Resource and Management two of the most critical aspects of any business (product, services, consulting, professional services etc.) and are of little value unless together!
Millions of account executives, project managers have to run from pillar to post for resources to ‘just’ get their projects “delivered”. On-time delivery and with profit margins are aspects that get thrown out of the window amidst execution chaos.
A typical client/project win strategy goes something like this –
Sales Team – Pitch the minimum cost possible to ensure client/project win
Estimation Team – Under pressure to deliver high level estimates & resource requirements with lowest possible cost.
They do not have the finer requirements and at the same time, they cannot spend too much time on making a deeper estimation as it needs to be submitted like Yesterday! Always!
This is where everything goes haywire. The basic project management principles are ignored or not accounted for. And the problem is compounded due to the ever-changing business models, demanding clients and reducing profit margins. More so for the Services organizations.
The backbone of any product is good service and that of service offering is Resources! Resources account for the bulk expense or profit for any organization. Having them well managed and run like a well-oiled machine is crucial to the success of the company.
All companies understand the above facts and still continue to struggle to get their act right.
Why is it so hard?
Is it lack of “true” understanding of resource management?
Is it an elusive “art”?
Or a difficult “science” making it not everyone’s cup of tea?
Whatever you may think, I believe catering to the following basic guiding factors will improve our chances of having highly utilized and productive resources at maximum times.
1. Understand and Maintain your Resource Skill Matrix
Our businesses need multi-skilled workers and our resources understand it well too. It is imperative for us to be thorough in our hiring and map the various skills that a resource displays during the interview. Similarly, we must always identify and capture the multiple talents at display on the ground.
It is possible to fly without motors, but not without knowledge and skill. ~ Wilbur Wright
The skills can range from basic to advanced levels in various technical domains, soft skills, leadership skills, emotional intelligence etc. And each of these are vital and add to an organisation’s capabilities and strengths.
As an organisation, we must always have a highly current and reliable skill matrix to fall back on for all current and future assignments.
We shouldn’t make the mistake of taking this as a “good to have” and rather make it a “nice to have” practice across all departments and business units of our company.
2. Know your Resource Availability
Just adding resources to your team or company isn’t of much help when you don’t know if how big a project you can handle next!
When you do not have enough resources to meet your pipeline demands, you put a lot at stake – your company’s reputation, revenue, client satisfaction, risk of losing customers and lastly demotivated employees.
An active Resource Availability grid or dashboard comes in real handy when you are looking at an ever increasing pipeline.
You know “EXACTLY” how much work you can take up immediately…
How much resources you will have in the coming weeks or months to take on the other upcoming opportunities…
What skills, duration of availability, paid leaves, company holidays, travel etc…
This not only helps you make that “perfect project plan” but also makes you shockproof from any unexpected delays or risks.
Do spend time and make it a practice to have an updated resource availability dashboard.
3. Measure Resource Utilization
A very common business adage says – What you cannot measure, you cannot manage!
Multiple projects in progress, all resources seem to be occupied, everyone is hustling and you feel all is well! May not be so…
You need a smart & interactive mechanism to track every minute spent by your resources. Task planning and task assignments with well-defined estimated hours will help you here.
Make sure, your team’s log times spent on various project activities and tasks.
A quick resource utilization report will tell you who spent his time, how much, where and when. All of which are crucial in “identifying operational leakages” and “process bottlenecks”.
You can quickly take corrective measures before they start eating into your profitability and add to delivery delays.
The “Resource Utilization Report” also helps you prepare future estimates and tells you your true capacity in handling certain types (size, technology) of projects.
Armed with this information you can decide whether to add more resources, upskill existing resources, identify skill gaps, hire new skills to ensure optimum utilization and profitability.
Orangescrum Tip: Resource Utilization reports with date, time, resource filters are available with Time Log Gold
Bring them all together
Some call it an art, some a science! In the end it all boils down to sticking to the basics.
It is more about our awareness of our surroundings (project scope, resources required, skill required and what I have now) than anything else.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither are projects completed in a day.
What makes the difference between a project win and loss is how well the above 3 crucial Resource Management aspects are handled as a daily practice across our teams and businesses.
How have you been doing your Resource Management? IF at all?
Let’s keep the conversation going below!