Program Framework, Project Management Practice

Carrying out ‘what if’ analyses with Tempus Resource

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Tempus Resource series 3 / 3

This is our third and final post about Tempus Resource, a state of the art resource management tool from ProSymmetry. In the first post we looked at how managing resources is a major issue for Project Managers, as most existing project management tools lack this capability. In the second post we looked at how Tempus Resource helps users make major resource decisions by letting them build models, and in the final post we’ll look at how this would work in reality.

“What would happen to project costs if we employed two hundred new staff?”; “what would happen to Project A if we split Project B?”; “what would happen to our employees’ workloads if we asked them to commit two hours a day elsewhere?” Program and Project Managers are always looking for ways to improve the efficiency of their outputs and constantly seek the best results for their portfolios. By asking these ‘what-if’ questions of their data, the aim is to discover the most efficient ways of managing time, costs and resources and, ultimately, to improve the organisation’s bottom line.

As outlined in the previous posts in this series, it’s very hard – if not impossible – to ask these kinds of questions when a program of projects is held in an Excel spreadsheet or other PPM tool. With Tempus Resource on the other hand, carrying out ‘what-if’ analyses is a breeze. Once users have loaded individual projects into the platform’s modelling environment, they can simply move different parts of their portfolio back and forth in time and visualise the impact of these changes on the resource Heat Map. The Heat Map rapidly highlights which resources are over or under allocated, so users can see where employees have too much – or too little – work to do.

Tempus Resource is incredibly flexible, and users can test many hypotheses about their data in quick succession. Below are just two of the many hypotheses you might want to experiment with.

Increasing staff headcount

Whether it’s incorporating data about workers from an existing PPM tool, or by directly entering employees into the platform, bringing new resources onto a project can be achieved with a few clicks of a mouse. Tempus Resource lets you add individuals to a project rapidly and begin to see the impact they have on its outcomes. This is extremely useful when modelling.

For example, a company might suddenly be asked to bring forward the completion of a project by three months. They’ll want to know what impact this change would have on their deadlines and their costs. Tempus Resource would let them:

  1. Pull back the project deadline and see on the Heat Map the effect this would have on their current resources. Unsurprisingly, it would become clear that resources would all become overused.
  2. The Program Manager could rapidly bring new resources into the project using the ‘bulk resource allocations’ feature.
  3. Bringing the new resource in would reduce stress on existing workers, and also show the increase in staffing costs – Tempus Resource would let them find out exactly how much this might cost, and avoid the company having to ‘guesstimate’ wildly.

This is a crucial innovation and offers a huge amount of insight into an organisation’s resources. It allows Program Managers and senior staff to make the best decisions, avoid overusing workers and gives customers a clearer idea of the implications of changes in terms of costs.

Splitting and pausing projects

The reality of managing a project portfolio is rather different from the theory. Program Managers may have neatly laid plans, but customers, logistics, supplier delays or changes in legislation can have unexpected impacts on a group of projects. It might suddenly make a lot more sense to put one of your projects on hold in order to save time and focus attentions on the highest priority work. Tempus Resource lets you find out what would happen if you took this route:

  1. Project A suddenly needs far more attention than originally planned. Project B is currently approaching the end of its second phase. You might decide to hold it there while completing Project A and see what this would do to your whole portfolio in the long run.
  2. Tempus Resource allows you to split projects. You can subsequently push back the rest of Project B and see what changes this has on resource allocation
  3. In this example, the resources that were labouring on Project B have now become free, and can be allocated to Project A. As a result, it gets completed sooner – although Project B will be delayed.

What if you could make better resource decisions?

It’s clear that asking questions of your data can help find the best ways of allocating resources. However, the impact of these choices can be enormous: whether it’s avoiding overuse and wearing out of workers, saving considerable sums of money through inefficiencies you’ve spotted or improving productivity by placing the best people where they can be better used, Tempus Resource helps you get the best out of your portfolios.