Productivity, Project Management

4 Steps to Improve Utilization Rate


Increasing utilization can have a huge impact to both your top and bottom line. For a 100 person services team, increasing billable utilization by one hour per week per person at an average realized bill rate of $200 per hour increases your annual revenue by $1M.

"Just another 1hr/wk can trigger an extra $1M for your annual revenue!"  — Chris Scalia, SVP Services

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There are several ways we are seeing our customers realize these gains.  

1. Get good at time tracking

Strong time tracking is first and foremost. It requires strict policies and procedures. This starts by simplifying and standardizing project plans and templates and the associated way you capture and track time.  

Then implement regular reviews of time and utilization (weekly at a minimum and more so daily). Inspect what you find and highlight under or over utilized consultants. Finally, take swift action to get your under-utilized consultants billable again.

2. Set up real-time project dashboards

The dashboard is to a Project Manager what the cockpit instrument panel is to a pilot: Without them you can’t effectively manage the project or fly the plane.  

Provide real-time utilization information to your PMs and to your consultants too. This shows them how they are performing, so they can take immediate action to improve their performance by raising their hand when they have available time.

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3. Centralize resource management across your entire talent pool (even globally)

Centralization allows you to put your best resource on a project. Moreover, it lets you fill gaps quickly by tapping excess internal capacity before looking outside to a partner. With a significant portion of project work occurring remotely, location of a resource is less of a constraint. You can easily manage a global talent pool across geographies.

For larger organizations, we see a centralization of resource management occur at the geo-regional level (e.g., Americas, EMEA, and APAC). Even so, best practice in this environment is to have resource visibility available to each staffing coordinator across regions.  

4. Monitor and cut non-billable time

Track your non-billable work closely. Reduce this type of work to only value-added activities — work that advances your future utilization, revenue, and margin achievements.

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