Thursday, September 24, 2015

Resources engagement: finally available on Project Online!!

This is Christmas before Christmas!!
Guess what I saw this morning going to the server settings of my Online tenant!!! 
Figure 1: message in the server settings mentioning the availability of the new feature

It means that the new feature for resources engagement has been rolled up to Project Online tenants, at least for European located tenants. You might know that this is one of the greatest strength of Project Online: new features are automatically pushed on your tenant, you do not need to perform any requests and any IT operations.

That being said, the resource engagement feature comes in replacement of the existing resource plans. Thus there is a data migration operation from the resource plans to the resource engagement. This migration starts with the new feature activation in the additional server settings.
Figure 2: new feature activation
Then you get a warning message about the migration process, with a link toward a quick guide on the new feature :
Figure 3: warning message about the migration process
Once the migration done, the resource plans are discontinued and you can now access the resource engagement feature from the resource center. I'll not go into details since it has been blogged over and over, but after a few tests (I already had the opportunity to test it through the Technical Adoption Program), it looks really great. Note that you need MS Project Pro 2016 or Project Pro for O365 to use the new feature with Project Pro.

Just a few screen shots:
Figure 4: new button in the resource center

Figure 5: resource engagement ribbon
Figure 6: new request creation

Figure 7: requests created
Figure 8: capacity planning
Are you ready for this migration? Do not forget to first activate the feature on a test instance in order to test it with your customer and plan for the transition. I particularly think about how the resource plans data are exactly migrated as engagements. You'll also have some documentation, training and change management to perform and track along this process.

For the technical part, see the resource engagements like the resource plans. It creates engagement work which is stored separately in the DB. It doesn't rollup in the project plan but is accessible for reporting. One question for me concerns the capacity in the portfolio module, but I'll get back to you as soon as I get an answer.

One last thing I find important to mention: this feature is NOT INTRUSIVE. Meaning that it does not prevent a project manager to assign a resource in his project even if the request has been rejected. On the contrary, if a request has been accepted, it doesn't automatically assign the resource on a task (anyway, which task?) or even in the project team. This is more about supporting the communication process between project managers and resource managers.

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