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[Video] Best Practices in Forecasting and Capacity Planning Webcast Replay

Learn about best practices in forecasting and capacity planning with this webinar.

Proactively defining future resource needs can make-or-break a project’s success, yet many of the organizations we talk to say they still struggle in this area.

If you’re ready to learn how to reliably forecast future resource needs for your organization, tune in to the replay of our highly-informative webcast where Randy Mysliviec of the Resource Management Institute and Greg Bailey of Tempus Resource reveal strategies that have the power to transform resource-driven organizations.

Do you ever find yourself thinking…

“With constantly changing priorities, it’s hard to get reliable insight on potential projects.”

“It’s difficult to keep our staffing plan up-to-date with changes to in-flight projects.”

“Project definition is not always precise from a resourcing point of view.”

“The project pipeline doesn’t include possible extensions to existing, in-flight projects.”

If any of this sounds familiar, you’re in the right spot. Catch the webcast replay to hear from the experts and learn today’s best practices in forecasting and capacity planning.

Tempus Resource forecasting and capacity planning software helps enterprises with their most challenging issue, resource management.  This webinar and Tempus’ capacity planning solution will take your organization to the next level.

Transcript: Best Practices in Forecasting and Capacity Planning Webcast Replay

Good morning or good afternoon everybody.  We want to thank you very much for attending our webcast today, Best Practices in Forecasting and Capacity Planning.  My name is Greg Bailey and shortly we’ll have Randy up as our lead speaker today.

A couple of things before we get started.  If you do have questions, feel free to ask those in our GoToWebinar chat and also if you have questions toward the very end, we’ll open the mics up for you to be able to ask questions as well.  So without further ado, I’d like to kick off and introduce Randy.  He is the managing director of the Resource Managing Institute acknowledged by industry sources as an expert in global resource management.  Randy is the author and innovator of the just-in-time resourcing brand of Human Capital Management Solutions.  Prior to founding RTM Consulting and the Resource Management Institute Randy was senior vice president for consulting and professional services for Convergys successfully managing a $100M business with 1600 employees in 31 countries across six continents.  During Randy’s 40-year career he has worked in numerous human capital intensive service businesses including 18 years with IBM serving IT clients around the globe in a variety of capacities.  Randy holds a BS from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, California where he majored in business administration with a concentration in management information systems.  And with that, and again we’re really excited to have him, and I look forward to turning the session over to Randy.

Greg, thank you very much and welcome.  And thank you too for Symmetry and Greg for giving me the opportunity to join you here on this webcast.  I am delighted to talk to you on a topic that I hope is important to all of you who are joining us today.  If you work in a project-based human capital intensive services, we all know that finding people, reskilling people, training them, onboarding them takes time and, therefore, getting really good at forecasting and capacity planning is essential to our project-based businesses and that is the topic for our discussion today so I’ll move us along.  By the way, Greg and I at the end of our discussions today are going to take some time to take some question and answers from the folks who have joined us here today.

For those of you who are not familiar with the Resource Management Institute, in a nutshell we are dedicated to the advancement of resource and workforce management.  We’ve got leadership best practices and standards and globally recognized credentials in the area of resource and workforce management.  We’re helping companies all around the globe with improving project performance, better resource utilization, making your customers happy and now also very much focused on a real hot topic in the serviced-based industries, employee engagement and retention.  So if you go to our website you’ll find a wealth of information and I don’t know if I mentioned it but by the way joining the RMI is free.  You’ll get access by joining the RMI to market research and white papers that have information on best practice definition in the area of resource management.  We offer training and certification in resource management and we participate in events like the one today with Prosymmetry.  Tomorrow RMI is running its own event we call Power up Session on the Annual Budget Process.  We do this on a quarterly basis.  We also run an annual conference like the one coming up in October in Dallas, Texas.  So that’s a short commercial on who the Resource Management Institute is.

I’m going to talk with you about just a couple of things as it relates to forecast/capacity planning.  I’ll just start off with some perspectives, so the drivers and things that hopefully will ground us in our thinking as it relates to this really hot topic.  Then we’re going to share with you some best practices and those best practices are a result of extensive market research we’ve done in space, lots of consulting and experience from a lot of folks who are in the organization.

