Project resource scheduling: right people, right skills, right task
Posted by Martijn van der Hoeden
Scheduling the wrong team member with the wrong skills and seniority for a project task can be disastrous, but it happens a lot. Here’s a simple solution for consulting managers and project managers to stop this from happening.
Timetabling a senior to do a junior’s job, or vice versa, can cause costs, delays, and annoyance — it can even jeopardize the entire project. But, while the project manager (PM) owns the project, the consulting manager (CM) own the resources and are often responsible for assigning workload.
So, how can these two roles share data and assign the right team members with the right skills and seniority to the right task?
Personal and digital relationships
Obviously, the working relationship and communication between the CM and the PM is crucial. But none of this matters if the project and resource management systems are out of date, or they just don’t work well together.
One of the PM’s main challenges — which can stress the CM-PM relationship and cause problems for the project — is collecting actuals data, capturing correct contract information and designing accurate schedules. Complex, conflicting, legacy software systems lead to confusion and sluggish productivity, which puts pressure on every relationship (no matter how solid) spelling potential disaster for any project.
A magic wand
The productive use of talent is key to every project and organization. Getting it right keeps customers, employees, and consultants happy. As a people-centric business, you need to respond quickly to customer requests. As managers, you are expected to be able to see over walls to adapt quickly, all the while having the skills and competencies of every single team member right at your fingertips.
To align resources and their utilization, it feels like you need a magic wand. To gather, view and act on all this data — which is most likely held within different software systems — you need a new approach. To gain the insight you need to boost productivity and guarantee project success, you need the right tools.
A new approach
Luckily, the tools are at your disposal. There is a new approach. That magic wand does exist. You’ll find it in the field of Professional Services Automation (PSA) – software that gives you 360-degree insight and elevates you above all the confusion.
Unit4’s all-in-one solution, PSA Suite, is an integrated software for resource scheduling and project management, built on the Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM platform and tailored for different industries (engineering, IT, legal, architecture, accounting, software). PSA Suite allows you to match and schedule the right talent for the task, so you can get on with the job of delivering profitable projects.
Star feature: Digital profile matching
One of the most powerful elements of PSA Suite is the Match Engine, which helps you assign the right people to the right job. You can manage sourcing requests, from staff or clients, using your staff database in the PSA Suite, then compare potential candidates based on different criteria such as skills, experience, availability, keywords and costs.
You can prepare long and short lists and, after awarding, you can create an automated project. And here’s the best bit: the requested resources are automatically added to the project.
Changing to a single software solution can be daunting. But the alternative is sticking with the status quo, which can bring uncertainty over data, low productivity for managers and increased vulnerability for your projects (and future proposals). This could mean poor service delivery to clients, or worse, a service degradation from your clients to their customers. Switching to a single software solution like PSA Suite allows you to get on with the job of delivering profitable projects by optimizing resource utilization — which means winning more business.