Once the scope of a new project is agreed upon, it’s time to develop detailed estimates. Innate’s resource planning interface makes this a straightforward exercise.
As new work profiles are added, the system shows straight away the resource capacity to take them on, with colour coded cells highlighting bottlenecks and periods of underuse. Appropriate work breakdown structures (WBS) can be created to reflect the complexities of each project and project templates provide logical starting points for new estimates.
Should new projects of high priority create unacceptable bottlenecks, What If… scenarios will help to re-balance the workload. See the Demand Management page for more details.
Project templates provide a suitable starting point when preparing estimates for the new project. For repeating projects, where the plans will be similar to others previously completed, the template can include the required WBS for each resource assignment and be populated with time-phased work estimates. A simple review of the resource estimates and their duration may be all that is required.
For projects that are more different to what’s gone before, the templates will be less populated and additional legs to the WBS may be required. At its simplest, the template may just be a list of the generic resources (Roles, skills or disciplines) required to work on the project.
Template for a simple project
Estimate modules can also be used, so that detailed estimates for later phases can be added, as the project progresses.
Work Breakdown Structures (WBS)
Depending on the complexity of the project, a WBS may be required to break the project down into manageable packages of work. For simple projects, a list of the generic resources required can suffice.
The lowest levels of the WBS will always be a generic resource assignment. By generic we mean the resource attribute that is the primary resource request field. This is typically an individual’s team, role, skill or discipline. Entering work estimates at this level triggers the resource allocation process, by directing each generic assignment as a request for the resource to the appropriate resource manager. See the Resource Allocation page for more details.
Once estimates have been added, individual legs of the WBS can be summarised and drilled down through, to show the estimated workload for each level of the WBS.
Time phased estimates can be entered in a number of ways. You can simply select the timescale granularity and units of work before typing in the numbers. Copy & paste and drag & drop speed up the process.
Alternatively, you can enter the total amount of work for an assignment and select a distribution profile to spread the work between the start and finish dates. This is a quick way of providing front or back end loaded profiles, for example. A number of standard profiles are provided, which can be edited or added too.
As each estimate is developed, a splittable view shows the impact on the spare capacity of each generic resource type. You can filter this so that only the workload from committed projects is seen, or include other proposed projects.
Work estimates can easily be costed by applying the cost rates maintained elsewhere in the system.
If you are struggling with spreadsheets for cost and work estimating, then check out Innate’s resource management system.