MVPs for Office and SharePoint 2010: Drag & Drop Resource Management with MS Project

Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post by Project MVP Tim Runcie as part of the MVP Award Program Blog’s “MVPs for Office and SharePoint 2010” series. Tim is the president of Advisicon Inc., an international consulting, application development and training services firm.

When I was asked to write a quick overview of one of the new and powerful features of Project 2010, the first thing that popped into my head was the new Team Planner view.

What makes this so useful is that in this day and age of quick views, rapid drag and drop applications, phones and other visual devices, why can’t we quickly look at resources and manage them onscreen.

Well we definitely can.  As a Project MVP, I am exposed to many different upcoming additions changes and enhancements to Project & Project Server, SharePoint and other Microsoft applications.  Under the NDA (non disclosure agreement), I am under pain of death not to reveal things that are about to come out until the correct time.  

Pre 2010 launch, one of my more frustrating experiences is watching customers spend hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars trying to mimic dispatch drag and drop scheduling and not being able to shout out… HEY PROJECT 2010 DOES IT OUT OF THE BOX!!!

Well the gag is lifted and I’m excited to talk about this feature, so let me get right to it.

Drag & Drop Resource Management

Welcome to the new team planner view of MS Project 2010

The idea was to allow visual filter and assignment capabilities closely matched to what we find in dispatch scheduling tools.  That means on the screen, you can see people’s work in a graphic and visual manner and manage that work between a single to multiple resource.

This view allows you to hover and see details, or to double click and drill into work.  

The top portion is the existing work by resource (filtered or unfiltered) and the bottom pane is the unassigned work (which can be toggled on or off depending on what you the user decide to see).

Overall the idea is to help the end user quickly see resources and what they are working on and then level, assign new unassigned work or to reallocate assignments between resources and see the visual impacts on the screen.

In this next screenshot, you can see that resources are overallocated by the stacked activities on their schedule and the color coding (red in this picture) of work that exceeds their capacity.

A neat feature is that you can color code work that is in the future as well as behind schedule and visually see what is overallocated all in the same view.

Now there are multiple ways to manage your resources.

1. You can right click on any task and then have it rescheduled or assigned to a different person. (seen in this next picture)

2. Now my favorite….You also have the full ability to move, progress, update the task and or drag it from one person to another, including moving it forward or backward in time (just remember it will honor it’s links and may not move if you have predecessors and successors)

This has a tremendous impact on resource managers who have to manage their teams and view all the work that is going on.  Now they have a quick view in Project 2010 to drag work between unassigned resources to current resources and do load balancing with this view.

In the Team Planner view, you are able to click and drag the bottom tasks to any location or resource to plan and or schedule (or you could right click on it if you wanted).  If you have nested tasks with relationships, project can enforce or you can tell it to not enforce the linkages, thus protecting your overall project schedule from an accidental drag and drop.

In a world of complex and possibly detailed project schedules, it is hard to visualize work by period for a resource.  Instead of trying to filter a Gantt chart and then drill into each task to manage the resources, you can use the team planner view to give you good visibility, quick control and ease of use to managing your resources and their workload.
Comments (1)

  1. naomi lacoss says:

    wow that is amazing!!! so helpful!! love the blog!!!!

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