Resource Planning in UX Roles?

2 Mar 2011 - 3:14pm
3 years ago
1 reply
974 reads
aronoff
2010

HI Everyone,

My team and I are trying to figure out how many resources we need for a year. Forecasting our time has proven difficult, because internally to our organization our time is not tracked hourly, but is known as Business As Usual, which usually denotes coming off of a bottom line SOMEWHERE, but it's not specific to a specific project per se.

There in lies the problem.

We are slated for a lot of new projects, with promise of funding, amount of scope on the projects, etc. and we're trying to see what's truly feasible to work within our project timeline. Our release schedule is such, that there SHOULD be a natural ebb and flow to the projects, yet lately we're not seeing that happening and we're struggling with finishing projects we've started documentation on 8 months ago while trying to wrap our brains and drive out business requirements for 2 months from now.

As you can tell from my rambling, it's a little bit of a headache. ;)

So, here's my question.

From a resource planning perspective, how have you or others you know within large scale organizations account for a) all the amount of documentation, testing, etc. to happen, and align that with timelines.

I'm thinking of starting with an equation to at the very least get a ballpark number.

Here's a rough idea of what i'm thinking:
Project scope value * Usability Testing funded (yes/no) + paper prototpying(1 week) + iterative testing(5 weeks of prototyping) / Amounf of time till delivery = OMG! WHAT JUST HAPPENED!?! ;)

Have you used something similar in your resource planning for UX? Thank you for your help in advance! :)
~Josh

Comments

3 Mar 2011 - 1:25am
C K Vijay Bhaskar
2009

 

I am assuming that there is a good buy-in on the importance of UX folks in your organization for the success of your project and organizational goals. UX folks will then be considered as any other employee who is adding to the overall value to the project and the organization – like a developer or a manager etc.

The forecasting of the need of the number of such resources will be similar to how the forecasting is to be done for the rest of the resource requirement in an organization.

There are many parameters that one has to consider while getting into resource forecasting.

The first of the parameters is the cost of the process of execution of the UX activities. What is the time and effort that would typically take to complete each activity under the heading of UX – for a range of different types and scope of projects? This input would form the baseline for looking at the typical involvement of various  stakeholders including the UX people in a ‘standard’ set of activities in your organization.

The next is on the cost/hour for UX folks that would be based on many aspects including the type of hire, contract with the UX person etc.

Once these two are baselined, the softer aspects of managing resources will come in –

 

  1.  What is the forecasted attrition within the UX team?  
  2.  What is forecasted hire of new UX members?

 

 

The next is on the allocation, utilization and productivity of the UX members –

 

  1.  What is the current allocation of UX members in existing projects?
  2.  What is the current utilization of the UX members in existing projects?
  3.  When, who would be available for re-allocation? 
  4.  What is the forecasted need of UX members in the upcoming projects? 
  5.  What is the current productivity of each UX member and average productivity of the UX team across each phase of the project lifecycle?

 

 These data points will provide an insight into the allocation VS utilization for existing UX members and provide for an insight into the typical allocation VS utilization in the upcoming projects. 

This will also give an insight into the typical productivity of UX members across the life cycle of the project.

You can have a look at these discussions for a better insight - http://www.citehr.com/79727-forecasting-attrition.html

You can employ similar method to factor other aspects that can be the following based on your organization:

 

  1. Types of projects (long term, short term, consulting etc) 
  2.  Cost of UX members across a typical lifecycle for each type of project (baseline) 
  3.  Typical productivity of UX members for each phase, each type of project (baseline)  
  4.  Typical involvement of UX members based on the scope of the projects (baseline) 
  5.  Typical attrition in the org for UX members (baseline)

 

 

Use this data to arrive at the projected need for the year. For this you should have the following data:

 

  1.  No. of projects in the pipeline 
  2.  Scope of the projects that involves UX members

 

 

Apply the past data to the future need to get a forecast number.

I have tried to give you a 50000 feet view of how it is done. There are other softer aspects that needs to be considered for this.

Do also check this one out: http://www.ixda.org/sites/default/files/UX_Kit_Doc_Feb10.pdf

Hope this has been helpful. 

 

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