5 Methods for Improving Strategic Resource Management

Ian Needs

All too often strategic resource management is regarded as an activity for larger corporates delivering hundreds of projects with thousands of resources. However, there is a place for Strategic Resource Management in any size of business, especially those looking to bring innovative products to market, or deliver projects or services with a profitable outcome.

In this post we look at 5 ways that professional services organisations can embrace strategic resource management to improve service deliver and focus on delivering the most profitable portfolio of projects.

#1 See who’s working where, when

A single, central tool for managing resources across every project and every team is essential. It allows anyone within the business to see who is scheduled to work on what projects, where – and how long they are committed to them. Having the same information available to all your users is the essential foundation of more strategic resource management.

#2 Plan around existing commitments

With a single central repository of future commitments, it becomes far easier to plan around those commitments. You can see when specific resources will be available, and either build your schedule to accommodate the current workload, find an alternative resource or identify who best to approach regarding reallocation. Professional Services Automation tools, simplify the scheduling and resource planning process further by helping you learn from past projects: if team A habitually completes a week after schedule, then you can build appropriate contingency in.

#3 Cope with change

By taking a more strategic view of change requests, you can assess the resource impact of agreeing to a scope change – not only on your project, but across the entire portfolio. Then the business can judge whether to accept or even prioritise the change, or reject it, based on clear evidence of the likely costs and benefits.

#4 Pick projects you can deliver

Avoid pitching for – and winning – problem projects through more effective resource analysis. By reviewing existing commitments before you invest time and effort into bidding, you can weed out the projects which will put extra strain on already over-stretched resources. Instead, you can focus your efforts on improving the pipeline for teams that have gaps that are likely to be available.

#5 Match your workforce to your workload

Workforce planning typically rests on gut instinct and budgetary constraints. Through strategic resource management, you can identify precisely what resources you will need over the coming months – whether to ensure you meet existing commitments or to give you the capacity to respond to new opportunities. You can pinpoint where there are shortfalls, where it will be critical to retain talent, and where it may be possible to build up skills over the longer term. That can then inform decisions about recruitment, retention and development.

Many orgainzations try and fail at strategic resource management, mainly because initial efforts utilise MS Excel or Home Grown solutions which are prone to error. There are alternatives though, like KeyedIn Projects, which provides project management software designed specifically for professional services teams.