Placeholder Management

Modified on Wed, 26 Apr 2023 at 02:14 PM

Managing resource allocations is a critical aspect of project management that directly impacts project success. One key component of resource management is the use of resource placeholders or unnamed resources. Placeholders represent the required skills, roles, or headcounts needed for a project when specific individuals have not yet been identified or hired. These can include new hires, replacements for departing team members, or a pool of resources with specific skill sets.


Resource placeholders play a vital role in several key areas of project management, such as:


  • Project Financial Forecasting: By allocating placeholders with associated rate cards to projects, project costs can be estimated more accurately, allowing for better budget management and control.


  • Resource Capacity Planning: Incorporating placeholders into capacity planning, helps project managers anticipate future resource needs, enabling them to make informed decisions about hiring and resource allocation.


  • Proactive Placeholder Management: Ensuring that placeholders are replaced with named resources before they are needed for project tasks, is essential to minimise the risk of project delays and maintain project momentum.


By understanding and effectively managing resource placeholders, project and portfolio managers can optimize resource management, improve project success rates, and drive strategic objectives within their organisations.


This article focuses on managing and setting resource placeholders, however please refer to the Allocating resource placeholders to projects article to learn more about allocating placeholders to projects.



NOTE: Only users with User Administrator or Application Administrator role have access to the Placeholder Management page. 




Accessing the Placeholder Management page


You can access the placeholder management page via: 

  • the administration console page under the User Management section; or


  • by navigating to the user management page and selecting the Manage Placeholders option.




Managing placeholders


This page outlines how you can create, search, edit, group and filter on specific criteria to best manage resource placeholders. 



Filter and Group


The Filter and Group functionality helps you find and focus on relevant placeholders. E.g. placeholders for specific managers or, placeholders in a certain region, or with specific rate cards. You can select one of the following resource properties to filter or group records:


  • Cost Centre
  • Engagement Type
  • Manager
  • Profile Role
  • Region
  • Cost Centre
  • Headcount Impact
  • Position ID


 

  • Once a filter has been applied, the list of placeholders matching the filter criteria will be displayed. The name of the filtered option will be indicated just above the placeholder details. 
  • Use the X to clear the filter.




Current, Next and Future months allocation


Ensuring that placeholders are replaced with named resources before they are needed for project tasks, is essential to minimise the risk of project delays and maintain project momentum. The current month, next month and future months' columns help you quickly identify which placeholders have not been swapped with named resources, and which ones need to be fulfilled soon. The Avg. Future Allocation column shows the placeholder's allocation over the next 6 months, allowing you to review the utilisation of pools in your project plans.



The above three columns represent:


  • Current month allocation - highlights placeholders that have been allocated to projects that are running in the current month. This helps identify projects that require urgent attention as they currently have placeholders without named resources to execute the project activities. 
  • Next month allocation - displays placeholders who are allocated to the next month and that need to be identified soon.
  • Future allocation - helps you see placeholder's utilisation in the next six months (current month + 5 next months).



Show allocation option


The Show functionality enables you to see which projects the placeholders have been allocated to, and what the monthly allocation breakdown is. Use this functionality to quickly identify which projects need to be filled, are still waiting for resources, or how a resource pool is being utilised.



  • The Show button will take you to the resource dashboard that provides all the details of the placeholder's allocation.



  • Use the Expanded View button to see the project allocation breakdown.




Creating and updating placeholder records


  • You can use the New Placeholder or Edit button to respectively create or update placeholder's records.



  • That will direct you to the placeholder management page, where you can update the placeholder's record details. 

Please refer to the User Management article for a description of the different fields.





Bulk Edit


Placeholders can also be created and updated using the Bulk Edit functionality. 

  • To do so, click Tools and select the Manage Resource Plans option.



  • The following dialog will provide you with the download options to extract a file that can be used to create new records or update existing ones.



The template is the same as the one used to create and update user records. You can find the full description here


The table below lists the main fields to be used when dealing with placeholder records, including:


  • Resource Reference - this cannot be left blank, it can be short, and is often a hybrid of First and Last name fields.
  • Is Placeholder - This is the cell that determines that this resource is treated as a placeholder and should be marked yes.
  • Allocation - A placeholder can be set up as 1:1 resource match, or can be used to represent a collective, for example, a group of developers. The figure for allocation represents the FTE (Full time equivalent) resources you wish to cover with this placeholder.
  • Rate Card - assigning a rate card will ensure that financial planning and allocation is consistent with the resource pool for that skill set. 


Column & Title
Description
What happens if this field is left blank?
ResourceRefThe unique username of the resource. This field is mandatory if you are creating or editing a user account.

If left blank and the resource being created is not a placeholder, then the row will be skipped.
ResourceIdThe resource unique ID in Fluid. Leave as blank. Fluid will generate the unique ID.
FirstnameFirst name of the resource.No value is set.
LastnameLast name of the resource. No value is set.
Email AddressResource's email address. No value is set.
StatusThe status of the resource's user account. Indicates the current status of the account holder - i.e Onboard, Leave, etc.Field is set to Plan
Start DateThe resource plan start date.Fluid will set the start date as the date of the upload.
End DateThe resource plan end date.No value is set.
Cost CenterThe cost center for recharge of resource costs.No value is set.
AllocationThe capacity allocated to the resource. The field is set to 1 - allowing an allocation of 100% for the resource.
RateCardName of the rate card that is allocated to the resource.No value is set. No forecast or actual values will be generated for the resource on projects.
Is PlaceholderResource is a placeholder or not. Value must be set in order for resource to be allocated as a placeholder. If no value is set, the resource will not be categorised as a placeholder and cannot be used to set placeholders on projects. 
UserThe minimum role required for the resource to access Fluid. Click here for more on account roles and what they permissionIf left blank, the field is set according to the default role configuration settings for the instance. If a default role field is set to Yes, if not, a default role field is set to No.


  • Once you have populated your data, save the file and upload it to Fluid, again through the Manage Resource Plan functionality.

 


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