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Sensei Resource Heatmaps: Resource Management Made Easy

Sensei Resource Heatmaps help Resource and Project Managers balance resource supply and demand in a fast and intuitive way.

Sensei Project Solutions Heatmap for Microsoft Project Online
That looks pretty – but why did we build it?

Resource management can be a tricky; balancing the supply and demand for people, expertise and equipment is crucial to the success of any portfolio of projects. After releasing Project Online, Microsoft chose to target its product enhancement efforts in two areas:

Work Management 

This resulted in the Office 365 Planner now available to all “E” plan Office 365 customers. Planner takes care of most light-weight project management activities, and in many ways supersedes the “Visibility Project” idea introduced in Project Server 2013.

Resource Management

Tackling the resource management aspect of project management is a multi-faceted problem and Microsoft decided to retire the under-used Resource Plan capability in favour of the all-new Resource Engagement Model. This approach differed from previous attempts because its core focus is to address the workflow of resolving the resourcing supply and demand conflict.

The pieces that Microsoft introduced with the Engagement Model allow Project Managers to request resources by creating proposed Resource Engagements, which Resource Managers can then approve to become committed Engagements. This works completely independently to the scheduling aspect of Project.

From a Resource Manager’s perspective, there are three intrinsic elements that must be kept in balance to claim success:

CapacitySensei Resource Heatmaps Capacity for Project Online

This is the available time of people and equipment.

Sensei Resource Heatmaps Assignments for Project OnlineAssignments 

This is the usage of the resources that comes from assignments in the project schedules.

Sensei Resource Heatmaps Engagement for Microsoft Project OnlineEngagements

Represents the agreement between the Project Manager and the Resource Manager                          regarding the use of resources on projects.


The Sensei Resource Heatmaps introduce three heatmaps that help visualise the balance in a much faster and intuitive way;

Availability Heatmap

Shows the assignments of resources in relation to their capacity. This quickly shows how busy resources are with work from project schedules.

Engagement Heatmap

Shows the engagement of resources in relation to their capacity. This allows resource managers to quickly determine the commitment level of resources.

Coverage Heatmap

Shows the assignments of resources in relation to their engagements. This allows resource and project managers to ascertain mismatches in resourcing between the project schedules and engagements.

When viewing the Heatmaps, the colouring immediately draws your attention to problems. As users of Project Online would expect, a single click on the schedule icon will open the Project Desktop client to the relevant schedule where the problem can be fixed immediately.

Sensei Resource Availability Heatmaps for Microsoft Project Online

In more complex situations, the mismatches between Assignments and Engagements can be diagnosed easily.

Sensei Resource Heatmaps Coverage for Microsoft Project Online

Regardless of the processes used to resolve resourcing in your organisation, the Sensei Resource Heatmaps visualisations quickly help you understand where problems are, and get you on-track to resource management success.

The best practice Sensei Resource Heatmaps are now available for download in the Microsoft Store.

Ready to learn more? If you have any questions, we’d love to hear from you! Contact us here.


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