When it comes to resource management, many professional services companies fall short. The resource planning, tracking, and analysis stage of project management is often overshadowed by task management and tracking. However, without effective resource management, professional services companies may be missing out on essential practices that can not only increase productivity, but also positively impact their profitability.
8 Common Resource Management Mistakes
Below are the most common resource management mistakes professional services companies make. Starting resource management from scratch—or even fixing an ineffective resource management system—can seem overwhelming, but the impact is well worth the effort.
1. Not Knowing What Resources You Need for a Job
Planning for the right resources at the right time can sometimes be tricky to predict, but mastery of this business data can make a huge difference in the profitability of your services company. Not only will more accurate forecasts help improve you meet deadlines, it also helps predict business costs to make your projects more profitable.
2. Not Tracking Resources
One of the best ways to cultivate business data and intelligence needed to implement effective resource management is by tracking the actual resources used on a project compared to the budgeted amounts. This means tracking time as well as timelines, budget, use of third-party resources, equipment (if any), and more. If you’re not tracking the actual resources used for your project, then you are not collecting the necessary data to make more educated project plans in the future and are also missing the opportunity to accurately track and attribute costs to projects, which can negatively impact the profitability of your company.
3. Under-Estimating Commitments
One of the hardest habits for project managers in professional service companies to break is underestimating the amount of time it will take to complete a project. While it’s important to reasonably push your team with higher expectations, it can also cause your productivity to fall and your team to become desensitized to missing deadlines. It can be more difficult to remedy the pattern of missing deadlines when your team members have come to expect that they’ll miss the deadlines. Instead, it’s more effective to use actual project data and tracking to find patterns and predictability in timelines, use this business data to bid on projects, and instill a habit of tracking and meeting deadlines.
4. Staffing Too Late or Too Soon
When a professional services company is growing, it will reach stages where the company has more work than their resources can currently handle, but not enough to justify another hire. How the company handles this resource challenge can make a big difference in the business’ bottom line as well as the sustainability of the company’s growth. Hiring too soon will mean higher resource costs; hiring too late often means missed deadlines, increased employee stress and turnover, and decreased service quality. Better resource tracking can help you see current and pending resource needs to help make more educated hiring decisions.
5. Not Repurposing Existing Resources
One common mistake is “remaking the wheel” over and over. There are often parts of previous projects that can—and should—be reused as opposed to remaking them again and again for each new project. This is especially true in SaaS or other tech-oriented companies where code from a previous project could be used or adapted for a new project rather than starting from scratch. However, resolving this challenge means implementing a better tracking and organizational system to correlate previous and current projects.
6. Failing to Manage Project Scope (Or Scope Creep)
Another resource management mistake many professional services businesses make is failing to manage project scope. In many professional service businesses, it’s common to adopt the “we can get it done” mentality when someone requests a service change. While this can be a positive attribute, it can also impact productivity and the bottom line. Being able to manage project scope changes takes careful systems and tracking to make it a positive experience both for your customer and for your company. This can be done by making sure you have a method of tracking scope changes, making an accurate budget change, and adapting your resource management plan. This helps your company accommodate these changes without throwing other timelines out of whack or decreasing project profitability.
7. Micromanaging or Under-Managing
While micromanaging can stunt the creativity and engagement of your team, under-managing can also be detrimental to a professional services business. While the best project management system leaves room for creativity and problem solving, it doesn’t abandon your team to their own devices at project inception. There should be periodic check-ins to ensure the project is on track and to ensure the resource has the tools he or she needs to be able to complete the project. This is a good way to make sure the project is progressing, but also to ensure it is tracking on time and on budget. It also gives you better power to make any adjustments to the execution, budget, or timeline if needed before small problems turn into big ones.
8. Not Having a Postmortem Analysis
One of the biggest mistakes a professional service company makes in their resources is failing to have a postmortem analysis at the completion of a project. This is so important to the health of the project management process because it provides integral details about the actual use of resources compared to budgeted resources. It also allows a check-in with team members to understand if there are any adjustments that need to be made at any step of the project management cycle to ensure a more successful project in the future.
How Can a Resource Management System Help?
An effective resource management tool can play a huge role in overhauling your professional services company for a more effective, profitable team. Would you like more information about how Mavenlink can transform the way your professional services company manages resources? Click “Try for Free” below to start your free trial.