Successful resource management optimises the utilisation of an organisation’s resources, whilst ensuring that individual project commitments will be met. Where there is a significant portfolio of projects, resource management has two key objectives which are not always compatible:
(a) Sufficient numbers of appropriate resources must be allocated to each project, so that timescale, budget and quality commitments will consistently be met.
(b) Ensure that utilisation of the resource pool, when measured across the entire project workload, remains at a consistently high level.
Innate’s software capabilities help to reconcile these objectives and can lead to rich financial rewards. A member survey by the UK Association of Consulting Engineers found that a mere 2% increase in billable hours improved their operational profits by 25%!
Resource management is a dynamic process that can be quite volatile, particularly when there is a wide range of projects in the portfolio. Innate’s range of software capabilities is sufficiently sophisticated to enable large numbers of projects to be managed across multiple countries.
This page gives an introduction to our capabilities and how they support each stage of the resource management process.
Project and services organisations often organise as a matrix. This enables Project managers to focus on client delivery and satisfaction whilst Team leaders strive for high utilisation of their staff. A sophisticated and well adhered to resource management process is required to make this work:
Resource Planning and Estimating
Once the scope of a new project is agreed, it’s time to develop a Resource plan with detailed work estimates. Innate’s resource planning interface makes this a straightforward exercise:
(a) Appropriate work breakdown structures (WBS) can be created to reflect the complexities of each project and enable top-down planning where required. A typical WBS for a large project is a Phase > Module > Task > Assignment structure. Milestones are used to highlight key project delivery dates, as in the example below:
Use of work breakdown structure and milestones
(b) Project templates and estimating metrics provide logical starting points for new plans, helping to achieve consistent work estimates across all projects.
As work estimates are entered in top half of screen, numbers in the lower half turn red as Teams when overloaded.
Visit the Project Estimating page for more details
Resource Demand vs Capacity
With the new project estimate ready for review, its work profiles are layered on top of the committed project workload to see if unacceptable resource bottlenecks arise. Individual work profiles can then be moved to maximise utilisation whilst respecting project milestones:
As changes to committed projects occur, forward loading reports show periods of new bottlenecks or unacceptable under use:
Forward Loading report identifies periods of resource over and underload, across the organisation. Click on Department link to look at loading on individual Teams.
Visit the Resource demand vs capacity page for more details.
With the demand in balance with skills capacity, the search for suitable staff can commence. In matrix organisations, the allocation process typically follows these steps:
(a) Project managers Request their required skills and competency levels for each resource.
(b) Team Leaders Propose a suitable resource.
(c) Accept or Reject. Project managers compare requested skills and competencies with those of proposed resources.
(d) Re-planning can create new Requests and the cycle repeats.
Video shows resource allocation with a simple drag and drop
Visit the Resource allocation page for more details
Project Financial Performance
Project performance is measured by comparing at each period end:
(a) Budget in work hours, based on the project plan.
(b) Effort spent to date, generally from timesheets
(c) Earned value, i.e., what’s been achieved for the effort spent.
Variances indicate the project performance to date and can be used to revise the forecast at completion, as shown below. Cost rates can be used to forecast project financial performance.
With Budget, Actual Effort and Earned Value achievement shown to date, Cost & Schedule variances can be applied to compute the Forecast to completion. Both Cost and Schedule implications are severe!
Visit the Project financial performance page for more details.
Skills and Competencies
The technical complexity of projects is increasing across all industry sectors. As a consequence, project managers are having to specify more precisely the skills and competency levels needed for successful project delivery. There may only be a few individuals that meet some requirements, but resorting to lesser skilled staff can have significant ramifications for the project. Maintaining a comprehensive skills database is the logical starting point and Innate capabilities also provide support when:
(a) Project managers need to specify the required skills and competency levels
(b) Team Leaders are searching for suitable qualified staff for allocating to the project.
Screen highlights in red a non-compliant competency level. Proposed resource, Pat Pringle, only has Intermediate ERP > Netsuite competency level when Advanced was Requested.
For more details on how we help you to manage this, visit our Skills and competencies page
Data is held in Innate’s SQL Server database and Innate’s comprehensive reports editor enables time phased reports to be easily produced. Simple criteria screens enable the required information to be presented as tables or charts, including histograms, line graphs, pie charts and target charts.
Target chart shows an average 72% utilisation level across departments, with IT utilisation much better than Operations.
The range of reports supports the key roles through their resource management process steps, from Target reports for senior managers, through to those required for support of Demand management, Resource allocation and the inevitable re-planning.
Links can easily be embedded to simplify navigation between related reports and other views.
Visit the Management Information page for more details.
Elements of Resource management data are often sourced from other systems and Innate provides sophisticated capabilities for keeping the data in sync. A common link is using the HR system as a source for maintaining the human resource data in Innate when, for example, an individual’s role or location changes. Innate can also feed data into other corporate systems.
Innate uses a well proven implementation process to ensure that system capabilities are optimally configured to meet each client’s demands. Our secure hosted systems ensure maximum up time and the fastest response to support questions and configuration changes as they arise.
You will find more details of the capabilities supplied by Innate in the related web pages, but please contact us if you need clarification.
To summarise, Our core software capabilities include:
- Resource planning with Innate’s web-based spreadsheet views
- Checking the skills capacity to take on new work and rebalancing the workload to optimise resource utilisation.
- Locating suitably skilled staff and managing the resource allocation process.
- Record (or import) how time is spent, for project tracking, metrics and staff utilisation.
- Project performance measurement and forecast to completion.
- Cost and rates management, to provide cost and income projections against project budgets.
- Well-structured management information.
- Managed data exchange with other systems, such as HR, ERP and Finance.