Home > Robin Kruithof, Work > Practice makes Perfect Part 5 – Microsoft Project Resource Pool

Practice makes Perfect Part 5 – Microsoft Project Resource Pool

associates I was triggered to make this post about the Resource Pool functionality because I see a lot of questions about it popping up from clients and forums I am involved in.

In this post I will give a quick overview of how you create and use a resource pool.

Note that I am talking about Project Professional here and not the Project Server Enterprise resource pool functionality. I hope this post will give some insight in how you can use this functionality without having the luxury of Project Server.

Again I will be using Microsoft Project Professional 2013 to demonstrate this. However this is the preview version and not the final product changes may still occur.

What is a resource pool?

A resource pool is used to centralize the company resources in a Microsoft Project file. So in essence this Microsoft Project file will contain every employee that can be assigned to a project. The project file can then be saved to a file share so that everyone can access it or it can be saved locally if you only want to use it for yourself. When it is saved you can connect your project plans to the resource pool and gain access to the resources.

Note this file cannot reside on SharePoint. Project Professional won’t allow you to connect to the resource pool that is located on SharePoint.

So what can a resource pool mean for me?

With your project plans connected to the resource pool you can access and assign resource to your projects. When multiple projects share the same resource pool you will get a good view of the allocation of the company resources. This also allows you to see over-allocated resources where you have the ability to act on it.

So how do I create a resource pool?

The first thing you need to do is open Microsoft Project Professional and save the file to the location where you want your resource pool to reside. Give it a clear name that it is the resource pool. For this post I will call mine CXS Resource Pool.

When you created the file and saved it, you have to start filling it with your resources. Depending on how many resources you need to fill in this could take a while. A little trick to make it easy. If you happen to have a excel fill with employees names you can just copy it into the resource sheet.

Note: Make sure you have a name convention in place. Project doesn’t see the difference between R. Kruithof or Robin Kruithof. This could lead to duplicate resource in your resource pool and we don’t want that.

Ok now that we saved are resource pool and filled it with resources let’s see what it does, shall we.

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Now that I have created my resource pool, how do I use it?

Before I tell you how to use it I have to tell you about the catch. To use the resource pool with your project it also need to be opened. This however can be in read-only mode as long as you have it open. Otherwise your project is not able to get the resource information out of the resource pool. Now that’s out of the way let’s continue.

Create your project and go to the resource tab. Click on Resource Pool and then Share Resources.

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Select Use resources (requires at least one open resource pool) and select your resource pool file. Also make sure that Pool takes precedence and press OK.

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Note: When you link a project to the resource pool Microsoft Project will recognize the project file as a resource pool. Whenever you open the resource pool you will get the following message.

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My advice is if you don’t need to edit always open read-only. Additionally, once a project is linked to the resource pool it will ask you if it should open it. When clicking ok it will open the resource pool in read-only mode.

Now that you have linked the project to the resource pool we can start using it. As you can see in the image below I am able to select the resources residing in the resource pool.

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For this post I made two projects: Project A and Project B. Both of these projects are linked to the resource pool. Let’s see what happens when I start assigning resource to my task. For good measure I will also create some over-allocation.

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As you can see in the image above the project now has a over-allocation (The red man icon identifies over-allocations). This information is gathered from the resource pool.

Ok now to see where the over-allocation resides. You can either see this from the resource pool or from the project itself.

Let’s go to the Resource Usage sheet to see where the over allocation occurs.

Tip: In the Resource Usage view add the column “Project” and open the details view as well to get a clear indication which task of which projects are creating the over allocation.

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As you can see in the image above the project gives you a clear indication on where the over- allocation resides. And because you know were the conflicts are you are able to act on it by using the team planner for example.

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In the image above I have three options. One: delay the task of Project B. Two: delay the task of Project A or, Three: hand over the task to Alex running as he seems to have time. This example all depends on the priority of the projects and the ability of Alex Running to take over a task from Tim Mouse.

A resource pool gives you great insight on the resource utilization over multiple projects. Add this with the ability to make reports and you have a great way to see which resource is doing what and plan accordingly.

After playing around some more with over-allocations and reports I created the following report see image below. I love the new report functionality in Microsoft Project Professional 2013.

Note: When you want to create a report always do this in your project. The reason behind it is that while the resource pool has your resource information most reports are based on tasks even for resources. Because this information is located in the project plan you won’t be able to create a report with the information in the resource pool file itself.image

I hope this gives a bit more insight in how to create a resource pool and how you can use it. It is great functionality for organizations that does not have Project Server but still want to do centralized resource management. Using the resource pool will take some time to get used to and to use it effectively. But in the end it is worth it.

via SpeakingSilent » Robin Kruithof http://speakingsilent.wordpress.com/2012/08/21/practice-makes-perfect-part-5-microsoft-project-resource-pool/

Robin Kruithof
I am Robin Kruithof. I am working at CXS in the Netherlands as a Microsoft Project Consultant. My passion lies in Project Management and everything in the Project Management domain.

This article has been cross posted from speakingsilent.wordpress.com/ (original article)

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  1. Marcus
    April 23, 2013 at 12:57

    Hi Robin, thanks for your effort, unfortunately you lost me right at the start: Where exactly in MS Project Professional 2013 do I create a ressource pool? Cannot find the point of entry somehow. thanks again. Marcus

    • April 23, 2013 at 13:08

      Hi Marcus,

      Thanks for you question, I will forward it onto Robin and hopefully we can come back to you as soon as possible.

      Kind Regards

      Giles

  2. Robin Kruithof
    April 23, 2013 at 13:21

    Hi Marcus,

    The first thing you need to do it make a file that will contains your resources. So open Microsoft Project and save that blank file with the name “Resource Pool”. In this file you only have to enter resource information. The next step is to connect one of your acctual Project Plans to the resource pool. To do this open your project and go to the tab “Resource” click on resource pool and select the file you created the resource pool file needs to be open in this process.

    Your project is now able to select the resources that are entered in the resource pool. Other Projects will also be able to connect so that all projects have one place to get their resources from and giving you more insight in the overall resource usage in your organisation.

    I hope it helps.

    With kind regards,

    Robin Kruithof

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