Thursday, October 9, 2014

Estimation

Estimation involves forecasting level and type of resources required for project execution till closure. Many organizations would have developed methods for arriving at project estimates based on past experience.

Having said that, every project or service is unique and there will be some level of uncertainty, thus risk, associated with each service. A tool to define, iterate, measure, improve and streamline this process will be very helpful in managing projects/ services in a more efficient and productive way. You utilize such tools to transform your organization from a "GUESS" based working principles to a "MEASURED" and "ORGANIZED" organization.

We are very happy to introduce you to a new and powerful addition, that is sophisticated and robust, in Papilio, to manage estimating process effectively and efficiently. Papilio not only provide you with estimation, but also gives you required tools and reports to analyze monetization of every hour that is spent for a service. It gives you reports to understand work in progress, completed and unbilled inventory, billed vs realized, over utilized inventory, under utilized inventory, yield, variance at multiple levels and many more insights into every service/ client/ employee of your organization.

Setup

Estimating requires setup of following information -
  1. Enable "Estimation"
  2. Defining levels within the organization
  3. Defining hourly rates for each level
  4. Associating user to a level
  5. Give access to additional right - "Access to financials"

1. Enable "Estimation"
Under "Settings", enable "Estimation" (by selecting "Yes"). Anytime, to disable, select "No". This will enable all features related to "Estimation". Logout and login again to see changes related to Estimation.

Note that this setup can be done by only users having "Super Administrator" rights. Read further to setup this information.

2. Defining Levels:
Each staff is associated with a level. These levels needs to be defined first.

Under "Settings", click on "Configure Lists" under "Categories, Service Types and Lists". Here, you are presented with a list of lists. Choose "Staff Level". Click on "Add a new item" to add level.

For example, staff levels could be like - "Jr. Article", "Sr. Article", "Paid Assistant", "Team Lead", "Manager", "Senior Manager", "Partner" etc.,

You can order this list by dragging and dropping each of the items in that list.

3. Hourly Rates
Each level has a rate associated it. Define rates for each of this staff level under "Admin" -> "Your Company" -> "Rate List". Click on "Rate List" to see list of staff that is defined under settings. For each staff level, define hourly rates.

4. Associating user to level
Edit each user profile and choose appropriate level and save profile. Doing so, you associate each user to a level and in turn, each user level has hourly rate defined.

Above mentioned four steps comprise all necessary base settings to be done to setup Estimation.

5. Access to additional right
This right helps user to define "Target Recovery", provision to view Estimated and Actual service cost. This right is listed under "Administrator" rights. So, please be choosy in giving this right as users having this right will have access to certain financial information, which you might not want to disclose.

Working with Estimation

Another change related to Estimation is actual estimation of number of hours required to complete and close a service. This may include multiple levels of users working on a service (like partner, assistants, manager, team lead, finance team, QC team etc.,) from initiation to complete and closure. Also, you can input "Estimated Bill Amount". You can view and change these, under the people tab of the service.

While associating users to a service, enter number of estimated hours required to be spent by each user. This will compute estimated cost of service based on level of user associated to the service (Rate defined for each user is multiplied with number of hours). Note that number of estimated hours can be modified. And this will modify estimated cost of service accordingly.


Estimation combined with Timesheets is a powerful system. As users enters the timesheet, the actual vs. estimated unfolds. This can be seen at multiple levels - service, category and client.

Multiple reports are being written to incorporate this, and they will be coming out in the following days.


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