be used in this Project file, I will probably use a local resource pool (non-shared) instead of drawing from an enterprise resource pool. This is because we will have specific resources and rates for this project; we don’t want the resources to be assigned to other projects, and these same resources will have different rates if they are assigned to other projects in the future. My question though is whether having local resources and enterprise fields for OBS/RBS/WBS will mess up anything with the reporting I need to produce – like if I try to make use of Project Server’s resource reporting or a custom report based on values in OLAP cubes.

    Whew. If anyone made it this far (and I commend you if you did), my questions in sum are these:

    1.        Given the EV reporting needs based on OBS and RBS, does it make more sense to set them up as enterprise custom fields of type Resource or Task?
    2.        If I make use of a local resource pool to keep the project-specific resources and rates confined to that one project, will those coupled with my enterprise OBS-RBS-WBS custom fields cause any issues with the reporting I’ve described?
    3.        Are there any (other) glaring flaws with the way I’m contemplating setting this up? This learning process is definitely drinking from the fire hose, so I appreciate your insight.

    Thanks for your time and thoughts – have a great weekend!

    Cheers /td

    Saturday, November 9, 2013 3:47 AM

All replies

  • It sounds like an 'interesting' adventure.  I have been involved in some complicated EV multi data source solution projects and I can tell you first hand that they always become more complicated as they go along.  Once you start to identify the requirements and someone doesn't like the results they will ask you to tweak the solution ever so slightly to make the numbers look good.

    Remember that there is no special magic to EV calculations.  It is just a formula so for all intents and purposes you can do your EV calculations outside of the MS Project Tool. 

    Because like you we were using data from different sources you should think about creating a small data mart which would bring in the data from a) project server and b) the other application "actual work values".  In my case, I found it much easier massage the data as the requirements changed rather than trying to force MS Project to do what you want it to do.

    Since you will have multiple data sources I think you should set up the OBS & RBS as custom fields at the resource level but think about using them as foreign key/ ids instead of actual text based names.  This way as you build your data mart solution you can key in on these fields and join the data.  (ps. I'm not a db programmer so this just a suggestion)

    If you take away anything from this comment just remember 1) MS Project is a scheduling tool and you don't want to make it something it is not.  2) As soon as you solve this problem someone will ask for you to change it so build it in a flexible way you can (ex: a data mart).

    My comments may not directly answer you question but I hope they help some.

    Friday, December 6, 2013 9:38 PM