5 Ways To improve Your Resource Management
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One of the biggest resource management challenges faced by Professional Services (PS) firms is that it is difficult to predict your future resource needs when looking more than a few months ahead.
For example, if a company has five potential projects on the horizon, it needs to be able to plan adequately in order to successfully deliver for each project. If the company secures all five projects, it may find itself in a situation where there are too few resources available in order to meet the needs of all of the clients. On the other hand, if only one project is to go ahead, the firm may find itself with too many under-utilised and costly team members with little to do. The only way to deal with this situation is to always have a complete overview of resources across your entire business. However, my experience shows that it is equally important to have an overview of potential, future projects and the resources you have available for them.
Does this situation seem familiar to you so far? If so, you need to read my five ways to improve resource management:
Using ERP for resource planning
1. Focus On Achieving An Organisation Wide Overview
It is important for PS firms to have an organisation wide overview of resources so as to prevent both over and under utilisation. Potential, future projects should also be included in the overall resource planning, as future projects will affect the resource situation in the long term.
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2. Senior Management Should Take Resource Management Responsibility Seriously
I’ve seen it before in a number of firms where each department is satisfied to be able to manage their own resources in their own Excel sheet. This means that there is no company wide visibility over resources, but why would they care? If every department head is happy, then why change? I believe it is the responsibility of senior management to demonstrate the need for overall resource management and maintain focus on the task. There are business wide advantages to having complete visibility, but this needs to be communicated from the top down.
3. Keep It Simple
To ensure that resource plans actually hold, it is necessary to avoid having too much detailed planning. But this also requires that all those involved in resource management follow the same agreed procedures so that there is consistency as well as flexibility.
4. Get Resource Management Right First
Many companies are trying to solve both resource management and project management tasks simultaneously, only to discover that it becomes difficult to keep track of which way is up. The two areas are co-dependant - since demand for resources depends on the projects - so I recommend that you start by focusing on resource management to gain a comprehensive overview of the resources within your firm and the expertise they can offer to your project delivery. Once resource management is under control, project management will come more easily.
5. Involve Employees
In order to achieve an efficient resource management process it is essential that all employees actively participate in the process. In my experience, you can achieve higher levels of resource utilisation by ensuring that your team understand what you are trying to achieve. It is important to let all employees participate in planning what they will do, in order to help them to buy in to the process and motivate them to help you to meet utilisation targets.
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