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Understanding Assignments In BigTime Foresight. Short-Term Vs. Long-Term Planning

BigTime Foresight is a resource management enhancement tool. It helps you plan employee utilization and project profitability and compare them to actuals over time. This allows you to avoid schedule conflicts and low utilization levels. Foresight can track time off and calculate utilization so you can make management decisions that increase your company's profitability.

Table of Contents

Short-Term vs Long-Term Planning - What's the Difference?

What Type of Planning Should I Use?

What Does Long-Term Planning Look Like at BigTime Foresight?

People and Project Planning in Foresight

Example of a People Calendar in Foresight

Team Members Calendar In BigTime Foresight

Projects Calendar In BigTime Foresight

Reporting for Long-Term Planning Needs

Utilization Report In BigTime Foresight

Availability Report In BigTime Foresight

Project Finances Report In BigTime Foresight

Custom Report In BigTime Foresight

Short-Term vs Long-Term Planning - What's the Difference?

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Short-term planning refers to plans with a maximum lead time of two weeks. In the IT industry, short-term planning is typically used to plan agile sprints and the tasks they include. Short-term plans are usually made to create detailed schedules that allow specialists to manage their workload better and deliver tasks planned for sprints on time.

On the other hand, long-term planning is more tailored to managers' needs. It allows them to create plans for months or even years in advance. Additionally, long-term plans include other valuable information, such as expenses, profits, or utilization. As a result, they can be used to draw overall conclusions about the company's condition and forecast its future. Long-term planning gives a high-level perspective on resource workload and availability and how these impact sales, delivery, and finance teams. The goal is to ensure that people are allocated to projects they want to develop for the correct cost and income ratio and to ensure their utilization level is on a proper level.

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What Type of Planning Should I Use?

The correct answer to this question is both, but if you are an executive director or a high-level manager, you must focus on long-term planning for your company's development.

While short-term planning provides project managers with the necessary information to complete a project and helps specialists organize their work, focusing solely on this type of planning can harm the company in the long run. This is because creating only short-term plans leads to a deficit in forecasting, making it difficult to predict risks and obstacles that could threaten profitability. In other words, short-term planning can assist in managing a single project, but by itself, you will be stuck putting out fires instead of creating opportunities.

Long-term planning ignores sprints and individual tasks. It focuses on a broader picture of the company's operations, primarily catering to the needs of high-level management by providing them with information on:

  • Key performance indicators, such as profitability and utilization;
  • Sales issues and project pipeline signaling the need for acquiring new projects and upcoming cash flow problems;
  • The current and future profitability of the company;
  • Company expenses and revenues, including employee costs and overheads;
  • The project schedule for both existing and future operations, including allocations and their costs;
  • Any scheduling conflicts that could jeopardize projects and
  • Any potential improvements in any of these areas.

Long-term planning helps management find new opportunities while avoiding unnecessary risks. 

What Does Long-Term Planning Look Like at BigTime Foresight?

Let's see what long-term planning in Foresight entails and, more importantly, how you can benefit from its approach to such scheduling.

People and Project Planning in Foresight

In Foresight, you can oversee long-term planning from three perspectives: projects, people, and demand. 

By choosing long-term planning as a strategy, you will see:

  • Personal data, such as position, seniority, department, and most importantly, planned utilization for the selected period
  • Allocations are planned for each staffer, where each project is marked with a different color, and their phases are specified on a darker bar. This field also contains the exact number of hours the employee should spend working on this project, along with the hours they have already worked on it and labor cost information
  • Their free time and absences indicate their availability
  • Their reserved time in white bars

The system also includes information about non-working days affecting people's performance.

Significantly, each displayed allocation can be changed immediately by dragging and dropping or by clicking on it for more details. You can also create a new allocation by clicking on a spot in each person's section.

Example of a People Calendar in Foresight

If you want to see all allocations for a specific project, use the long-term project planning view. This view provides the same information as the people's calendar but is limited only to allocations for a specific project, as shown below.

Team Members Calendar In BigTime Foresight

Projects Calendar In BigTime Foresight

Reporting for Long-Term Planning Needs

Of course, the calendar is not the only function of long-term planning that can give you a broader view of your operations. The reporting feature is also perfect for this.

In the Reports Tab, you can find reports for:

Utilization Report In BigTime Foresight

These reports can show managers their company's actual condition now and in the future. For example, the utilization report (shown below) provides information about current utilization and—in this case—its lack in the future.

Availability Report In BigTime Foresight

Project Finances Report In BigTime Foresight

Custom Report In BigTime Foresight

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