CRM Project Service: Checking Resource Availability & Building a Project Team

Project Service for Microsoft Dynamics is an end to end service that provides a single system of engagement for project sales, resourcing, delivery and billing teams.

In a previous post we looked how Resource Managers use Project Service to profile and manage their billable resources, and their skill competencies. We also demonstrated how Account Managers and sales teams work with Project Service to build quotes for project work.

When a project quote is won, or perhaps even before this event, a Resource Manager will need to assign resources to fulfil this work.

In this scenario, we are using the example of an agency who will be delivering a new website project for its client, Divine Trading.

A new Project record has already been created with a Project Work Structure Breakdown that defines that details each step specific to this unique project, each resource role needed and the required delivery dates:

At this stage we haven't assigned these project tasks to any billable resources so the next step is to build a project team by clicking the Generate Project Team button:

CRM confirms this has been completed and details the resource roles needed:

As shown above, this action has included two developers on the project team. This is because in the work schedule the Project Manager has stipulated that two developers are needed to work on this project due in order to complete this component of work more quickly and achieve the client's completion target.

The Project Breakdown has now been updated with these defined Resources which includes the two developer slots which need to be filled:

By default, each Resource entry has initially been created as generic items and in the Resource Requirement View (below) these each appear as an outstanding requirement:

There are two methods to allocate tasks using CRM Project Service.

Firstly, a Resource Manager can go ahead and directly hard book individual resources to carry out these requirements.

In the example below, I've selected the Designer requirement to find an available designer who will to complete this work. In line with the project plan this activity will be scheduled between 1-2 August requiring a total of 12 hours:

Clicking the Hard Book button brings up the the Resource Finder and this automatically applies the filter specific to this requirement which comprises the organisation unit, the designer role and the core skills previously defined for this role.

This has found two designers on our team. One, Judy Simon is already fully booked for these dates but we can book Lee Malcolm who is currently available.

In the event that several resources are available a Resource user can compare multiple individuals to assess their skills and cost metrics. This would include details of each Resources average bill rate and the revenue generated on work they have previously delivered.

If required, the Resource Manager could use this screen to communicate with the Project Manager of the LHM project if they wanted to ask them to release Judy for this new requirement:

However, in this case there is another skilled designer who is available so we'll go ahead and make the booking for Lee:

Returning to the Resource Requirement View (below) it confirms the Designer role has been filled on this project with 12 hours now allocated.

The second method for making bookings is to click the Submit Request option.

This process creates a Resource Request record for each item and notifies a Resourcing team to find people for these requirements. It will be the likely method in instances where a Project Manager is doing the initial work to create the project team and needs to instruct the Resourcing team to find the appropriately skill people.

To demonstrate, I've selected the remaining Resource Requirements on this Project and submitted a resource request:

Once these are submitted it's over to the Resourcing team.

The Resource Requests view lists all the requests across multiple projects that need to be processed:

If high volumes of requests are involved, in order to improve the flow of these processes CRM queuing and routing rules can be applied.

We'll get started on these new requests by selecting one of the requested developer roles and clicking the Find Resources button for the 10 hours on this request:

This brings up the same resource availability finder which again is automatically filtered by the selected role:

This has identified 5 developers on our team but both Hiren and Wayne are hard booked on other projects and so are unavailable for the two days needed on this project.

The skills filter has applied the criteria specific to this role but in this example our project needs developers who are expert in using Craft CMS so we'll override the standard 'good' rating to find the best qualified people:

This narrows the list and discounting the two developers who are already booked we can select either Andy or Mohan for this booking. In this case, the project has a requirement for two developers but only one can be booked at a time.

I'll now book Mohan for the first developer role. This can be done as a confirmed or proposed booking.

The latter might be useful if a resource assistant is doing the initial work to identify a suitable resource which a Resource Manager can subsequently verify.

It's also a good option if the resource is a contractor. In this example it enables a Resourcing user to initially make a proposed booking and send a request to Mohan for him to accept:

After making a proposed booking for Mohan I'll hard book Andy Wilcox to fulfill the remaining hours of this development request.

Once complete, the Project Team Members View shows that our team is beginning to take shape:

I'll now go ahead and book resources for the remaining places...

Our proposed developer, Mohan has now accepted the booking which enables the Resourcing team to confirm this requirement entry and finalize the project team:

As this example demonstrates Microsoft Dynamics CRM Project Service help to bring people, processes and technology together by aligning the right person, right job, right time and right location.

CRM also offers another option to populate project teams by inviting user to apply for available Resource Requirements using the Project Finder App.

Contact Preact if you'd like to learn more and understand how your organisation can reap the financial benefits from CRM Project Service.