As in any service business, the resources within your practice or your IT services companies are both precious and limited. Any error in their management can therefore be punished by financial or human loss, or both.
In our day-to-day experience with companies like yours, we all too often find consultants, managers or heads of assignment feeling lost or like they're on a battlefield due to a shortage of skills to complete a given assignment, wholesale changes during the course of a project with no real strategic vision, or conflicting resource allocations.
It therefore seems important to us to capitalize on all that we have learned and are learning every day alongside our customers, and to present you, in this article, with the 5 most common mistakes when it comes to resource management and how to minimize their occurrence.
We've talked about it several times on this blog, data drives resource management. But once we've said that, there's more to come, because there's data and there's data.
For example, you may be satisfied with a few basic details about your consultants (number of days available declared at the beginning of the month, core skills, secondary skills, level of expertise by skill, location...) to decide who to position on which assignment. But the truth of the matter will catch up with you, as unforeseen events are intrinsically linked to project management and therefore to resource management.
Absences due to illness, vacations and days off, unforeseen delays... all have an impact on your workload plan and must be integrated into your resource management tool, otherwise you risk having to adapt your customer projects to operational reality on a day-to-day basis.
Your tool assignment must either allow you to enter absences, vacations, etc. on each employee's file, orextract this information from your HR software.
This data centralization should enable you to generate project team simulations and play with the different scenarios to find the best possible combination.
Arbitrarily allocating a consultant to a given assignment is a strategy doomed to failure. This classic mistake is usually rooted in a lack of visibility on the part of your assignment teams.
Visibility on the employee's availability, as we saw above, but also on his or her up-to-date skill level, the hard and soft skills acquired thanks to the previous assignment, as well as his or her desire to evolve technically, but also by sector (does he or she want to be assigned to assignments in insurance, energy and utilities, banking, banking and financial markets...).
Your employees must be able to enter and update all these elements in your resource management tool easily and autonomously. This information must also be easily accessible to your assignment manager, so that it can be taken into account when setting up project teams.
Do you still manage your mission schedules and resource allocation in Excel? Just when you think you're saving time and money by migrating to a dedicated resource management tool, you're actually losing much more in terms of operational efficiency, quality of interventions and team development.
All your resource management stakeholders must have access to the project completion rate, to the resources involved and mobilized, and to their allocation.
This enables them to make adjustments at their own level, and also brings a sense of transparency within your company and its teams, limiting the risk of misalignment.
As Excel is not designed for resource managementUnfortunately, this tool doesn't offer you these benefits, let alone automatic data updating based on field feedback.
Put your different resource management needs on the table, and take a moment to benchmark the different solutions on the market.
Opt for a solution that, at the very least, allows you to centralize all your data, easily view your workload and other reports, and notify the relevant people when the assignment deviates from what was originally defined.
Our team would be delighted to demonstrate our approach to meeting customer challenges with our assignment software.
From vision flows strategy, and from strategy flow actions (prospecting, talent recruitment...) and operations (customer assignments). So it's natural to favor top-down communication. This ensures that the sum total of operational actions corresponds to the strategy and objectives for the quarter and the year.
But, for obvious reasons, your resource management cannot be based solely on directives from top management , or even only from managers, since they are not the ones carrying out the assignment at the customer's site. How else can you know, for example, that the relationship between a customer's line manager and a consultant from your firm is not going well, jeopardizing the entire assignment?
Any disconnection, in either direction, greatly increases the risk of a loss of motivation and a certain disempowerment vis-à-vis the mission.
Here again, resource managementsoftware will save you a lot of headaches, since multi-directional communication is a basic feature of such a tool. And since tools aren't everything, your processes need to include reporting to enable consultants to understand the strategy decided upon above, and top management to get a feel for the work done at the end customer's premises.
There's more to a project's results than just the profit margin. Sometimes, the lessons learned are far more important than financial indicators.
They enable you to be much more efficient and productive on future missions, putting you in a position to anticipate rather than react.
Your resource management should help you avoid the vagaries of the field, the customer or your team, by helping you learn from previous projects.
What difficulties did you encounter? How did you staff a given position to meet a given need? How did you go about recruiting internal or external skills?
By collecting statistics, mission notes and cross-referenced data, your staffing tool is intended to be your perfect co-pilot to gain anticipation.
When we look at these 5 common pitfalls of resource management, three basic trends emerge:
Although there are still many pitfalls, the good news is that for each of these difficulties, you now have the keys to overcoming them and making a success of your resource management.
Would you like to find out more? We've got plenty of resources to help you go further.
To complement this topic, read our white paper "Gestion du assignment : 4 processus décryptés".
See also our guides, templates and checklists in the Resources tab.
See you soon at Napta!