That in a nutshell is what we’ll be covering so let me start off with resource management and some perspectives on it.  I always like to start here because I think it grounds us all in what we experience as we get up every day.  We all have in our project-based world these changing priorities.  It’s hard to get reliable insight on potential projects when the priorities in the organization tend to shift or change a lot.  Project definition is not always precise from a resourcing point of view.  We talk to different organizations who are really good at building projects specs before a project starts and some that are not so good.  I think we all know if you’re on the delivery side of things whether you’re in product development, enterprise IT or a professional consulting service organization, things change in accuracy and our product definition is really, really important.  Keeping our staffing plan up to date with changes in in-flight projects, so if you’re in a product development organization, as an example, if you’re in an agile environment, things move rather rapidly.  Things change quickly.  Priorities change as to what we’re developing for whatever those reasons might happen to be so it’s a constantly moving goal post that keeps us very busy from a resource point of view.  Our product pipeline, you’ve got wonder whether that’s here in a product development organization or you’re seeing those internal IT projects that you’re working on are those projects going to end on time.  Will customers or internal demands cause us to extend those projects?  What about in-flight projects and again the impacts of things that are happening in an agile world versus those that we’re doing in a waterfall environment.  In the end there are lots of industry sources that will point to project performance and project phases and at a Gartner congress I attended not long ago, they cited that 35 percent of industry projects fall off the rails and at some level whether it’s related to time, budget, quality or some combination of those sorts of things.  That’s also true across product development space, it’s true in enterprise IT and it’s certainly true in professional services.  At RMI we believe that attacking this problem of better resource management, how do I simply get the right person in the right place at the right moment in time is really fundamental in solving our project performance needs.  We have our own resources and when we get underneath that project performance matters in any of those domains, as I mentioned earlier, is resource management tends to be the biggest driver of project failures, not project management techniques, not quality techniques.  Let’s cut to the quick.  Resource management is high on the totem pole.  So this is an example of the research that we do just picked out of a research report that we did last year and we asked a simple question, what were the largest inhibitors to effective resource management in your businesses.  This is what the audience told us is that 69 percent said that process design resource management was a key point of failure and second was that I don’t have the right automation tools.  We just did some research in this area on automation tools and look at the huge dependency people have on a multitude of tools to do what we conceive of as one job.

The industry has really got a way to go relative to both process and tool design.  I know ProSymmetry is looking hard at that with what they do at Tempus Resource.  We’re certainly are working hard at that as far as what we provide in terms of just-in-time resourcing.  I’ll share it with you.  Another resource report we did last year and we asked those same people what are you going to focus on next to try to improve how you’re doing in resource management?  The number one item that came up was forecast/capacity planning by a pretty wide margin as you can see from this particular page.  So there are certainly other things that are getting in the way relative to their skills inventory, project staffing and then the automation tool certainly is a point of failure for a lot of organizations so moving to a more modern automation tool, Tempus Resource as an example, those tools have come a long, long way in their ability to do a better job of resource management.  We talk about this a lot.   You can’t do this without process and you can’t do it without technology to really work and enhance.  So I hope a little bit of that context is helpful to people so as we start to discuss how we’re doing as it relates to what we think our best practice in this area.

I’ll start off with a solution that I offered a long time ago, about a dozen years ago, and it was mirrored after I had extensive background when I started my career here as an engineer at IBM in the manufacturing space, of all things, and just-in-time manufacturing had just come into vogue and manufacturing companies were really struggling with how do I control the spare inventories, how I manage my levels of production capacity, and how I keep demand and supply of those things better in balance comes from structuring with them, along came this new idea called just-in-time manufacturing.  I became very, very familiar with that discipline and it worked quite well and today if you’re in a manufacturing space you pretty much can’t be in that business unless you’re really good at just-in-time manufacturing supply chain techniques and those types of things.  We simply took that idea and applied it to human capital now recognizing that we’re now talking about people and not parts and we certainly understand that but we applied that.  We came up with these six elements that we have been working with clients and now in the institute for about a dozen years.

There are these six key elements which I’ll just highlight as I talk about these because forecast/capacity planning to be clear is not done in isolation.  There are other supporting processes and technology behind it to make it work well.  So there are six things that we talked about and one is having a skills inventory, who I have, where are they located, what skills do they have, what competencies, are they on a project today that they are involved with.  That kind of information is pretty relevant to your planning as you’re thinking about how do I deal with an upcoming new sprint of a project, or a new project’s going to start, or an extension to a project or whatever it might be.

A staffing plan, good organizations actually have a discipline and a methodology around how will I allocate people to projects.  I’ve got some thinking behind that so it fits my planning processes.

Forecasting, which I’ll be talking to you more about today, is as we all know, human capital doesn’t appear overnight.  It takes time to get budget for people, to go out and find people to select the right people.  They’ve got to leave their old job; they’ve got to get on board with the new job.  This all takes time and it’s usually not hours and days; it’s usually weeks and months.  Therefore, if you can’t get good at forecasting, it’s really, really hard to ever get good at resource management.  If you’re not good at resource management I’m sure you’re struggling with project management because everyplace we go that’s the case.  That’s exactly what we see.

