Use a Project-based ERP System to Effectively Manage Project Resources

Jalene Ippolito September 22, 2016

In a project-based company, the key to your success is your team. Each individual in your organization brings a specific skill set that, when combined with the skills of their peers, makes for a rockstar project team. But we all know that coordinating those resources across multiple ongoing projects is easier said than done. We’re a project company too – we feel your pain! So how do you ensure that you’re using your people effectively and keeping your clients happy with the progress on their projects? Combining Professional Services Automation (PSA) on the front-end with ERP on the back-end is the key to true efficiency.

Plan Your Project Resources Effectively

We can’t say it enough – if you don’t plan your resources before you jump into a project, you’re almost guaranteed to run into surprises along the way. Do yourself a favour and put in the time up front to determine which people are needed, at what point in the project, and how much of their time will be required.

To start look at similar projects you’ve done in the past to see how much time was spent by each resource. The benefit of an integrated project management ERP system is that your budgeted hours and actual hours are tracked in the same system. You can easily see what you spent on past projects and understand why you were over or under budget. With this level of visibility, your resource planning will become increasingly accurate over time.

Account for Capacity Across Multiple Projects

Be sure to take into consideration the commitments that your team members have to other projects as well. This is going to impact your timelines for each project. Our Professional Services Automation solution has company-wide capacity planning so you can easily see where and when your resources have been allocated. The system will even tell you if an individual is under or over committed so you can adjust your resources accordingly.

Strategically Adjust Resource Allocation

Even with the best planning, your timelines and resource capacities are bound to change unexpectedly throughout the course of a project. This isn’t always a bad thing. If your team is tracking their time accurately, you should be able to identify opportunities to reassign people as required. For example, if your team has wrapped up an activity on one project sooner than anticipated, you might be able to shift people to another project that is falling behind. The key here is having up-to-date information on your team’s time commitments so you can make scheduling changes in-the-moment. This is tough to do with a stand-alone project management tool because you don't have real-time visibility on time entries - they're often tied up in your payroll system. A PSA offers a distinct advantage, with all relevant data in one system so you can evaluate your resource capacity in real-time.

Cultivate Your Future Team

When you’re planning and tracking your employees’ time accurately, you’ll find that you can pinpoint areas of your team that need additional support. Looking at your resource capacity across all projects, you might find that your Consultants are over-committed. Or perhaps your timelines are being negatively impacted because you’re lacking a resource with a specific skill set and it’s taking more time for others lacking the expertise to try and fill that role. This type of data can offer immense insight into your future staffing needs, whether it’s recruiting new talent or training your existing team in new areas.

Gain the Advantage of Real-time Resource Insight

The key to optimizing your team’s time is having up-to-date, reliable information. And the best way to capture that is with an integrated project-based ERP system. If you’re running on a combination of spreadsheets and ad-hoc systems, you’ll find it difficult to achieve this level of resource optimization.

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