Deltek Vision: Understanding Backlog

Recently I’ve been involved with stabilizing a Deltek Vision implementation for a client in NYC. By “stabilization” I mean getting to the point where we can print out an income statement and balance sheet and they make sense, seem to represent a picture of what’s really going on in the firm. For a while there things were out of adjustment to put it mildly, and now things are back in alignment.

However, there was this one annoying thing that came up… it’s called backlog. It’s a number that appears on the Firm Metrics report under reporting/executive/Firm Metrics. The backlog number in our case was something like 967 Million Dollars… for a firm that does about 30M in revenue… seemed kinda high right?

So I went about understanding exactly what is “backlog” according to Deltek Vision, how is it calculated, and what to do if it just doesn’t seem like it’s right?

Here’s what I found out in two parts:

1. Backlog is defined as Compensation – JTD Revenue
a. This number ignores project status… so making projects dormant does not remove them from the backlog calculation.
b. This only applies to regular projects (not overhead or promo projects).
c. The number can be negative as well as positive.

2. To clean it up you need to align the JTD Revenue number with the Compensation number, but take into consideration what you’ve got going on in your billing terms.

In order to both clean up this number AND keep it in synch with something like reality, I wrote a stored procedure which adjusts a project’s compensation when either of two things happen:
1. billing terms get changed
2. status is changed from Active to Inactive or Dormant

For this particular client, most of their projects are fixed fee. This means the stored procedure needs to take into account the different types of fee billing possibilities, as well as take into account unit billing or cost plus (time and materials) projects. Since there are hundreds and hundreds of projects in this particular Vision database, it didn’t make sense for the client’s staff to go through every project and check the Fee amount, then enter that into compensation. It also doesn’t make sense for them to maintain that field manually on an ongoing basis.  Things happen fast in NYC. Automation is key.

What’s more, many of their projects have phases with their own fee amounts, as well as a fee table (at the top level) with the checkbox “enable posting by billing phase” checked. So here is what this nifty little stored procedure does:

1. For fee projects (or phases or tasks), it sets the compensation value at each phase (or task) to what is set in billing terms.
2. For any other kind of project, it sets compensation to JTD Revenue (unless the user wants to enter a different value, then the adjuster ignores it)
3. Unless the project has been made inactive or dormant, in which case it sets the compensation value equal to JTD Revenue… because it really shouldn’t be counted in backlog.

Sorry I don’t have any good pictures of the Deltek Vision interface for this one… there wasn’t really a good reason for it.  Instead, here’s a picture of my daughter and I on a recent trip to REI.

20150607_125602

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