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Kimble PSA Puts New Levers Into the Hands of Project Managers – by Charles Gustine

By Charles Gustine, Customer Education Consultant, 

Project managers have always played a key role in delivering top-notch performance in the services industry. Bringing in Kimble Professional Services Automation (PSA) doesn’t change that. In fact, it makes project managers even more important. Used right, it helps them to punch above their weight and drive improved performance for the whole organization.

Kimble Professional Services Automation creates the potential for services organizations to scale more successfully, to grow more rapidly and to operate more efficiently. But the technology doesn’t do this by itself – the people who use it do that. In this blog, I will look at how Kimble PSA helps project managers to succeed in their role.

Why is the role of a project manager so central?

Some might ask if the power of AI means the management of this process could just be automated. A project involves agreeing to take on tasks and activities at a certain price. Surely we could just inform the resources they’ve been engaged for a project, or have a system do that for us, and track their time and expenses as they come in, burning down the scoped hours?

The reason that doesn’t work past a certain point – the reason it is not a scalable solution – is that there is no way to tell from the time resources enter whether the project is being delivered on time or on budget. Just because a consultant booked 20 hours against a project scoped for 80 hours does not mean that there are necessarily 60 hours left to complete the project. What did those 20 hours mean in the real world?

The project manager has to track the real-life progress on a project and see where it is deviating – or even better – proactively, where it might deviate – from a project plan.

In the past, in businesses using spreadsheets or homegrown systems, this was an uncertain process. The project manager may have been scrambling simply to get enough basic information on a project to work out what had happened retrospectively. But Kimble PSA means project managers can do this better and more consistently, and crucially, it lets them work out what’s coming rather than what already happened – it effectively creates new levers to give them more control over their projects.

The augmented intelligence that is embedded in Kimble is there very much to support the project manager and to help them succeed in their role.

What are the levers Kimble gives Project Managers?

  1. Visibility into the commercial basis of the project;
  2. The data to make informed decisions more quickly;
  3. Simple ways to maintain and update the project plan so that the visibility is paid forward.

Let’s look at these in more detail.

1 Visibility into the commercial details of the project

Sharing the commercial detail of projects with the project managers becomes much easier to do with Kimble PSA.

A project manager who is blind to the commercial aspects of a project will be more likely to make decisions that prioritize time, scope, and quality without taking budgetary implications into consideration. Granting real-time visibility into the implications of any decision on project margin means project managers will not only be more likely to prioritize budget, it also means they will also be more aware of the potential effect of changes in scope or in resourcing on the profitability of the project.

Part of this is also making sure projects are appropriately scoped to begin with. Kimble PSA allows the sales and delivery teams to collaborate more effectively as they scope a project. Involving the project manager as early as possible, while scoping and expectation setting, creates an opportunity to identify and foreground risks and the most challenging aspects of the engagement while clearly defining what is in scope with the customer.

Sharing commercial information at an early stage with the project managers helps to ensure that the plan is realistic. They are likely to raise a red flag if the project is looking as if it is unviable or the margin is unattainable. It helps to set the standard that the baseline margin of the project should be clearly tracked.

2 The data to make informed decisions more quickly;

Now that the commercial decision to sell this project at this rate has been taken, the project manager undertakes to manage against that plan – that means delivering on time, on budget, to the right scope, and to the right level of quality. Using Kimble, project managers can become accountable for delivering projects profitably.

Kimble helps PMs:

To keep track of the budget:

  • by calculating the standard cost of resources, so as to see how changes to their effort will affect the margin.
  • by offering an easy way to see the current projected margin and compare it to the baseline.

To keep track of the project timescale:

  • by showing what has been done, and what remains.
  • by showing how changes in a project’s scope or time are likely to affect the outcomes. It does this by alerting them of:
    • missed milestones,
    • unresolved or “red” project issues,
    • or sudden changes in total project days.

In addition:

Having an operational dashboard in Kimble makes it much easier to continually check the progress of the project.

Using change management makes it possible to split out scope changes and track them separately.

Augmented intelligence can offer insights into what the next step should be.

3 Simple ways to maintain and update the project plan so that the visibility is paid forward.

The project manager is tasked with having the discipline to keep the system up to date. Doing this means that the visibility they have must be shared with others across the business – meaning the implications of resourcing changes are obvious to the resourcing team, implications for the revenue are highlighted, period close can happen on schedule at the end of the month and the weeks can be tallied too. Resources on the project must have the right level of visibility so they can make the right decisions about how to deliver services. Customer value visibility – visibility which can be granted through the Kimble Customer Community. This means they can collaborate more effectively with the service team and the project does not hit any roadblocks or bottlenecks. Executives must have the right level of visibility too so that they can see opportunities across the business and make strategic decisions.

The information Project Managers maintain in Kimble gives the basis for forming a better idea of what deals should look like in the future. Capturing data about failures as well as about successes is valuable. This helps to build appropriate contingencies into projects and to learn what risks will affect project profitability the most.

In conclusion, Kimble PSA equips project managers with the knowledge they need to generate greater profits and to manage timely, quality projects that satisfy the clients without burning out resources. Adopting Kimble can set project managers up for greater success and increase their profile within a services organization.