How Resource Planning is Changing Project Management for Government Contractors
As a government contractor, your world revolves around projects – finding them, winning them and managing them. Efficient resource management is the key to delivering your projects profitably. But like many organizations you may find yourself struggling with managing your resources efficiently.
Are you experiencing the common pitfalls of poor resource management?
- Do you lack visibility across projects finding you’re frequently reacting to resource problems?
- Are your star employees stretched thin, putting the retention of your most valuable staff at risk?
- Are other employees not fully utilized, negatively impacting your organization’s profitability?
- Do you find workload forecasts are not accurate and often result in the wrong people being assigned to projects, or that projects are delayed waiting for the right resources to become available?
- Do you have difficulty determining how to staff projects? When to hire and when to subcontract?
Effective resource management is essential for project-driven organizations that are people intensive. Even small organizations must pay close attention to resource planning. The better you manage your resources, the more likely you are to finish projects on-time and within budget. This in turn, will help you maximize profit, retain top talent, make customers happy and grow your business faster.
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How Resource Planning is Changing Project Management
Traditionally, project management in project-based businesses happened in silos. The focus was on the individual project or managing one project at a time. Did the project manager keep the project on track? Was the project completed on time and within budget? Were the customer’s expectations successfully managed? It depended more heavily on historical data, giving a more “backward view” of project status by focusing on the parts of the project that had already been completed.
Project management has evolved quickly in the last few years. There has been a lot more emphasis put on proactive planning, real-time visibility, and forecasting to maximize resource utilization across projects and more accurately predict future needs. Organizations realize the historical perspective no longer tells the whole story. They also want a forward-looking view to get a more complete picture of how current projects are performing and to anticipate what’s needed for projects coming down the pipe. Project managers are also be asked to do much more today than they were in the past. They are expected to pay attention to the financial performance of their projects and to be proactive in mitigating issues and risk.
As a result, project managers are working more closely with resource managers to make sure they have the right people where they need them and to efficiently offload people from one project to another as needed. The goal is to make sure that as things change, resources are being optimized across the organization and across the entire project lifecycle.
The Role of Technology
Without the right technology in place it will be impossible to manage your resources efficiently. If you are using spreadsheets, standalone systems and manual processes to manage your resources, bridging the gap between effective resource planning and flawless project execution will be extremely challenging. Spreadsheets and standalone systems will not give you the complete picture, nor will they provide the real-time information you need to accurately plan and manage resources. Overtime miscalculations will erode your firm’s long term profitability.
As a government contractor, it’s critical that your resources are being used efficiently and that your staff’s time is maximized on billable activities. If you are short-staffed you need to know whether to hire or subcontract. A central resource planning system will help you do this and is the key to delivering projects on time and within budget and maximizing profitability.
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