Custom Planning Models

To extend Visier's workforce planning app to support all kinds of enterprise planning, we needed to enable the creation of new "models" to define how plans would behave.

Screenshot of Visier People: Planning

Visier People: Planning is a workforce planning app that integrates seamlessly with the rest of Visier People. In 2022, expanding our Planning offerings became a strategic priority for Visier. To do this, we integrated Planning with Studio, the configuration surface for Visier People. This allowed our Solutions team to build for Planning, and for those solutions to be customizable to each organization's needs.

My role was to deliver impactful UX improvements with minimal resources to enable the creation of new Planning models.

Presentation slides showing my approach to the project

Some models had been created, mostly by the developers who built the system. I spent a few weeks studying workforce planning and learning about the modelling workflow from our internal teams.

Only a few people had experience editing models, but that was plenty to identify countless areas for improvement.

Common themes included:

  • lack of guidance
  • invisible errors
  • opaque configuration settings
  • no documentation or in-app help
  • many, many more

Over the next while, a small team of developers and I shipped projects including:

  • in-app explanation for every configuration setting
  • a model validator
  • wizard workflow for creating parts of a model
  • cleaning up and consolidating settings, inferring automatically where possible
  • error prevention throughout the interface
  • terminology improvements
  • smart defaults

One of the biggest UX improvements we made was the model validator. Model editing is an iterative process, but the feedback cycle for Planning models was lengthy and uncertain. It involved previewing the model and creating a Plan, which could take up to 15 seconds (on a good day). If any part of the model was invalid, the model would simply not appear, and the editor would be left to their own devices to figure out what, and where, the problem was.