Mar 28
Setting up Enterprise Resource for Managing your Test VM Environment

Recently I was working with a client that wanted to insure that test virtual machine environment (TVME) was availability and want to include the resource in their project schedules.  They needed this because projects are dependent on a TVME and often projects were delayed because the TVME was not available and thus pushing making their projects late. What better tool to manage this than project server.

 At first this seem simple enough. I said, "Just create a Resource an assigned them a name like TVME1 and uncheck the login to server property".  The availability of the TVME could easily be seen in the resource center and so I thought this a clever idea.  A few days they came back and said, "That won't work"; the hours of the TVME are include in the total hours of the project. We can't have that".

Hum, my blotted ego said. After some more careful thought, I came up with a better solution, but required more moving parts.  The basic premise is the same about creating any enterprise resource except the resource cannot log in.  The new process requires the TVME manager to create a project schedule just for all the TVME.  My client setup three task in the schedule; one for each TVME.  The name of the task was same as the project name it was assigned to.  This made it easy to determine which TVME the VM was dedicated to. Duration can be assign to the TVME task.  When other projects needed the TVME, then another task was created with the project name and a dependency on the prior task.  If the TVME manager could then manage the TVME just like a resource.

The second part requires some coordination between the TVME manager and the project manager who needs the TVME.  It requires project manager to setup a dependency in his schedule with the TVME schedule.  If the TVME resource slides, the project manager can take note of this in his project schedule and best of all the hours are not include in the project schedule plan. 

Hurray! I showed this to the client and they were happy with the solution.  Below are more details in setting this up.


The first part requires setting up a schedule and defining which projects that require a test environment and assigning test environments to these projects.  Once it is done and controlled here other project schedules will link back to this schedule.  By doing this, when the availability of the test environment slips, the project schedule will also slip. Setting up a schedule for managing test environment requires the following steps:

  1. Create a project schedule with name that describes purpose.  For example a project name such as "Test Environment Availability"
  2. Each Task requires a name, something that makes sense and can relate to the project name that requires the test environment.   The task should use a Fix Duration.
  3.  Assign "TVME" resource to the task.  The resource is define such that resource cannot log into.  See note about setting up resource.

The second aspect to setting up the test environment for a project schedule is to link the "test environment availability" to the project schedule.  This step isn't intuitive, but basically you type the project name and specify the row number from the schedule.  Look at the syntax before, and notice that it begins with "<>", then the exact spelling of the project name in PWA and then the row number.

The link is grayed and shows hours work, but the hours are not added to the project summary.

 Create the resource using the following steps:

  1. From the resource center, click "New Resource".
  2. Set the Type to "Work"
  3. Uncheck the "Resource can logon to Project Server"
  4. Display Name should be "TestEnviron01"
  5. Defined all the other fields that are required.



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