Team ressources: Assigning members on a week to week basis?

Hi there, I’m Arne and I’m new to OmniPlan.

At the moment, I’m giving OmniPlan a try with one of our new projects.

Our team is not full time (or even “half time”) on this project, but more on a week to week basis. That means one person might work on my project for 2 days this week, 1 day the next week, and 3 the week after that.

This is due to the fact that our team members work on multiple projects all the time. (We’re a small agency.)

So, back to my question:
What’s the best way to mirror this varying workdays for my project in OmniPlan?

My first idea was to have no “regular” working hours. Instead I’d set all the working hours as extra hours, to be able to mirror our non-regular project assignments.

But I’m not sure if this is the way to go, and I’d gladly receive some inspirations :)

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Here are two suggestions - I don’t know whether either of then will help.

  1. Estimate the average availability for each resource over the life of the project. In the example you used, average availability over the 3 week period would be 40%. This is simple, but has some challenges:
    – You need an advance view of the person’s availability to be able to estimate reliably (and reasonable confidence that it won’t change too radically or often
    – Your view of work completion will be only approximate during the work progress. That may matter, or it may not, depending on the type of work.
    – Your view of running cost will be only approximate until the project completes.

  2. Break the project down into individual small tasks and allocate resources per task. That will give you accuracy, but it could turn into a lot of work planning, tracking and updating.

A lot depends on whether you’re primarily concerned with estimating duration of tasks (so resource allocation is a means to an end), or resource allocation (either for cost management or to feed into a resource management process).

Also, a lot depends on the size (team size and length) of the projects.

I’m working with a large project (2 years, team of 30) in which, although the team members are dedicated overall, they’re need on multiple sub-projects, so each of the sub-project managers has a similar challenge to yours. Our approach has been to create an overall plan in OP, and then split tasks into two-week sprints. Resources are allocate to a sprint ( maybe several at a time) and we review each fortnight to allocate to the next round of sprints. The OP plan (its actually Microsoft Project because everyone else is on Windows (so I have to import into OP for reporting/updating) basically list the outcomes (products, if you’re familiar with Prince 2) and the sprints that will deliver the outcomes.

Maybe something like that would help. Hope all this makes sense

Three years later I am here with the same question. We evaluate, as a team, every Friday what projects and for how many hours resources will be assigned for the coming 2-3 weeks. We almost always reduce assignments for the upcoming week.

The thought I have is to assign the resource for the duration of the project or for the first date they will work the project to the estimated last date they will work on the project, using their average allocation which is usually something like 15%-50%. I will then go in and block out the days I know for certain they are not working on the project in their individual calendars. If later they are assigned additional days, I will unblock those days.

I also am creating resources in Omnniplan with role names to assign to future tasks that I have no way of knowing who will be assigned. Here I am also using a normal allocation of 15%-50% depending on role. So this way my plan looks accurate where named resources are assigned. For the future tasks with unnamed, role resources it is my best guess on typical allocation.

What are your thoughts on this approach?