Sourcing and development.  If you really have a good view of what my gaps or surpluses are for people, three or four or five months out I can then start thinking about who do I need to retrain, who do I need to hire.  Maybe I’ll have some surplus and maybe I’ll need to attribute some capacity, maybe I need to find a third party, but those sorts of things.  How do I fill those gaps and/or address those surpluses?

Technology, as I mentioned, go get yourself a really good tool to automate these processes to help you particularly forecasting capacity planning.  That’s really, really important to this.

And then governance.  Like any good process we measure what we’re trying to produce as an outcome and continue to improve our processes and have some kind of governance too about accountability and a target to shoot at to complete upon.

So that kind of sets the stage for six things you need to do, but today I’m focusing on those two green circles I talked about, forecasting and the importance of technology and supporting that process.  So if you attended our resource management certified practitioner professional program, you would know that this a slide right out of the curriculum we have and we teach as a part of our forecast/capacity planning.  We teach this three-part approach to doing that and a lot of you will recognize and I thought you might call them perhaps by different names but they’ll all have a familiar ring as to what they actually are.

I’ll start with the left-hand side of this page by discussing the annual business plan where we establish parameters and some initial baseline planning.  This is the annual budget process and you start thinking about what does this business look like in 12-18 months from now.  How many people am I going to need, what am I going to need, what skill sets, how much those people will cost and I’ve got to start thinking about that relative to the projects I have on board, the people I have on board.  These things drive an annual budget plan and in general it’s long range, 6-18 months out is usually not the thing we’re living with in a tactical but most companies, particularly public companies, have to put a stake in the ground every fiscal year around where they’re going to start.

I’m going to jump to the right-hand side of this page and talk about staffing.  This is what many of you are doing on a day-to-day basis.  I’ve got projects that are rolling off, I have projects that are starting, I have a project that needs some extra resources, whatever it might happen to be.  So somebody is having to understand the capacity that I have within the organization and how do I shift and move and allocate those resources to produce the best outcome relative to whatever my project portfolio might happen to be.

Sitting here in the middle is what we call our living planner, our basis for decisions for plan changes from a long-range plan to those things that maybe happen on a daily basis and it’s also an area for forecasting.  We think of this as a look into the future.  It’s proactive forward planning we talk about as we teach our certification course, assigning probabilities to projects that might start, if you’re in PS a deal we might close, if you’re in Enterprise IT an internal budget decision to produce some internal project, if you’re in product development it’s some new product the company has decided to go ahead with.  Generally these things happen over a one to six month timeframe and what we’re trying to do with good forecasting is get good enough with this that we buy ourselves enough time to fill that gap for skills development, onboarding, those sorts of things that we talked about earlier to make sure that we’re not in continuous triage as the day-to-day staffing decisions that come up as opposed to moving from a reactive to a very proactive environment so this isn’t a fire drill every day and of course this helps us to do a better job of establishing what our long-range plan really needs to be.

So I hope that’s helpful context because we thing about this whole forecasting thing in that center box and how it fits in that overall view of how we do budgeting and forecasting in a service-based organization.  At its highest level, resource forecasting is simply about balancing in a continuous balancing of demand and supply.  Demand is defined by project or by sprints or by clients or depending on what your business is generally again over a one-six-month period of time.  I’ll really get on this because this is a major point of failure and I’ll show you a slide in a moment to make my point here, but are we really considering all our sources of demand as we were building our view of the future.

And then there’s the supply forecast.  Who are the people that I do have?  Do I have external resources I can go to?  When are these people rolling off, are those certain people going to get retrained and those sorts of things so I’ve got this continuous supply forecasted.   I’m doing it and when I put the two of these together on the same page I can hopefully continuously support the definition of what actions do we need to take in order to prepare available resources to meet the needs of their demand.  There is a simple graphic down here that really helps if I kind of look at unassigned demand and assigned demand versus my own unassigned supply it helps us to kind of formulate I’ve either got gaps or I’ve got surpluses and now I’m in a better position to start doing something about it hopefully well enough in advance of when I’m actually going to get there so that I can be ready and not by myself of without continuous surplus or gaps.

I’m going to show you a page specific to best practices and forecast and I want to talk about four things that are really critical elements of good forecasting.  One is just simply data.  We see organizations tend to struggle with lack of data integrity for demand and supply stuff so people really need to ask do I really have good reliable information to count on.

Accountability.  Who gets up every day and knows that they’re going to lose their job or they’re not going to get a promotion or they’re not going to get a pay raise?  However, you assign accountability in your organizations is who owns this in an organization and that those two need to come together in some kind of an interlock on a continuous because we all know our businesses change, the rate and pace of our services is really accelerating so it’s really important to have an interlocking supporting that interlock process by which we do some analysis.  We like to pitch this as being a resource management office or function in your organization respective of what kind of an organization you have.  It’s constantly looking at the data and helping to interlock between organizations are creating demand where the supply of service-based resources is coming from and that analysis is continuously helping us to find what those actions need to be so we always keep supply and demand in place.

