Why use project planning?
Project planning enables you to quickly set up new projects and inspect the impact of the new projects on your capacity and revenue forecasting at a macro level. In Synergy Enterprise, it is possible to drill down into stage specific analysis within the improved revenue forecasting and resource planning features.
Introducing the interface
When you open project planning (called ‘planning board’ in Synergy Business), you will see project rows in the grid are in a variety of colors and styles.
These are defined as:
- Dotted rows— Dots around project rows show that a project has no start date, no end date or neither start nor end date.
- Teal rows— Projects in active status - can only be in delivery mode.
- Striped rows— Projects in proposal status. The projects can be in planning or delivery modes (but likely in planning mode
- Italicised font in a project row— Projects still in planning mode.
- Blue rows— Stages at proposal status.
- Dark overlay— The end of the dark overlay is today's date.
- Donut graph— Shows the capacity of the allocated resource(s) to the project. Hovering over the donut graph will open a tooltip with more detailed information.
- Non-billable projects* - Each non billable project, or a single stage project with a 'no billing' fee type assigned to the stage will have an asterisk* next to the fee value in the project row. The asterisk shows that the value is used for automatic capacity estimating, but is not included in the revenue forecast.
Click on a project row shown in the forecast grid to view the forecasting details pop-up for that project. The following details are shown:
- Project name The name of the project is shown. Click in this field to edit the name of the project if required.
- Project status type This shows the status type that the likelihood selected is part of. e.g. The proposal status of 'submitted' is a custom project status option that is part of the proposal type group. This is a read only field and it will automatically update when the project status is changed.
- Project type This is the project type to reflect what type of work or team will complete this job. Click into this field to change this from the default project type of 'commercial' to the required project type value.
- Start date This is the date that the project work is expected to commence. When on a stage, click in the field to either type a new date or select it from the calendar.
- End date This is the date that the project work is expected to end.When on a stage, click in the field to either type a new date or select it from the calendar.
- Value This is the forecast value based on the 'fee value' for the project stages. Or when the project stages are hourly rate or no billing fee type this value is the forecast budgeted value for the work required on that stage. For a single stage project you can click on the fee field to edit the value. Type the new required value, or use the slider to set the fee value. For a multi stage project the fee value needs to be edited in the work breakdown structure.
- Likelihood percentage with project status The chance of winning the project when at proposal status shown as a percentage. Once the project is active status (or higher) this likelihood value is always 100% as the work has been won. For a single stage project you can click on the likelihood to see a scroll bar to toggle through the proposal status option, or to setup the project to be active status. Once the project is active status you can no longer update the likelihood and linked project status using this feature, it is only available for proposal projects. Multi stage projects cannot be updated using this feature, they must be updated in the work breakdown. Learn more about setting up the project status with the likelihood %.
- Click the '+' button on the right side to add a new project to the forecast grid.
- Type a project name (mandatory).
- Change the project type to match the type of work this project is for (optional).
- Use the calendar in the start and end date fields to estimate:
- When this project might start. This defaults to today's date.
- How many months the project will take to complete. This defaults to one month in the future.
- Set the value to estimate the agreed fee for the project. The value entered will be automatically split across the forecast months equally.
- Select the likelihood of the project by selecting a project status option from the slider list.
- Changes are saved when you click into the grid.
All projects created using the planning board add project method are single stage projects. The following details are automated:
- The project manager is set to be 'you', the person creating the project in the planning board.
- The invoice contact and primary contact are not set for these projects. That detail can be set later in the project contacts when the details are known.
- The single stage is set up to be 'fixed fee' fee type.
- The single stage has the default 'cost center' and 'discipline' applied, which is setup in the Settings > Projects Lists area.
- The single stage is set up to be tax applicable with the rate group of 'standard' applied.
The above details should be checked once the job is confirmed to go ahead before the project is changed to be 'active' or any time and expense transactions are attached.
Use the projects list (on the left) to look-up a project you want to show or update in the grid. The projects are sorted in start date order. Search a project by:
- Scrolling the list
- Scroll down the projects list to locate the project name.
- Click the project arrow to auto-position the planning board grid to show that project.
- For projects that are in progress, clicking on the arrow takes you to today’s date with a buffer of four days in the past.
- Will only show projects that have an end date in the last month, from the current date. Projects with the end date over one month will not be visible in the planning grid.
- If project is marked as complete, it will not show in the planning grid.
- Type part of the 'office', 'project name', ‘project manager’ or 'project number' into the search and filter box at the top of the projects list and press enter to run the search.
- Click the project to auto-position the planning grid to show that project.
- Click ‘Clear’' in the search and filter box to clear the search and return to seeing all the projects.
- Projects are sorted in start date order.
- Update the start date of the project and the order of the projects in the list will change.
- Projects are only shown in the planning board if they have at least one stage attached in the work breakdown. If you have imported projects from Excel you will need to make sure you import the project financials to create the work breakdown structure to see them in the forecast.
Each project row in the planning grid can be moved using the mouse to set the project start and end dates. The drag and drop type actions below allow you to update the start and end dates of the project:
- Click on a project row to drag it to any week, up to one year into the future.
- Click on the start or end of the project row and when the cursor changes, drag it to your new desired dates.
After the project move is completed, the forecast automatically updates the resourcing bubbles and the linked automatic budget lines. The revenue forecast and capacity graphs are also updated each time a project is moved in the grid.
- The planning grid shows the preceding one month, and the following 24 months, from your current date.
- Projects can be dragged and dropped into the past month and into future months.
- Projects can be extended into the past month, by dragging the start of the forecast row into a past period that is included in the forecast grid. If the project runs over multiple years, the project name may not appear on the part of the screen you have open in forecasting. Use the projects panel on the left to see the project name, or click on a project name to find it in the forecast grid.
Click the settings icon in planning board grid to ‘Reflect staff & finance changes’. Use this if you have:
- Added staff
- Terminated staff
- Changed staff primary rates
- Changed staff cost details
- Changed financial control settings
This will update the financial and cost details for all active projects based on the start and end dates. These details are used in the forecast to create the automatic budgets, forecast reports, and resource capacity reports.