Systemizing Agency Resource Planning with Harvest Forecast

Systemization of agency operations can fundamentally transform the way organizations handle their tasks, resources, and time. A key component of this systemization is the forecasting of work, which not only allows for better resource planning but also significantly enhances time management. With this context in mind, it's easy to appreciate the value offered by tools such as Harvest Forecast, which is explicitly designed to streamline agency operations and make forecasting an integral part of the process. By synthesizing time, Harvest Forecast offers a unique approach to managing delivery that can truly empower organizations to become more efficient and effective.

Let's delve into the lessons we've learned from utilizing Harvest Forecast to optimize our agency's resource planning and project delivery.

Lessons Learned Planning Agency Resources with Harvest Forecast

1. Leverage colors for designating project statuses like billable, nonbillable, internal, or to be sold. 
Harvest Project Color Labels
2. Implement Team tags to assign resource tiers or roles to team members. 
Harvest Team Tags to categorize team members
3. Employ Team tags to categorize individuals as members of specific teams, enabling Project Managers/Delivery Managers (PM/DMs) to filter their people list rapidly.
4. Utilize Project tags to indicate project ownership. For instance, using a tag like `DM: Jordan` helps filter and manage projects associated with a particular Delivery Manager swiftly. 
DM tags for Harvest Forecast
5. Keep in mind that budget forecasting will not function if Harvest does not have the person assigned on their platform. We typically base our rough project estimates on dedicating individuals to projects, not deliverables, resulting in better project outcomes and profitability.
6. While daily resource allocation is possible, it's advisable to manage resources based on weekly capacity. Let your team decide the best days to work on different clients, providing a more flexible, workable approach to resource management.
7. If you forecast a planned item such as a project `TO BE SOLD`, ensure you know how many lead weeks you want it to be visible for. Utilize the `Shift Timeline` feature to adjust the entire schedule as needed.
8. Use the calendar feed to provide team members with work instructions without necessarily inviting them to Forecast. This approach provides them with a personalized view and reduces potential confusion.

Here are some additional business rules we enforce to enhance project delivery:

1. Delivery Managers are accountable for grooming client backlogs and resource planning to ensure effective project delivery.
2. Delivery Managers must have at least 8 weeks of planning for each team member. If the planning falls below 8 weeks, we provide hands-on support to ensure team members are well-planned or initiate the off-boarding process if it drops to 30 days.
3. We use JIRA Roadmap for all our client product planning, offering a comprehensive view of project priorities and forecasted work. In conclusion, the systemization of agency operations through tools like Harvest Forecast can profoundly optimize resource planning and time management.
By leveraging a structured approach to project planning and delivery, agencies can significantly increase their efficiency and effectiveness.