Resource Plans and Portfolio Analysis

First off, thanks to everyone who came to the recent Project Conference in Phoenix.  One thing that I was surprised at with this conference was how many people had actually downloaded the white paper I wrote last year on the Portfolio Analysis module within Project Server 2010.  I literally had folks come up to me in the hotel elevator and mention that they had the document as required reading within their organizations.

So I figured, I’d write this post as a supplement to that paper.  At some point, it’s probably a worthwhile exercise to simple re-release the paper with additional content from the last 12 months or so.  I’m sure that I’ll do that at some point.  In the meantime, please consider the information below to constitute the current draft of Portfolio Analysis v2.

Links to Existing Content

  1. The white paper itself – a business user guide to using the Project Server portfolio analysis module.
  2. A half-hearted attempt at listing errata and issues with that paper – check the comments section.  Feel free to add your own.  I don’t mind.
  3. Modeling Portfolio Resource Capacity with Generic Resources
  4. Manually Prioritizing Projects with Custom Fields

….and read further for the next addition to that content, defining the interaction of resource plans and the Portfolio Analysis module.

Resource Plans and Portfolio Analysis

Let’s kick this off with a quick review of Resource Plans.  Here’s the semi-official link to the Microsoft blog on the topic.

From my perspective, the Resource Plan is like making a reservation for a specific resource.  It’s like setting a reservation on a table at a restaurant, like saying that I’ll need 50% of a developer for the next 6 months to support this project.  Many organizations use these Resource Plans to do demand planning, i.e. to assign resource types before the specific resource has been identified – or more commonly, to book a specific resource before the actual project plan has been decomposed into a schedule.

So with that being said, how do Resource Plans interact with the Portfolio Analysis module?  The main setting to review in this case is the toggle that determines where resource availability is calculated from:


If you select Calculate From Resource Plan, then you will observe that the resource plan calculates pretty much the way you would expect it to, i.e.:

  1. If the resource is assigned to a project task AND the project is not included in the Portfolio Analysis, then the assignment is decremented from resource availability – but will not show up in the demand calculations.  (See the section in the white paper on phantom projects on page 40 or so.)
  2. If the resource is assigned to a project task AND the project is included in the Portfolio Analysis, then the assignment is not decremented from resource availability – but does show up in the demand calculations.

On the converse side, if Calculate from Project Plan is selected, the project will behave pretty much like any other project in the Portfolio Analysis module.

So the moral of the story…when using Portfolio Analysis and Resource Plans, make sure the Calculate From settings are configured appropriately.

Resource Plans and Portfolio Analysis

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