Capco vs spreadsheets. How did Primetric help with transparency issues?

Capco’s team leaders were tormented by endless spreadsheets and everlasting meetings. As the company grew, the situation was becoming unbearable - and Capco began looking for a solution capable of improving process transparency and reducing the time needed for resource management.

Resource Planning
industry
Digital & Technology Consulting
Resource Planning
Location
USA
Resource Planning
company size
201+
Resource Planning
type of projects
T&M, Retainers / Fixed Price
Resource Planning
used software
JIRA, Excel
We used to have monthly meetings because they took so much time. Now, we have the ability on demand to go and see what is happening with the actuals, whether it is Monday, or Tuesday, or even Sunday.

Doug Helm

Associate Director for Technology and Operations

Introduction 

Capco, a Wipro company, is a global technology and management consultancy specializing in driving digital transformation in the financial services industry worldwide. 

With a growing client portfolio comprising of over 100 global organizations, Capco operates at the intersection of business and technology by combining innovative thinking with unrivaled industry knowledge to deliver end-to-end data-driven solutions and fast-track digital initiatives for banking and payments, capital markets, wealth and asset management, insurance, and the energy sector.

Capco’s structure in a nutshell 

Capco employs 6000 specialists. This number includes a team of 40 people working on both development and maintenance IT projects, with Doug Helm as their leader.

This group of experts support Capco RISC Services business line. Only this very team was looking for a solution that could organize their work in a more intuitive way - that is why Doug, its manager, decided to implement Primetric and introduce it to the team leads he supervises. 

Even though the team that we provided with Primetric may seem small, it plays a pivotal role in the company, as it is responsible for many key operations. The exact number of projects carried out at the same time usually varies depending on new arrivals, paused ventures and finished undertakings. As a result, Capco needed a flexible approach to their resource management. 

"We have architects, software designers, developers, testers, project management offices and system administration. I’m constantly looking at our resources to get an understanding of what they’re working on and for how long, so I can clearly articulate the availability of our resources to the business. So I was really trying to look at where we’re at with the projects and provide a leadership portfolio for our business. With that information, I can go back to the business team and tell them: we will finish this at X, and it will cost Y."
Doug Helm, Associate Director for Technology and Operations

Capco’s tools

Initially, the operations of Capco’s IT team were based on two systems:  

  • Excel sheets with general information about the company delivered by team leaders during monthly meetings, 
  • Jira was used for tracking the projects and managing particular teams.

Unfortunately, these two solutions were problematic.. 

First of all, Jira, even though it was useful for particular teams and developers, did not provide any high-level perspective for Doug. As a result, he had to analyze the work of a single employee at the time and then combine the data to get a bigger picture of their projects. 

This situation was very inconvenient for all the team leads that Doug supervised - and all of them had to keep track of their employees. To remedy this situation, they decided to create individual Excel spreadsheets for each team. 

Unfortunately, with such a makeshift solution, things went from bad to worse. The spreadsheets needed to be updated manually each time they needed to be presented - and they were presented at least once a week. 

To keep the company going, they had to include in their tables information about:

  • time and cost estimates per phase, i.e. MVP,
  • hourly rates for developers and other billable specialists, 
  • planned and tracked working time. 

This was a time-consuming process that lasted up to 4 hours! 

To add to that, as the time went by, the company slowly outgrew its own spreadsheets even more. They started to lack transparency as they were filled separately by different team leaders. 

Additionally, the spreadsheets did not provide them with real-time information. Those, on the other hand, were kept in Jira - and this tool could not be synchronized with Excel in any way. It also meant that all documents had to be manually updated whenever an employee was absent or decided to go on a vacation. 

"I was trying to merge all of these spreadsheets into one to have a kinda master plan, but It was really hard to manage."
Doug Helm, Associate Director for Technology and Operations

In other words, spreadsheets were incapable of providing Doug and his team leads with consistent information in the real time. 

Moreover, with only 40 people in the technology team, the organization doesn’t have access to a large resource pool. This required the group to precisely allocate its team members and limit uncertainties to a minimum. However, that proved to be difficult, as the organization had no source of truth – it relied on handmade reports from team leaders that were prone to human mistakes.

Planning processes

In Capco, a prospective project is initially evaluated by both business analysts and technology teams. Their opinions are a base for establishing basic requirements used for estimations. This early draft includes the potential project’s pricing model, rate, and deadlines. 

In general, Capco divides the process into two consecutive phases. The first phase includes defining the Minimum Viable Product required to meet customer’s needs. The second phase covers further development of the solution included in next steps. 

Later on, these plans, drafts and estimations are either approved or rejected; after that, the project could begin

However, such a process combined with extensive use of Excel spreadsheets posed a number of challenges to the managers. 

First of all, all the team leaders, as well as Doug, had to prepare and update their own Excel spreadsheets to contribute to the information database. As a result, the crucial process of comparing estimates to the actuals was nearly impossible to be done.

Secondly, it was hard to tell whether the team can adjust to the plans and estimates, as there was no one source of truth regarding their availability. Doug did not have direct access reporting systems, as they were a responsibility of another department. As a result, he received spreadsheets from time-tracking systems once a week. They, however, required additional preparation to be readable. 

Finally, the whole preparation process was simply time-consuming, and it couldn’t be done on demand. As a result, Doug’s department had to do the entire planning process once a month and hope there will be no additional changes in the future. That, unfortunately, rarely happened, which forced Doug and his team to look for more user-friendly solutions. 

Main challenges

Management and operation processes in Capco require coordination and communication between all the members of the team. However, with just a bunch of Excel spreadsheets at hand, achieving transparency was a challenge. 

This was a root of many problems, including: 

Lack of consistency and communication. The spreadsheets with crucial data were filled separately by each of the team leaders. They only exchanged the information gathered during time-consuming weekly meetings that required extensive preparations. 

Resource management. The information on available resources was kept in the spreadsheets. However, the data could not be updated in real time, and it did not include holidays and absences. As a result, keeping track of specialists and their capacity was difficult, if not impossible.

Limited transparency. The spreadsheets only included basic information on specialists and projects they are involved in. To add to that, the data could not be automatically converted to charts and graphs, forcing the team leaders to do it separately. 

"We used to have monthly meetings because they took so much time. Now, we have the ability on demand to go and see what is happening with the actuals, whether it is Monday, or Tuesday, or even Sunday."
Doug Helm, Associate Director for Technology and Operations

Time-consuming organizational processes. Spreadsheets had to be regularly updated by each and every team leader - and they did that with no additional tools available. The process took up to 4 hours. Afterwards, they have to be merged manually, adding another 4 hours to that time. As a result, Capco wasted capacity on mundane tasks instead of growth. 

Solution: Primetric 

Starting the change

Initially, Capco represented by Doug defined their requirements for a prospective project portfolio management tool. First, it should be tailored to the needs of small and medium sized companies and allow them to scale. Secondly, the solution should be easy to integrate with Jira that was already implemented in the company. During our demo, Capco chose to try out Primetric because it met both criteria. 

"I just got to a point when I said to myself: there are better things for me to be spending my time on. I should not be sitting here in front of this Excel. It is time to find a tool that could do this work for me."
Doug Helm, Associate Director for Technology and Operations

First steps 

After the demo, Capco was given access to a trial version of Primetric. During the trial, the company encountered its first milestone: integration with Jira. Contrary to Capco’s expectations, this step did not require technical knowledge or advanced algorithms. With just one simple integration code, all the data included in the company's Jira were imported to Primetric within a few minutes. 

Part of a list of integrations available in Primetric‍
Part of a list of integrations available in Primetric
"Even during my trial, I was playing with Primetric on my own. I’m not the most technical guy, so if I run into a technical integration, I don’t want to deal with it. So, when I was plugging one code for Jira in Primetric, I thought I was really on to something. I was like: this is awesome."
Doug Helm, Associate Director for Technology and Operations

Further on, Primetric also helped Capco to upload people and projects to the system using spreadsheets that were previously the base for the company's operations. 

Additionally, Capco’s integration was supported and facilitated by guides with GIFs and visual material that helped the company's teams familiarize themselves with the solution. 

Features for Capco’s success

  • efficient resource management for both confirmed and tentative projects, 
  • calendar divided into people and projects, with holidays and absences included, 
  • advanced multipurpose reports, charts and graphs, 
  • different features for leaders and employees available in a single app, 
  • financial forecasts and drafts for the company, projects and employees. 

