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Top Down Planning

Most internal departments that manage multiple projects operate within fixed resource and budgetary constraints. As new projects arise they need to be scheduled around spare skills capacity and budget availability. Each project’s budget and time constraints are best agreed, before it is planned in detail. This is the top down planning approach.

Bottom up planning is fine for preparing a plan and estimate of the required work and skills – or for billable projects to external clients that can fund contract staff. However, internal departments cannot treat any project in isolation and new plans need to be considered alongside existing commitments.

It is common for new projects to arise unexpectedly, particularly within IT departments. These can have high priority and require that other work be delayed to free up the required resource. New rulings from regulatory authorities are a common source of such projects.

Innate resource management software supports top down planning.

The ability to create various scenarios that show the resource and commercial consequences of alternatives are very helpful, not only in re-balancing the workload effectively, but in communicating to both clients and internal staff the reasons for any changes that have to be made.

Top Down Planning with Innate

Taking a simpler example, the current estimate for programmers to complete the Programming task shows that 4 are required over the next 6 weeks.

At this stage, the estimate is for unspecified Programmer resource. It needs to be broken down into separate estimates for C++ and Java programmers, with their required competency levels.

The first step is to add two subtasks to the Programming task, and specify their more detailed skills and competency requirements in the Requirements column, by accessing the skills matrix.

Screenshot shows C++ must be Advanced added as a requirement for the first subtask, and how Java must be greater than or equal to Intermediate can be defined for the second sub task, by accessing the skills matrix.

With the sub task requirements defined, the project manager then simply enters the work profile for each row. This progressively reduces the balance in the original programming task.

Screen shows original estimate of 4 heads being progressively reduced as demand for Programmer with C++ is entered. This reducing balance ensures that the project manager allocates estimate to lower levels, within the limits of the previous high-level estimate.

Innate’s forward loading reports will then show the availability of resources with the required skills and competency levels, so that the project manager can be sure that suitable candidates are available. Because different cost rates can be associated with the skill and competency levels in the skills matrix, the cost estimate from the re -allocated estimate will be more precise.

Innate enables top down planning for more detailed and accurate estimates, with just a few simple steps.