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In our organisation, we're using a MS Project Server setup that's pretty much out of the box. I'm now struggling to find a fit with one of the requirements put forward by our PMO:

Our company has multiple consultants working for multiple clients. Clients order our support services for several days a week - for example, 1 day/week or more.

Consultant X works for clients A, B and C.

  • A: 1 day / week
  • B: 2 days / week
  • C: 2 days / week

Depending on client demand, the consultant can freely choose which days he spends at which client. Mostly, these are fixed schedules (e.g. Mondays at client A). But suppose if, one week, client A asks him to come in on Tuesday instead of Monday, our consultant simply switches adapts his schedule and swaps both appointments.

Now, in retrospect a consultant's wereabouts on a given day can easily be seen depending on the filled-in timesheets. What our PMO wants to see is a consultant's schedule for the future. Basically, the process should be this

  • PMO tells a resource to work at clients A, B and C during a certain time (e.g. 20 days at client A / semester)
  • The resource schedules the assignment on certain days as needed

Any ideas on how I can accomplish this?

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  • Wouldn't you just schedule at the level of granularity that is predictable? In other words, schedule weeks, not days in the example provided. – Andrew Clear Jul 17 '14 at 20:33
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That is some intense micro management. The schedule should reflect the best prediction of future activities one knows at the time when scheduling. It can reflect known changes--that go through your change control--to a certain degree. Otherwise, the schedule will reflect variances.

I think you are using the wrong tool for what you are doing. This sounds more consistent with a work-order / ticket solution, where a consultant is dispatched to a certain client each day. I think you need to rethink your BPM strategy, not your scheduling tool solution.

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When ms-project don't have the functionality-adaptability your require, the way to go is programming macros. Use the macro recorder as first step. Is the same with ms-word or ms-excel. Sorry I can't be more concrete, last time I worked on ms-project macros was more than 10 years ago. Regards

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If you're not married to your processes and your tools, I would take a step back and ask why it is that you need to use MS Project for this. Its not the right tool, and although you may get away with macros and whatnot, I'd reevaluate first the need to manage this in MS Office and then of course the need to manage resources in a tool like this. Is it for billing purposes? e.g. Client A charges more than Client B and therefore we need to track that, etc?

I would instead encourage you to create something more visual, like a whiteboard with people's names on it and where they will be. Sometimes the easiest solution to such a problem is a low-tech solution -- always go for the simplest solution when managing these types of problems.

Also, it sounds like the way you manage projects requires a more Agile approach. Here is a great resource that talks a bit more about this:

http://www.jrothman.com/blog/mpd/2011/04/cards-stickies-whiteboards-or-tools.html

Once the work is done for each client, you can then record the actual work performed for billing purposes and track this on a rolling basis. (This should satisfy your "PMO tells a resource to work at clients A, B and C during a certain time" requirement.)

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