Tips for effective WFM presentations

Today I had a very interesting conversation with Carlos, Customer Care Manager at the company, interesting above all because it has been repeated several times with different actors throughout my life in WFM.

This article, original from WFManagement in Spanish (, is aimed at analysts and middle managers who need to present reports to their superiors or other areas, referring to WFM planning or any planning in general.

The Situation: due to the recent drop in economic activity, he asked us to simulate different budget scenarios in order to find possible savings (I think that everyone reading this blog is likely in the same situation).

The request was: for 4 of the current customer service segments, which we divided them into 5 new subsegments, in order to prioritize customer service at a higher value. In turn, with these 20 segments, we generated 4 different scenarios varying the service objectives for each one.

The forecasting team got to work on the subject and in record time put together a worksheet that allowed the calculation of hours required for the 80 different scenarios. We started to review it with Carlos through a video call, since he has to analyze the scenarios with the Management, and he releases the magic phrase:

“Che, how complicated, these forms are understood only by you”

Did it ever happen to you? Personally I have lost count the number of times I have been asked this question. Although my answer was “if you ask for something complex, what we will build is going to be complex”, the review turned out well as we used some tips that we learned over time.

So here are some tips for when you have to present analysis / scenarios / simulations to people who are not familiar with the WFM process. We are going to add some examples imagining that they have to re-plan the next quarter due to an extension of the quarantine due to the pandemic, traffic grew and productivity fell, so they were asked to generate a scenario of lower service level to try to compensate the increase in the necessary hours.

1) Start with a summary of the criteria used (thank you Germán Enrico for teaching me this):
This is very useful, I would say essential, because it delimits the playing field on which we are going to talk. 
The criteria can be divided between:
·      Those that were given as inputs by the person who required the analysis (in this case, they would be the characteristics of the new subsegments and the proposed service levels).
·      Those that are added to complete the exercise (in general everything related to call forecasting and productivity)

2) Comment on the conclusions at the beginning of the talk:
The conclusions, for their part, are what managers and directors are desperate to see, they are invaded by anxiety to know if their ideas generate the economic impact they expect. 
It is important to show the conclusions at the beginning for two reasons:
·      Expectation check: if the results are very different from what managers expect, most likely, adjustments will have to be made before proceeding with the review.
·      Capture attention: if the results meet expectations, they will carefully follow the previous steps that reached that point.
Example: From the analysis carried out, an increase of 5% is observed in the number of hours required compared to the original budget, due to the fact that:
·      Although the change in the target NS increased the occupation of the agents by 5 points.
·      It does not compensate for the growth in traffic and post-quarantine BMT, and the drop in use by agents working in the home office.

3) Keep the worksheets hidden and be minimalist with the information to present.
“What I do not know does not worry me.” It is not recommended that the presentation shows the excel spreadsheet with all the calculations visable. If there are many numbers on the screen the viewers may feel lost and mistrust wins. Always include a separate sheet in which only the most important results are shown. For a bonus include dynamic inputs on the main sheet, to that new simulations can be automatically generated by the user.

In the example, the ideal situation would be to make the inputs in the sheet editable by those who receive the presentation. If the scenario was generated from a change in the Service Level, it is almost mandatory to be able to edit this input and obtain the impact in hours. Even if we are talking to someone from Operations, they can suggest improvements in TMO and Utilization that could modify the scenario.

4) Edit the book only in cases of extreme need.
This goes hand in hand with the previous point: DO NOT change tabs, DO NOT change books, DO NOT edit a formula, unless it is absolutely essential.
A situation that generates mistrust is when we modify the data and formulas while presenting the information, this has to be done only in the event that one of the spectators requests it, to evaluate a particular scenario.


Just taking into account those 4 points, you will already have a large part of the meeting resolved and a safe approval from your boss. Remember that although our work is complex, transmitting security and simplicity makes people trust us more as professionals. No one who has not worked in WFM will understand what we do in detail, but everyone has to be sure that we are doing it correctly.

A warm nudge to all, I hope you are holding in the best way these days, see you in the next article.


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