Resourcing resourcing resourcing 21/09/18

My two projects are both being delivered in-house (ie without external agencies) and are about to reach critical milestones. The Neighbourhoods CRM project is in full swing and we are looking towards launch. The Minimum Viable Product for this project covers calls about Rent only, however, the NCC also deals with anti-social behaviour, leaseholder queries, cleaning and much more. It has always been our intention to continue beyond Minimum and so we need to know who is going to be on this project, and for how long. 

In a similar vein, Grievances is nearing Build phase. We’ve got a high fidelity prototype on Axure wires and we have to start planning who’s building this thing.

This is where resource management starts to shine. We should know, in advance, which projects are about to hit which phase. We need to anticipate bottlenecks. We may have to manage expectations and schedule in projects. We may have to hire in skills. We may have to hire full stop. What we definitely don’t want to be doing is paying for contractors because we didn’t do any of the things above.

There is plenty of resourcing software out there. For our purposes, we just want broad strokes for forecasting. Some software micro-manages all meaning out of reality: are we really letting people book 30 mins of someone’s time four months in advance? Nobody wants to go down that rabbit hole but we do need week by week, or at least month by month, predictions. 

We should base our broad stokes on a realistic figure of resources’ availability. If we assume 80% billability (ie 80% on projects, 20% on training, team meetings, writing G+ posts) then that’s about 6 hours per day. So, if we estimate a project will need about 200hrs of backend development then that’s about 7 weeks. Give or take a couple of days’ holiday, sickness, etc, and we arrive at 8 weeks. As the 200hrs was pretty much a guesstimate, we might as well call it 10 weeks. That’s it: broad strokes. We don’t need to be telling services we will kick off their project on 17 February 2019. It’s more like “Q1”. 

Keith Gatt’s already using Float to manage resources within the Platform team. We can expand this out readily to Development and, if we see bottlenecks arising elsewhere, we can roll out further to Delivery, Service Design, Data, Support or anywhere else that needs to manage time, resources and expectations. Float is easy to use and great value for money. And who doesn’t love a bit of colour-coding?

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