Chris is a co-founder at Carv and resident blogger. Chris also leads new partnerships, market development, and sales.
Close rates have a significant impact on project pipelines and resourcing forecasts. Carv helps managers plan for close rate uncertainty by adjusting projected resource needs by each project's likelihood to close. To obtain the probabilities, we use a confidence scale designed to mesh with best practices developed by CRMs like Salesforce, Pipedrive, Zoho, and Hubspot (ask about our upcoming integrations!). With Carv, users can leverage dynamic confidence levels exactly as they would in a CRM by updating the levels as a prospect moves through their sales pipeline. When a confidence level is updated, Carv automatically recomputes capacity forecasts. This feature is core to Carv's projections and allows businesses to evaluate the array of possible resourcing needs given a dynamic project pipeline.
Clone Popular Projects
While all projects are unique, certain similarities can still be used to benefit other proposals. We built the cloning function to transfer such similarities across proposals and prevent duplicate work. This time-saving feature allows you to clone a project and then use it as a starting point for your next proposal.
Leveraging Multi-Skill Employees
Employees often have multiple skills which they use to fill various roles according to their employer's needs. This feature allows businesses to account for the impact of multi-skilled employees on their staffing models. Managers (or employees, depending on permission levels) can set targets for time split between the roles that they are qualified to fill. For example, an employer can help a project manager learn to become a developer by allocating 80% of their time to project management and 20% to junior coding.
This feature also allows you to set administrative buffers per resource. This function helps businesses plan for the time that they cannot allocate to a project.
In our next release, this feature will also show a business what its potential capacity is in each skill set. This enhancement will be helpful if you need to decide whether to hire an additional resource OR to ask a multi-skilled employee to divert some time.
It is common for project start dates to get delayed, especially before a project is contracted. Beta customers have communicated that unpredictable start dates are often more critical to capacity estimates than their confidence in closing the project (e.g. they may have confidence in closing, but the start date remains in flux).
To help accommodate this, we’ve created the ability to shift an entire project across time by clicking the spacebar and dragging it. Carv then automatically updates the overall capacity forecasts.
User Experience Improvements:
Smoothed visual transitions between projects
We’ve made it easier to jump between a resource's project assignments by maintaining the user's place in time during navigation. This has improved the UX of adjusting a resource’s global project assignments from the project modeling screen. This feature enables easy optimization of individual project models to fit into a single pipeline (aka pipeline engineering).
Enlarged aggregate capacity chart
We’ve doubled the height of the row housing the aggregate capacity forecast. Before the update, the stacked aggregate charts showing roll-ups of individual assignments were often too squished together. The squishing made it difficult to focus on specific assignments on the chart.
Hand Icon and Hit Area
We’ve improved and added consistency to the cursor icons and hit zones across the system. Before the fix, some users were having difficulty activating certain components of the UI.
Preparation for Future Features:
Prepare Confidence Level for CRM Integrations
We’ve updated our confidence level interface to reflect best practices and are evaluating CRM APIs for integration. We envision that the integration will connect a CRM opportunity with the underlying project model in Carv. For example, when a salesperson creates an opportunity for new project work in the CRM, the project will be spawned in Carv and its confidence levels will be linked. We’ll release more details on the integrations as we get closer to their release!
Architecture for Time off and Holidays
We’ve made back-end and database modifications to prepare for a new feature that allows adjustments to the weekly capacity of individual resources. The changes will allow an employee's weekly capacity to be easily adjusted up or down. Currently, we are in the process of designing the front-end controls.
We’re continuing to experiment with Zapier integrations. As proof of concept, we’ve created a Zap that posts projects created in Carv to our internal Slack channel. We expect this integration will grow over time in response to the needs of our Beta customers.