Using NetPoint for resource planning, leveling, and analysis has allowed for thorough optimizations of projects and portfolios in light of resource constraints. NetPoint can help schedulers quickly adjust the plan according to these constraints. Schedulers can assess resource requirements with other resources, equipment, labor hours, supervision and capital needed to perform the task. One of the most important of these is cash. NetPoint can easily be applied to monitor cash flow on a month-to-month or quarter-to-quarter basis. Finally, NetPoint generates performance measurement tools such as productivity analysis using the information provided.
Case Study: Resource Planning for Portfolio Projects
Following are examples representing a $150 million portfolio of projects that include rail developments, warehouse renovations, mediation, utility redesign, and relocation for a seaport city department. The city department needed to plan its resources, particularly the number of engineers or project managers that would be required for each project.
This planning was originally being done in Excel and was a long and difficult process for the project managers. PMA was able to step in to demonstrate the capabilities of NetPoint and the ease of assigning resources to projects to determine if timing needed to change due to existing constraints.
The above graphic represents a capital plan for a one-year period for the client with a single activity to represent each individual project. Each project was loaded with a variety of internal resources. The client needed to optimize their use of internal resources across the portfolio. So, in keeping with the dynamic nature of NetPoint, the planner could grab activities, move them around, and see the resource histogram responding in real time. This capability facilitates dynamic planning and allows resource leveling within NetPoint.
Every activity has been resourced according to the FTE ratio. The resource loading within NetPoint is very flexible. Any value is possible because the program is agnostic with respect to units. The planner can also drill down into a resource analysis and look at just a single individual. All other resources can be turned off and then a single worker remains in the histogram. In this case a limit has been applied because there’s only one barrier and its possible to see that for a portion of the year, that individual is going to be working some overtime. There is also a representation of the plan highlighting the projects in which the worker is loaded in as a potential resource showing their use of time over the course of the next year.
Create Reports in Microsoft Excel
We can also export these resources to Microsoft Excel for reporting. NetPoint will also build resource histograms for resources exported to Excel. Once again, the ability to communicate with Excel to create different types of reports including monthly expenditures has helped with the development of resource planning.
In terms of capital planning, the ability to plan multiple projects as an owner or contractor and understand the timing and resources required promotes quick decision-making on when to start projects and understanding the effects of current projects on future spending. With NetPoint, planners can optimize a capital plan according to priorities and constraints and identify project interdependencies. They can forecast and monitor cash flow, plan and manage resources, and report on program and portfolio performance.
NetPoint facilitates capital planning by using planned dates which allow for unconstrained planning. Each project does not need to start on the earliest date as in CPM; neither is the application of different constraints or lags necessary because planners actually use the planned dates. NetPoint provides real-time feedback and resource histograms that can facilitate interactive planning and plan optimization. NetPoint also contains a plethora of information within one file that is easily accessible so planners can visualize the entire program or portfolio. Planners can visualize critical resources along with the plan and at the end of the day return to the schedule and be confident that the outcome is easily understood by non-schedulers.