How Summer Agency found the right tool to manage highly dynamic R&D projects

Founded in 2014, Summer Agency is an R&D company that specializes in hardware and engineering design. The company supports clients from the first ideation steps to manufacturing a certified and functional electronic device.

Resource Planning
industry
Software & Hardware Development Agency
Resource Planning
Location
Poland
Resource Planning
company size
0-50
Resource Planning
type of projects
Time & Material
Resource Planning
used software
Jira, Calamari
“Primetric allows us to easily visualize the work of our team members and intelligently balance their workloads in the rapidly changing environments of R&D projects we realize.”

Peter Lebryk

Co-Founder

Introduction

Founded in 2014, Summer Agency is an R&D company that specializes in hardware and engineering design. The company supports clients from the first ideation steps to manufacturing a certified and functional electronic device.

Summer Agency brings together multidisciplinary teams of engineers, programmers, industrial designers, and user experience specialists to bring innovative and visually captivating products to life. It specializes in hardware development, industrial design, user experience optimization, as well as software development.

The company delivers hardware and IoT projects to startups, corporations, and banks. Examples of their work include First11, Altlight, Neuroon, Inmotion, Photon, RoboCore.

Summer Agency delivers Research & Development (R&D) projects that present unique demands. Due to the challenges in estimating such projects, long-term resource allocation is next to impossible. That’s why Summer Agency needed a tool that would support such dynamic resource planning needs and allow to visualize the work of various team members to balance their workloads intelligently.

Primetric allows the team leaders and project managers to do just that, serving as an excellent resource planning and allocation tool for dynamically changing projects.

It also helps optimize every step of the process to help the company achieve new efficiencies in resource allocation.

Summer Agency’s structure in a nutshell

The core of Summer Agency’s activity is Research & Development. Such projects come with particular challenges. Since they’re difficult to estimate, long-term resource planning is hard to achieve. To estimate projects, Summer Agency usually estimates project scopes little by little because of the frequent changes or carry out re-estimations on a project by project basis.

Every team has its own team leader. Once a month, the team leader carries out one-to-one meetings with all team members. All the feedback is then reported directly to the company’s co-founder and CTO, Peter. Peter is responsible for defining and optimizing processes, bringing all the feedback from team leaders together, and strategic business development.

“We aim to make our processes as flexible and minimalistic as possible. Due to the specific character of our R&D projects, we need to build processes that can be adjusted to everyone’s needs on the fly. We’re also looking to minimize the number of meetings required to make decisions about allocating people to projects.”
Peter Lebryk - CTO at Summer Agency

The problem: Dynamically changing projects required too many meetings

The primary challenge at Summer Agency was minimizing the number of meetings required for allocating resources to projects characterized by significant fluctuations in resource requirements.

The company found the task of controlling the chaos seeping into projects very challenging. Sometimes, it becomes necessary to intervene in projects and change the plan established during the week. For example, three people need to suddenly be assigned to a different project because of a spike in requirements.

That’s why most of the time, an employee isn’t assigned to the project permanently. Junior or mid-level workers might support a given project on a long-term basis and are transferred at a lower rate. But the same doesn’t hold true for senior employees who usually run multiple projects.

Solution: Implementation of Primetric

Peter found Primetric as a right tool to improve resource planning and allocation. Its implementation was fast and smooth as the team quickly discovered various features and adjusted their use of Primetric to their R&D teams’ unique processes.

How Summer Agency is using Primetric

When new resources are required for projects, project managers indicate this need in a special spreadsheet. This information then travels to the team leader who decides who will be assigned to the project.

Every Monday morning, the team leaders make the key resource allocation decisions for the following week. To do that, they need a bird's eye view of who is working on what and when they will be available.

These decisions are then transferred to Primetric that offers the base plan and allows planning ahead for the next week. Building a plan for a week at a time allows Summer Agency to easily visualize what is going to happen and then compare their plans with reality.

What about forecasting? This is where Primetric helps as well. Before its implementation, Summer Agency used Google Spreadsheets. But the tool was missing visualization of workloads and the distributions of resources.

“Primetric helps to manage and order the process of passing on knowledge about how people are assigned to projects. It also helps to optimize our process and gives us a single source of truth about our resource planning. I can see whether there are any conflicts and quickly resolve them or check how one change could impact our business priorities.”
Peter Lebryk - CTO at Summer Agency

Results

  • Reduced number of spreadsheets in use
  • No more chaos originating from the dynamic of R&D projects
  • Fewer meetings
  • Transparent view on resource availability
  • Improved planning process
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