Consulting organizations don’t have to grow very large before resource management becomes complex. The threshold could be as low as twenty resources, but few would argue that effectively managing more than fifty consultants doesn’t present a huge challenge, particularly in the absence of suitable processes and technology. When you have hundreds or thousands, then you really have to be on your toes.
- Where is each of our consultants this week?
- How busy are they on billable work?
- Who are the next ones due to come off projects?
- What is the future demand by role, capability or seniority?
- How confident can we be that this new business will happen?
- How reliable are the start dates?
- Who have we got that is ideal for that work, or – with help – could do it?
- What’s the profile of demand further out – do we need to recruit?
- What additional skills might we need?
- Who can we retrain?
- Which are the projects that offer a chance to develop talent?”
These questions and financially critical ones like “How do I maximize utilization and project margins?”, are hard to answer because of the complexity that arises from the constant flux in consulting organizations. Matching supply and demand is tough when timescales, progress, and availability are constantly changing. It’s this flux which makes resource management for many organizations too reactive.
In this Best Practice Guide, we will provide a description of five easy steps to better and more proactive resource management. We will presume that the reader has, or is planning to buy, a professional services automation solution – ideally, one integrated with their CRM (opportunity management) system. It is hoped that the reader already understands that spreadsheets, the most widely used resource-planning technology, are not sufficient or appropriate.