At times, especially recent times, you and your organization may need to re-plan resource utilization in order to quickly react to changes happening to your business.
You and your PMO may find yourselves asking questions such as:
- This key person's availability has changed. What other work and people may be affected?
- Certain people on aren't able to work as many hours. How do we adjust their availability?
- This person is no longer with the company. How do we reflect that?
- What other adjustments do we need to make for people who aren't able to work?
There are a couple of ways to assess the impact of a resource’s reduced availability (Impact Analysis, What If Planning) and then several remedial techniques you can apply, including adjusting calendars (using events, work hours overrides and new calendars), creating placeholder projects, deactivating users, and adjusting allocations. Each are described below.
First, if you would like to quickly see what projects, portfolios, and even other resources would be impacted if a particular person becomes partially or fully unavailable, you can go to the individual resource and select Actions > Impact Analysis. This opens a new tab showing that person’s relationships to these other entities. You can toggle different relationship types on and off as well as adjust filter options to hone in on key relationships. You can also switch the focus to one of the related entities to see what relationships it has.
What If Planning
Another way to see the impact of resources becoming temporarily or permanently unavailable is by using the What If function. Start by creating a new scenario, setting up the time period and frequency options you want considered and include relevant demand and resource filters. Try to restrict the scenario to the specific resources you are interested in analyzing, both to de-clutter your data results and to optimize performance of the What If Workbench, as it can return up to 24,000 records. After you run the scenario you’ll be able to see projects, roles, and resource assignments and their current utilization. From here, you can test out the impact of shifting or excluding resources and roles to simulate lack of availability. For example, say our business analysts are over-utilized: what happens if we shift a few months a lower priority project that uses business analysts? By shifting this lower priority project out 3 months, we now have created the capacity for our business analysts to focus on higher priority work.
See What-If Planning.
Now imagine you need to adjust the availability of a resource because you want to minimize the chances of accidentally over-allocating them, or you want to visualize their reduced capacity so you can make changes to their current allocations. One method is to adjust the Resource calendar. Permitted resources can edit resource calendars to add new Events, which in turn reduce availability. If the resource cannot work at all over the next two weeks, or perhaps only on certain days at certain times, one or more new calendar events can be added to represent their reduced availability. For example, if the person is unavailable in the mornings on Tuesdays and Thursdays, you can create a new Event and specify their Working time along with a weekly recurrence of Tuesdays and Thursdays with an expected end date. Or, if you know they are not working for entire days for a set period of time, select another Event type and recurrence as needed.
Aside from creating a new Event, another alternative that is particularly useful if a resource has reduced availability for a number of hours per day for an indeterminate period of time, is to adjust the person’s working hours. For example, if a person will only be available in the mornings for the foreseeable future, on the resource's calendar you can select to Override working hours and then click into each day to update the working hours. Note that only permitted users, such as members of the standard Resource Group, can adjust working hours.
Lastly, if you have a set of resources that all will have the same reduced working hours, it might be worth your while to create a new Organization calendar with the relevant hours. Permitted users can multi-select the impacted resources and use the Switch Base Calendar option to change them all to the new Organization calendar, on an appropriate effective date as needed.
- About Calendars
- About Resource calendars
- Creating events
- Working Hours
- Creating and editing Organization calendars
- Using effective dates for base calendars
Placeholder Project to Allocate Unavailable Resources
Another way to represent a resource’s reduced availability, without changing their calendar, is to create a project for the express purpose of temporarily allocating resources while they are unavailable and allocate the resource(s) to the project. For example, you can allocate Pat Smith to an “Unavailable Resources” project starting at the beginning of the month for 0.5 headcount and ending in 3 months. You’ll want to make sure this project is excluded (or not) from relevant analyses and dashboards, as it isn’t truly a real project. And if the resource normally completes timesheets, they’ll likely want to charge time to this project if you care to track it, otherwise they could simply submit timesheets for the reduced hours of true work only.
Inactivate Resources - Temporary/Permanent
But what if you have people that will be on a long leave of absence or permanently unable to work? If the person is also a user, you can deselect their Active property - inactive users cannot log in to PPM Pro. When they return they can be re-activated. Or, you could set a Termination Date for any resource. Doing so will automatically deselect the Active property and in the majority of the places in PPM Pro where they are still represented, their resource name will be shown with a strikethrough. If in the future the person returns to work, you can reactivate them and remove the termination date. Note that if the reactivated person was a user who previously submitted timecards, before removing their termination date be sure to first update their timecard activation date to the date at which they will need to again begin charging time, otherwise old time cards that are not needed will be spawned.
Tidy Up: Reassign Ownership/Management
Once you’ve adjusted a person’s availability, you’ll want to ensure that any other people depending upon them have a replacement person as needed. For example, if an unavailable person is a unit manager or another person’s timesheet approver or immediate supervisor, you’ll want to identify a new person to take their place. Likewise, if an unavailable person owns any projects, reports, dashboards, filters, and other entities, you might want to reassign ownership to someone else. This is particularly important if the person owns published dashboards, so that the dashboards can be managed going forward.
Finally, you’ll want to make sure that if an unavailable person had been allocated to one or more in-flight or future projects, those allocations are adjusted or replaced with another person. You could edit each individual project, but a quick way to make these adjustments is with the Home Resources view, often referred to as the resource workbench. Here you can find the resource and immediately see their utilization, which should reflect their adjusted capacity and include relevant Events. In the bottom panel you can see their current project allocations. As necessary, you can replace the assignment with another person. Or, you can adjust the total headcount or hours, or individual contours to better accommodate their availability.
We hope the ideas in this video/article have provided useful techniques to help you adapt your people management in challenging times. With as much or as little support as you want from PPM Pro and Planview, your PMO can shift and pivot as your business responds to the unexpected effects of unplanned disruption. If you have any questions that we haven’t answered, please let us know by reaching out to PPM Pro Customer Care, your Account Executive, Success Manager, or Product Management.
Please feel free to take a look at the other videos in this series: