As Forecast continues its mission to reduce manual and repetitive tasks, we're proud to announce Auto Schedule, the smartest solution of its kind that automates project scheduling by the use of AI-powered algorithms. Once the project is scoped out, there’s no need to go through the hassle of scheduling. Hit one button and watch how the AI builds the complete project plan with all your task estimations and assignees. Magic, isn’t it? All for the win of the entire business.
Why Auto Schedule
Project planning and scheduling are of huge importance. Not only for the team to know what to work on, but also for the stakeholders to approve and make sure the level of efficiency is kept to get maximum returns from the projects. No matter if you are on one or the other side, we all benefit from great plans and continuous evolution. Automating the project plan, however, fewer human errors and better visibility into the project progress could be guaranteed.
In contrast to time-consuming and administrative project scheduling you’re used to, Forecast’s Auto Schedule is designed to significantly reduce the time spent on planning projects and allocating resources. The AI learns from the previous projects, tasks, and work overall and powers the project manager with the knowledge and insights to predict and make a stronger and more bulletproof project plan. It can be compared to having 40,000 project managers ready to answer your questions any time, any day.
How does the scheduling magic happen?
Based on the knowledge of the AI in Forecast, we help project managers automate the project plan with just one click. Note that Auto Schedule is only available on task allocation projects and can be applied on Scoping and Timeline pages. The automated project plan is presented to you in a preview with tasks organized, people and estimations added. A second ago you had a list of tasks. Clicking the Auto Schedule button, you’ve transformed it into a solid project plan.
Now you can adjust the plan as preferred with the most user-friendly drag and drop feature. Adjusting might, or might not be a thing for you. We know that those project managers that consider it to be a single source of truth and make little adjustments, actually see that their estimations have become more accurate. Consider a story of Message Medium, where they say that having estimates that were in Forecast, all in the same place as the original budget, made the estimating more accurate by 30% because the whole team was involved. And that’s despite the change requests coming in from clients all the time! Instantly, you see if there are time and budget to move forward.
You know it’s impossible to create a project plan without knowing your resource availability. To “activate” your plan, the AI in Forecast gets to know your people through their past activities and patterns of work and determines if the timing is right to allocate them within the project schedule.
Apparently, if you’ve just signed up in Forecast and the platform knows little about your team, the Auto Schedule will calculate the numbers for you based on the huge amount of daily users we have. Here Forecast will suggest the time you need for each task based on historical data, what role you are most likely to add to this task, and who of your resources are available. It’s completely up to the project manager to use these estimations and approve them.
The benefits of Auto Schedule, for everyone
Project managers may benefit from Auto Schedule when they need to know how another project fits their portfolio. Applying the feature to the task list, they can visually track how it's affecting the team's schedule and make decisions based on real-time data. Note how the heatmap below is changing when you re-allocate people in the simulation.
After using Auto Schedule, operation directors and finance managers will notice an uplift of accuracy in forecasting. This is achieved through a combination of things. Once the AI has learned more about how your organization handles projects, it reduces schedule variance, admin work, and eliminates human error out of the picture.
At the same time, Auto Schedule finds the sweet spot for every employee. The simple truth is that the platform resists the urge to over and under allocate work to your employees and eventually sets healthy standards of work for everyone.
A great learning comes from inside our organization. In the marketing department, we kickstarted 2020 with a plan we needed to execute by the end of January. Since we are ‘only’ human and we have a looot of tasks to work on, the list was quickly full. Being fully allocated to the project, each of us works 37,5 hours per week and has an expertise area. We auto-scheduled the plan and BOOM - it was clear to us that we weren’t able to deliver on all of the tasks before the end of February. That was a clear wake-up call for us.
We recommend that you try it yourself, but warning - you might end up learning more than you actually intended. Yet we’re certain that you’ll never overpromise again if you just stick to the plan.