Those of us who work as Digital Producers, Project Managers, Resource Planners or CEO’s often find ourselves stuck hacking away at spreadsheets to make it do complex computations, projections and charts in an effort to plan and communicate what our production teams should be working on. On the flip side those who work knee-deep in production on a daily basis are endlessly trying to make sense of what the exact plan is and understand exactly what they should be working on!
Well, if production for you is about efficiency, a happy team knowing what they are working on, and a productive and transparent environment, then you may consider ditching your spreadsheet(s) and moving over to a real resource planning solution which gives you a bird’s eye view of your business to make resource planning a whole lot easier.
Up until recently there has been little to no solutions for pure resource management that the modern producer or project manager would appreciate in this technical day and age. Hub Planner is one such tool which is setting out to change the landscape of Resource Planning and Scheduling and is already helping different industries all over the world get a grip on their resource planning.
Speaking with Stephen Martin, former global Executive Producer for Fantasy Interactive (Fi) and CEO of Hub Planner, he explains that there are 2 types of production management.
- Project Management
- Resource Management
The first one is common-ground, a must for project success and there are many great tools out there for helping us achieve this such as Basecamp and Trello, but it is Resource Management that is often overlooked by companies and can really help them be more efficient and productive as a unit.
A Resource Planning Meeting
You may ask yourself what are the most common questions you have on a Monday morning (or Friday evening) when in charge of a team of resources. Our research tell us these top the list:
- Is my team planned?
- What should I be working on? (Production member)
- Do we have any availability?
- Is anyone on sick leave or out of the office?
- How much do we charge the client?
- Is my boss a happy camper?
With Hub Planner we aimed to take all of these questions (and more) and turn them into real product requirements. We took off our blinders and chatted with colleagues in the industry both on the management side and the production side about what they look for in resource planning and built a feature set to meet the requirements of any industry requiring solid resource planning. It of course helped that we ourselves had a fair bit of experience in the planning people industry, which really gave us cutting edge insight on what functionality to include and what was nice fluff.
Is my Team Planned?
One of the most recurring questions, which stems from the sometimes controlling nature of managers themselves to the economic backlash of making sure we have resources working on paying client projects. It’s a fair question, and one that must be answered. With Hub Planner we achieve this by giving the team members and managers a bird’s eye view of their plan by visualising their exact projects on a bookings grid. Managers can drag & drop and easily book time for their different resources at the click of a button, while team members can login and view what it is they are scheduled on. It takes the mystery out of planning, it’s that simple.
What should I be working on?
Team members have an expectation on their managers to supply them with the most up-to-date information on what is is they should be working on. The constant pulling into meetings and taking care of bigger tickets can sometimes leave the team left waiting to be told on what to do as the producer puts out fires. For the less pro-active team members this can mean a lot of time wasted while waiting to be told what to do. A central booking system allows Team members to login anytime they like and see their schedule, so if their producer is unavailable they can always get the latest info by looking at their Hub Planner schedule.
Do we have any Availability?
We often referred to this as the “white space” at Fi, and that is essentially what we have mimicked in Hub Planner. With a familiar grid like layout you can clearly see where the white-space and availability is on an hourly to a monthly level. This quick sense of feedback from the tool upon a glance allows the business folks to be able to quickly signup for new business with a client or gives the CEO flexibility to maneuver some people around on internal work or seek more new business. Its a formula everyone in the industry understands and we just highlight it front and center.
Who is Sick / on Vacation?
The Human Resources (HR) department are often left out of production until they need to start doing payroll or get involved with absentees. To save on all of the emailing around who was in, out or what overtime was recorded you can can plug the HR team directly into the system and they can track resource activity themselves They can easily generate and print reports of the entire staff which greatly reduces the overhead in chasing down managers to get their staffs hours.
How much do we charge the Client?
Using a top resource planning software needs to be complimented with extensive dynamic reporting tools in order to understand how the business is doing. Reports are a key part of Hub Planner and we have taken them to the next level. A user can easily generate reports for any resource or project in the system with any data metrics. This creates the flexability to answer questions such as “How much do we charge this client for last week?” . Not only can you generate reports for the booked / scheduled time but also if you use the time sheet functionality you can view the actual time too. There is a lot to play with in Reports that I won’t go into here, but at the end of the day you need to be able to answer the questions with metrics and Hub Planner can.
Is the Boss a Happy Camper?
We all have accountability for our planning and we need to be able to give quick answers on the spot about what room we have to take on new projects and that everything is going according to plan and on budget. If we can help you get this right, then in fact everyone is a happy camper!
If you are in the need of a fresh look at your resource planning then follow the link below to get a free 30 days trial of the platform.
Try it out, it might be a breath of fresh air for your business!