Workload planning software, yes but for whom? Part 1: Operational users
Project planning
Resource management

Workload planning software, yes but for whom? Part 1: Operational users

Agathe Placet
Content manager
April 18, 2023
7 min.

Does your consulting firm or your IT services companies have more than 30 employees?

You have probably already realized that managing your workload without a workload planning software (or workload planning tool assignment) is at best a risky task, even dangerous for your business.

At Napta, we speak from experience. A number of our customers were operating in this way before they started using our software assignmentsoftware, relying on an ersatz such asExcel to manage and organize their client projects.

And if the lack of data centralization is often pointed out as one of the main disadvantages of using Excel to manage one's workload, the very limited collaborative functionalities of such a tool are systematically pointed out by managers, management teams and of course, by the consultants themselves.

Between the management of budgets, allocated time or even skill requirements, project planning via a workload plan is an intrinsically collaborative activity. It is only natural that the tool that facilitates this planning should also be collaborative.

And there can be no effective collaboration without a clear definition of the stakeholders and their roles and responsibilities in the project and therefore in the use of the workload planning software.

Napta defends the vision that for a workload planning software to be really useful to your consulting firm or to your IT services companies, it must be made accessible to all hierarchical levels of the company.

Discover, through the first part of this series of 2 articles dedicated to the users of the workload planning software, the different types of users to whom you can make your workload planning tool accessible for the most efficient project monitoring and management.

Consultants, field users of the workload planning software

As the spearhead of any client project, your consultants are the closest users to the actual execution of the mission.

They must therefore be able to report on the time spent working on the client's mission, any dysfunction or unforeseen events that occur in the field, as well as their feedback.

The information must not only be ascending, from the consultant to his manager and the other stakeholders of the project, but also descending in order to offer the collaborator visibility, for example on the next steps of the mission or on any strategic change decided between his hierarchy and the client.

And this is what the workload planning software is for. The tool must allow him to see the time spent on each mission, to transmit and receive any important information via a notification system, but also to share his experience in the field so that the next mission goes even better.

At a time when turnover in consulting firms is nearly 2 times higher than in other sectors (33% vs. 15%), this last element is far from anecdotal.

Managers or how to manage a triple challenge on the same platform

So that the consultants think of nothing else but the good execution of their missions, the managers take over a good part of the rest, starting with the follow-up of the good progress of the project.

And that's where your workload planning tool comes in!

Designed to enable managers to maintain control of project progress in the field, the assignment software must enable them to monitor several elements at a glance: 

  • real-time progress of projects
  • the key indicators attached, 
  • as well as ensuring that the balance between expenses and margin is respected, in particular by monitoring the differences between the time planned and the time actually charged.

But this monitoring only makes sense if it allows managers to easily communicate the right information to the right people involved in the project. It is also the role of the workload planning software to facilitate this upward or downward flow of information to the project teams.

Business Unit managers or managers of assignment : use the workload planning software to create dream teams 

Since they are in charge of the heavy task of reconciling the needs of clients and the wishes, skills and especially the availability of consultants, the Business Unit managers in IT services companies and the managers of assignment in consulting firms must handle a multitude of parameters.

From the TACE (Rate of Activity Excluded from Leave, also known as the rate of assignment) and TACI (Rate of Activity Included in Leave) of each consultant to the resource requests formulated by managers and last-minute requests for assignment , Business unit managers or managers of assignment work with constantly changing data.

The assignment tool made available to them must therefore allow them to 

  • to collect in real time and centralize information from the field and from management, 
  • share it , via notifications, to all project stakeholders,
  • build the best possible team of consultants, the one including exactly the skills sought by the prospect, in order to convince him and win the deal,
  • and to manage the TACE as best as possible with the objective of maximizing the level of "productive" activity of each employee.

Things to remember

The multiplicity of factors that must be managed for a mission to be successful, as well as the fact that these factors can change rapidly as the mission progresses, and the need to transmit all relevant information in real time, make the use of workload planning software simply indispensable at every level of the project.

Consultants must be able to report any important project-related information. Managers, for their part, need to ensure that assignments are being carried out correctly, by monitoring project progress in real time. Finally, Business unit and assignment managers use the assignment tool to build high-performance teams, taking into account consultants' skills and availability.

However, these users, who could be called operational, are not the only ones who use workload planning software to ensure the success of projects.

In the next article in this series dedicated to users of assignment tools, we'll look at a second category of users, those working in management teams and top management.

Would you like to find out more? We've got plenty of resources to help you go further.

In addition to this topic, you can find our template "The perfect load plan for successful deployment"..

See also our guides, white papers and checklists in the Resources tab.

See you soon at Napta!

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