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6 months ago

People Allocations Management

People Management is a very wide topic, as it touches different activities, from Portfolio Planning and Management to managing a team’s workload. There are many use cases to address and a huge amount of small things to consider, as a tool vendor. We’ve started improving this area in Targetprocess and here are the features, which we plan to implement first:

  • People Allocations Planning
  • Vacations and Days-off
  • Capacity Management

In this article we will cover the feature “People Allocations Planning”, which is currently in development and will be released quite soon.

People Allocations Planning

This feature will give us a possibility to plan people allocations on projects, taking into account their current and planned allocations, and see if any conflicts may happen. We will be able to specify what people – teams and individuals – are required for a project, how long we need them for and what % of their total working hours they can be available, and therefore visualise and manage possible over- or under-allocations.

Note: Here we talk only about a possibility to plan people allocations on projects, not taking into account how much work people may currently have or will have to complete in every project.

Project Planning

Let’s imagine we have a new project “Chocolate Factory”, which we need to plan activities for. It should be started in a month and we plan to complete it by the end of the year, so that we have plenty of chocolate by Christmas.

Let’s assume that we know how many and what people – teams and individuals – we need for this project, so that we can plan people allocations, specifying for how long we need each person and team, and what % of their total work time they should be available on our project. Let’s say that we need 2 development teams – Alaska and Utah – full time (100%) for the whole project duration, 1 designer will be needed full time in the beginning and only for 25% of his time when the project moves into development phase, and 1 PM half time for the whole project duration.

We can create and visualise all the planned people allocations on a timeline view where projects are selected as lanes and people allocations are selected as cards.

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 20.40.09 3

Thus, once we have started planning people allocations on a project we can easily see if the newly created allocation is in conflict with any existing allocations this person or team may have, and what projects we do conflict with. In our example we can clearly see that Alaska and Utah teams will be overloaded during a period of time, if we start projects as planned.

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 20.43.29

Here we have a choice to either look for other people/teams to work on our project or shift the project in time, to avoid conflicts.  We’ve decided to shift our project in time and start it later. There is risk we won’t have chocolate for Christmas, but if we overload our people in the first place, we risk to not have anything for Christmas, not even the turkey.

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 20.44.39 1

Now there are no more conflicts and teams and people can move from one project to another without stress.

Forecasted people overload

As Targetprocess allows to forecast a project’s possible completion date based on the linear velocity and progress, we can see possible overload and conflicts resulting from some projects taking longer than originally planned, and therefore people stuck on these projects, while they have planned to move to another project already. On the example below we see that our Chocolate Factory project is delayed and both teams are going to be overloaded as they planned to start working on the next project from November 2015.

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 20.47.14 3

The same information can also be made visible when you plan a project roadmap. Whenever you plan a project in time or a project is delayed and it leads to people overload, you’ll see the conflict time areas of your project highlighted.

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 20.57.25 2

Hovering a mouse over the red area you’ll see who exactly got overloaded as a result of current project planning and progress.

People Availability

Very often we need to answer the question ‘Whom can I invite to work in my next project?’ or ‘Who may become available at a given moment of time?’. We could answer this question by creating a visualisation where our people – teams or individuals – are selected as lanes and people allocations are selected as cards in those lanes.

AllocationsOverload

Here we can easily see if someone is accidentally overloaded or might be overloaded soon, as well as get an understanding who will become available soon for working on a new project.

On the example above we can see that Lambda Team has conflicting allocations in May, and is loaded for 120% in total. Alaska Team is 100% available starting from September though, so we can allocate them to a new project and start it in September 2015.

The same view is available for individuals. Here we zoom in to see more project details on cards.

PeopleAllocationsOverload

Allocations can be updated straight from this view via context menu:

Screen Shot 2015-08-05 at 21.11.03

People allocations start/end dates can be tied to the start/end dates of a project when we need people for the entire project duration. Initially they are tied to the project’s planned start/end dates, later when our project has been started, all allocations will become tied to the project’s real start date and will be shifted for the project’s delay. For example, if we planned to start a project a month ago, but started it only now, all the planned people allocations will be shifted for 1 month and will be tied to the project’s real start date. It will allow to quickly get all the allocations updated according to reality.

