In a project-based company, the key to your success is your team. Each individual in your organization brings a specific skill set that, when combined with the skills of their peers, makes for a rockstar project team. But we all know that coordinating those resources across multiple ongoing projects is easier said than done. So, how do you ensure that you’re using your people effectively and keep your clients happy with the progress on their projects?
1. Plan, Plan, Plan
If you don’t plan your resources before you jump into a project, you’re almost guaranteed to run into surprises along the way. When you put in the time up front to determine which people are needed, at what point in the project, and how much of their time will be required, you’ll have a much greater chance of success. A good place to start is looking at similar projects you’ve done in the past. Each project you complete will help you refine your timeline and resource planning. If your team is tracking their time accurately, you’ll eventually reach a point where your estimates are pretty close to the actual.
2. Look at the Complete Picture
Be sure to take into consideration the commitments that your team members have to other projects as well. This is going to impact your timelines for each project. Having a company-wide view of your projects and resource allocation is crucial. Ideally, your capacity planning tool should give you real-time visibility into the availability of every individual in your company. This will give you much greater control over resource scheduling. If the schedule on one project is adjusted for some reason, you’ll see any potential conflicts with other projects requiring the same resources. With this level of visibility, you can manage your resources proactively to ensure your employees aren’t being over or under allocated.
3. Be Flexible
Even with the best planning, your timelines and resource capacities are bound to change unexpectedly throughout the course of a project. This isn’t always a bad thing. If your team is tracking their time accurately, you should be able to identify opportunities to reassign people as required. For example, if your team has wrapped up an activity on one project sooner than anticipated, you might be able to shift people to another project that is falling behind. The key here is having up-to-date information on your team’s time commitments so you can make scheduling changes in-the-moment.
4. Cultivate Your Future Team
When you’re planning and tracking employee time accurately, you’ll find that you can pinpoint areas of your team that need additional support. Looking at your resource capacity across all projects, you might find that your Consultants are over-committed. Or perhaps your timelines are being negatively impacted because you’re lacking a resource with a specific skill set and it’s taking more time for others lacking the expertise to complete the work. This type of insight can inform your future staffing needs, whether it’s recruiting new talent or training your existing team in new areas.
The key to optimizing your project resources is having up-to-date, reliable information. And the best way to capture that is with the right project management system. If you’re running on a combination of spreadsheets and ad-hoc systems, you’ll find it difficult to achieve this level of resource optimization.
Eralis Project, based on SAP Business One, integrates your project and business data into one system, giving you total visibility. Plan your resources more effectively to deliver more successful projects. Take our free assessment to see if it’s time for a new project management tool in your firm.