Tip for Project Managers: Creating a Resource Pool without MS Project Server in Microsoft Project 2010

For those without Microsoft Project Server, here is a way to manage shared resources through various projects. Through the use of this method, the program manager or unit manager is able to check team member allocation and also plan projects.

For those without Microsoft Project Server, here is a way to manage shared resources through various projects. Through the use of this method, the program manager or unit manager is able to check team member allocation and also plan projects.

 Firstly, you will need to create the resource pool by following the steps detailed below:

 Create a resource pool:

  • Create a new blank project
  • On the Resource tab, select resource sheet
  • Enter your resources and their information (different type, working time, calendar etc.)

 

For those without Microsoft Project Server, here is a way to manage shared resources through various projects.

 

Once you’ve created the resource pool, you will then need to create a first project plan.

Please note, that you will need to open the resource pool file to enable you to be able to use the shared resources.

You can create a new project with simple tasks, as detailed below:

 

Once you’ve created the resource pool, you will then need to create a first project plan.

 

 The next step is to open the shared resource pool from this project by following the steps below:

1. On your project file, click on the resource tab then go to your resource pool and click on shared resources:

 

The next step is to open the shared resource pool from this project by following the steps below
 
 
2. Choose your resource pool file and set up conflict option. By default the Resource Pool takes precedence over the project file (sharer).
 
 
Choose your resource pool file and set up conflict option. By default the Resource Pool takes precedence over the project file (sharer).
 

3. On the project file it displays shared resources:

 On the project file it displays shared resources.

 

4. You can now assign your resources to your tasks and see the updated project plan:

 You can now assign your resources to your tasks and see the updated project plan.

 

As you can see there are 2 conflicts highlighted:

  • Task 1.2 cannot start on Friday because the resource assigned does not work on Fridays
  • Task 2.2 cannot start on Friday as the resource assigned only works on Mondays.

 I would like now to plan another simple project with the same team. I therefore, create my project plan #2 and assign resources:

 project plan #2 and assign resources.

 

As you can see from the example, there is an issue with regards to resource over allocation (“My developer full time” is assigned to 2 tasks, one in each project):

One of the solutions to deal with resource over allocation is to use the team planner. Please note, that the team planner is only available in Microsoft Project Professional 2010.

Open the team planner to see the over allocation across both projects:

 One of the solutions to deal with resource over allocation is to use the team planner

 

By dragging and dropping the task to either another available project team member or by moving it to when the current team member is available, you remove the over allocation:

 

 

 To complete this post, here are some additional questions...

 Question 1: What happens if I first open my resource pool?

You are prompted to select file opening mode:

  • Open “read only” the file,
  • Open “read-write” the file to make changes to the resource pool
  • Open “read-write” the file and all other sharer (files that are link to this resource pool)
What happens if I first open my resource pool?

 

Question 2: What happens if I first open my project file (sharer) without opening the resource pool?

You will receive a prompt asking whether you wish to open the resource pool:

What happens if I first open my project file (sharer) without opening the resource pool?

 

Question 3: What if I change resource information from a sharer (project file)?

Microsoft Project will pop you up to either save the resource pool with modifications and then update all sharers, or cancel this change:

What if I change resource information from a sharer (project file)?

Question 4: Is it possible to add a resource to project1.mpp, which should not be on the resource pool?

No, this is not possible. If you add a resource to project1, the resource pool will be updated.

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About the author

Jeremy Cottino
Jeremy Cottino

Experienced in project management of IS/IT projects for multinational companies. Jeremy is the reference profile within the company with regards project management methodology and tools. Confirmed client-server and web development engineer, Microsoft Certified Professional (.net platform, SQL Server and SharePoint)