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Resource management by team

Generally, it really worries us when our approach to solving a common problem is radically different to the majority of other solutions on the market.

But not this time, because this time all the other systems are wrong.

Every professional service company we talk to is looking for resource management, even small ones who should be able to hold the data in their head.

But, actually, what they are really looking for is a combination of functionality centred on the answer to (potentially) three questions:

  • What’s my revenue forecast from pure services time, by period, for work in hand (i.e. contracted work) and how will that change given an understanding of the various jobs we may win in the near term;
  • How busy are the staff, in particular when are they running out of work, what capacity do I have; and possibly
  • When can Joe start on something new
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Resource management vs task assignment

If you’re running a services business (or just a services team), it is very common to want to know the answer to two (possibly three) discrete questions:

  1. What’s everyone doing?
  2. When do I run out of work? and
  3. If I get that new project or contract, who’s going to do it?

In order to address these questions, there seems to be a conflation of functionality in the PPM/PSA software market. Indeed, when you look at some systems, you cannot recognise them as separate questions at all. They are often addressed by simply placing employees on work for the planned duration and seeing how over or under-utilised they are.

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Just what is resource management?

We have been debating this for ages, what do people really mean when they ask us, “Do you do resource management?”

A lot of software in the PSA space claims to do this, and clearly, if you have a team of 30+ techs, knowing what they are up to is important to running an effective business.

But knowing this, doesn’t tell you what resource management is.

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Capacity management

We get a lot of enquiries from professional services and software companies stating the reason they are in the market for a PSA tool is the need to improve their resource management (sometimes referred to as capacity management). Often, this topic also includes revenue forecasting from the PS teams.

This seems to happen when a company’s professional services staff gets to around 30 people, at the point that it’s hard to keep it all in your head.

Now, we agree that understanding what everyone is doing is very important in maintaining a profitable professional services business. However, where we might challenge the thinking is the assumption that the answer to fixing the problem is implementing a PSA solution.

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