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.
Click the image above to view an example of the project forecast colors.
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.
In planning mode, you can automatically assign resources according to the fee. In team builder, a function within the planning board, you can then add a role type and staff member to a stage and fine-tune the booking accordingly. While team builder is also available in delivery mode, the budget or resourcing will not update if you change the fee for the project.
Dictated by fee:
If your fee is fixed, you can get a rough estimate of the time required for different resources to complete the project.
- When you create a project, Synergy will automatically assign all your available role types according to the fee. You can also set up a template for roles to be assigned when a specific stage is created.
- Delete roles that are not required for the stage by either shift-clicking on the role, or clicking on the role and using the elipsis in the pop-out to remove the role. This will alter your overall fee.
- Click the stage again and make the changes to the fee in the Value field. This will redistribute the hours to the roles for this stage, to the fee value you specified. It takes into consideration the charge-out value and utilisation for the staff members with this role type.
- The fee will change again if more roles are added.
Shows you the roles and staff, collectively known as the ‘Current team’, assigned to this stage. In future iterations you will be able to change their allocation from this view.
- To see the plus icon, you need to be at the stage level and hover over any of the circles or the stage bar.
- Under Add roles, click on a role to assign it to the team. This list are all the roles you have in your system. When you assign a role to the stage, the role will be allocated at 100%. The 100% is the effective utilisation. See Clicking on staff member, below to change the number of hours automatically allocated.
- Click out of the sidebar to see the changes.
- You can add more roles to this stage, as required by repeating the steps.
Dictated by work required per role or person:
Sometimes, the fee will need to be shaped around the amount of effort required per role. Using team builder while in planning mode will automatically adjust the fee and budget. This linking feature is locked once you switch to delivery mode.
Adds a specific person to the stage.
- You need to be at the stage level to see any roles assigned. The roles are shown as a dark blue circle.
- When you click on a role, you can adjust the number of hours by dragging the slider. The scale is the total number of hours for the stage duration and is represented as a percentage.
You can then click on a staff member attached to this role to add them. The list shows staff members who have share the same primary office and have the same primary rate that is being selected. If a resource is in red, this means the resource is overallocated. Synergy bases this on all the other bookings the staff member is working on during this time period.
When you click on more, you will see staff members who have the same primary office, but secondary rate; and are part of another office but with the same primary rate; and lastly, staff members from another office, using the secondary rate.
- Click out of the sidebar to see the changes.
You can adjust the hours allocated to this staff member. Changing the values here will affect the overall fee. Once you switch to delivery mode, the changes you make here will not be seen in resourcing or in the budget.
- Staff members are indicated either by an icon, or a colored circle. The color of the staff circles are randomized.
- When you click on a staff member, use the slider in the pop-out, to adjust the number of hours. This checks the rate at which this staff member costs and calculates the hours nominated to adjust the fee.
- Click out of the sidebar to see the changes.