Article

9 essential 10,000ft reports to help you plan your year

by Staff Writer

Reporting is one of the most important aspects of operating a successful company, especially for project-based teams. Running reports throughout the year helps you reflect on the past year, understand where and how you’re spending your talent, and make data-informed decisions about your strategic plan for the future.

For creative agencies and other project-based companies, knowing how you’ve performed and understanding your opportunities for improvement is an essential part of your future success. After all, if you don’t measure your performance, how can you improve it?

Our customers frequently ask, “Which reports do most companies pay attention to?” To answer this question, we’ve outlined 9 essential reports that every services business needs to know.

Click any of the following links to jump to a specific report:

  1. Monthly utilization by team

  2. Client project budgets and overages

  3. Team member planned vs. actual

  4. Quarterly planned billing by month

  5. New business growth pipeline

  6. Quarterly utilization summary by department

  7. Upcoming projects on each PM’s plate

  8. Projects with open staffing needs

  9. Upcoming hiring needs

1. Monthly utilization by team

This report helps you look back to see how each team’s efforts were distributed throughout the year, including those early months that might be difficult to recollect. By seeing a full breakdown of utilization by month, you can visualize trends over time, like which months were the busiest or which teams were consistently overworked.

To run this report in 10,000ft:

View: Utilization

Time Frame: This Year

First Group By: Discipline

Then Group By: Month

Filter

Assignment Status: Confirmed

Monthly utilization report in 10,000ft

2. Client project budgets and overages

While it’s fun to reflect back on successful projects, it can be hard to revisit projects that went off the rails. It’s important to do a post-mortem to see what you should celebrate, as well as discuss how you might do things better. 

This report gives you a full view into how closely each project tracked against the budget. It also lets you see how you’re slated to finish out the year. In the example below, we’ll wrap up the year 10.47% under budget overall, even though some projects ran over budget.

This is a great report to share with other stakeholders to help them see how client work unfolded. Were there certain clients that chronically ran over budget? Were there particular phases that were consistently underquoted? Once you have this report pulled up, you can pivot or filter the data to answer questions like these and create more accurate project estimates.

To run this report in 10,000ft:

View: Budget, Amounts

Time Frame: This Year

First Group By: Client

Then Group By: Project

Filter

Project Billability: Billable (custom field)

Client and project budgets report in 10,000ft

3. Team member planned vs. actual

You spend countless hours putting together project estimates and meticulously scheduling team members based on past experience and the nuance of each project. Yet sometimes (okay, maybe quite frequently) people still run over their allocated time. 

The trickling effect means that projects are more likely to run over budget, or work on another project falls behind schedule, or your team members get overworked and burned out.

You can see this data in real-time at any point in 10,000ft.The report below lets you see how closely each team stuck to their allocated hours overall, and then how each team member individually contributed. The most interesting column here is the “Difference From Past Scheduled”, which shows the delta between the hours that were originally assigned and the hours each person actually worked.

Tip: To dig in further, you can click on a team member’s name to expand all of their time entries throughout the year. This might help you identify certain projects that had issues or certain times of the year that might have been more slammed than others.

To run this report in 10,000ft:

View: Time & Fees, Amounts & Hours

Time Frame: This Year

First Group By: Discipline

Then Group By: Resource

Filters

Assignment Status: Confirmed

Project Billability: Billable (custom field)

Planned vs. actual report in 10,000ft

4. Quarterly planned billing by month

Many of our customers rely on pipeline data in 10,000ft to accurately plan and project future spending. This report lays out all the money that will be coming in from clients  so your finance team knows what to expect.

Tip: Save this report to your team’s analytics dashboard so your finance team can quickly access it.

To run this report in 10,000ft:

View: Time & Fees, Amounts & Hours

Time Frame: Next 90 Days

First Group By: Month

Then Group By: Client

Filters

Project Type: Confirmed

Project Billability: Billable (custom field)

90-day billing pipeline report in 10,000ft

5. New business growth pipeline

A different angle of Team Member Planned vs. Actual, this report gives you a month-by-month breakdown of all the work you’re expected to win. While marking a project as “tentative” helps you quickly identify it by color on the schedule, you can add another layer of detail with a custom field for “Probability of Winning” with choices of 100%, 75%, 50%, 25%, and Lost.

