Project Online: Resource Plan migration expectations

We should now be at 100% in terms of the roll-out of the Resource Management feature to our Project Online customers – so all of you have the chance to activate the feature – and we do still recommend that you first do this on your non-production tenant (you have 7 PWA instances you can create – so add a new one if you need to) just so you can become familiar with the new feature.  We have also had a few questions around the feature come through support so I’ll answer some of them here:

Q.  Can I get rid of the yellow banner?  I don’t want to activate the feature yet.

A.  No, sorry you can’t.  But it is only displayed for administrators in PWA – or more precisely those users with Manage Server Configuration global permissions.  Also remember that you cannot put off the migration indefinitely for Project Online – this time next year (October 2016) we will be activating the feature for any sites that have not already activated.  We will of course announce this before it happens.

Q.  Some of my resource plans do not appear to have been migrated?

A.  There are a couple of reasons you may think this.  We will only migrate PUBLISHED resource plans.  And publishing of a resource plan is a separate step to publishing the project plan – so be sure any resource plans you require to be migrated to resource engagements are published.  The second reason they will not get migrated is if the resource plans do not contain any time-phased data.  So if your resource plan is just a set of resources with no actual data for any time periods they will not get migrated.  Similarly, if a resource plan contains resources with and without resource plan time-phased data then only those resources with data will get migrated as engagements.  We don’t carry the team over – just the rows with data.  Later in the post I will walk though an example.

Q.  Why do we need to test in another PWA instance?  Haven’t you tested this anyway?

A.  We aren’t asking you to test the new feature to see if it works – we have done that – but we realize that the new feature handles resource management in a different way than Project Online has previously – so best that you try out the new stuff to understand how it works and how your organization will use it.  You can do this in another test PWA instance at the same time that you continue with existing behavior if you have any portfolio analysis to do – for example.  Don’t rush in.

Q.  I’ve activated – but my Additional Server Settings page still says 0 resource plans migrated – what is happening?

A.  We migrate the resource plans in Project Online in low activity periods so this does not affect the normal operation of the service.  Usually you should see the resource plans migrate by the following day.

Q.  I know I need to publish my resource plan – but the publish option is greyed out?

A.  The publish option is only active for a resource plan once the project has been published.

Q.  The activation dialog says that during migration Project Online will still be fully functional – can I still use Resource Plans?

A.  No.  Once migration has been initiated by checking the activation box then resource plans are not accessible – so if you need to do resource plan work or portfolio analysis you should complete this before initiating activation.

We have also updated some of our articles based on this feedback to give better guidance around activating the feature (Thanks Aik, Julie, Kadambari, Kate and Sonia for making this happen!).  The FAQ can be found here, and the page you land on from the activation message can be found here.

A few customers had activated inadvertently – sorry if our advice and guidance wasn’t clear enough – but we have tried to give the right information so that a conscious decision is made to activate.  This process has made us realize that in many cases the information presented to the tenant administrators of Office 365 are not necessarily getting the information to the PMO – so we are considering how we can better target the audience for announcements to be sure that the PMO is not left in the dark by your tenant administrators.  Not sure what this will look like yet.

On to an example – and for ease of migration rather than waiting overnight I am using a preview build of Project Server 2016 – where I can run the migration on demand using PowerShell.  In my example I will have 4 plans with resource plans.  3 will have published resource plans, and of these 1 will have no time-phased data, 1 will have time-phased data for all resource and the final one will be a mixture.  None of my project plans have any resources or assignments, and my resource plans have both real and generic resources.

My first plan – TimePhasedResPlan – has time-phased data for all resources – and looks like this:


My second plan – called NoTimePhasedResPlan – looks like this – with 0d entered for all resources.


Third plan – a mixture – some with time-phased data – some not – and called MixedTimePhasedResPlan.


My final plan – UnpublishedResPlan – looks like this – the resource plan is saved, but not published.  The project, as all the others, is published.


