When configuring your Forecast account, you will need to elect how to manage your resources. Forecast allows you to select between two unique settings, one of which is 'Allocate people to projects'. For more on how to configure the resource management setting in your account, see Selecting your resource management strategy.
Understanding 'Allocate people to projects', how it is used and the impact it has throughout the platform is crucial to fully maximize the potential and benefits it provides.
This article covers:
Allocating people to projects
In Forecast, the setting 'Allocate people to projects' defines how you allocate team members' time on projects, how you view and interact with the Schedule People heatmap and how you view, manage and report on resource utilization.
Allocate people to projects is based entirely on project allocations. It does not require you to create or manage individual tasks within a project nor are tasks a considering factor when calculating resource utilization.
How to allocate people to projects
Once a project has been created, you need to identify the resources who will be responsible for completing the work. There may be times you might not know the full scope of the work required, but you do know the roles and team members you will need to complete the work.
Using Allocate people to projects allows you to identify the team members needed and allocate, or book, their time for the project. To learn how to create project allocations, see Creating and editing allocations.
Additionally, Pro and Plus customers have the option to determine allocation type, giving you flexibility when booking team members' time on projects. Forecast offers both soft and hard allocation types. To learn more about soft and hard allocations, see Using soft and hard project allocations (Pro and Plus).
Understanding and managing resource utilization
Using Allocate people to projects impacts your resource utilization throughout the entire Forecast platform. Not only does the setting define how you create and allocate team members' time on projects, it controls the display of the heatmap, how utilization is defined in Schedule People, Project Timeline, Project Scoping and Reporting and enables the features and functionality available in Capacity Planning.
Understanding resource utilization in Schedule People
Schedule People is a visual representation of time allocated to your team members. The heatmap clearly shows resource time when under, over or fully booked giving you a detailed view when analyzing resource utilization. The heatmap calculates utilization based on the time allocated over the duration of the allocation and the working hours assigned to an individual team member.
Under this setting, the heatmap will only consider allocations when calculating a resource's availability and utilization. Any tasks you may create within a specific project will not be included in the utilization or displayed in the heatmap.
Allocating project time
A resource whose working hours are defined as 8h per day Monday through Friday, is allocated 16h of project time for a week. The heatmap automatically evenly distributes the total time for the allocation over the duration of the allocation, or in this example, 2h per day. Allocation distribution can also be broken down manually, should you need to allocate more time on one day versus the others.
Allocating non-project time
While allocating team members' time on projects is helpful, it is also important to see time that may reflect non-project time spent such as internal time dedicated to meetings or trainings as well as time off such as holidays or vacation.
Having both project and non-project time clearly outlined in the Schedule allows you to see the full picture when analyzing your resources and maximizing their utilization and performance.
Understanding resource utilization in reporting
Resource utilization is a metric that helps you understand resource performance and effort over a specific amount of time. It measures your team's productivity and helps you identify if you are under or overutilizing resources.
In addition to the visual representation of resource utilization in the heatmap, Forecast offers standard reporting such as the Utilization Report to help you drill down into the details of your team, their allocated project time and non-project time.
As long as project time or non-project time is allocated in the schedule, it will appear in the Utilization Report. To learn more about the Utilization report, check out Overview of Utilization Report.
Understanding resource utilization in project scoping
In addition to the visual heatmap and reporting, Allocate people to projects also provides insights on a project's Scoping page.
Allocate people to projects does not require project tasks be created or assigned nor are they included in the resources' utilization, however there may be times that you want to create tasks within a project and assign them to a specific team member. These tasks will not display in the heatmap, however project allocation time will display in Scoping based on the allocations created in the Schedule or Timeline.
Each resource has gauge showing their total time allocated to the project. As you create tasks and assign hours, the gauge will update to reflect the amount of allocation time remaining for that resource for the specific project.
Using Capacity Planning
Capacity Planning is a feature available only to Plus customers using the resource management setting, Allocate people to projects. With Capacity Planning, you have the ability to create and manage Placeholders that represent the demand for projects allowing you to build out your project pipeline.
Having insight into current and future projects in addition to resource and role demands will help you determine where you may be understaffed, overstaffed or if and when you can confidently take on new projects. To learn more about Capacity Planning with Forecast, see About Capacity Planning (Plus only).