Case Study | How A Resource Planning Tool Replaced Excel In An Architecture Company
For Innopolis Engineering™ Ganttic is the main planning tool
In Innopolis Engineering™ Ganttic had the chance to meet with Lauri Reinart who is the Chief Structural Engineer in Innopolis Engineering™ . Innopolis Engineering™ is a Scandinavian and Baltic Architecture and Engineering Company. They have offices in Stockholm, Tallinn, and Tartu with about 35 employees.
How long have you been using Ganttic?
We have been using Ganttic since September 2016.
What challenges were you experiencing prior to starting using Ganttic? How did Ganttic solve those?
Like most of us in the engineering industry, we were doing our resource planning in Excel. At that time we had about 8 team members in the structural engineering department and more projects were adding up constantly. When our team grew to more than 10 people, resources management in Excel became too difficult to follow. We knew it was time for a change. Switching to MS Project seemed fitting at first but it’s planning methodology is totally different. We were out on a look for a tool for resource-based planning.
And then you ended up with Ganttic?
(Laughs.) When we were planning resources with Excel, we had something like Ganttic in our minds. We were yearning for a resource planning tool that looked like Ganttic. Then we came across Ganttic and it felt like a perfect fit. It quickly became our main resource planning tool.
Could you describe your Ganttic using habits? What kind of resources do you work with?
We are using Ganttic as a long-term planning tool. Our default view is 9 months and we plan one week at a time.
Ganttic is mostly used by our department managers. We have four departments in Innopolis Engineering™: Structural Engineering, HVAC&Piping (heating, ventilation, air conditioning, water supply and sewage), Architecture and Project Management. We have added a resource custom data field called ‘Department’ which we use for grouping resources accordingly. Doing so we can have an overview of who’s doing what in departments. Each department manager is responsible for adding new projects and tasks for their department.
What do you track with Ganttic?
Our aim is to track the availability of our employees with Ganttic. Innopolis Engineering™ is using Ganttic mainly for resource planning. To do that, we need an overview of our resource schedules. The schedules give input to our sales team. If a department has an opening, they’ll evaluate it and decide if there are enough resources to take on a new project. Therefore, we use Ganttic to estimate the workloads of our resources to forecast if and when we can take on new projects.
We also do quite a lot of utilization planning. The Management Board actively has their eye on the planner to make sure that no employee would be overbooked with any project. The utilization of our departments is also something we constantly analyze. For example, during the next three months, our goal is to keep the utilization of each department over 80%.
How often do you use Ganttic?
In our office, I’m called „the Ganttic guy“ (laughs) and I check the resource schedules several times per week. Others look Ganttic mainly during meetings. Once a week we meet with each department’s leading engineers. During that meeting, we analyze if there’s a need for reallocating resources. Our other meeting is with project managers. The project managers give an overview of their week and tell „the Ganttic guy“ if they need any additional resources or not.
Once in every two weeks, we have a board meeting. This meeting concentrates on sales activities and analyzing resource capacity.
As you can see, Ganttic really is the most important resource planning tool for us.
What are the main problems that you have encountered while using Ganttic?
Our problem is that sometimes our employees forget to update their schedules. If that happens, I usually say that we just have sold a new project for the next week as a joke. That really gets them going since they know they are actually fully booked. After I have had a tiny evil laugh, I remind the managers to add the tasks to Ganttic as well.
Which means that we still need to remind our employees why Ganttic is important to our organization and why they need to schedule their tasks. We even have a short manual about why we use Ganttic and how to do it properly.
What's your favorite feature of Ganttic?
I think the fact that it’s easy to use and one can get a clear visual overview of everything that’s going on. For me personally, the different coloring options are everything.
Any tips for using Ganttic?
I guess in resource planning many project managers make the mistake of booking people at full capacity. However, in reality, employees get sick, they have inspirational and coffee brakes, different training courses etc. Which means that by average people work 6.5-7 hours per day, not the full 8 hours. Taking that into consideration, I have set the work time to 7 hours in Ganttic.
How could we improve Ganttic?
For us, Ganttic is as good as it gets.
Can we quote this?
(Laughs.) Yes, by all means.