4 tactics to tackle global projects and optimize utilization

Posted by  Kamal Rifai

Getting the right people in the right place at the right time is the key challenge for Professional Services Organisations (PSOs). I know, you‘re under pressure to make sure your consultants’ billable time isn’t lost to scheduling mix ups, gaps or mistakes. This puzzle is increasingly a global one, played out across multiple cost centers, borders and time zones. If you fail to crack the puzzle, delivering value to customers and making a difference to their businesses is going to be a pipe dream. So, when you’re operating in these conditions and projects, how can you be the resource and people planner that gets the job done? 360° project visibility can help to improve the scheduling of tasks, deployment of resources and keep all stakeholders up-to-date. Here is what you should consider: 1. Use tools that can cope with change – Using spreadsheets to plan projects, spot gaps and schedule consultants’ billable time can work. But only if you have time to maintain them, and nothing changes. Keeping communication between sales, HR, project and resource managers and consultants themselves on-system means no information is lost and everyone is kept in the loop. 2. Use tools people want to use – Our digital expectations have changed dramatically in the last few years. In our personal lives we use mobile devices to access applications in the cloud with intuitive UIs and social tools as standard. We increasingly expect the same from our tech at work, and a productivity gap will emerge between PSOs that meet these expectations and those that don’t. 3. Understand what change means – Can you react to change with the speed you’d like if you haven’t got visibility of working patterns, competencies, cost centers or potential conflicts? Your online project management software should offer integration HR systems and automatically apply the information it holds on working patterns or restrictions, so you understand the implications of change and avoid inadvertently creating more conflict. 4. Consider costs when staffing projects – Fee-earning staffs’ skills, experience and competency levels all affect the billable rates. You may also want to use people from a particular cost center or cost category. To drive all your people’s utilization rates up, and not burn them out, you have to be able to allocate based on analysis, skill or experience. Resource managers need to be able to make informed choices about scheduling and communicate decisions to consultants and project team members. They have to be able to identify and fill gaps quickly and optimize utilization rates. Do you want more guidance? Please visit projects.unit4.com and start your journey to becoming a Utilization Hero.  

Kamal Rifai

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