This is just an example.  I don’t have examples for every domain but I’ll pick product development as an example here.  In product development we know there’s a lot of different things that create demand on our engineering resources or we’re doing product development, whether it’s the new products we’re going to develop, we have a big customer that’s growing a lot of these so sales is asking us to tweak something in the product for them.  We have regulatory things like in our underwriter laboratory or the similar spec for that part on the UL and CE, the quality warranty service asks for something different in a product, manufacturability, and of course finance chimes in and says hey, this project’s costing us too much to make.  All these different input and demands on the organization are all examples of where demand might be coming from in your organization.  We commonly see this as organizations tend to go after those one or two big things that are creating most of the demand and yet when we get underneath where their failures are, it’s a failure to acknowledge that there’s not just one or two sources of demand in most cases.  This is true too by struggling enterprises in IT or professional consulting services.  I’ve actually tracked six or seven or eight sources of the demands that are typical in most companies.  So it’s really important that we get that right.

When we talk about best practices such as managing demand so talking about where is that demand coming from, product plans or project plans or if you’re a PS organization CRM reports, it’s important we identify all of our sources’ demands and that we set some standards and come up with the definitions that we’re going to use to describe things.  One thing we find as a point of failure in organizations is that engineering calls it by something and yet manufacturing calls it by a different name and we get confused within our own organization.  We see this all the time so getting to a common set of standards and report formats is really, really important and when we do work on our projects or products plans or whatever it might be, that they be decomposed into project plans that are detailed enough that I actually can put together a credible resource plan and then some communication mechanism to do that.  It helps, by the way, to eliminate our incoming requests from unknown groups asking for unfamiliar roles and skill sets, it’s really, really important again that we use our source tracking and using all sources of demand and that we should be tracking all those things that are in flight then and then acted upon by some centralized RMO function or whatever you might want to call it.  Having a common understanding in what we call these things and then saying the ability to compare this demand picture to our supply.  One of the things I do is I talk about them on the supply side.  I talked about interlock earlier on a prior slide.  Interlock in its simplest terms is getting the stakeholders that matter to your choices on human capital together in some kind of communicative format to agree on what the future looks like so that we can agree on budgets and action and HR making choices and helping us with hiring, our partner organizations identifying third parties, whatever might happen, but this finally tends to be the hardest things for organizations to tackle is getting an interlock process in place where there’s accountability up and down the organizations to what choices we as an organization are going to make to fulfill our product plans or our client project portfolio or whatever you have to support from  your delivery point of view.  This interlock typically would occur at multiple levels in your organization so the highest level when it comes to the annual budget plan we want people on board with that as well as there’s a bunch of choices that are maybe changing from what the annual budget anticipated right down to those people who are involved in making the day-to-day adjustments to our portfolio staffing mechanisms to make sure our projects run on time.

A few keys to all this is making sure you’ve got reliable data.  We call it shadow forecasters.  Things might change.  We might close that deal.  Try not to live in the ambiguous world here.  Push things out of the black and white areas.  Interlock’s really, really important.  Make sure you’ve got the right people in the room to do this and establish some standards around us.  If you tackle this interlock thing, it would make a huge difference in your ability to solve this resource management problem.  So two more points on interlock again.  It should involve senior executives down to those people doing the real work on a day-to-day basis.  Your design will be unique to you because it will depend on how you’re organized but again we’ve seen the concept of interlock applicable to any organizational construct.  I keep it simple for the participants even if it means more work for the RMO.  If you’re trying to get people to participate in the process, like anything else making it simple makes it more inviting.  I have the data and distribute it in advance and make sure that we’re always focused on the future because that’s what interlocks are really all about.

Managing supply.  Real, real important, obviously I’ve got people that are on projects that are rolling off, I’ve got hiring plans, maybe I’ve got firing plans, attrition plans, I’ve got third parties, is making sure that the data around these, validate your roll-out dates, monitoring your in-flight projects, your sprints.  Incorporate your planned new hires, onboarding plans and yet you’ve got to keep these things updated.  This should be moved to a more fluid more continuous process and not something we do once a quarter or twice a year.  This should be done on a really regular basis.  In looking at the future, that’s where we really want to get focused in order to do this and when you do this and do this well,  you’ve got your management, you’ve got your pictures, you’ve got your supplies, you’ve got a manager of  your demand, we can put this together and always have a clear view of your gaps or your surpluses, and if you get far enough with good forecasting you can do this in a way that gives you the time you need to take the right actions you need to take in a human capital intensive business.

