Projects come and go. Duration of projects varies and different kind of expertise is needed. Somewhere inside the organization there might be a lot of work force available and somewhere more resources are needed quickly. The demand and supply do not meet. There could be an expert with just the right skills somewhere in the organization, but the information does not flow. The more there are different employee locations, the more complicated it gets. Thus, resources are being wasted. This particularly affects companies that do billable project work. Does it sound familiar?
It is challenging when employees and teams are not physically in the same places. The amount of remote work is constantly rising. Offices are located on the other side of the world. Tacit knowledge is not always visible. This poses a wide range of practical challenges in project-driven expert work. If the data is in different locations (in Excels, hard drives and memory sticks, for example) the information is not very reliable. In this blog, I’ll introduce four different ways one can increase the flow of information through resource management between several different locations.
1. Keep the big picture clear in resourcing.
Flow of information is crucial when teams and experts are physically in different places. If the company wants to succeed, project work must go smoothly. Naturally, the billing ratio is an essential indicator. Usually, there are dozens or even hundreds of detached plans in Excels or various project plans, which should then form a big picture of the billing ratio. A good and up-to-date flow of information gathered from different locations helps to streamline operations and keep the entire organization on track of what's going on holistically. Monitoring invoicing rate is important, so one can see how the company is doing.
2. Mutual resourcing, mutual ground rules.
What if everyone had the same ground rules in project work? In that case, the strongest, most persuasive or loudest will not win the competition for experts, but everyone will have an equal opportunity to get manpower for their projects. Also, different offices and locations are treated more equally. With proper resource planning tool, one no longer has to holla loudly in the office hallway “who will join my project team?”. The resourcing information can be found in a centralized system.For project managers, good resourcing makes work more efficient. Also, it will be prevented that a key expert is being taken to another project when the first project is only halfway through. The project manager gets peace of mind and stability in the project team because there will be no surprising changes in the experts’ resource planning.
3. Chinese-speaking bridge engineer? Make the skills visible!
There might be a lot of tacit information when employees are not physically present. There might be casual coffee room conversations about projects and experiences in previous jobs, for example.When the experts are working remotely, there is less everyday chit-chat among colleagues. Thus, the flow of information decreases. In that case, it may go unnoticed that there is know-how that would be needed right now in another office in a neighboring city or even on the other side of the world.It is quite useful for the managers and the HR to see the expertise of the employees from one place. Do we have Chinese-speaking colleagues? Will there be a new bridge project? If there is suitable expertise, managers will find it out quickly. If there is no suitable expertise, new recruitments or subcontracting can be made. In addition, employees can be provided with training on topics that are popular. It is also easier to find a substitute for a sick person, even from another office location.
4. Give peace of mind to your experts.
Everyone wants information about their own work and projects, whether working remotely or on the spot. How long will I still be working on this project? What will I do next month? What kind of projects have I been assigned to in the Fall?Good resourcing gives peace of mind to the experts. When one sees upcoming projects at one glance, the uncertainty about one’s own work disappears. Also, no one gets to drag the expert for other, unplanned projects.Projects on a timeline. It is easy for employees to see at one glance the content and duration of their own projects.
Aiming for more flexible project work
Silverbucket matches precisely with the need of project-oriented organizations. When using Silverbucket, one can focus on resourcing from the perspective of an individual expert, a project, an entire project portfolio, certain expertise or a customer. Resource planning is the guiding star of our entire tool.Good resource planning will make project work more flexible in the future. When building expert teams, it no longer matters who works in which office. Instead, teams will be built based on who has the most appropriate skills – regardless of location.
Tuomas Mikkola, CEO
Read more about Silverbucket’s resource planning tool here.