Program Framework, Project Management Practice

Using Tempus Resource to make data driven decisions

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Tempus Resource series 2 / 3

This is the second post in our three part series on Tempus Resource, a next-generation Resource Management tool. In part one of the series we looked at the major resource challenges which Project Managers face and showed how Tempus Resource helps users make the best decisions. In this post we’ll be looking in further detail at how the platform does so through the use of its powerful modelling feature.

Program and Portfolio Management is a challenging and dynamic field – and that’s one of the reasons we find it so fascinating. Nonetheless, when enormous budgets are on the line, when project outcomes are in the balance and when facing important deadlines, managing resources is no walk in the park. Even the most insightful and aware Project Manager can’t take every possible factor into account and this loads more risk onto an already unpredictable situation.

Most decision makers tend either to use an Excel spreadsheet, or one of a number of PPM platforms. As great as these tools are, none let stakeholders really explore possible alternatives to the plan they first designed. It’s typical to have a range of individual projects within different spreadsheets, listing the individual resources working on each. While this gives a broad overview of where resources are, it’s much harder to find out how different projects and the resources allocated to them interact with one another.

Tempus Resource, on the other hand, is centred on the idea of building models and testing hypotheses around resource allocation in your projects. Rather than making decisions on gut instinct, Tempus Resource lets users ask questions of their data, and discover the best solutions to their allocation decisions. The premise of Tempus Resource is that projects don’t exist in a vacuum; rather, resources, timeframes and other pressures impact upon one another.

Why we need models

Modelling data is an essential step in deciding how to implement resources. However, while it’s possible to build models with other tools, it tends to be incredibly time consuming and requires extensive technical knowledge. Not so with Tempus Resource, where you can draw in projects to a new model almost instantly, allocate resources, shift deadlines back and forth and visualise the impact of all these changes in real time.

Models let you measure how changes in one part of your portfolio impact on projects and resources elsewhere. Tempus Resource lets users:

  • Predict the impact of changes to projects in terms of costs, timeframes and resources
  • Find creative new solutions to align resource allocation with company forecasts
  • Impress colleagues and managers with more efficient and effective project plans

Most Project Management tools only offer a limited range of modelling capabilities and it’s almost impossible to simulate a large number of alterations quickly.

How does modelling work in Tempus Resource?

There are two options for creating models in Tempus Resource. The first approach is to import data from an existing PPM tool such as Project Server, Oracle or JIRA (among many others), and directly begin testing models with your existing data. The alternative is to enter new data sets to Tempus Resource using the direct data entry interface. Organisations which do not yet have a project and resource catalogue, or who want to build a new one from scratch, can rapidly do so within Tempus Resource. Direct data entry feels familiar to Excel users – it includes drag to fill, copy and paste for entering large quantities of data and search and filter options to drill down to find the required resources.

Once resources and projects are prepared, the modelling dashboard can be used to test a range of hypotheses. The aim is, of course, to discover the best use of resources across your portfolio:

  • Rapidly expand, contract and split projects by task using the project slidebar
  • Visualise changes to resource allocation and usage with a resource ‘heat map’ which highlights resource strain, a ‘cool map’ to instantly pick out resource underuse and graphs which show how close each resource is to capacity
  • Because your model is implemented in a ‘virtual environment’ you can undo any (or all) changes you’ve made to your model without this impacting on your original plans
  • Tempus Resource intelligently recommends the most effective resource allocation based on your models.

The scientific method

Underlying any model is the aim of testing assumptions and theories. You might believe extending a project will free up your resources’ time, yet this intuition isn’t always borne out in reality, where a range of complications can end up having an adverse effect. Building models gives you the option to test your hypotheses and this where the Tempus Resource really stands out.

So far we’ve explored the dilemma organisations face around decision making, and how the modelling power of Tempus Resource allows them to explore the best ways to allocate resources. In the final post of this series we’ll be seeing how the platform lets users carry out ‘what-if’ analyses to get the most out of their data. Stay tuned!