More Resource Rates RRS feed

  • Question

  • I work for a consulting firm.  Each client may have a unique rate card, meaning that any resource may have many rates in play at the same time.  Project Server accomodates up to 5 rates, which doesn't cover it.  I use Project to plan and monitor budget, and compare it to our invoices to ensure billing accuracy.  My workaround has been to use local and not enterprise resources.  This seems like a poor solution.  Any help out there?
    Tuesday, October 1, 2013 7:30 AM

All replies

  • Hi Alan --

    It is true that each resource is limited to 5 cost rate tables (A, B, C, D, E), but you can also implement a new rate in any of those rate tables on an 'Effective Date'. If a person begins working for a new client with a unique hourly rate starting on a specific date (i.e. $100/hr, starting January 1, 2014), then you can re-use one of their existing rate tables by adding the new rate and new effective date.

    If this will not work for you, then using local resources is not the end of the world... depending upon how you and your team are using the system. If the assigned people do not need to log into PWA and enter their progress or actual work hours, then no harm done... no?

    Good luck!

    -- tz

    Tony Zink | Vice President, EPMA | | Blog: | Training:

    Tuesday, October 1, 2013 7:09 PM
  • One solution I used once was to have the rates for each resource in each project stored in Excel or a database. On opening your project file we ran a VBA macro to read the rates for the current project and update the rate for each resource. Cost reporting could then be done and new costs copied to a custom field.

    Of course on saving and re-opening, Project Server restores the original rates but this process allowed the correct rates to be used.

    Rod Gill

    The one and only Project VBA Book

    Rod Gill Project Management

    Tuesday, October 1, 2013 7:54 PM
  • Thanks, Tony, but how does this allow more than 5 simultaneous rates?  And, yes, we'd like to use PWA for time reporting and resource forecasting.

    Tuesday, October 1, 2013 8:42 PM
  • Hi Alan --

    This method does not allow you to use more than 5 resource rates simultaneously; it allows you to set different rates at specific points in time. Do your resources need to be charged at 5 different rates simultaneously?

    Good luck!

    -- tz

    Tony Zink | Vice President, EPMA | | Blog: | Training:

    Tuesday, October 1, 2013 9:37 PM
  • "Each client may have a unique rate card, meaning that any resource may have many rates in play at the same time."  Yes, I could have a lot more than 5 client/projects active at any one moment.  Junior folks are more focused, but senior resources could have 10 or more clients with open projects (in various stages.)
    Tuesday, October 1, 2013 10:00 PM
  • Another option would be to do it in the reporting, i.e. pull the hours from the database, and multiply them by a rate table as appropriate.  We demo'd something similar with PowerPivot at Project Conference 2012 which would get the job done.

    Andrew Lavinsky [MVP] Blog: Twitter: @alavinsky

    Wednesday, October 2, 2013 2:45 AM
  • It sounds like there is no straightforward solution to this scenario.  That puzzles me as we can't be the only company doing business like this and trying to use Project Server intelligently.

    I've picked up on two other common themes around Project over the past few years that I can't understand.  In statement form:

    - "Project Pro/Server aren't primarily for budget management, but for scheduling."  In practice I see it more the other way around.  Has MS put a ton of effort into the scheduling engine?  Yes.  Do I use it?  No.  I love the concept, but in reality there is never enough time to provide and maintain all the data points needed to take advantage of it. 

    - "Project should only be used for tracking blended, internal resource costs; other tools exist for accounting and financials."  Really?  I think Project is a great tool for planning and managing costs.  Real PM software can deal with the resource dimension in a way that Excel and other tools just can't.  I don't want to have to use a system that has no other context for my project than costs.  I need to see that information along with the project resources, phases, work packages, etc. 

    I'd love to hear any input on this. Also, if you have any other solutions for my resource rate problem, I would GREATLY appreciate it!

    Wednesday, October 2, 2013 4:04 AM
  • Alan,

    A lot of times, the actual rates for a resource is sensitive data, which organizations do not want a regular PM or team member to have access to. For example, lets say you maintained the actual rates of a resource. As soon as a task is assigned to that resource, a team member can easily calculate the rate.

    For this reason, many organizations use blended rates, and use Project Server as an 'indicator' of cost, rather than a cost management tool.

    I would actually vote for the solution Andrew is talking about. This way the actual rates can be separated and maintained by a Financial person, rather than your project server admin.

    Prasanna Adavi,PMP,MCTS,MCITP,MCT

    Wednesday, October 2, 2013 6:50 PM
  • Alan,

    No, your company is not the only one to have these challenges (i.e. the need to track budgets and costs; the need to have multiple resource rates in-play for a given resource).

    Yes, Project Server has some capabilities with respect to budgets, rates, and costs.  But--as discussed in this thread, there is a limit to these capabilities.  Once you have exceeded the limit, you need to supplement Project Server with other systems. 

    In large aerospace firms--where the programs/projects are huge and complex, there are multiple types of interacting project management systems needed--and the "scheduling system" is just one of those systems. 

    At Hughes Aircraft Company, our Cost Information System (CIS) was the largest, most complex, and most important enterprise application in the company. Every manager in the company was deeply involved with that accounting system. But we did the scheduling in the scheduling systems--and the project cost accounting in the CIS--and the two types of systems exchanged data.

    Project Server is a project scheduling system--with some cost accounting features.  Occasionally--as in your case, companies need more cost accounting features than Project Server offers.  When this happens, it is time to get a formal Project Cost Accounting System (PCAS) for your company.  It is not time to build more cost accounting features into the scheduling system.

    These are two distinct business disciplines--Project Management and Accounting--which have some overlap. But both disciplines have their complexities and will often require highly specialized systems that can deal with the complexities unique to each discipline.


    • Edited by Edward Hanna Wednesday, October 2, 2013 7:19 PM Delete Signature Line
    Wednesday, October 2, 2013 7:17 PM