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Back to Basics: Resource planning

I wrote this set of slides for coaching sessions I am doing with startups in Senegal. In this set of slides, I review the difference between project planning and resource planning, how to get started with resource planning and how to improve resource planning. Those slides will be of interest to the management teams of small services companies that intend to grow quickly. I have more set of slides coming on the same subject. Follow me on twitter (@sarfata) or check out my website (www.sarfata.org) to get more content. Suggestions for topics are also most welcomed.

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Back to Basics Series
                        Topics
                        Difference between project planning and
                        resource planning

Resource planning       Getting started with resource planning
                        Improving resource planning

Thomas Sarlandie        Intended audience
                        Management teams of small to medium
2013 02 28              consulting firm doing on-contract work
What for?
What for?
            Deliver on-time



Stop working nights
What for?
                   Deliver on-time
                       Make sure project start on-time

   Maximize team staffing
                                  Hire before the rush

Stop working nights
                       Avoid peaks/downs in team occupation
Why is it so hard?
 Software development planning is not easy to begin with
 It is even more challenging when
   developers need to regularly switch from one project to the other
   project specifications change regularly
   priorities change
Why is it so hard?
 Software development planning is not easy to begin with
 It is even more challenging when
   developers need to regularly switch from one project to the other
   project specifications change regularly
   priorities change


        Planning in the context of a small consulting company is very hard.
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Back to Basics: Resource planning