How can I tell if I have published my resource plans?  OData can help here,  You could use an OData feed looking at the Projects and selecting a few fields:$select=ProjectName, ProjectResourcePlanWork, ProjectModifiedDate

As this is pulling data from the published information it will show you which plans will migrate – as they will be ones that have a ProjectResourcePlanWork value that is not 0.  So my TimePhasedResPlan will look like this:


and my NoTimePhasedResPlan and UnpublishedResPlan will show 0 (even though it has time-phased work – it isn’t published).



This may not be foolproof depending on the order of publishing the resource plans and project plans – but hopefully the dates will help – and this just shows that there is published data – but it may not be the current data if you have updated the resource plan and not published.  If you have any doubts then go back in to the resource plan and publish again.

  • I understand the feature?  Check!
  • I’ve played around in my test environment? Check!
  • I’ve read all the documentations linked from the activation options?  Check!
  • I’ve read the documentation again – just to be sure?  Check!
  • I’ve validated that all my resource plans that I need to be published actually are recently published?  Check!
  • I’ve communicated with the rest of the PMO to be sure no one gets a surprise?  Check!

Next, I think I’m ready to activate that feature!  I go to Additional Server Settings (or click the link in the yellow banner) and check the Activate box.


I note the message – I can’t cancel – but I’m ready to go, so I click OK and then Save the page!  If I navigate back then I see this:


I only have 3 published resource plans – so that looks to be a good number.   My resource plan with no time-phased data still goes through the migration – but will just not result in any resource engagements.

Now I diverge a little for my Project Online readers – you will be just be sitting back and waiting, but for Project Server 2016 we can use PowerShell to run our own migrations.  I start the SharePoint 2016 Management Shell and use the command Migrate-SPProjectResourcePlans.

PS C:Usersbrismith> Migrate-SPProjectResourcePlans

cmdlet Migrate-SPProjectResourcePlans at command pipeline position 1
Supply values for the following parameters:
Total Count of Project Resource Plans that need to be migrated: 3
Migrating Project Resource Plan 1 of 3
Migrating Project Resource Plan 2 of 3
Migrating Project Resource Plan 3 of 3
All Project Resource Plans successfully migrated
PS C:Usersbrismith>

Excellent – just took a few seconds. 

Project Online folks can start reading again here – that process should have happened overnight for you.  Now I’ll open my plans in Project Professional 2016 (or Project Pro for Office365 – same thing).  I’ll start with my TimePhasedResPlan project.


First thing I see is that I have new resources committed to my project.  I click on View Engagements and it takes me to the Resource Plan view in Project Pro:


I see my resources and the plan – and a message saying resource was added to the project because a new engagement was created and approved by a Resource Manager.  This is how migrated resource plans will be handled.

Opening NoTimePhasedResPlan I see the expected empty resource plan view – and don’t get the view engagements message:


For my ‘mixed’ plan I do get the view engagements message – and on my resource plan view I just see the 5 resources who actually had data in the plan.


In my migration I did see some large max units figures (see Alex Darrow above) as I had changed my resource plan timescales and units about – so in some cases I was not seeing the exact same spread I thought I’d set in the resource plan.  The overall work was correct when I looked at the daily values – but I realized I had left an end date in the resource plan that didn’t reach the end date of a time period I’d entered data on.  This is an area you’d want to look at in your test environment to check how your usual resource plan settings come across (and best practice with resource plans has always been to choose one set of units and stick to it!).

My ‘UnpublishedResPlan’ project, like the one with no time-phased data, has no ‘view engagements’ link – and an empty resource plan – as expected.

Finally worth mentioning that as with other resource views in Project Pro, if you have multiple projects open then you will see all engagements across all projects on the resource plan view.  You can add the ‘Project’ column to understand where data is coming from:


Just a bit of a drill down into the Max Units issue I saw – and looking at the first plan.  I’d left the end date for Alex Darrow as 12/10, but entered 1 FTE in for December:


In the project plan I then saw 288% Max Units for December – and drilling in this was actually correct based on the fact it was squeezing a months worth of work into the first 8 working days!


The last date of the engagement is Thursday 12/10.


Project had given me exactly what I’d asked for – just not what I thought I’d asked for when I initially saw the strange % values.  There is always an explanation…