Issues with Planning Accuracy

A forum for Deltek Vision Project Planning & Resource Management.
Barbara Bunting
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu May 29, 2008 1:48 pm
Company: H.W. Lochner, Inc.
Deltek Vision Version: 4.1
Number of Employees: 465
Company Position: Vision System Manager
Vision Modules: Project Control; Accounting; Billing; Time; Expense; Resource Planning; CRM; Proposals; SF forms; Visualization
Number of Offices: 26
Year Vision Installed: 2008
Location: Salt Lake City
Contact:

Issues with Planning Accuracy

Postby Barbara Bunting » Tue Mar 27, 2012 6:36 pm

Our firm implemented Planning and Resource Management a while ago but PM’s are still struggling with their planning accuracy. The offices that are the most successful perform their staff balancing as a group every two weeks. The most unsuccessful offices do not balance resources at all. We continue to stress the importance of regular plan updates, regular staff balancing, regular review of the reasonableness of the information, etc. Beyond these obvious steps, what else are firms doing to help PM’s learn how to more accurately plan their projects? What type of training are you doing (i.e. Vision, PMI, PM essentials, etc.) and how often? What is the involvement of the high level management in your firm? What is the involvement of your CFO and/or Controller? How do you hold your PM’s, managers, leadership, etc. accountable for the information in Vision? Any tips, suggestions, etc. would be greatly appreciated.

AliT
Posts: 100
Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2011 10:55 am
Brief Company Description: Marine consulting firm
Deltek Vision Version: 6.1
Number of Employees: 60
Company Position: Technical Aide
Number of Offices: 0
Year Vision Installed: 2010

Re: Issues with Planning Accuracy

Postby AliT » Thu Apr 12, 2012 7:09 pm

One of the things I've heard a lot in my role as a project support admin over the years is that the project managers don't have time to do the planning; they're too busy trying to execute and deliver the project requirements. My life was literally a Dilbert cartoon at one point when I went to ask a developer whether he'd worked on a project: he finished it in 10 seconds -- something I then had to turn into an actual MS Project Plan. As a result, I tend to look at resource planning from the standpoint of "how much time does updating the plans require, and what information is actually critical to the overall resource allocation? Can the information be done by support staff interacting with the PMs, or does the information actually require the PMs to input it somewhere?" One of the ways I've helped with this was to ask the PMs to email me a simple estimate of what they needed for each project they supervised for the upcoming period, which I then plugged into the indicated plans. This freed the PMs up to focus on product delivery.

That said: the desire to use any project management tool -- whether it's an Excel spreadsheet, a string of email, a Venn diagram, Project, or Vision -- needs to be something that upper management not only embraces, but supports in ways that allow the people who are then required to update the tool the time, capacity, education, and resources to do so. Some PMs don't understand project management from a formal (i.e. "I went to a project management training class") way; for them, project management simply means delivering what the client requested, and all that "extraneous stuff" (i.e. updating Vision) is unnecessary, since it doesn't impact what the client receives. (Or so that PM believes.) For them, the key is getting them to buy into the notion that if they update the plans regularly, then maybe that resource they didn't know they needed but will in three weeks will be available.

One of the companies I worked for held a regular "PM 101" class every fall, getting into basics of project management, talking about lessons learned from previous projects within the firm, and made it seem like the tool they used for resource planning was not only <i>the</i> way, but the <b>best</b> way. The case examples helped immensely.

Hope that helps.
Ali T.


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