I need suggestions/brainstorming: Timesheet / Schedule Forecasting in a Doc

I’m using Coda for most of my business’s analytics (we’re a service company, so most of it is just analyzing time sheets vs. contract rates, expenses, etc). I’m almost completely happy with my setup there, and I’m starting to brainstorm future forecasting. I’ve been mulling something over for a few days now, and can’t come up with a great solution, so I thought I’d throw this puzzle out to you guys in case I’m missing something:

How can I best built a forecasting system for future invoices - it’s not complicated, but there’s no spreadsheet system I’ve found that does a decent job of it: Next month (December), my 17 employees are going to be working on 3 different client projects, as well as taking respective vacations. We have 5 price tiers among my employees (their Junior - Senior titles).

Edit: I need a simple view that allows me to input each artist’s expected work for each day of the upcoming months, including their approved vacations, etc. The output from it just needs to be expected days worked per project per artist tier within a timeframe (December, January, February, etc)

As a worst case, I can add line entries per employee per day for december, but that’s a terrible user experience for me. Can you think of a decent/fast way to fill out my scheduled forecast for December (and every month there after?) Gantt Charts and Calendar views come to mind, but from my experiences, they leave a lot to be desired in terms of interactions / entering data.


Hey Keith it isn’t clear to me what you want forecasted. Can you share an image mock up or better an example coda? Do the ‘terrible user experience’ part one time so we can see what the final solution would look like and maybe we can find a way to get you there.

Keith, this is why AI is taking off. As global tech adoption has now taken advantage of the basics for information management, we are now looking for more advanced helpers to improve process automation, real-time analytics, and forecasting based on a wealth of data that we have available. It seems, this describes your situation.

You have the data; the question is - What does it tell you about the [probable] future?

Unlike Airtable, the formula functions in Coda are far and away the most advanced of the code-free database/document climates. As such, I’m pretty sure you have all the tools you need to do this in Coda, but the question is - What does “this” mean? (i.e., What is the algorithm that will best tell us the future given the present data and possibly some historical data?)

This simple narrative is the basis of your algorithm; it represents the current inputs available. But, for any forecast model to be really helpful, you need historical data and preferrably, lots of it. Lacking that, your algorithm must depend on current period inputs and this can result in less precise assessments especially when you’re dealing with non-linear dependencies.

Given your simple narrative, I would recommend transforming it into a forecast model probably a causal model. I think you need a multiple linear regression approach given the values you mentioned. And there are plenty of examples online that are explored with Excel.

There are no pre-packaged forecast functions in Coda, but that shouldn’t stop you from crafting the aggregate formula from discrete existing functions.

You’re absolutely right, sorry! I’ve edited the original question to be more clear.

A proper forecasting model is absolutely a path worth exploring - you just send me down a path that lead to loads of great bookmarks for me to read later. For me the moment though, I don’t mind the manual data entry required to build out a running forecast of a few months forward (i.e. inputting my employees vacation dates into the system). On a much more macro level, organizing our data from the past few years of business and analzying/forecasting from that, vs. industry trends etc is going to be a very exciting world, and one that I’m looking forward to getting to.

Thank you both for the answers!

That’s good because it’s mandatory - your algorithm won’t function without data.

So, imagine you have done the above - better still, do the above in a table in Coda and share it with us.

Should be pretty simple.