Improving the UK’s productivity levels. Resource planning tools to the rescue!

Commentators continue to bemoan the UK’s poor levels of productivity. Improving it remains the key to economic growth and better paid jobs all round. Everyone agrees that more investment in infrastructure and technology is needed to make it happen, but recent history is littered with such projects over-running on time and cost and failing to meet their objectives.

So what does this mean for your business?

In the first instance it means choosing the right projects by focusing on those that will add serious value to the organisation – and doing enough of them to make a real difference.

With the strategic projects identified, each must deliver what’s been promised. Controls must be in place to ensure delivery of their goals, on time and within budget. If progress falls behind, then re-planning the remaining work must be realistic if confidence is to be regained. If similar projects have been done before, we should learn from these projects. But have we? Do we have in place the processes and tools that help us learn the lessons from previous projects? If not, past mistakes will inevitably be repeated.

The challenges of delivering on individual projects multiplies when a portfolio of projects is required. Individual projects cannot be managed in isolation. Each competes with the others for people and financial resources. There must be confidence before each project starts that it has a fair chance of success. But how can this be, if we do cannot be sure that the necessary skills will be free, as and when required?

From a project productivity viewpoint it is necessary to know that our people are deployed effectively on the highest priority projects. We might be able to do this, just, if things don’t change. But life in a multi-project environment is not like that; unexpected change is prevalent in most projects. For each project to be successful, and in house productivity levels improve, we need to keep on top of the resource implications of every change to each project.

Greater investment in resource management tools and processes is therefore necessary. It will take some effort. Improving our ability to manage resources effectively across all our projects and respond to changes quickly does not come easily. However, excellent software tools are out there and they won’t cost the earth or take enormous effort to reap the benefits.

Because resource management software suppliers like Innate have done it all before!

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.
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