The conclusion, and I’ll share with you a couple of things I hope will be helpful about matters of forecasting, which is really the difference between being reactive and proactive and in a human capital intensive business you cannot afford not to do forecasting well.  It is a huge driver; poor project performance when we don’t do this.  Understand all the drivers of your demand.  Make sure you really know where all the demands coming from your organization.  Interlock is your key.  Have a cycle to keep your data up-to-date.  Data integrity is really, really important here and having confirmed data will help you with this.

I’ll finish with a brief commercial.  I mentioned a certification program.  We have a program called the Resource Management Certified Professional Program.  It’s been in place about 4½ years.  We’ve had about 400 companies that have put people through the Resource Management Certified Professional Program and it gives you a chance to learn best practices, get accesses to a special resource center we have through our website and to collaborate with your industry peers and hopefully you recognize some of the logos up there.  These are some examples of some of the companies that have invested in.  When you go to the program, you can do it in a three-day onsite course, you can do six two-hour sessions online instructors, or we now have it in an on-demand format that you can watch through the privacy of your desktop 24/7.  There’s a certification exam at the end and there is a recertification, not too dissimilar from what you would see from the Project Management Institute or any other certification organizations.  It’s $1,895 per person and that’s all-in including your materials and testing fee.  If you travel, your traveling expenses are on your own.  If you’re a PMP you can earn PDUs going through our program for your PMI PMP recertification in addition to what we have for recertification for our MCP certification.  What we teach is this solution I’ve talked about called “just-in-time” resourcing.

And the last thing I’ll mention before I pass it back to Greg is that coming up on October 9 and 10 we are holding our second annual resource management global symposium and in beautiful Dallas, Texas at the Renaissance Hotel.  It’s a day and a half program with tracks for product development and Enterprise IT special consultant services.  It’s $1149 to participate.  We will have a healthy dose of process intensive topics here as well as technology vendors.  We’re very proud to say that ProSymmetry is going to be a sponsor for this year’s event as they were last year.  We hope that you can join us in Dallas coming up and we still have room for you if you’re interested in joining it.  Greg and I are going to take Q&A at the end but I know Greg’s got some things he wants to talk with all of you about.  I hope this is helpful.  With that, Greg, I’m going to send the deck back to the presentation back to you and we’ll go from there.

Greg:  Sounds terrific!  As Randy mentioned, and he went through quite a bit of different process oriented slides and some of the key components of having a successful supply/demand and doing your capacity planning.  I’m just going to go through and spend about 10 minutes maybe 12 minutes kind of reviewing some options you’ve got if you want to automate them.  What we’ve found that in many cases the vast majority of our clients and there are numerous ones tend to be using Excel in many cases so that could be you.  I also find in a lot of cases folks may be using an existing project oriented system and they’re having a difficult time doing their resource capacity planning or getting resource managers engaged on those kind of tools.  So what I want to do is kind of show you some live examples of how it might make it a lot easier for you to be able to get other folks involved or engaged in the process.  So let me just walk through this with you and then I’ll open it up for questions at the end with Randy.

So a few key things Randy mentioned were obviously when we do have our resources that you’re going to have in your pool, you will have probably named people and you’ll also have generic resources.  In a lot of cases you don’t know who you’re going to put on the project yet so you’re going to assign generic resources until you get the name of the person.  One of the key things too is that even if at the very beginning if you can at least have maybe one attribute about the resource so if you want to group Rachel by her role or by her skill or by her department or by her manager, you want to be able to capture some of those attributes about that particular resource.  Now typically what we find is that organizations, whether it’s IT or engineering or whatever kind of group it is, when you are setting up your resources you’re going to have some kind of base capacity you set.  Now as Randy mentioned, not all work is project work so you might also want to be able to track things like admin time, business as usual.  Obviously if folks are doing Agile kind of work you want to be able to have that in here as well.  So being able to have what is someone’s base capacity less some of the other non-project oriented stuff will really give us a good view as to when someone’s available or not available to be able to assign on projects.

