Effective resource management requires continual iteration and optimization for companies to better understand how they can make the most of their workforce. Using a strategy known as Full-Cycle Resource Management, businesses can continually understand and improve resource utilization, no matter the industry.
There are four phases within Full-Cycle Resource Management: Estimate, Plan, Deliver, and Analyze and Optimize. These phases naturally lead into and support the next in a continual loop designed to steadily improve resource management through helpful insights and refined processes. An Operational System of Record (OSR) is a centralized management solution that bridges core planning, project accounting, analysis, collaboration, and project management systems for more effective collaboration and management throughout entire projects.
With these capabilities, an OSR can support and integrate these four phases and their related processes in a single comprehensive ecosystem so that your business can make Full-Cycle Resource Management a reality.
Estimation begins before a project commences to determine the resources and billing rates necessary for success. Once the project’s requirements are determined and approved by a client, your business can begin estimating what roles will be needed. This frees up time for project managers to plan out granular activities and be prepared for changes that could arise at any point in the project lifecycle. Starting the process early and using your pipeline to determine resource scenarios can set up projects for success and forecast more accurately.
How an OSR Helps: An OSR increases the accuracy of the Estimate Phase by allowing managers to match projects with appropriate resources and see which team members will be available, what skills will be needed, and how much should be billed to the client. Having feedback from previous projects collected and analyzed in an OSR also helps managers more accurately estimate future projects by having data insights they can count on for comparison.
At the Plan phase, a project is almost ready to begin, but its stages, milestones, and assigned resources have not been finalized. The resource manager will review requirements and determine resources based on skills, roles, and availability to maximize profitability. These resources will change from soft allocation to hard allocation over the course of planning as the confidence level of the project increases. Making smart choices during the Plan Phase is crucial, as making resource changes or requests afterward may increase cost and likely have a ripple effect on other projects, leading to further costs and delays.
How an OSR Helps: An OSR is designed to allow comprehensive resource visibility regarding multiple levels of a business by creating a resource pool. A pool can include team member skills, roles, experience, availability, cost rates, and bill rates. During the Plan Phase, this pool will help you accurately match your supply of resources to your project demands for greater success when the project begins.
During the Deliver phase, project managers break down structure, subtasks, and task timelines while resource managers stay focused on employee performances and project timelines to ensure tasks are completed on time and on budget. Strong communication and collaboration between project and resource managers is vital for ensuring allocated resource hours are being optimally used. By having resources planned prior to the beginning of delivery, it becomes much easier to track time and manage daily tasks after kickoff. Detailed tracking of your resource performance in process ensures strategies are executed well and any complications are dealt with quickly.
How an OSR Helps: Tracking time and keeping weekly schedules with an OSR allows resource managers to analyze performance and utilization metrics while a project is still in progress. These metrics can then be compared against hard allocations to determine if changes need to be made to keep the project on track. These informed changes can improve the health of a project while also taking concurrent projects into account, as well.
Analyze & Optimize
The Analyze and Optimize phase creates a feedback loop that uses data and analytics to understand the success, utilization rate, and profitability of a project and then apply these insights to improve costs and client satisfaction rates. Having systems in place that collect, integrate, and analyze valuable data enables both project and resource managers to make informed, effective decisions. While this phase can be done at the end of a project to improve the success rate of the next one, it should also happen during the lifecycle of a project to increase its profitability.
How an OSR Helps: Real-time data insights are made possible through the connection between Business Intelligence and Project Management Systems in an OSR. Rather than having to wait until a project is completed or even having to gauge project success without any real data, an OSR allows managers to understand resource performance, compare metrics, and make fast decisions, even in the middle of a project.
Learn more about Full-Cycle Resource Management in “The Definitive Guide to Resource Management”