Goal: Share resources among projects

Microsoft Office Project 2007 makes it easier for you to share resources across multiple projects in which the same people, materials, or equipment will be used.

Tip: This article is part of a series of articles within the Project Map that describe a broad set of project management activities. We call these activities "goals" because they are organized around the project management life cycle: Build a plan, track and manage a project, and close a project.

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Share resources among projects

number 1  Plan for resources who are working on different projects     Learn more about how sharing resources can help you manage teams and individuals who are working on multiple projects.

More . . .

It is rare for people to be assigned to one project from start to finish, with no additional responsibilities. Sharing resources among projects affords more flexibility and control for resource management. If any of the following conditions exists in your situation, you should consider sharing resources:

  • Overlapping projects     You may need to begin a new project before finishing a current project. Sharing resources between the project files can help you ensure that the resources are not overallocated. If you want to transfer resource data, such as cost rates, from another project to your new project, create a resource pool to make it easier to transfer the data from the old project plan to the new one.

    If you are using Microsoft Office Project Professional 2007, you can use enterprise resources instead of a resource pool to share resources across projects.

  • Resources organized by functional group     If you need to assign resources like auditors or accountants who work on many projects as part of a management process, you can use resources for those tasks. The manager of the functional group can then level the resources' workloads and replace or reassign resources to meet the schedule.

    If it makes no difference which resource performs the task, the resources can be managed outside of the scope of the project for optimum effectiveness in scheduling. But if you need to retain control over who does what, you can set up a change process that enables you to approve resource assignments before any resources are assigned to a project.

  • Workload forecasting across many projects      Using resources can be very effective for forecasting the workloads of people with similar job descriptions. You can assign resources with generic names, such as Architect I and Architect II, to designate different levels of experience needed for a task.

    The overallocation value for each job description indicates how many of a specific type of resource you need to complete the scheduled work across the projects. For example, 300% overallocation for Architect I means you need three junior architects to complete the work.

    As you refine your resource list, you can enter specific names for each job description and reassign the work to the actual individuals who will do it.

Number 2  Share resources among projects      You can choose to share resources from another project plan or from a file designated as a resource pool, or you can move existing resource information from your project to a new, resource pool file.

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