Chris is a co-founder at Carv and resident blogger. Chris also leads new partnerships, market development, and sales.
The Big Picture
Remember: Carv is not just a new app. Carv is a tool that will help deploy a new approach to managing your agency that we call “Pipeline Engineering.” When implemented, the app allows you to share the cognitive effort of resourcing an ever-changing sales pipeline and vice-versa. You’ll be able to invite expert team members to help with the process, and you’ll have beautiful data visualizations to support your gut instincts. And as a result, you'll provide more balanced workloads and dampen feast-or-famine cycles at your agency.
Setting Up Carv
STEP 1: Configure Your Roles
What’s a “Role”: Roles represent the types of work needed to complete a project and are the distinct hats that each resource can wear. Roles range from PHP Developers to Designers to Copywriters to SEO Specialists to Front-end Developers.
In Carv, roles will:
Act as placeholders for assignments before you are ready to allocate them to resources.
Allow you to model projects without assigning specific resources.
What they are not:
Roles are not titles! Oftentimes, employees have one title but fill multiple roles at an organization.
Step 2: Add Your Team
Add everyone that will use Carv or contribute to a project as a resource. When adding each person, you will be given the option to provide them access to Carv.
More specifically, this is who to add:
Employee Resources: These are employees who will fill the project's roles. Set their weekly capacity to 40 and tag their roles accordingly. You can set an admin buffer for each resource independently.
Freelance Resources: These are resources that provide flexible hours to your company. Check the “freelancer” option, set their capacity to the maximum hours they can contribute, and then tag the roles they will fill.
Carv Users: Add employees who are stakeholders in your company’s project pipeline and will benefit from seeing Carv’s forecasts. These people are typically resource managers, executives, and salespeople. Set their capacity to 0 and invite them to Carv.
Should you invite your project team?
Here are some reasons to invite the whole team:
Resources will be able to see their upcoming workload from a single screen.
Resources could help model their contributions to existing projects.
Resources will be able to see time expectations for project assignments and how their time logs are used to improve the expectations.
Step 3: Add your first project
Start with an unconfirmed project that you expect to close in the next three months. Choose a project that is most representative of your typical engagement. You'll be able to clone it to use as a starting point for your next project.
Set the basic project parameters.
Add the estimated project budget in hours. This budget is the total number of hours that you predict it will take to deliver this project, including an admin buffer if applicable.
Set the close confidence based on how likely the project is to close.
Add the roles that will be needed to deliver the project.
Specify the roles needed for the project.
Allocate your budget across the distinct roles. Enter the hours in each row or drag the sliders to distribute them accordingly. By default, dragging the sliders will pull budget from the unallocated/buffer bucket.
Pro Tip: This is your opportunity to adjust the budget and set client expectations! Changing the budget will increase/decrease budget allocations proportionately across the roles.
Model how the work in each role will likely be accomplished during the project. Use the ramp and even curves to model the general shapes, and then use freestyle curves to add more precise predictions.
Pro Tip: Keep these allocations high-level. As you continue working with Carv, your modeling will become more and more accurate. This is a new activity for your business, so it will take time to master!
Step 4– Add the Rest of Your Project Pipeline
Continue adding projects from your most confident to least confident sales prospects. Adding projects in this order will allow you to place the least flexible projects first in your forecast. Then you can leverage pipeline engineering techniques to adjust projects that are earlier in your sales cycle to fit neatly into your pipeline.
Employ the clone feature to use an existing project as a template.
Adjust a cloned project's budget to scale it proportionally to represent a larger project with similar work allocations.
Click and hold the space bar to move an entire project across time.