Now what I want to do is I want to kind of jump ahead a little bit.  I’ll talk about how easy it is to enter data just like Excel but where we really get into kind of some strong capability, like Randy said, you’ve got all these projects that are coming into the pipeline and you need to be able to know when can you actually execute on those projects.  It’s really important to take a look at all of the projects you’ve got going on.  What I’m seeing here right now is a whole lot of projects, some of them are in flight, some of them are in various stages, you’ve got some that are proposed projects and down below you can get a really quick view of where you’re over or under or over allocated and where you have open capacity.  I happened to look at it by role, but I could have very easily done it by department, department manager, skill or whatever and obviously I can get down to the named person to see who’s over-allocated or who has open capacity.  A lot of folks want to look at this more in terms of headcount planning where they want to know based on all this work that we’ve got going up here, where are we going to be short FTEs or headcount.  Where do we have open capacity and where can we slot work in.  Now one of the slides that Randy presented, you’ve got all this work that’s going on here and now you’ve got to decide how can we execute on it if I’m showing we’ve got over-allocations or shortages.  So some of the things that happen we see quite a bit is that you’d like to know what if this project slips, what is going to be the impact on my resources.   You may want to say, what if this slips and in real time, show me the impact of that slippage by showing me the allocation before the move and what’s the allocation after the move.  Before the move and after the move.  So it’s all about real time what-if scenario planning.  Probably most of you as you’re in your various meetings whether daily, weekly, quarterly or whatever, people are asking you those questions.  What if this project slips?  What’s going to be the impact of that?  Or what if we have to get this project done sooner?  Can we do it?  In real time it’s going to let you know if this project needs to get done sooner, here’s how you’re going to impact your resources.  Here’s the allocation before. Or here’s the allocation after and every resource that was impacted by that.

Another quite common scenario or use case we run into is that clients will say, hey I’ve got all these new projects coming in in the pipeline.  I need to know if I can do them or when I can do them.  So we really give you some nice capability to say, here’s some new projects coming up.  I need to know when I can slot this one in because I’ve got to give that answer to the business so you can ask Tempus, tell me when I can slot it in.  It will give you multiple dates so you can see when you’ve got a chance to slot it in where I have 100 percent of the resources available.  Obviously there might be some cases where you might be requesting resources and you don’t have enough available.  Tempus will give you that answer as well or you might say, I need to start it way before then so let’s assume I can live with a few less resources because maybe we can hire some folks.  So Tempus will tell you that you can start it here sooner and I’ll tell you exactly where your gaps are going to be.  Somebody is specifically looking for analysts and you’re going to be short analysts, but you might say that’s okay because I know I’m going to be able to get some contractors in the future to do that.  So it allows you to answer that question in real time.  When can we start a project and assume that you’re going to start it on that date and now you can continue to work through your scenario plan or your what-if model that you might have.

I’ll give you a few other examples in this what-if and then I’ll actually show you some direct entry how easy it is.  If you’re used to using Excel how easy it is for the users to move over.  One other scenario is that in most cases you might have the need to say, we might be doing five more of these and I’ll need to know how many additional headcount we will need to do that or what if we are going to do five more of these or four more of these?  Well, we make it really easy for you to be able to go in and say, hey I think we’re going to do, and let me clone this, we might be going to do four more of these or five more of these.  They might be a little bigger.  Maybe we’re going to start them out here and you want to know, can we do that.  Quick clone and again in real time Tempus is going to give you the before and after implication of us doing that.  What’s the allocation before?  What’s the allocation after.  Again, going all the way down to the named person I’m not necessarily showing you that in all these cases but allows you to do this real time, what-if scenario planning.

Last thing I’ll show you in here is you have the ability to do a lot of the resource replacing so one of the big challenges you’ve got in many cases is that things move fairly quickly in your organizations, so you may want to be able to do things like, I see for example Audrey is over-allocated here.  Actually a lot of my people in this type of database is over-allocated.  Let’s just pick out Audrey for example.  Let’s say we’ve got to replace Audrey.  Okay, well who can we replace Audrey with?  Go out and look for folks who have that same skill as Audrey and then come back and show me who’s got availability that could fulfill that slot based on what their current workload is so I could quickly swap out Audrey for Helen for example and say that I’m going to apply that change and now I can see in real time the impact of that.  Now the benefit of doing it in this what-if scenario planning is I’m not actually changing any live data, I’m allowing you to do this what-if without impacting live data.  So you’ve got groups saying what if we do this, what if we do that and it’s not going to impact that full what-if in terms of the history of what you’ve got going on so that in any point in time you could say, hey I don’t like that last change.  Let me undo it and show me the changes.  That’s the last I’ll show you on this what-if scenario planning.  There’s a whole lot more that we give you the capability to do but I think this is at least a good touch point that if anybody wants follow-up, more detailed demos we can show you that.

