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  • Writer's pictureMariano Samamé

Tips for effective WFM presentations

Today I had a fascinating 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 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 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 into five new subsegments, to prioritize customer service at a higher value. In turn, with these 20 segments, we generated four 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. Then, we started to review it with Carlos through a video call since he has to analyze the scenarios with the Management, and he released the magic phrase: "Che, how complicated, these forms are understood only by you." Did it ever happen to you? Personally, I have lost count of the number of times I have been asked this question. Although my answer was, "if you ask for something complex, what we will build will be complex," the review turned out well as we used some tips that we learned over time. So here are some tips for presenting 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, essentially because it delimits the playing field on which we will talk to.

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 essential 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 because:

  • Although the change in the target NS increased the agents' occupation 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 visible. If there are many numbers on the screen, the viewers may feel lost, and mistrust wins. Instead, always include a separate sheet showing only the most important results. For a bonus, include dynamic inputs on the main sheet so that the user can automatically generate new simulations. 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. But, of course, this has to be done only if one of the spectators requests to evaluate a particular scenario.

Considering those 4 points, you will already have a large part of the meeting resolved and a safe approval from your boss. Although our work is complex, transmitting security and simplicity makes people trust us more as professionals. Of course, no one who has not worked in WFM will understand what we do in detail, but everyone must be sure we are doing it correctly. Mariano.

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