Next steps

Here are some ideas we’re considering for future implementation, and we would really like to know what you think about them and whether you need them at all:

  • A possibility to plan ‘dummy’ people on a project, i.e. providing information about how many teams and people in which roles you need on a project without assigning specific people (Targetprocess users) to it. It would allow to overview whether you need more people or more projects in future based on the number of people you have available.
  • Connect team and individual allocations. Right now when you create a team allocation, it doesn’t affect allocations of people in this team, so this functionality would allow to automatically create/adjust personal allocations once we have changed/added allocations for a team.
  • Team Participation: for cases when a person works in a team only part-time, we can specify a “team participation” for a person, e.g. that someone is allocated 30% of her/his time in this team. In this case (s)he’ll have allocations via team created for based on this %.
  • See people allocations on a person/team/project views.

 

We look forward to your feedback!

7 months ago

Join us for the “Visual Management for all Organisations with Targetprocess” webinar

Following our successful Visual Management breakfast event in London, this webinar focuses on how Targetprocess can be used by any organisation – commercial or not-for-profit – to improve the way we manage, collaborate and control work.  With a visual management approach, everyone benefits from seeing the information they need whenever they need it. Originally developed in the Agile/IT sectors, Visual Management has significant potential benefits for anyone needing to improve productivity and control.

Join us to hear about and see an overview of a range of new ways to visually keep track of everyday work, control large numbers of small projects and manage processes like recruitment, or even your IT support.

The webinar will:

  • Outline the concepts behind Visual Management
  • Explain why it works effectively for presenting information in many dimensions
  • Show the practical benefits for any organisation in facilitating effective management and control
  • Present the new range of Targetprocess solutions.

The webinar presenters will be:

person-2David Hart – David is a Director of E AND H and a professional manager with over 25 years’ experience of delivering successful performance improvement through managing projects and business change across the UK public and not-for-profit sectors.

person-1Natalie Yadrentseva – a product specialist with Targetprocess and a passionate researcher and presenter in information visualisation.

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7 months ago

On-Demand Performance Problems: Status Update

This morning we experienced problems with one of our internal statistics tools. The fault was caused by a great number of queries sent from the client code that generated too many pending requests in the web-browser queue – therefore new connections could not be opened. Page refresh could help, but only for a short period of time.
Our DevOps Engineers responded to the problem immediately and performed unscheduled maintenance. This is why you could experience delays in page load. Our developers in their turn applied the necessary hotfix, so that the application will not generate extra queries any more.

For now the root cause of the problem has been fixed. We are currently setting up a new server for our internal tool, and we will perform the migration today. This is to make sure that similar problems won’t ever happen again.

Please accept our apologies. We understand how important it is for you to have Targetprocess up and running especially during your daily stand-up meetings.

Have a nice week!

9 months ago

We are going to remove Targetprocess v.2 in Jan 2016

Targetprocess logo v2-v3

Targetprocess v.2 was released in 2006. 10 years is a huge timeframe in SaaS world, so we are going to completely remove Targetprocess v.2 soon.

Most of you already work with v.3 user interface and you’ll hardly notice any difference. This post answers some questions that may trouble you. Please, don’t hesitate to ask more in comments.

Why do you want to remove v.2?

Basically, it affects our development speed. We have to run all old tests, try to not break old things and fix if they break. Less and less people use v.2, so we think we reached a safe moment to cut it completely.

There are some features I use in v.2, since there are no good replacements in v.3

We are going to match almost all features. At least it will be possible to do almost all the things in v.3 as well, like Split, Merge, etc. This is a prerequisite to remove v.2 for us. You can mention any particular case in comments and we will take it into consideration.

I love v.2 and we have On-Site installation

It means you will not be able to upgrade to newer version from Jan 2016. Most likely nothing changes for you, since we didn’t improve v.2 last two years.

I love v.2 and we have On-Demand account

In this case we will move your account to a separate server and will not upgrade this account anymore.

If you have more questions, please feel free to ask them.

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