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New Post 5/8/2017 1:01 PM
User is offline Dimitar
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Managing BA team - resource planning approaches and tools 
Hi, I've recently become a lead of a BA team of about 10 BAs. I'm using Excel to track tasks and produce report to the management, but it's not that easy. Here are the problems, I'm trying to solve: 1. BAs are also technical project coordinators, meaning that tney are responsible for all technical questions in the development and testing phases. This means that they could be doing the anlysis of project X and suddenly an issue with project Y (in development) takes the whole day or even more. This means no planning of resources and risks for keeping deadlines. 2. Because of the issue in 1., I can't predict when a BA can start analysis of a new project. 3. I can't really make the work of the team recognizable and visualize what we're doing - it looks quite chaotic - to the team.members and the other units. What I'm doing with Excel is to set planned analysis start/end dates and on weekly basis update them. In addition, I'm setting BA occupation for the week (20% = 1 week day), in order to know the possible involvement per project of each BA. I'd be grateful.to get some ideas on how to improve the team planning and make the load more predictive and presentable - any suggested approach, even Excel spreadsheet would be more than welcome. Regards, Dimitar
 
New Post 5/10/2017 11:21 PM
User is offline Kimbo
438 posts
5th Level Poster


Re: Managing BA team - resource planning approaches and tools 

Just a suggestion - include a standard overhead for when they get pulled off onto other projects. You can refine it over time

Kimbo

 
New Post 7/17/2019 4:15 AM
User is offline Stewart F
55 posts
8th Level Poster


Re: Managing BA team - resource planning approaches and tools 

Hi Dimitar, 

Welcome to the world of managing project teams and teams of BAs. Kimbo is right to an extent in their reply, but I would extend that out to include other things. 

Despite what we all try to believe, BAs rarely just act as a BA. As you say, technical experts, project co-ordinators, teachers of new functionality and visions of the future - all of these are aspects of the role which any good BA may find themselves involved with. 

The one thing that all of these aspects have in common is that they all require time. Time, as the saying goes, is money and everyone will expect their project to get the full attention they believe it deserves. 

So, to answer your question, I would split out your spreadsheet (which is a good starting point). Create blocks for each day and assign tasks to each BA during each day where they are known beforehand. If they are suddenly pulled elsewhere, make sure that time is noted and accounted for. Get your BAs to fill this in themselves as accurately as they can. They wont like doing it, but show them why - You don't want to overload them with work. 

Remember that each BA only has so many hours per day to do work - whatever work that is. So make sure that everyone knows what is taking up the time.

In your planning for your teams resources (your BAs time) allocate for yourself the average amount of time for other, non-core BA tasks. Lets say an hour a day for example. That way you can allocate time on a much more likely basis. Don't just guess how much time they will have available. Typically a BA will have a burn out chart which starts high at the start of a project and gradually works down as they go. However, the key thing to remember, as you point out, is that they don't just stop when the development starts or even when the project its self stops. The BA will still be asked to carry on project related tasks such as training, bug fixing etc. So allocate time for this. You should be able to accurate allocate time for these activities. If the time isn't needed, great, more time can be spent on the current project, but allocate it non the less.  

For your end of week report to management, I would create two versions. One to management, and the other to anyone who wanted your BAs time.

The management report will show exactly where time is being taken. Include within your report a graph or two explaining how it is draining your productivity. Senior management understand graphs and productivity, Anything which says it is in a downward spiral will get their attention. Maybe a burn down graph or Pie Chart for each project and BA is also good. Anything which highlights your problem. 

The second version, to those who use your teams time, is much the same, but highlights the fact that your BA can't work 100% on their project because they are doing other tasks. I would suggest making this report on a BA by BA case so that the Stakeholder can see who is working for them and how they are also working for others. 

Lastly, encourage your team to get together at a point in the week. Share experiences, things that frustrate them and get them to open up together, You will find, as their manager, that the same things keep coming up. This is your cue to try and resolve them if possible. 

 
New Post 8/9/2019 6:04 AM
User is offline fouadbokholef
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Re: Managing BA team - resource planning approaches and tools 
 Kimbo wrote

Just a suggestion - include a standard overhead for when they get pulled off onto other projects. You can refine it over time

Kimbo

How you can make this true my dear friend , there is a problem with this



 
New Post 8/12/2019 1:41 AM
User is offline Stewart F
55 posts
8th Level Poster


Re: Managing BA team - resource planning approaches and tools 

Hi Fouadbokholef, 

I get what Kimbo is saying, it just needs a bit more adding to it in terms of how it would work. 

Some companies (not sure if yours is one of these or not) will cross charge internally for resource, so that all projects and Company work can be fully charged across every department. 

In order to do this successfully, you need to add a charge to every resource. Normally you would add a cost - either per day or per hour (quite often you have a day cost, and then divide it pay 7 to get the hour rate). Then, when any of your resource is assigned to a project, you charge a cost for that resource - depending on how long they were on it. 

So in the original post it mentioned that some of their staff were asked to go back to old projects to work on certain aspects. You need a way to make sure that that resource is still charged for everything that you do, there Kimbo's suggestion was to work out a standard overhead (Most Company Finance Teams will be responsible for allocating the resource cost, e.g. a Business Analyst, Project Manager etc.) and then charge that overhead per hour/day as appropriate. Kimbo is also right to a degree that it can be refined over time (in actual fact the Company Finance Team will probably do this). 

Even as their manager, I still have a cost allocated against me if I am called into a project meeting.  My cost will be greater than the standard BA cost, but it is also likely that I will not spend that much time on a particular project (that isn't always the case, but that is the general idea). 

Therefore, as the BA Manager, I will have a budget and also an 'income' of the cost of my team's resource. The idea being that the more 'income' I make the better shout I have to expand my team (especially true if I cant meet all of the requests for my resource). If, on the other hand, my team makes no real 'income' then either my resource charge is to low, or we are not being used enough - a sign that my team is likely to be cut.

I think Kimbo's comment was justified and perfectly rational. 

p.s. if your company does not have a Finance Team to allocate the cost of your resource, then you can work it out yourself. The normal formula is something like:

The Highest Salary For That Resource Type [e.g. BA - don't include yourself] / 365 [to get a daily rate] + the company cost of that resource per year / 365 [to give you a daily rate] / 7 [to give a hourly rate] - note, if your company 'day' lasts 8 hours or 7.5 then substitute this instead of the 7. 

The 'Company Cost' is the cost to the company of having that resource. If you don't know this, then don't worry about it too much. 

Always round the number up, not down (you aren't a charity after all). 

So for example, if the highest  salary for your BA's is $45,000 then the cost for your resource is $124 per day. 

Now you may want to slightly increase that to make a greater profit (the example figure would mean you get no profit to your department at all - not a good place to be), so I would set the resource daily charge at $175 per day. Feel free to publish your rate to those who are likely to use your resource. I manager all Project Staff, so I have a 'price list' for Business Analysts, Project Managers, PMO staff, and Scrum Masters. A Project Sponsor can decide what he or she wants for their project and cost them accordingly as part of their Project Business Case. By giving them the 'price list' early, they are able to make a call on what they need, and how much it might cost them. 

Companies work differently on this point, so find out what yours does (if they do anything). 

One other point, if no other Department charges for their resource (e.g. Developers), then you probably shouldn't either. Unless the whole company have agreed to cost every area out, then just one Department doing so wont make common sense. 

 
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