Project Visibility: Using Your ‘Mirrors’ For A 360-Degree View

Posted by Deltek on September 26, 2018

Project Visibility

Twitter Tweet it: 'Professional services firms need to use their 'mirrors' to ensure 360-degree visibility'

Car drivers know that it’s important to constantly check the mirrors – the rear-view mirror and two side mirrors – while focusing on the road ahead most of the time.

But how many professional services firms apply the same logic to business, to ensure visibility over what’s coming up; what’s behind them; and to spot any surprises that might be incoming from the sides?

Architecture, Engineering and Consulting firms that wish to remain competitive and responsive to industry changes need to implement systems, procedures and reports that provide full visibility of past, current and future projects, across performance and profitability measures.


 

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A More Complex World

Project Complexity

Just as increasing traffic and the need to stay connected while driving are making car trips more complicated, most professional services firms are feeling the effects of greater complexity in individual projects and the business environment generally.

Stricter regulatory regimes and reporting requirements impose a heavier burden than in the past, and this trend is set to continue.

According to Deltek’s recent report, ‘Insight to Action – The future of the professional services industry’, half of all survey respondents globally believed that the increasing complexity of projects would be the number-one project management challenge in five years’ time.

 

'most professional services firms are feeling the effects
of greater complexity in individual projects'

 

 

Sitting In Traffic, Or Going Backwards?

Professional services firms identified the single-most important objective – in relation to improving project management – as ‘well-defined scope’, which offers one of the most effective ways of containing costs. They also identified four other objectives, in this order:

  • Having a clear view of which projects/clients are profitable; 
  • Clear document version control; 
  • Improved project management procedures; and 
  • Improved compliance processes.

Is Your Petrol Tank Full Or Empty?

Deltek’s research found that 71% of professional services firms globally do not get paid for all change requests, so we were surprised to observe that only 35% of business leaders had set themselves a target of obtaining a clearer view on which types of projects and clients are most profitable.

Making small improvements across each of the five categories outlined above is likely to contribute to improved profitability. Applied in unison, these objectives can help to create better project visibility of the firm’s entire workload, and can be used to guide future decision making.

 

'71% of professional services firms globally do not get paid for all change requests'

 

 

What’s Happening Under The Bonnet?

A second major area of concern is the recruitment and nurturing of talented employees. The Insight to Action report found that 75% of respondents believed their business was unprepared to manage the risk of talent shortages; and 38% of firms lacked successors for various positions.

Without the capacity to see what types of projects to seek out and bid for, or the right mix of employees in the pipeline to service those opportunities as they arise, how can professional services firms jostle above their competitors to consistently win the best types of projects?

Have You Checked Your Business ‘Mirrors’?

Project Management Systems

At present, according to the research, many firms don’t have the right information on hand to inform and steer critical business decisions, with 57% of survey respondents admitting that reports for important decisions came too late.

Effective project visibility helps firms to forecast future needs, whether for growth or contraction, and it’s a key component of any successful business. Alarmingly, the Deltek survey found that 53% of CEOs globally were unsure whether they would need to hire or fire in three or four months’ time.

These findings highlight the importance of installing and using data-crunching software that performs two critical functions: it helps firms to comply with their regulatory and client reporting demands, and it also produces a rich trove of project and practice-based information, which can be mined and analysed to steer the business in a positive direction over time.

Put Your Business In Pole Position

Professional services firms that wish to remain competitive – and to position themselves as being at the forefront of an increasingly complicated operating environment – need to have full project visibility across the entire business, just like drivers who want to arrive first, and safely, at the finish line.

 

2018 Industry Report

Professional Services Trend Report

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