Singapore, 28th May 2012
One of my recurring tasks is to allocate capable manpower to new projects. It is a challenge not easily defined as each project has its specific demands and each staff has their specific strength. This capacity planning is crucial as projects can stretch over many years, like the ones we just signed off on, which have projected running times of 3 to 4 years. Projects come with different attention spans and generally for us as lighting designers, most of our work is in the first quarter of the project cycle. The first year is when most of our time is needed as we develop the design from concept into details and then on approval of the design direction develop that further into details and documentation suitable for procurement and contractor quotes.
As project schedules and speeds vary from month to month we have to make sure our staff allocation is maximised by having them run several projects concurrently in a team, so we can adapt the manpower to the demands of the day. As our work is very dependent on inputs from lead consultants like architects, interior designers, planners and needs clients’ approvals at various stages during the design development, our schedules have to build in these “uncontrollable“ inputs. Our forward work planning is therefore always based on what we know and can control (our own expertise, capabilities and capacities) but leaves provisional, undefined time slots open for other inputs and clients’ approvals. In this way we can make clear to our clients how much time we need to complete our deliverables, but leave the starting date open to project management so they can coordinate all inputs and outputs from various consultants and client into a complete project delivery schedule. Making sure you have the proper time, considering your own capacity and workload, is crucial for satisfactory deliveries to your client.
Light Watch 3-74: Singapore is one of those countries in the world that have to be credited with incredible foresight and forward planning skills. The way the country has tackled its public transport (MRT/ Changi Airport) and urban (road) planning shows of how well they understand and plan ahead for the future. Over the weekend I took a bump boat trip along the river and took some pictures of the city skyline…how much the city has matured over the last 20 years!