5 Replies Latest reply on Jun 21, 2010 3:30 PM by philmodjunk

### Post

Fairly new to FM so I would appreciate some help with how to estimate workload in my dept.

I have projects that come in on a daily basis and I have managed to find a way to calculate the time needed to complete these projects based on their complexity. Now I need to estimate finish date based on the number of people avialable to me and the time needed for the all projects in the dept.

A better way of explaining my problem would be:

If a new project came in today I would like to estimate the finish date based on the time actual time needed for the job, workload I already have and the people available to do it (fixed value).

• ###### 1. Re: workload estimation

Obviously this requires a calculation (I do believe).

One of the things I learned early on in FileMaker is to say out loud what I want the calculation to do -- kind of like you would talk to yourself if you were figuring it out on a calculator.

I'm assuming you can create a calculation that way that would figure out the total number of workdays it would take to complete the job.

There are sample calculations that will show you how to add and subtract dates -- with and without weekends.  I haven't looked them up in a while (a long while), but I think they are in the Filemaker Help section of your software.

Hopefully this has been a bit helpful.

Good luck,

V.

• ###### 2. Re: workload estimation

Thanks for the input voina

I have already come up with a way the to calculate the complexity of a job and in turn how many days it would take to complete the job. The problem is that this estimation is independent of both the workload  and the number of people in the dept.

I was hoping to come up with a way to factor those in but at the moment its got me beat.

• ###### 3. Re: workload estimation

It sounds like you can estimate the number of "man hours" a job requires. The number of man hours available to your project may or may not be cut and dried. (Do you include possible over time work or a strict 40 hour work week per person? Do you have contract or part time people available? etc.)

If you can assume 40 hours/person, then you can compute the number of man hours per week available for all your projects.

You'll need to compute how many man hours are not already committed and this can depend on your business model. Do your employees focus all their time on one project until it is complete? (probably not). Can you (on paper to start) build a model of your current project commitments for each employee? (20% for Project A, 40% for Project B, 40% for new projects...)

Once you've done that, you can allocate available man hours for each employee. Then total project man hours / Total available Emp Hours per day will give you a very crude estimate of the number of days needed to complete the project.

All of this assumes that your employees are interchangeable and that no part of the project represents a "critical path" restriction that will hold up forward progress until it is completed. You also have to keep in mind that doubling the number of people working on a project will not halve the time required to complete it. As you increase team size, a larger and larger fraction of team member time has to be devoted to time spent in communication between team members and this fraction of total time required increases geometrically as you add more people.

Thus, much as I am a fan of Filemaker, you might choose to evaluate existing project management software that has already addressed all the above issues and much more to help you better estimate completion dates for your projects.

• ###### 4. Re: workload estimation

Thanks for chiming in Phil. Your suggestion of using a 40 hrs week sound like a good place to start. Yes, we are salaried so officially have a 40 hrs weekday and any extra time we put in is not considered overtime.

Just to give you an overview of our process. We are a group of 3D product designers, we have product developers who provide us concepts that we create virtually. The tasks we do are generally modeling, sculpting, texturing and rendering.

So in my solution I have four tables set up, products, Developers, Designers, Tasks and assignments. I seem to have most of the relationship stuff figured out for the most part and now I am trying to get workload part figured out so that I can correctly push out finish dates based on the load and people (4) we have.

To calculate workload I now have in the products table four fields (modeling, sculpting, texturing and rendering) all with a drop down list (1, 2, 3) to calculate the complexity of the job. The sum of which would give the job a classification and in turn # of hrs or days for the job i.e. Class 1 = 3.5 days, Class 2 = 5 days etc.

I am going to try what you suggested but thought giving you a better idea of the process could alert me to any issues that you might immediately notice. One thing I am not really sure of is, should I be doing all this workload calculation in the products rather that the tasks or assignments table.

• ###### 5. Re: workload estimation

I suspect that different parts of your calculations will be distributed throughout all three tables.

Aggregate functions like Sum() can add up individual values to give you a total in Projects.

Estimated Time requirements in the Tasks table are one of the values that can be totaled in Projects

Data in your assignments table can be used to determine availablity (how many tasks from all projects are currently assigned to Joe Smith...) and to apportion the time values from projects amongst several employees.