How to leverage Project Demands in Enterprise Projects

Co-authored by Arun Nair and Sven Nachtigall.

Successful execution of a project requires equipping the project with everything it needs at the right time. It can be different things for different types of projects: people with the necessary skills, support from different suppliers or specific material and components. Project demands can be used to manage these throughout the whole project lifecycle, beginning from early planning stages, where most details are not known, up to the monitoring of fulfilment and the final closing. In this blog post, we like to introduce this capability of enterprise projects to you.

Added Value of Project Demands

First of all, project demands help you to make your planning activities simpler, in different ways, for example:

  • A project demand can be used to plan required resources at a very early point in time without creating commitments immediately. That means you can also use it as a “placeholder” for the time being.
  • It is not required to know and maintain all the details for a project demand right away, a name is sufficient. You or an expert can add the specifics at a later point in time. So, the project demand can improve and structure the collaboration between project managers and project controllers for example.
  • To make the planning process more efficient for re-occurring demands, you can copy project demands during the copy of projects or when you include (a tree of) WBS elements from another project. With this, you could establish and re-use “archetypes” of WBS elements and corresponding demands.
  • Certain planning attributes are inherited from the project or WBS element. And you have the option to let the system make sure demand dates are kept in sync with the plan dates of the project or WBS element.

Once a project demand was (gradually) described, it can then be used to trigger the fulfilment. The information of the project demand is used to create and fill follow-up documents like purchase requisitions, so you do not have to enter data again. You can trigger the fulfilment of a project demand either manually or the system can trigger it automatically on the release of the corresponding project or WBS element. In case there is an issue, the system will send you a notification, so you do not have to double check this step. Ultimately, this means that you do not have to touch re-occurring demands at all, they can be copied, date aligned and pushed to e.g. procurement automatically.

You can use the project demand also for real-time monitoring of the fulfilment itself from the perspective of your project or WBS elements. For example, how much is ordered from a supplier or how many hours have been already recorded by your colleagues. Since all different types of demand can be managed with the app “Manage Project Demand”, you can plan, trigger and monitor all your demands in one place.

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Demand Overview in the Manage Project Demand App

Basic Information for Project Demands

A project demand represents a certain need of a project or a part of a project (so called WBS element) at a certain point in time. So, a project demand always belongs to a project or WBS element, it cannot stay on its own and it is not a cost object on its own. One project demand can define for example the need for a certain external service, another demand could describe the required support of a colleague. One project or WBS element can have multiple project demands, but not the other way around. Every project demand has a so-called demand type, which indicates of what nature the need is, controls which attributes are needed to describe it and what follow up document is needed to fulfil the demand. Up to now we support demands for human resources, materials and external services.

You can open the app “Manage Project Demand” either directly via its own tile or you can navigate from the “Project Control” or “Project Planning” app.

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Demand Overview in the Project Planning App

If you already use the basic process, for example external procurement for projects, no additional configuration is required to use project demands in addition.

Demand for Service and Material

We offer different types of demand for the procurement of materials and external services. With the help of these demand types, you can control if the procurement process is based on concrete quantities or limits and if it is going to be consumed directly or to be delivered into project stock first. Currently, external procurement is supported, meaning the system generates purchase requisitions out of demands for materials and services. For each project demand one purchase requisition item is generated. For all project demands which belong to the same WBS element and which are requested at the same point in time, one purchase requisition is generated. If needed, a project demand can already refer to a purchasing contract or info record.

The ”Manage Project Demand” app shows you the generated purchase requisition item and allows the navigation . The app also visualizes key information for the monitoring of the project demand, for example the ordered / delivered quantity or the net order value in comparison with the invoiced amount. It also shows you if a purchase order already exists and it shows the first planned delivery date.

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Manage Project Demand – Materials and Services

The demand for material has the same restrictions as the underlying procurement processes. At the moment we do not support project stock for projects with profile “project with revenue”.

Demand for Human Resources

To have the right people staffed is crucial for the success of projects. With the help of the project demand for human resources, you can plan one or multiple required human resource demands for a project or a WBS element. You can directly staff people on such project demands, one or multiple people on each demand.

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Manage Project Demand – Human Resources

Based on the status of the project demand, the timesheets of the staffed people are prefilled and show the planned efforts. With this, you need not have to manually search for the projects and WBS elements in the timesheet application anymore.

One of the key attributes is the activity type and there can be only one demand with the same activity type per WBS element. At the moment the staffing cannot be done by help of a separate resource management tool and a staffing on a human resource demand does not yet reduce the availability of a workforce persoon.

Conclusion

With this blog post we introduced project demands for enterprise projects. We explained the added value in the areas of early planning and monitoring from the perspective of projects, as well as the support you get for re-occurring demands. In addition we provided some details for the different types of demand. Feel free to add comments or ask questions.

For more details and guided testing, please have a look at the Project Control – Resourcing and Procurement (‏4RF‏) scope item.