The last thing I do want to show you is that in addition to extensive what-if modeling, reporting and dashboarding how easy it is for people to enter data when they’re doing these assignments.  What we’ve found is if folks are using Excel, and I’m going to go in and create a quick RMI project here.  I’ll just say this thing is going to run from here to here and maybe at this point I’m just going to assign generic resources because you don’t know who you’re going to put on it yet so you might assign some generic resources.  You could also assign named people, so however you all are doing it on this call, you’re going to be handle either generic or named, also the way if you notice the data entry is I can either enter by month, week or day or I can also do it by FTEs, so in this case I might say I’m going to need two analysts from here to here.  Some people like entering it in percentage of time so we’re going to let you do that.  I need Abigail for 50 percent of her time.  Some people like doing it in hours.  I’m going to need 140 hours of this resource type.  So however you’re currently doing it, we’re going to let you enter that data probably really close to how you’re doing it in Excel today.  So very simple.  Copy and paste, drag and drop at the project level because in many cases you are just not going to get the engagement down to a really detailed task level but we do allow you to enter tasks if you have those or we also allow you the ability to import data from any external system you’ve got.  So if you are using another system, a JIRA, Service Now, another PPM tool or anything, we have the ability to populate Tempus so that way you could have high level resource plans in here as well as give you the capability to do all of the what-if scenario planning even if you’ve got data entered into another system.

Last thing I’ll show you on this is that we have a lot of folks that some do what I call resource requests so their process might be someone is requesting a resource, whether it’s named or generic, and they want that to flow to the functional manager, whoever the resource manager is.  Then that manager is able to go in and say, all right let me go ahead and take a look at the resources that are being requested.  In this case I’ve got one pending one so I can now say, all right someone is asking for Collin and how much time do they want of Collin either by FTEs, percent or hours, and they can either say, I’m going to approve that, reject it or say, hey I can see Collin’s not available.  I’m going to give that work to Carlos instead.  Or assume this is one of those generic resources, an engineer, a systems analyst, or whatever I can then say a systems analyst here, let me go see the people that are available that I’m going to give that can do that work.  So there is some really nice enterprise resource capacity and workflow capabilities available in Tempus as well.

Final thing I’ll show you before we open it up for questions with whatever you’d like with Randy, obviously with any kind of enterprise resource capacity tool, you’re going to want to be able to have all kinds of executive dashboards and views related to resources so you’re going to want to be able to do things like say, here’s my capacity, where I’m over-allocated, kind of look at how my data’s looking over the future and, by the way, we can handle not only planned hours but if you have a need to compare plan versus actual hours, we also have time keeping capability or we can pull actuals in from another system that you might have.  So very extensive graphics, very extensive reporting around that whole enterprise resource and project portfolio management, but also the data entry makes it super simple for us to be able to do that as well as being able to have that what-if scenario planning.

So with that I just wanted to give you again just a really quick view into the fact that we’ve got very extensive resource capacity, what-if scenario analysis available whether you’re entering the data directly into Tempus or we’re pulling data in from another system and, in fact, as I mentioned a lot of our clients have Excel.  It’s very easy to set up trials.  We just import that Excel data into the dedicated Azure environment for you to be able to look at that.  So with that, what I’m going to do at this point is I’m going to have you all if you can take a look at the question tab in your GoToWebinar and then I’m going to see if there’s any questions and open it up for Randy to be able to answer anything that may come up.  By the way, if you would prefer to ask a question live, there is a “raise your hand” option in there that we can go ahead and have you ask the question live if you would prefer to do that.

It looks like I’ve got a couple of questions coming up here so give me one second.  I’m going to read these.  This is the first one I have here.  I’ll see if I can kind of paraphrase this one a little bit.

Q:      How do you sell the value internally of needed investments in the process support and technology to properly conduct forecasting and capacity planning?

A:      I was going to make a quick comment as you were going through the demo.  When I was talking about the analyzation piece of the interlock process and what the RMO can bring to the table.  Greg used a bunch of great examples of taking high integrity data and how do you use it to product some actionable outcome that the business ought to take and I just wanted to comment on that.  That was exactly the kind of point I was trying to make.  But back to the question about internal selling because no doubt about it, this is another process for resource management and it’s another tool.  You may already have a tool and you may have a process but these things like anything else we do in our project based businesses, to do it right it costs money.  Organizations that are not used to having spent a lot of money on resource management versus project management and quality management, which is where for the last 30 years they say the bulk of the spending tended to go including the automation tools to support those is resource management, now, so many of the organizations have said, hey you know if we had looked at it 30 years ago, we would have started with resource management and worked our way into project management quality methods as opposed to the other way around.  But we are where we are and getting better resource management is pretty critical so the way we typically advise organizations to sell this internally is to capture some data relative to how you’re doing on project performance, your resource utilization, customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction and compared it to the industry benchmarks and then just do the math on, I just got as good or better than what the industry is doing on these things.   You’ll catch people’s attention.  In most cases when we have helped an organization that has utilization issues for example, we’ll see a 7-15 percent improvement in utilization of the same resources and at the same time produce better project outcomes, better project performance to do at a lower cost with happier customers and happier employees.

