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Title: Project Management Toolkit: Managing Resources to compare Working Budget and Actuals to Initial Plan

Brief description:

With this resource management approach in Unanet, an initial plan represents the project resource plan "as bid" or as initially planned to meet project cost, profit and revenue targets. Once the initial plan is created, resource assignments/budgets are made using the plan. Then, as contract modifications, project deliverables, resource changes, or other changes occur over the term of the contract/project, Unanet resource budgets are updated to reflect a current "working budget." At any time in the contract/project term, Project and Resource managers can compare the current budget and actuals to the initial plan.

Relevant metrics include:

  • Project profitability
  • Resource utilization
  • Billable revenue per billable resource
  • Project or Task completion dates, target completion dates, elapsed time
  • Project or Task labor and expense budgets, burn rate on those values
  • Resource availability
  • Plan vs. Budget vs. Actual - Hours, Costs, Revenue

What’s covered in this document:

Table of Contents

Key Concepts


A People Plan in Unanet is considered as project resource soft booking, which can be used to represent your initial contract baseline. Once it is created, the contract baseline should be left untouched since it contains the initial contract agreements or the goals you plan to achieve initially.

Plans are great for creating proposals and making resourcing decisions. You can optionally have multiple Plan Sets for “what-if” analysis, as well as multiple versions of a given Plan Set. Also, Plan Versions can be locked to prevent further editing and keep your baseline/original budgets intact. Plans can also be directly converted to Budgets/Assignments.

Plans can be directly converted into a working budget. In Unanet, this is called "People Assignments." Assignments are hard bookings and resource authorization to charge time and expenses to the projects. In most cases, project managers choose to only allow assigned people to charge to their projects. During the contract execution phase, project requirements may change, initial planned resources may not be available any longer, and/or the schedule gets tight and you need to assign additional resources. The changes can be implemented by directly modifying the people assignments on the projects, at which time the assignments vary from the initial plans and they represent the contracts' working budget.

Budgets/Assignments are also used in reporting/forecasting, but their primary purpose is work authorization (i.e., control mechanism). The original Assignment/Budget is typically the result of your planning procedures, but once the Project begins and circumstances change, it becomes fluid. Budgets/Assignments may also be used for authorization without being initiated as Plans. Unlike Plans, you only have one budget/assignment and it cannot be locked. Think of Assignments as your “working budget.” They are great for forecasting the costs you’ve authorized, comparing to total funds available, and identifying when action is needed. For example, if Funded Value equals $10,000 but your budget forecast equals $13,000, it would be an indication that you over-allocated your budget and there is risk for overspending if action is not taken by the PM to further restrict spending.     

As people enter timesheets, the hours on the timesheets are the actuals indicating what truly happened.

Each project can have at least three sets of data in Unanet that you can compare with in order to monitor the project performance and get a feel for project backlogs. (Plans, Budgets, Actuals).

Note: Project Budgets and Task Budgets are different from Assignment Budgets or Expense Budgets. For more information on Project Budgets, please click here.

Configuration Requirements

Proper Roles and Organizational Access

  • Unasource User for all available resources.
  • Resource Planner (Role and Org Access).
  • Resource Assigner (Role and Org Access).
  • Bill or Cost Rate Manager - optional.

Project Profile

  • Choose whether to MANAGE AT TASK LEVEL (Project Profile screen).
  • Enter total labor and expense budgets applicable to the Project (Project Profile > Budget tab).
  • Enter a total date range (Period of Performance) (Project Profile > Budget tab > Revised begin and end dates (PROJECT DATES).

Task level

  • Create necessary Tasks in a WBS format if you manage at the task level.
    • Enter a date range (period of performance).
    • Enter an hours budget, costs and billable budgets for Labor and Expenses.
    • Optional: Create Task Dependencies and Duration.

Create Resource Plans

  • The Grid Planner is the most effective method of planning resources and expenses for projects and can be used for a specific project or groups of Projects (Forecast option).
  • Plans may be created over the full Period of Performance, by period such as month, week, quarter, Calendar or Fiscal Year.
  • Plans may be set using full-time equivalents (FTEs) or hours for the selected period.
  • Resources can be selected by their people organizations, default labor categories, locations, skills or by names. TBD resources can also be utilized for the initial planning.
  • Important: The period selected for the Grid Planner will govern how edits can be made for future modifications.

Evaluate Project and Resource Targets

Reports should be run in a separate tab to determine if Project and Resource targets are met, based on Plan data.

  • Run Cost Summary & Status Report selecting Show Plans for specific project or projects being planned.
  • Run Revenue and Funding Summary Report.
  • Run Resource Allocation Report, selecting Include Plans Only for REPORTING OPTIONS, and filter for BILLABLE project type to evaluate projected Resource Utilization.
    • Note: If resources have current budgets against projects, running this report with Assignments may also be helpful to see current projected Resource Utilization based on current budgets.

Create Resource Assignments from Plans (Working Budget)

  • In this scenario, Resource Assignments will be made using the option to create Assignments Generated from Plans: KC - Quick Topic - Assignment Methodologies.
  • When assigning, select whether users can exceed the hours budgeted or not.

Ongoing Management of the Working Budget

Update Project and Task Revised dates and budgets

Collect Estimates to Complete (optional)

  • If your employees are able to accurately predict their estimate to complete and are responsible with providing this information in a timely fashion, we recommend that you consider utilizing Unanet's ETC timesheet feature - Help Docs - Working with Timesheets.
  • ETC data can be used to shift labor and expense budgets as required.

Evaluate ongoing Project Performance

  • Use Project Cost Summary and Status report using Show Budgets for ROW OPTIONS to monitor current and projected project performance to meet cost, margin and revenue targets.
  • Use Resource Allocation Report filtered with Include Actuals and Assignments for REPORTING OPTIONS to monitor current and project resource utilization.

Revise People assignments: Shift Hours, Project Delivery Dates or Resources to meet Project Performance Targets

  • As project performance evaluation or external forces require shifts in Project Dates, Budgets or Resources, update Budgets to reflect current values.
    • Project, Task or detailed Resource and Expense Budgets may require updating, depending on the level of change required.
  • Project Alerts can be set to notify project team members that budget thresholds are being hit, which may trigger additional deliverable or resource shifts to meet overall project performance targets.

Relevant Metrics

  • Overall Project Performance
  • Resource Utilization
  • Resource Availability
  • Project or Task completion dates, target completion dates, elapsed time, elapsed hours
    • For Tasks create a saved Task list showing Revised End dates, Completion Date, Duration and % Complete (if Project Manager enters this value).
    • For Tasks, include "Summarized from Assignments" to show Budgets, Actuals, Variance and other helpful metrics.
    • For Projects and Tasks run the Project Status Report (T).

Additional Information

Help Docs - Report Calculations

KC - Quick Topic - Corporate Budgeting in Unanet