Using Dynamics CRM Project Service to Manage Resources, Roles & Skills

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

Project based organisations use this extended module to track all the billable resources they work with who deliver work for its clients. This includes employees, contractors and other agents.

Depending on the nature of the business activity these resources might be trainers, field service personnel, consultants, advisors, writers, technicians, installers, engineers, designers...

Project Service for Microsoft Dynamics enables resource managers to handle these relationships within CRM Online (2016 Update 1), and use this to assign the best person, with the best skills at the right time to the right job.

At the outset a Resource Manager will need to define:

  • Each billable resource who they can assign project tasks to
  • Which roles these resources can be grouped into
  • The core skills and and certifications required for each role type
  • The skill proficiency of each resource within these competencies
  • Their regular working days / hours
  • How much these resources cost
  • What their target billable utilization is

In this example, I'll be using the example of a web design and development agency that want to use CRM to manage a diverse team of billable resources.

These Resource Role records have been defined in CRM as follows:

Once these roles are defined the essential skills and certifications for each role can be set.

These are the core competencies that a billable resource should possess specific to each defined role:

In the above example, a Developer resource role record has been created which lists a series of Role Competency Requirements. For this technical web development role a list of programming skills have been defined.

Each skill competency is held in CRM as a Resource Skill record. An aggregated list of custom defined skills and certifications specific for this example are shown below:

To further help Resource Managers find the right people for each project task these skill characteristics can be combined with a competency rating.

For example, when a Resource Manager is searching for a Developer resource that has .NET skills they can also filter this based on a rated competency to find an 'Expert' in skill.

The Rating Model is shown as a separate record and these values are applied to each Skill record. In the example below I've used a default of 3 ratings but this supports multiple values and allows you to define your own ratings for the level of control and description needed.

Other Values might be used to denote if someone is in training for a specific skill, or perhaps if they are highly proficient in a specific area but preferred work on projects that utilise other skills they possess. That could prove useful knowledge to a Resource Manager who has an urgent requirement if their other resources are fully booked.

Once a resourcing framework has been defined in CRM these settings can be linked to a billable resource team who have been added to the Project Service Resources screen.

This lists each active resource who can be billed for a Project Role. New resources can be added, or open an existing record to check and amend these details.

The example below shows the record for one of the bookable resources available to a Resource Manager which features:

  • Their target utilization
  • Their resource category - in this case the individual is defined as a developer but multi-skilled people can be assigned to multiple categories with one chosen as the default reflecting their preferred role.
  • Resource Categories - showing their full list of skill characteristics and associated values. If required the Resource Manager can adjust these settings and add new skills
  • This also tracks the time zone for each resource which will prove useful if work in different region.

In the Work Hours page a Resource Manager can select a recurring or a one-off weekly schedule.

This will be used to confirm the individual's working days and to detail holidays and other scheduled absences.

Precise working hours including break times are also managed here.

In the example below, I've set a regular working schedule of Monday - Thursday for this person and included their scheduled holiday:

Once these resources have been added to CRM Project Service and individual skills and ratings have been assigned, Resource Managers are able to use availability calendars to find people for new project tasks and co-ordinate with Project Managers to allocate and book these resources. We'll be covering this topic in a future post.

Using Dynamics CRM price lists the associated cost and billing rate for each resource type can be set:

These cost and sales figures are accessible to Account Managers and other sales users when they prepare quotations for project work to help them competitively adjust their quotes and make sure their proposals are profitable.

Learn more by reading our next post in this series: How to Create Sales Quotes using Dynamics CRM Project Service