In this example, we’re showing all projects that have a 75% chance or higher of being won so we can more accurately allocate resources in the likely event we get the work (fingers crossed). An interesting pivot of this report could be to change the Probability of Winning filter to 50% and below to identify gaps in projected revenue and understand where we should focus our business development efforts.

To run this report in 10,000ft:

View: Time & Fees, Amounts & Hours

Time Frame: January 1- December 31

First Group By: Month

Then Group By: Project

Filters

Project Type: Tentative

Probability of Winning: 75% and above (custom field)

Project Billability: Billable (custom field)

New business pipeline report in 10,000ft

6. Quarterly utilization summary by department

Most customers we talk with set yearly utilization targets based on past company performance to serve as a guide for not over-working or under-working their teams. Once this is defined in 10,000ft, you can keep an eye on your upcoming plans to make sure the workload is being evenly allocated between teams.

In this report, we see how each team and role is currently staffed for next quarter. While we’re 10% below our target utilization overall, our QA team is fully booked, and at 98% utilization (yikes!), our UX Designers clearly don’t have any capacity to take on more work. So, should we hire a freelancer? Should we put all new UX design work on hold until Q2? This type of information is crucial to start the conversation and make strategic decisions.

To run this report in 10,000ft:

View: Utilization

Time Frame: Next 90 Days

First Group By: Discipline

Then Group By: Role

Filters

Assignment Status: Confirmed

Utilization summary by department report in 10,000ft

7. Upcoming projects on each PM’s plate

So, what projects does each of your Project Managers (or Project Owner, Project Lead, etc.) have slated? With this report, you can easily see all the upcoming work that each PM is responsible for, broken down by client. While you can also see these projects on the Gantt View on the schedule, this breakdown shows details like average project bill rate, total scheduled hours, and billable fees.

Tip: Add another layer of insight by using a custom field to filter projects by risk level. We have a custom field called Project Risk with “At Risk” and “On Track” options so we can easily identify problematic projects and dig into issues as a team.

To run this report in 10,000ft:

View: Time & Fees, Amounts & Hours

Time Frame: Next 90 Days

First Group By: Client

Then Group By: Project

Filters

Project Type: Confirmed

Project Owner: [name of PM or Project Lead] (custom field)

Quarterly project report in 10,000ft

8. Projects with open staffing needs

If you’re not yet using Placeholders in 10,000ft, they’re a powerful way to schedule assignments when you don’t yet know who in your organization will be performing the work. Placeholders help you fully staff a project with details around the types of skills you’ll need, so even if someone else picks up the resourcing later on, they know how much time has been carved out for specific roles like UX Designer or Senior Developer.

This report shows you a list of all projects with placeholders that still need to be assigned to real people. Then from the schedule or project view, you can easily see all matching resourcing options and re-assign work to the most qualified, available person.

To run this report in 10,000ft:

View: Time & Fees, Hours

Time Frame: Next 30 Days

First Group By: Project

Then Group By: Resource

Filters

Assignment Status: Placeholder

Open staffing needs in 10,000ft

9. Upcoming hiring needs

We’ll wrap up with one of the most sought-after reports in 10,000ft. This utilization report lays out how busy each discipline and team member is slated to be based on the current schedule, so you can identify where there might be hiring holes to fill.

In the example below, we see that at 65% utilization overall for Q1, we’re still under our target utilization rate of 77%. That’s pretty good. However, we also see that our development team is scheduled at 85% and we have a few team members across disciplines who are currently booked above 100% of their availability. From here, it becomes clear where we need to spread the workload more fairly, or which teams are ripe for a new hire if we decide to take on more work.

To run this report in 10,000ft:

View: Utilization

Time Frame: Next 90 Days

First Group By: Discipline

Then Group By: Role

Filters

Project Type: Confirmed

Assignment Status: Confirmed

Team member utilization report in 10,000ft

Don’t let the tedium of running year-end reports dissuade you from collecting and reporting on this valuable data. Once you understand how your company has performed in each of these areas, you can begin to strategically map out a plan to celebrate or improve future efforts.

Sign up for a free day trial to test drive these reports for yourself. And if you’re after a specific report or have questions about working with report CSV exports, you can always contact us.