Effective resource planning is one of the key drivers of agency success. Execute this well and your agency can deliver high-quality projects on time and on budget. Unfortunately, this can be easier said than done. Your agency must battle several resource planning problems which, if not defeated, can derail even the best laid-out plan.
Three of the most common problems agencies face when it comes to managing resources are: staff utilization and resource allocation; time management and tracking; and forecasting team resources.
Solving these problems can be challenging due to the sheer number of interconnected constraints, and many agencies may not know where to begin. However, there is a powerful answer to these problems: centralized agency management software. This software can help agencies to break free and solve their resource management issues by providing a platform to analyze, automate and track agency activities.
Here’s how centralized agency management software can help your agency to overcome resource management issues and achieve success:
1.Team utilization and resource allocation
Planning staff workloads and monitoring them to avoid under- or over-utilization is essential to ensuring your agency’s productivity. Getting a clear overview of your employees’ workloads helps you to determine who can take on more projects and who is at capacity. If employees who are already working to capacity are given more projects, they may feel overwhelmed and at risk of lower quality work, or even burn out. Likewise, staff members who aren’t given a fair share of work may feel disengaged as their skills are not being fully utilized.
On top of this, while it may be tempting to add more staff to activities, extra resources can skew estimated time and budgets for projects, and be counterproductive. So, effectively allocating staff and resources is a crucial area that agencies must seek to resolve.
Function Point’s agency management software can help agencies to overcome this problem. Function Point provides valuable insights into staff utilization and resource planning by providing instant visibility into which employees are billing to capacity compared with those who have space to take on more projects. From this information, you can ensure you’re allocating resources effectively.
The included Function Point reporting tool also helps you plan for upcoming projects to make sure you have the resources needed to complete the project on time and within budget. This software lets you make smart allocation decisions that benefit the entire team, without having to spend hours poring over timesheets and project schedules.
2. Time management and tracking
To manage projects profitably, you’ll need to allocate the optimal level of resources. While it could be different for every project, typically, this involves one senior team member leading the project, supported by a team of junior staff with the appropriate skills to complete the project.
It’s costly to have an account director spending time on work that can be done more cost-effectively by an account coordinator. However, sometimes this can end up happening as staff members find themselves spending more time on tasks than they first anticipated, leading to a frantic situation where the focus is on just getting the work done rather than on completing it in the most cost-effective manner.
Project managers need real-time insights into the time that team members are spending on the project so they can reallocate resources as necessary to keep costs down while maintaining a high project standard. It’s not efficient to wait until the end of a project to analyze how many hours were spent on specific tasks as, by then, it’s too late to make any changes. If you don’t have this deep, granular visibility into how staff members are spending their time, you won’t know for sure whether a project was profitable or not.
Function Point’s agency management software provides a platform that accurately tracks time and updates timesheets across the entire system in real time. This software can track the time employees are spending based on projects, tasks and other parameters, providing quick visualizations so you can immediately see if something needs to change.
3. Forecasting team resources
Successful resource management not only consists of the analysis of team resources in real time, it is also essential to predict future project requirements. By assessing upcoming requirements, agencies have visibility into when they need make adjustments such as hire additional staff or outsource to freelancers. If agencies don’t analyze future requirements, they could be left scrambling to find resources, paying a premium when outsourcing last minute, or left with a full time staff member when a short-term freelancer was all that was required.
This carries financial risk as well as reputational risk, as frequently firing staff who were hired to fill the wrong need can damage business reputation. Potential applicants may decline in a time of need and clients may feel unsettled with the frequent staff turnover.
Function Point software visually shows staff’s project scope, timeline, and overall workload, allowing Project Managers have a real time understanding of what projects staff have coming up, allowing them to forecast the project scope to come. This gives project managers a clear understanding of what resources are required, as well as when and how they are needed, providing plenty of time to secure the right resources with appropriate skills.
Learn more about how you can overcome common resource management issues in your agency using centralized agency management software by booking a free demo with Function Point.