I am good at capacity planning (think of it as time accounting). It is a technique wherein I clear cost and profit centers around person-days. The technique, through iterative process, allows for the production of reliable capacity-constrained time accounts: past, present and provisional.

Here is how it works:

  1. I establish a task nomenclature for all activities by everyone, as large as possible. These are the profit centers.
  2. I establish a model of the org chart with characteristics about each person’s ability to work on each task in terms of skill and availability. These groups, including externals, with more or less detail, are the cost centers.
  3. Timesheets are filled in with the common nomenclature. Adjustments are made to existing tasks with the new information. (For example, old tasks can not take less time than the sum of time already invested.)
  4. The model is adjusted, forecasted (scheduled) with the dates re-injected for tactical decision-making. The tactical decision making does not feedback before the next cycle to avoid negotiation bias.

For example, I, Chris Mann, put this into place at the fusion of the ANPE and UNEDIC at the creation of Pôle Emploi. The result was that we were able to predict the roll-out dates of projects with a same normal standard error if the project was -months in the future or 6 weeks in the future.

This process was also used at Wonderbox (A DSI of 22 people). It is what contributed to our ability to replace OS Commerce with Magento in 3 months.

This whole system is like managing a water basin with many small damns upstream rather than one big damn downstream.