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Effort Forecasting

This article explores Effort Forecasting in ResourceFirst.

Effort Forecasting

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The Forecast tab shows the forecast to each project, of each resource/skill, by period (for the Get Data parameters). While Resource Managers “own” the data on the Effort Forecast table, Project Managers collaborate with Resource Managers and can request additions/updates to project forecasts.

Defining “Demand” in PDWare

An assignment is an association between a project and a resource or skill from a resource organization.  An assignment appears as a row on the Forecasts sheet. The Forecasts sheet is where the resource manager enters the amount of time per period a resource is required for work on a project. If entering data in units of effort (Full Time Equivalent or FTE), 1.00 indicates one FTE/period. Demand and supply (capacity) can also be entered in hours.

Planning

When you are scoping the resource requirements for a new project or defining the requirements for an upcoming phase of an on-going project, the demand should reflect the needs of the project, even if that need creates overloading of resources. Given the scope of the project and its target schedule, how much effort is required from each resource in each time period? At this point the priority of the project is usually not defined.

Agreement/Contract

After the scoping has been done (whether for a new project or new phases of an existing project), the project team and functional resource managers work through portfolio achievability analysis to trade off timing, scope, and resources until agreement is reached. At that point the resource baseline is set equal to the agreed upon demand (in addition to schedule and scope baselines).

Execution

After the baseline is set, effort forecast values for resources on the baseline project reflect the resource manager's prediction of how resources will be deployed. This can be thought of as the current staffing plan which may vary from the baseline (but usually should not vary widely without changes to scope or schedule).

Managing Overallocation

Yellow/orange/red shows the assignments that are overallocated, if all assignments are addressed in priority order with the available capacity of the resource/skill.  The color thresholds are set by the administrator for all users.

Note in particular the actions possible using the buttons at upper left.

Edit Assignment

To edit an assignment, select the assignment row, and click on the cell you want to edit.

You can edit multiple records, before saving your changes to the database. Each edited field will have a small red marker on it to indicate a change.

Request/Response

As a Resource Manager, you will have a queue of pending Requests (almost always from project managers) that you should regularly address. To do so, click on the Requests tab in the Resources center.  

For details on the request process and how to respond to requests, see the article Understanding the Resource Request Process.

 

Recalculation

The PDWare allocation algorithm that creates the colors on the views is a powerful process that runs in the background and sometimes is not instantaneous.  The recalc button:

will force this process to run on the records on your screen to make sure your view is up to date.

Sample uses:

  1. After a save the modified records did not update their colors.
  2. The colors do not look up to date and I want to verify they are correct.

Adding an Assignment

To add a Resource or Skill assignment, click the “Add” button or the dropdown arrow and select either Resource Assignment or Skill Assignment.

Add Resource Assignment

When Add Resource Assignment is selected, a dialog box opens to specify the Project, Required Skill (optional) and Resource.  Wildcard searching is possible in each field.

After entering a portion of the desired field value (e.g., “Bar…” project below), items matching the search value will be displayed.  Select the desired item by clicking on it.

Then, go to the next field.  In this case, the Required Skill is being defaulted and will be populated in the Assignment from the Primary Skill of the Resource selected.  After entering a portion of the resource’s name (or a “*” as wildcard),  click the search icon  to show the list of matching resources.

After all needed fields have been populated, click Add to insert the assignment into the Forecast sheet.

Note: If the required skill is filled in, the check in the “Has Skill” button will cause only those resources with that skill to appear as candidates.  The “Include Assigned”, when checked, will allow resources already assigned to that project to appear.

Next, enter the forecast values for each interval.  Note: The inserted assignment and its forecast values will not be saved to the database until the Save button is clicked.

Add Skill Assignment

When Add Skill Assignment is selected, a dialog box opens to specify the Project, Resource OBS and Required Skill.  All three fields are required.  Wildcard searching is possible in each field.

The Resource OBS node specifies which organization the skill need is normally expected to be filled by.

After entering a portion of the desired field value (e.g., “…Devel…” Resource OBS node below), items matching the search value will be displayed.  Select the desired item by clicking on it.

Then, go to the Skill field and search for/select the item(s) desired.

Select the skill(s) desired, and click Add to insert the assignment into the Forecast sheet.

Next, enter the forecast values for each interval.  Note: The inserted assignment and its forecast values will not be saved to the database until the Save button is clicked.

Deleting an Assignment

Selecting one or more assignment rows and clicking “Delete” will remove the assignment…

Converting to Skill

To convert all or the excess demand of a Resource assignment to a Skill assignment, select the assignment and click the “Convert to Skill” button.  Pick the option desired.

Shortfall Only

Selecting “Shortfall Only” will move only the excess demand for that row to a newly created skill assignment for the project.

All Demand

Selecting “All Demand” will move all visible demand for that row to a newly created skill assignment for the project.  Note: Make sure all demand that should be moved is visible using the Date Range filters.

Show Candidates

Selecting a Forecast row and clicking the “Candidates” button shows the set of candidates with the skill needed and their available capacity in relation to the need. Note: A candidate’s capacity shown is limited by the need; they may actually have more available capacity than needed.

To move the demand that can be met by a particular candidate to that candidate, select the candidate and then click the newly enabled Replace button.

There are three options that can change the effect of the action:

  • All Nodes- Clicking this shows all candidates with the proper skill in all organization nodes in the Get Data, not just those candidates in the organization that the assignment is currently allocated in, not just those resources having the proper skill.

  • All Skills- Clicking this shows all candidates in the organization that the assignment is currently allocated in, not just those resources having the proper skill.

  • All Demand- Clicking this will move all visible demand for the assignment to the selected candidate, even if it creates an excess allocation for some intervals.

Save and Cancel

To save any changes to the database, click on the  Save button at upper right. If you do not want to save the changes made in a role-based section (e.g., Resources), simply exit the section session by clicking the “x” in the upper right of the role-based section header:

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