  • 1. Back to Basics Series Topics Difference between project planning and resource planning Resource planning Getting started with resource planning Improving resource planning Thomas Sarlandie Intended audience Management teams of small to medium 2013 02 28 consulting firm doing on-contract work
  • 3. What for? Deliver on-time Stop working nights
  • 4. What for? Deliver on-time Make sure project start on-time Maximize team staffing Hire before the rush Stop working nights Avoid peaks/downs in team occupation
  • 5. Why is it so hard? Software development planning is not easy to begin with It is even more challenging when developers need to regularly switch from one project to the other project specifications change regularly priorities change
  • 6. Why is it so hard? Software development planning is not easy to begin with It is even more challenging when developers need to regularly switch from one project to the other project specifications change regularly priorities change Planning in the context of a small consulting company is very hard.
  • 7. Why is it important? To keep your customers To keep your employees So that your company can grow
  • 8. Why is it important? To keep your customers To keep your employees So that your company can grow Resource planning is crucial to the future of your company.
  • 10. Project planning Useful to: time Organize one project Forecast “end” time Spec Follow progress Dev Not useful to: Define what a developer needs to do Test tasks this week Make sure you have enough developers for all the projects
  • 11. Resource planning A different perspective - focused on time the resources across all the projects Joe Project A Project B Project C Useful to: Sue Project A B A Allocate resources to projects Tim Holidays Project C Anticipate resources problems: resources Over staffing Under staffing
  • 12. Different types of planning time Spec Joe Project A Project B Project C Sue Project A B A Dev Tim Holidays Project C Test resources tasks Both planning serve different purposes. They are both very important.
  • 13. Getting started with resource planning
  • 14. 0. Define what is a resource It is easy to get over excited when modeling your business Different type of resources: project managers, developers, testers, etc With different types of seniority: junior, senior, architect, etc Start simple - In most teams, the bottleneck is the developer Make a resource planning for the developers only - Do not count project management, artists, etc. - Only one “type” of developer.
  • 15. 1. Choose some units Standard scenario Your number one measurement unit is a A team of 2 to 50+ people man/day Projects from 1 week to several months Time step in the planning is week Should work for 90% of small teams Exceptions Teams who have to work on very small assignments Hours of work may be a better unit Ex: Design team works a few hours every week on a very large number of different projects Very long projects Use months instead of weeks
  • 16. 2. Identify your resources Wk 9 Wk 10 Wk 11 Wk 12 List all your team members 25-Feb 4-Mar 11-Mar 18-Mar Write their availability in man/day for Joe 5 5 4 5 each week Sue 5 5 4 5 5 if available for the entire week 4 if there is a day-off Tim 0 0 4 5 0 when on holidays/training/etc http://webapps.stackexchange.com/questions/4588/how-to-show-the-week-number-on-google-calendar
  • 17. 3. Identify your projects List all of your projects Wk 9 Wk 10 Wk 11 Wk 12 25-Feb 4-Mar 11-Mar 18-Mar Based on the project planning Write down how many man-days you Web4.0 10 10 10 5 will need for this project per week iGame 5 5 One full time developer = 5 VivApp 5 5 2 0.5 Two full time developer = 10 Plan time for bug fixing, deployment,... http://webapps.stackexchange.com/questions/4588/how-to-show-the-week-number-on-google-calendar
  • 18. 4. Start planning Wk 9 Wk 10 Wk 11 Wk 12 25-Feb 4-Mar 11-Mar 18-Mar Adjust planning and projects to bring Available 10 10 12 15 the delta to 0 Needed 15 15 17 10.5 You can postpone a project You can add resources Delta -5 -5 -5 4.5
  • 19. 5. Make it a habit Fill the planning at least two or three Each team leader is responsible of the weeks in advance planning of his/her team Delta must-be 0 on monday morning No one else has write access to the planning If you think your developers can work faster: reduce the work in the project Everyone can read it If you do not have enough resource: Planning needs to be updated every make a choice week so that the developers know what to do the following monday One day of work is always 1 - Does not matter how many hours
  • 20. Benefits of “simple planning” Forces you and other stakeholders in the company to look at the situation objectively with numbers instead of feelings Gives you a tool to evaluate different scenarios Provides detailed and valuable information on team staffing Can easily be shared with all the project managers, the developers, etc
  • 21. Getting started with resource planning Wk 9 Wk 10 Wk 11 Wk 12 Wk 9 Wk 10 Wk 11 Wk 12 Wk 9 Wk 10 Wk 11 Wk 12 25-Feb 4-Mar 11-Mar 18-Mar 25-Feb 4-Mar 11-Mar 18-Mar 25-Feb 4-Mar 11-Mar 18-Mar Joe 5 5 4 5 Web4.0 10 10 10 5 Available 10 10 12 15 Sue 5 5 4 5 iGame 5 5 Needed 15 15 17 10.5 Tim 0 0 4 5 VivApp 5 5 2 0.5 Delta -5 -5 -5 4.5 Getting started with resource planning is extremely easy! No excuse!
  • 23. Assign projects to specific developers
  • 24. Assign projects to specific developers Dev Wk 9 Wk 10 Wk 11 Wk 12 25-Feb 4-Mar 11-Mar 18-Mar Web4.0 10/10 10/10 8/10 10/5 Joe 5 5 4 5 Sue 5 5 4 5 iGame 4/5 5/5 Tim 4 5 VivApp 0/5 0/5 0/2 0/0.5
  • 25. Assign projects to specific developers Dev Wk 9 Wk 10 Wk 11 Wk 12 25-Feb 4-Mar 11-Mar 18-Mar Web4.0 10/10 10/10 8/10 10/5 Joe 5 5 4 5 Sue 5 5 4 5 iGame 4/5 5/5 Tim 4 5 VivApp 0/5 0/5 0/2 0/0.5 Joe 5 5 4 5 Sue 5 5 4 5 Tim 4 5
  • 26. Assign projects to specific developers A little more complicated to set up Allows team leader to account for each team member specificities (seniority level, familiarity with project, technologies, etc) Actually tells the developer what to do this week
  • 27. Visualize your planning Available Needed Use your data to communicate 17 visually on your planning 12.75 Learn to recognize trends 8.5 Manageable peaks 4.25 Non-manageable peaks ... 0 W9 W10 W11 W12
  • 28. “Non-billable” time Developer Evaluate and measure “non-billed” time Team Leader (x 5) Internal projects Team meeting 0.5 x 5 = 2.5 0.5 Support of sales team Management 0.3 Meetings (especially for team leaders) meeting Sales support 0.5 1 This will help you think about the cost of non-billable Total 3 1.8 Total non-billable time: 4.8 / 30 = 13% or 1 person
  • 29. Improve your time-estimations Start with the number of days sold to the customer Ask the developer to re-evaluate time before the beginning of development If needed, adjust the functional specifications to fit in budget Or adjust budget in planning Look at the number of actual days spent Use timesheets if possible to estimate next project
  • 30. Improving your resource planning Assign projects to specific developers Visualize your planning data Measure non-billable time Improve your time-estimations
  • 31. Key take-aways Keep your planning very simple to get started Only plan for your bottleneck resources Use simple tools (Excel, Google spreadsheet, etc) Make planning a habit: Update your planning every week Share your planning with the company Use your planning to learn and improve
  • 32. Thank you! Recommended reading http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ The_Mythical_Man-Month "adding manpower to a late software project makes it later" www.sarfata.org @sarfata thomas@sarlandie.net