An Introduction to Staffing Models

Staffing Models is initially a two-step process of identifying the organizational mission, what metrics to track, and what processes there are. The next step is to find out how long it takes to do each task, how much volume they typically have, and then provide the tools to both track and report that information.

Utilization Reports

Utilization is a measure of how much work was accomplished with the hours spent. Tasks are determined to take an average amount of time, which is multiplied by task volume and divided by billed hours. The utilization report displays that information to evaluate and track the effectiveness of a department. Utilization is reflected in percent and optimal performance is considered to be between 90% and 100%.

Excess Capacity

Excess Capacity is the difference in time between what it should have taken to complete production and what we actually used to complete production. The white bar represents the time needed to complete the reported volume for each day and the red bar represents the excess capacity for that day in hours. Excess Capacity is a complementary metric to use in conjunction with Utilization to help management make staffing decisions in the future.

Dashboard Views

Executive dashboards provide an up-to-date snapshot of ongoing performance and trends. Dashboards should deliver clear, visual displays of a large set of data where performance is measured against expectations, goals, and deadlines. Production data is entered into the another tab within Excel for the appropriate date. The result is presented in final form on the “Report” tab, which is seen here to the left. This particular report uses micro-charts called sparklines and is designed to contain a rolling quarter year. This means the report will always have the previous two months data and the current months will be entered real-time at the bottom. Each rolling quarter is then archived for historical reporting at the end of each month.

Wedding Clocks

“Wedding Clocks” are a newly developed method for visually representing deadlines using special in-cell charts. In this example, the chart indicates the expectation for branches to have all batches transmitted by 6:30 PM, which is straight up and down on a clock. This chart points straight down (50% filled) at that goal and any result that varies from that (greater or lesser than 50% filled) is a reflection of meeting or exceeding that goal. Wedding Clocks are called this because Erich Stauffer noted that it is good luck to start a wedding at the bottom of the hour to catch the upswing of the second-hand. The range on both sides of 6:30 in this example is 3 hours (from 3:30 to 8:30).

The Zero One or Infinity (ZOI) Rule

I learned something yesterday that I wanted to share really quick: there is no two in programming, but this can apply to troubleshooting and database design too.

What this means is that there are units that either aren’t allowed to exist, are allowed (or supposed) to exist only once, and those that are allowed to have no limit – but there is no other kind, no other in between those types.

For example, in Excel there can only be one name for a cell or range, but a near infinite amount of cells.  In Access there can only be one primary key, but a near infinite amount of entries.  In HTML there can only be one H1 tag, but many H2 tags.  In CSS, div id names must be only used once, but div classes can be used more than once (infinite).

It’s called The Zero One or Infinity (ZOI) Rule.