Top Down Planning

As proposed projects move towards confirmation and their scope gets finalised, there is a need to estimate the project costs more accurately and ensure that the demand for resources is understood in sufficient detail. This is where top down planning is used to break down high level estimates into greater detail.

For example, an original estimate for mechanical engineering effort may need to be broken down into separate work and cost estimates for different categories of resource, such as management, design engineers and apprentices. Within design engineering, a range of specific skills and competency levels may be required. The prudent project manager will want to be sure that sufficient suitable resources will be available and the cost implications fully understood, before committing to a schedule.

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.