What if? How You Can Take the Guess Work Out of Hypothetical Planning

  • We’re planning a big promotion for our new product. What if sales go through the roof?
  • What if next June there are lots of weddings on top of the Acme Sales meeting that’s already booked?
  • After the merger, what if we close the Springfield Plant? Will we be able to keep up with demand?
  • What if Joe quits and takes three employees with him?

Uncertainty is the name of the game when doing time-based planning, scheduling and resource management. Operations scenarios abound–and who wants to assume that next year will be the same as this year?

So planning must deal with not only today’s reality, but also with all sorts of hypotheticals. A good scheduling tool will let you tryout different scenarios without exploding your workload. And some of the scenarios will require different levels of detail than you normally use in planning..

What system requirements best help you do quality “what if” analysis?  Here are a few important ones:

  • Great copying, editing, and version management utilities;
  • Change logs for keeping track of the differences between scenarios;
  • The ability to model resources as individual items or as a pool of similar items;
  • The ability to look at different metrics that describe the “goodness” or “value” of a schedule;
  • Mass editors that allow you to make changes to many activities or resources all at once;
  • Filters that help you find the activities or resources that have certain properties or descriptors ; and
  • The ability to turn on or off selected constraints so that you can try different scenarios.

Look for the scheduling tools that are good hypothetical planning tools. You should be using your scheduler to analyze, not guess.