With post Brexit uncertainty delaying new projects, what is the best response?

As the dust temporarily settles on the Brexit referendum, uncertainty reigns. Although pro Brexiteers see only a silver lining and no sign of project fear’s downturn, many businesses remain wary and are reviewing their investment decisions. Should non-essential projects proceed as planned or be put on the back burner?

For consulting firms and contractors that rely on this project workload, these are unsettling times. If their client’s lack confidence in making commitments, the level of uncertainty will jeopardize their own profitability and even their viability.

Yet, if key resources are let go and capability decreases, they will be less competitive when going after their bread and butter projects. Attention must inevitably turn to operational costs, of which their staff levels are the most significant. With the prospect of a slowdown clashing with the need to retain key skills, what’s to be done? Productivity improvements look to be the key.

Managing multiple projects with a limited pool of resources is an exciting ride anyway. No sooner is the demand for skills in balance with their capacity than a change to a project upsets the balance. Skills shortages can appear overnight or a delay put staff back on the bench. Poor productivity levels can quickly erode operational profits.

Resource management software has an important role to play here. Forward loading reports highlight skills bottlenecks and areas of under use in all corners of the organization. So as soon as there is a change to a project plan, the impact can immediately be seen. Where resourcing conflicts arise. ‘What If…’ scenarios can show by how much lower priority work must be delayed, to free up the resources required for that important client’s contract.

Effective collaboration between project and resource managers is crucial, if individual projects are not to be affected. They must be supported through each step of the resource demand management and allocation processes.

Only with such effective systems in place will management have the required levels of confidence when making staff hire, termination and retraining decisions.

Barry Muir is a Director of Innate Management Systems Ltd. We have been implementing resource management software in a wide variety of professional services organizations for more than 20 years.
Posted in resource management