In services, success relies on getting the resources with the right capabilities, on the right assignments, and at the right margins. Effectively managing this process is important for client satisfaction and successful project delivery. It is also extremely valuable.
An example: If 15 resources add 10 hours of billable work per week, that means a total of 150 extra billable hours each week. Assuming a bill rate of $200 per hour, that means an extra $30,000 revenue each week, or an additional $1.44 million profit each year. The truth is, selling projects with good margins is not the hard part. It’s managing the high degree of change that occurs mid-project that is incredibly difficult. To combat this, an exciting new model has emerged that approaches resource management as a dynamic, holistic process: it’s called Full-Cycle Resource Management.
Introducing Full-Cycle Resource Management
In Full-Cycle Resource Management there are four phases that mirror the project delivery lifecycle from inception to analysis: Estimate, Plan, Deliver, and Analyze & Optimize. Each of these phases involves a combination of roles within an organization, including executives, consultants, resource managers, project managers, services leaders, and department or team leaders. After each phase there is an evaluation step designed to inform both the previous and next phase in the process. Furthermore, the fourth phase of the process, Analyze & Optimize, is a feedback loop that will help inform improvements across the other three phases. By treating resource management as an iterative cycle, it becomes easier to prepare for conflicts and proactively make changes to the project or team.
Understanding The Four Phases
Phase #1: Estimate
The Estimate Phase occurs during the sales cycle, when new business teams, account managers, and project managers collaborate during the proposal process to get an idea of the time, resources, and budget needed. This phase is critical for setting the project up for success.
Phase #2: Plan
During the Plan Phase, project managers, resource managers, and department heads determine how resources will be allocated for a project in a way that maximizes profitability. The ability to visualize the entire resource pool and adjust variables in order to create various scenarios with different financial implications is key.
Phase #3: Deliver
The Deliver Phase is when the project plan is set into motion. Project delivery teams, project managers, and resource managers must communicate and collaborate on changes in project scopes, timelines, and budgets to be able to adjust resources efficiently. This is the phase when unexpected challenges or obstacles pop up, although the impact of these is ideally minimized because of the prep work in the Estimate and Plan Phases.
Phase #4: Analyze & Optimize
While listed as phase four, the Analyze & Optimize Phase is not a final step — it’s a phase that is constantly layered across the resource management process to help make smart decisions quickly. Everyone involved in a project has a hand in this phase, as it requires constantly measuring results, maximizing what works, and minimizing what doesn’t.
Valuable Aspects of Full-Cycle Resource Management
The most important quality of Full-Cycle Resource Management is that it helps to create order within the chaos. There are a lot of moving parts, but each phase encapsulates only a few key items to consider, making the model simple to apply and adhere to.
The phases are not meant to be linear, they bleed be- tween each other. The ability to look forward and back between phases is critical.
The phases are like the process of building blocks— each phase builds on the next, and the final outcome takes shape over time.
Current processes are too rigid. Great resource man- agement practices have flexibility. It’s almost like a dance; take two steps forward, and then one step back.
Each phase has a purpose and a calculated method that affects every part of the business. When executed, it contributes to a strategy that makes projects more efficient.