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Using MSP 2010 for forecasting resources based on project demand RRS feed

  • Question

  • I'm struggling with using MSP to help with forecasting how many people I need based on project demands.  This is an exercise I go through every year, and is very labor intensive in Excel.  I think with the power of MSP, which I'm fairly adept at, that it can makes things easier, but I'm not sure how to do it.

    In summary, this is what my excel spreadsheet looks like:

                              Jan   Feb   Mar  Apr  etc

    Project 1
       Developer       10hrs  10 hrs  5 hrs
       QA                  20hrs  10 hrs  5 hrs
       Analyst10hrs  10 hrs  5 hrs
       DBA                20hrs  20 hrs  15 hrs

    Project 2
       Developer       10hrs  10 hrs  5 hrs
       QA                  20hrs  10 hrs  5 hrs
       Analyst10hrs  10 hrs  5 hrs
       DBA                20hrs  20 hrs  15 hrs

    Project 3
       Developer       10hrs  10 hrs  5 hrs
       QA                  20hrs  10 hrs  5 hrs
       Analyst10hrs  10 hrs  5 hrs
       DBA                20hrs  20 hrs  15 hrs

    I do this at the beginning of the year, and at least quarterly to determine staffing needs.  You'll notice that I don't have "typical" project tasks, as they are not known at the beginning of the year.  They are just broad estimates until we begin the Planning phase of the projects.  Once the projects are laid out, I can then move them around to balance the resources across the months of the year.  As you can see, it is very painful to update, move, etc. in excel.

    I can't get this figured out in MSP.  I've tried using a Master Project with subprojects for each, and then using the Resource Usage view, and group by Project.  That's about as close as I can get.

    Any help or thoughts on how to do this?

    Thursday, April 19, 2012 8:44 PM

Answers

  • Michael,

    There is not much you can do (in Project) until you get the projects laid out.  You could do it at a higher level (based on project phase) then break it down once you plan out the project tasks.  This is known as top-down planning.  Set up your project phases (as individual tasks), estimate resources needed and you will get an idea of resource requirements.  You could then place these in a master project file, but master projects do not help to a great degree when you don't have detailed planning completed.

    It sounds as if the cart is being put before the horse.  Detailed information cannot be derived before detailed planning.  I used to do resource planning (strategic) in the same way you are doing.  Then, once the projects were planned, we adjusted based upon project priority, available resources, etc.

    If you have completed project files from similar projects, you can use these as a template for planning the new ones.

    Good Luck.


    Gregg D. Richie, PMP, MCTS; Author, Microsoft Project 2010, Microsoft Official Academic Course Series

    Thursday, April 19, 2012 9:39 PM