North American Network Operators Group

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Engineer headcount calculations

  • From: Luke Parrish
  • Date: Thu Jun 23 17:59:02 2005

Measuring a customer service rep's time on a daily basis is a pretty easy and straightforward task. You can get down to the minute by minute level of how a CSR spends their time each day. You can also easily relate that back to customer growth which gives you how many CSR's you need for your next budget year. CSR's have a set of tasks to complete that rarely change day to day.

However, what about a network engineer?

A day in the life of an engineer:

outage resolution
proactive projects(some 2 hours and some 300 hours)
reactive projects(some 2 hours and some 300 hours)
customer escalation
escalated network issue
maintenance windows
writing/researching change management
time spent in lab researching network issues
turning up new service
planning for new service
turning down old service
taking phone calls from internal business units needing support
configuring interfaces for new dedicated customers
ip administration(sometimes 3 minutes per request sometimes 2 days of justification on a request)
equipment upgrades
TAC research
equipment evaluation
shipping equipment
boxing equipment

etc etc etc etc etc etc, everyone knows where I am going.

So the million dollar question, how do you account for their time to prove in a business case that you need to add additional headcount. If you plan on adding 110,000 DSL subs next year then we all know that we have to add engineers to support the network that will have to be built. However, how do you prove that with numbers?

I can say, I have to turn up 250 new DSLAMs, 60 new routers, 18 new internet drains, etc etc which I can easily relate back to manhours for turnup. However how do you allocate manhours to maintenance of the network? There are some easy ones, 1 IOS upgrade a year times number of devices on the network, 1 bandwidth upgrade per year times number of CO's, etc etc. But what about the day to day that I listed above?

We have to sell this idea to accountants, not other engineers, they only see numbers on paper. Its easy to all of us, we know how many people we need, but how do you put a business case together to sell it?

Can anyone out there share what type of system they use to account for engineers time, or really any insight at all would be helpful.

One answer would be a system that the engineer would open and close time based tickets everytime they made a move during the day. However I dont know many network engineers at the enable level that are restricted this way, however it is an option.