Professional service organizations (PSOs) live and die on a project basis. In these organizations, those responsible for the health of multiple projects are the most used to staring into the heart of the storm. You’re helping the teams below you execute better and the leaders above and around you assess how well projects are delivering against strategy and budget.
You’re expected to deliver on critical questions. Who is working on the project? Can I cope with the workload? Is my team overutilized or underutilized? In the old days, getting a one-view answer to these important questions meant lots and lots of emails asking for status on various milestones and resources. Or long weekly calls wherein project leaders gave reports for the program manager to compile and digest.
In the time spent gathering all this data, problem factors, such as an understaffed project that endangers delivery, could get even worse—akin to commissioning a painting of a situation when multiple snapshots throughout the day and week were what was needed.
Project professionals at many levels tried for years to cobble together their own tracking systems from spreadsheets, project software, Sharepoint, and the aforementioned communication drills with execution-level staff. Tracking the work became a time-consuming endeavor unto itself.
Now professional services project management software offers these beleaguered folks the “single view of the truth” that lets them easily see the rocks in the stream—taking the complexity out of managing complex and lengthy projects. Being able to accurately forecast revenue and resource demands with teams of 10 or even 20 people are one-click propositions. Getting all the information without having to rely on emails trickling in from across the consulting team means the ability to plan effectively, manage and even automate financials, optimize the use of resources and manage risk.
From the portfolio, program and project level, PSOs can now fulfill the promise of project performance and profitability. The old, cobbled-together chaos of past project management systems is over. And few will miss it.
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