7 Tips for Resource Scheduling For Geographically Dispersed TeamsIn 2001, I was doing a large Billing transformation project for Telefonica, Madrid. It was a complex project and that was also first time I was working with distributed team.
There is a strict delivery date from the project because it’s a fixed cost project with agreed delivery timeline but the challenge was to get proper resources with desired skills. Finally we, build our team with people from all continents.
Our billing team was from Israel (their availability during September is a challenge), Mediation & rating team were mostly Indians (it was tough to get majority Indians working during October/November due to Navaratri & Diwali & some Indians preferred to take vacation in mid Jan), our OS/390 mainframe experts were from west coast USA & Sao Paulo (Brazil) . Our DB2 expert was from Russia.
There is also a difference in working time like people at Tel-Aviv development center used to work on Sunday but not on Friday, testing team at Cyprus worked in two shifts and UAT support provided in three shifts from Cyprus, Tel Aviv development center along with local support from Madrid.
Our business transformation team was stationed in Madrid and their first language was Spanish. I found from experience not to schedule any onsite work from 2PM to 5PM !!
So, challenge was different work time along with different internal charge rates.
To plan & track these types of projects, require hands on working experience on how to build a program plan with multiple resource calendars, task calendars along with judicious using of “critical resources”.
A regular tracking of burn rates for in house teams & external consultants who were charging based on hourly engagements is also important for better financial managements.
Let’s demystify the resource calendar
1. Go to Project -> Change Working Time & click the Create New Calendar... button.
2. Give a proper name for new base calendar using make a copy of standard calendar
3. Create a separate calendar for each team in all countries along with proper setting for working time & week.
4. Next make the project critical dates like delivery to ST, delivery to UT, going production and post production warranty support as working time and create a separate calendar. This is true for all.
5. Create an exception to model an irregular change to the normal pattern of working hours or non working hours. Always put details for an exception for easy understanding by everybody. You should revisit your exception report every month and use report tab to check assignment report.
6. You also have to adjust work contour for some resources based on the stage of project. This is a powerful tool for finer adjustments for very costly resources.
7. You also need to define a separate task calendars for back up, Database maintenance or patch upload. Always apply those tasks neglecting resource calendar because in resource calendar those might be nonworking time.
Please ensure that everybody has training on MS Project and team has access to Microsoft Project Server. In absence of MS Project server, you can use liquid planner or Gantter, a free project management collaboration tool that is described as a "web based Microsoft Project.
We will discuss financial management using EVM in next tutorial of these project tutorial series.
Author is Prince 2, PMP (Project Manager Professional), COBIT, TOGAF and Microsoft Certified Technical Specialist. In past awarded with MVP (Microsoft Most Valuable Professional - Microsoft Project)!
Other articles on our project tutorial series
- 10 Tips for MS Project 13 users
- Best Practices For Building & Tracking MS Project Plan
- Top 10 Best Practices for Making an IT Project Successful
- Top 7 reasons why large IT projects fail
- Microsoft Project tutorial on how to track completion of activity in MS Project plan.
- What are the necessary skills of a good IT project manager
- How to manage project resource calendar in MS Project 13