So there’s a lot of ways to quantify this so getting tops down support, like any business, if you can show the finance officer, the HR person, the COO and the CEO data that says, hey attacking resource management, which requires us to spend X on process and X on a tool, but here’s the improvements we can make on project performance, better utilization.  We’ve never had an issue.  Justifying these things is usually the simplest thing to do, not the hardest.  The hardest thing is putting these things all in place and making it all work like any other new process to a business.  And if you’re already doing this you can look at it from where I am today and how much better can I get.  If you go on our website, you’ll see there’s a ton of resource management benchmarks.  We’ve got nine research reports out there and we’re going to have a tenth produced in about a month.  So, Greg, I hope that helps.

Greg:  Alright, that was awesome.  I’ve got one other question here someone was asking related to the demo so I’m going to pull this up really quick.

Q:      Can we look at the data not just in months but can we get it to a different granularity?

A:      Yes.  So this was obviously a pretty quick demo.  I just happened to be just showing that you could look at it in months here, but you could get down to the weeks or do it in days if you want to get to that level of detail.  Obviously the scenario planning and modeling you can do that in whatever level you want to.  The other thing I would say is that we have a lot of clients where they like to do edits in bulk so you might actually be editing multiple projects at the same time.  So if I go take a look at this flat table.  So, in this case, same kind of thing.  I’m editing multiple projects.  You can choose what projects you wanted to edit so if I wanted to edit all these projects, it’s going to show me that down below.  Then I can either do it, as I mentioned, in days, weeks, months, or hours.  I can also do FTEs as a percent or hours.  So you can make changes here and actually edit a whole bunch of stuff at one time.  So that was a question on being able to do things in other than just months.

Q:      How can you get better accuracy when you’re doing these estimates?  There’s so many different, conflicting requests that are coming in.  How do we get a better handle on getting those estimates more accurate?

A:      I have a two-part answer.  One part process and one part technology.  On the process side, one thing we see organizations trying to do is get this perfect right out of the gate and that never happens.  Most organizations struggle with forecasting and getting over that bar that you really can’t forecast human capital needs three, four, five, six months.  A lot of organizations are doing it today and doing it pretty accurately.  You’ll never be perfect at it but don’t expect perfection to start.  Put a stake in the ground.  Start with a forecast.  Make sure you go after all the sources of demand.  For example, think about anything that drives use of those human capital whether it’s external or internal.  Make sure you have that identified.  Make sure you focus on the integrity of that data and how it’s being presented to you.  And then the interlock process is okay.  Let’s everybody stare at this and here’s what we’re saying that the future looks like.  This is all through all the businesses and organizations that are creating this demand have to all agree on that.  By the way, the money to pay those people has got to come from someplace so somebody’s going to have to ante up for the budget.  Can HR source all the people in time, can finance actually fund this and so on and so forth, but getting that done and then start to measure that month after month and continuous improvement, as I said, just don’t agonize over getting it right right from the gate.  Get it done and then look back a month and ask, how much did we miss the mark by.  And then every month continuously try to improve on that.  We see organizations that will make some big changes early on.  After 60, 90, 120 days of this you’ll get a lot better and then it will become iterative of smaller improvements.  That’s how it happens.

And then on the technology side, if you’re working with a variety of tools one of the problems is that having three different spreadsheets and two other tools and you’re trying to put the data together.  We all know what happens.  The different data sources sometimes don’t reconcile correctly and you have data integrity issues so really try to drive yourself toward a singular planning tool that would help you with this is a better thing.  Focus on data integrity and if you put that process that I described together with interlock and get the right kind of automated tools to do this, you’ll get better at forecasting accuracy which is absolutely essential.  Again, project performance and all the other things I’ve talked about that drive cost savings, better employee satisfaction.  One of the things we found is that when you drive to a just-in-time resourcing environment that I described earlier, employees’ satisfaction goes up because they find that they live in a much more proactive organization where they know kind of where they’re going and how it supports their career aspirations and needs and have some opportunity to participate perhaps in that process versus a continuous reactive process of, okay I’ve got to shift priorities here.  I’m taken off this project and put me over here because I’m trying to plug a hole in a dike.  You’ve all been there.  If anybody’s been a part of or experienced a chaotic environment, moving out of a chaotic environment into a more planned and proactive environment, employees love it.  If your customers like it, you’re going to get better quality of things that you do as well.

Fantastic.  Thank you very much, Randy.  I also want to thank everybody else for attending our session today.  We’re excited that this recording will be available to you online.  You’ll get an email giving you the link to that.  Really appreciate the questions that came in.  If you have any additional follow-up you need, let us know and we look forward to seeing you at the RMI conference coming up in Dallas soon.  Talk to you soon.  Everybody have a great day.  Thank you, Randy.



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