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Streamlining Resource Planning: Case Study

Resource management has always been a thorn in the side for organizations looking to optimize precious resources. For one educational institution, adopting a new process has literally meant the difference between night and day. Here’s a before and after look at how they improved it.

A very sticky situation

During their quarterly planning process, the team conducted a two-day planning meeting to work out their resource requirements. Project managers wrote projects on a white board and used sticky-notes to represent user stories/phases with story points/LOEs on them. Star stickers were used to represent milestones and string was used to link dependencies.

It takes a beautiful mind to makes sense of this planning process, where the swim lanes are people, the post-it notes are projects/user stories, the stars are milestones.

Inefficient process stuck in the past

Extremely manual and time consuming, this process required a couple of days to prepare for the meeting, and then another day after to enter the information in the PPM tools. Everyone approached the meeting and extra work associated with it with reluctance. Reports were not available to review data prior or after the meeting. Needless to say, it was not ideal.

Adopting a digital solution

The team decided it was time to bring this process into the 21st century, adopting UMT360’s resource management tools. Now, projects can be submitted by requestors during a quarterly planning window, with project managers entering estimates in advance of the planning meeting. Reports showcase the planned and in-progress work across functional areas and teams, and team capacity is applied to calculate over/under allocations.

UMT360 Resource Plans now detail all quarterly demand, with Power BI reporting on generic teams/roles, and Project Schedules for all in-flight work.

A breakdown of projects and demand by program, initiative and role is now readily available, as well as capacity by team or role. The quarterly planning meeting was reduced from 2 days to a half day and because the data is visible in the report it can be refined before, during and after the meeting. As a result, planning discussions during the meeting are more focused on the work, the demand for resources and solving capacity constraints rather than on information gathering.

Clear visibility across all resources enables the organization to more effectively allocate the right people to the right initiatives.

Success inspires broader roll-out

The team can now make quicker decisions as resource requirements change, and allocate the right resources to the right initiatives, secure in knowing they have the data they need. Initially rolled out to support the planning needs of one cost center, the team now has plans to also apply the progress they’ve made to manage planning for the profit centers it supports.

Powerful reports enable stakeholders to clearly gauge resource availability against planned work and capacity.