Project management is way more complicated than just having a plan to follow through. Namely, you ought to take the human factor into account. How to manage limited resources to ensure your project will reach set goals?
BigPicture, with its powerful Resources module, can significantly support resources' planning and balancing processes on individual and team levels. Resource management on the enterprise, cross-project, cross-program, or cross-product level is the top reason to choose BigPicture Enterprise or upgrade your regular BigPicture instance.
Let’s review how BigPicture Enterprise does the resource management job.
A number of projects have shared resources. The presence of cross-project experts, such as engineers, testers, inspectors, consultants, and managers, is one of the strong indicators you are better off with BigPicture Enterprise than BigPicture as far as resource management is concerned. Other pro-Enterprise indicators are:
Why do such setups call for BigPicture Enterprise rather than the regular BigPicture?
To have a clear overview of the workload in BigPicture Enterprise, you can enable the ‘Show overall assignment’ checkbox, which turns on a cross-project resources view. It's a valuable option when you have internal experts working on many projects at a time. And not just cross-project experts, but also cross-program or cross-product specialists.
Why do we mix projects, programs, and products into resource management? BigPicture Enterprise has another advantage over BigPicture that complements the “Show overall assignment” view. To model your projects, programs, and products in BigPicture Enterprise, you can use unlimited initiative templates for leading management methodologies, while the regular BigPicture has just three: Program, PI, and Iteration. If you have experts assigned to many initiatives simultaneously and do resource management, then BigPicture Enterprise is definitely the right answer. The Enterprise edition is just more suitable for a multi-methodology environment fueled by cross-initiative experts.
Figure 1. Enabling cross-project view in BigPicture Enterprise
Thanks to the ‘Show overall assignment’ feature, the resource manager in charge can spot how the Craftsman team is overloaded during week 10 (red bar). Also, note the ‘Individuals,’ ‘Teams’, and ‘Skills’ buttons in the top-left corner; you can balance resources per individual, team, or skill.
The ‘Show overall assignment’ view applies even if your organization’s rules state that an expert is to be assigned to one project at a given time.
Workload contouring allows you to specify how the effort of an assignee is distributed across a task period. The ‘Flat,’ ‘Front-loaded,’ and ‘Back-loaded’ modes are available both in BigPicture and BigPicture Enterprise, but the fourth one – ‘Manual’ mode – is unique to the Enterprise edition. Manual mode allows easy creation of own setups for exceptional business cases. Have a look at Figure 2.
Figure 2. Manual mode of workload contouring.
In BigPicture Enterprise, you can manually distribute effort for a given task on a per-day basis.
Who might benefit from the manual workload contouring available in the Resources module of BigPicture Enterprise? Let’s have a closer look at the exemplary scenarios:
What-if scenarios, used for exploring and comparing alternative plans, are available in the regular BigPicture, but there is a ‘one private + one public scenario’ per Initiative templates limit. Only BigPicture Enterprise has an unlimited number of scenarios. How do the unlimited scenarios of BigPicture Enterprise relate to resource management?
Have a look at figure 3. The BU-8 Install insulation is depleting the capacity of Mike Edison (orange boxes with 6s). We’ve created the ‘Resources load’ scenario, with its name evident within the top menu. Once we reschedule the job beyond the 15-18 June period, to include Monday and Tuesday, 21-22 of June, the resources planning pane returns 4 hours per day and green bars, giving enough of a safety margin. Now you can commit the what-if scenario to BigPicture production timeline and Jira.
Testing workload distribution with what-if scenarios available in the Gantt module of BigPicture.
"What if" scenarios mode is available directly on the Resources module. Also, the Gantt module with its bottom resources pane is where you can create, delete and commit scenarios to the production timeline. The Resources module mimics what the Gantt module displays, be it a test scenario or the production schedule.
A quick reminder, there are three approaches to resource management in BigPicture:
Red means overallocation of a resource, orange – 75% to 100% allocation, green – under allocation.
Here is a quick overview of features influencing resource management in BigPicture vs. BigPicture Enterprise. We recommend the Enterprise edition when:
Table 1. An overview of resource management-related features in BigPicture vs. BigPicture Enterprise.
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