Primetric’s advantages 

"We can put together an estimate with 90% confidence. We know we need these people; but when is this group going to be available? Can we still kick off the project for now? With Primetric, we see the estimates and the resources, what’s their availability and capacity. That helps guide us throughout the project. "
Doug Helm, Associate Director for Technology and Operations

How Capco solves its problems with Primetric? 

Flexible calendar with real-time data. Users can zoom it in and out by days, weeks, or months. The calendar view shows the capacity of individual team members and shows their availability. It also includes holidays and absences that could not be included in the spreadsheets.

Employee calendar with allocations

Real-time updates. Whenever a new absence is reported, the information on its details appears in the system immediately, and it reaches the right manager instantly. Thanks to that, the leaders can adjust their plans to match the current situation. 

Onboarding benefits. 

"In the last few years we had many changes in our resources. We had some people roll off, and it's really easy to add new people to the system and track the time so quickly. The way that you organize the people section in the organization allows me to manage onboarding any individual."
Doug Helm, Associate Director for Technology and Operations

Tentative projects and forecasts. Whenever a project is paused or a new opportunity is considered, Capco can create tentative plans to determine whether the project can be completed, and when. As a result, the company can flexibly manage its operations. 

Tentative project in Primetric

Advanced reports and filters. With Primetric, all the data gathered by Capco and its employees is converted into intuitive charts, tables and graphs available on demand. Thanks to this feature, team leaders can see both opportunities and threats that may await them in the future. 

Advanced reports in Primetric

Constant support. Implementation of a new tool is always a new challenge. Fortunately for Capco, Primetric advisors were always there to help with all the features and activities the company was yet to discover at the initial phase of its journey with the tool. 

"I can jump into Slack anytime and just say “Hey, I'm stuck here and here, and Thomas replies to me in a matter of seconds and I feel that you want me to be successful with your tool!"
Doug Helm, Associate Director for Technology and Operations

Easy administration. Primetric includes a number of people-related data points that can be chosen in the system to sort the specialists by different criteria, i.e. seniority, grouping, leadership, availability and more. The feature allows Doug to manage the onboarding of new individuals, as well as supervise current employees. 

Roles and access levels in Primetric
"Understanding the time in relation to the capacity in the future, etc. was impossible to manage in spreadsheets. This is where huge time savings come."
Doug Helm, Associate Director for Technology and Operations

Comprehensive budgeting. Primetric helped Capco compare estimates to actuals and track its spendings in real time. It was also used for financial reports and forecasts.

Estimation summary

Automated imports. Primetric can be connected with many different tools, including JIRA - one of the most popular tools for any IT company. It can also reflect the structures and information from JIRA with no additional actions done by the user.

"I love the fact that Primetric integrates with Jira, because we have the whole structure created in Jira. (...) and the beauty of that is that the time is smoothly rolled into Primetric by person, by project and date and THERE IS NO MORE THINKING ABOUT IT. It just happens - it's just really nice."
Doug Helm, Associate Director for Technology and Operations

Results 

Whenever planning a project, the company reaches for Primetric to gather live data on the resources and availability and capacity of the specialists. As a result, Capco can determine when the project can start and when it can be finished, and at what cost. 

With Primetric: 

  • all the data on projects and employees is available in real time, with no delays and additional work,  
  • data is merged and compiled to extract specific reports from all the spreadsheets,
  • all the data is stored in one system available for all the leaders and employees, 
  • Thanks to the integration with Jira, the company can compare the estimates with the actual results in real time,
  • Management processes are no longer time-consuming, 
  • holidays, leaves and other unexpected events are immediately visible in the system, 
  • The time of management meetings was reduced from 4 hours to 30 minutes - with no additional preparation required!

Summary 

When Capco and Primetric first met, Doug was struggling with inefficiencies, endless paperwork and lack of transparency in management. 

However, when our journey started, these problems became a thing of the past. The managers, Doug included, could leave the spreadsheet behind and focus on what they do best - making profits. 

We have no doubt that Capco will continue to grow - and Primetric will make every effort to grow, scale and develop with it. With an individual approach and proactive cooperation, we are certain that Primetric will provide Capco with all the data it needs to thrive in the years to come.

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