One of the centerpieces of the new Microsoft Project Server 2002 resource pooling functionality is the Build Team From Enterprise dialog box in Microsoft Project 2002 Professional. It lets the project manager (PM) look at the entire enterprise resource pool and find the resources that best suit the need.

Here’s a look at some features of the Build Team From Enterprise dialog box and how you can use it to find resources if you’re using Project Server and Project 2002 Professional.

Getting started
You can open the Build Team From Enterprise dialog box (Team Builder) in two ways: from the Insert | New Resource From | Microsoft Project Server menu item while in one of the Resource views in Project 2002 Pro, or from the Add Resources button on the Assign Resources dialog box. Either method opens the dialog box shown in Figure A.

Figure A

The right side of this dialog box shows all the resources that are already part of the project team. In our sample project, this is limited to four generic resources. You can tell that they are generic by the “shadow” icon in the Indicator column.

The left side of the dialog box shows every resource in the Enterprise Resource Pool; in our case, that’s 334 resources. Now, 334 is a lot of resources to look through, and many installations of Project Server will have many more than that, so Microsoft added filtering to the dialog box to allow you to “pare down” the resources.

The Existing Filters drop-down list contains every resource filter in the project file. If these don’t fit your needs, you can click Customize Filters to show the full filter creation controls. This lets you create a custom filter tool to help you find the exact resources you need. Figure B shows the dialog box with these controls added.

Figure B

The dialog box also lets you filter for resources that are available to work a specified number of hours in a defined time period. Figure C shows how you’d set up the dialog box filters to show only those resources that aren’t generic and are available to work at least 1,600 hours between 10/28/2002 and 9/8/2003. You can see that the Enterprise Resources list has been filtered to show only the entries that match the filter criteria.

Figure C

To make it even easier to locate resources, you can also group the Enterprise Resource list by any of the fields. Figure D shows how you might get the same results as  shown in Figure C by using the Grouping feature rather than a filter.

Figure D

You can now expand or contract the groups to show the resources you want to look at without having to build a filter.

Match and Replace buttons
In my opinion, the coolest features on this new dialog box are the Match and Replace buttons, and the power they give the project manager. These fields allow you to break down resources into hierarchical groupings. You can use these fields for things like the Resource Breakdown Structure (RBS), skill tracking, resource types, and employment categories. You can also mark these fields in such a way as to be taken into account for matching generic resources.

This takes us back to the dialog box. In the center of Figure D, notice the Match button. Selecting a resource on the right side of the dialog box and then clicking the Match button will filter the Enterprise Resources side of the dialog box to show only those resources where the value of all the Enterprise Outline Codes marked for generic resource matching equals the values in those same fields for the selected Generic resource on the right side of the dialog box.

For example, Figure E shows the results of selecting the IS Tech Writer generic resource and then clicking the Match button.

Figure E

The figure shows that the list is down to six from 334. This means that only six resources in the pool have the same Primary Skill as the IS Tech Writer generic resource (which, oddly enough, is “IS Tech Writer”). You can now use the Replace button to replace IS Tech Writer with one of the resources that matches it.

Notice that in the Work field, Tech Writer is assigned to 160 hours of work during the project and that each of the filtered resources has 1,736 hours of availability during the same time period. You can now select one of the Enterprise Resources and click Replace, and each assignment you made using the IS Tech Writer generic will now be made to the selected resource.

Bottom line
As a project manager, being able to match the correct person for a particular task is the biggest advantage of the Build Team From Enterprise dialog box. It can save you time and help you ensure that you match the right person to the right assignment.