• en

When foresight is 20:20 – Early resourcing

Authored by Rob Bruce, Kimble’s Vice President – Sales.

Consultants are smart people. It’s why they can command the big bucks and the respect they do for projects that, at their best, seem almost clairvoyant for their ability to predict and plan for the future their clients want to come to pass. But it’s about more than intelligence: it’s also about hard graft and Herculean efforts to keep themselves at the top of their chosen field of expertise. Oh, for the simplicity of a crystal ball!

Perhaps it’s because their best thinking is saved for clients that many consulting organizations are likely to miss a few tricks when thinking about their own futures – particular in that hectic phase when growth begins to accelerate. Project resourcing is a prime example.

A small firm of only a few consultants meets its resourcing needs largely by word of mouth and collective knowledge. Everyone knows what’s in the pipeline, how likely it is to land and when, what skills will be required, who’s got them, and when they’ll be available next. Reach a certain size, though, and that’s no longer possible. Worse, people get so excited about the firm’s growth, they start to view resourcing as just another bit of admin work without appreciating the subconscious strategy that went into it in the early days.

If you want your business’ growth to be smooth, sustainable and quick, you can’t afford to lose sight of the role that resourcing effectively – and early – has to play. Effective resourcing means less bench time and therefore higher margins: this much we all understand. But if you can maintain a seamless link between pipeline resourcing requirements and upcoming resource availability, you’re cooking with gas.

If resource managers can see what’s in the pipeline, including the skills and timelines required, they can:

  • Make sure the most appropriate consultants are available at the right times
  • Minimize potential resourcing conflicts (whether a result of competing project requirements or project manager preferences)
  • Match people to roles that help develop them professionally, breeding job satisfaction and company loyalty
  • Contribute to more accurate financial projections

Meanwhile, if senior management has a view of both the pipeline and the resourcing projections, it can:

  • Maximize utilization by strategically directing business development efforts to match the talent likely to be available
  • Win more business by lending benched consultants to pre-sales efforts
  • Identify how the demand for different skills rises and falls, which lets it manage training and recruitment accordingly, flex pricing to reflect supply and demand, or even suggest investment in the creation of a new services portfolio

And the further out the pipeline goes, and the more current every detail of potential projects is kept, the more powerful these capabilities become. It’s not quite a crystal ball, but it’s probably as close as we’re going to get.

As a small consultancy, you had that capability, even if you didn’t realize it at the time. Ever think that life may be more exciting in growth mode, but it was certainly easier in the early days? Those aren’t rose-tinted spectacles you’re looking back through: you had that link between pipeline and resourcing then, but lost it somewhere along the way. You can get it back – it just needs to move from word-of-mouth to a more formal mechanism – and then you can keep it (and use it) for good. And if you’re truly serious about unlocking scalability in your organization, you need your foresight to boast that sort of perfect vision.