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Gantt Charts Versus Product Roadmaps

  • Jul 25,2019
You’re using the wrong tool for project planning. It’s an easy mistake for any over-stressed project manager to make. These days, project managers have so many helpful tools for planning and organizing teamwork.

In fact, a lot of people get caught on when to use a Gantt chart, and when you should use a product roadmap instead. So what is the difference?

We’ll take a look at the problems that Gantt charts are made to solve, and what sets apart a product roadmap to figure out the best situations for using each of these organizational tools.

What is a Gantt Chart?

Henry Gantt was a consultant who needed a way to schedule and record work, so about 100 years ago, he would invent Gantt Charts.

Gantt set out to create something that would visually remind him of when project tasks need to happen, and how they fell within the big picture of the project at hand. Thus, the Gantt chart was born.

A Gantt chart is a bar chart that shows the schedule of a project. Each task is color-coded and has its own bar. It’s pretty simple. These task-bars go on the chart, and you can arrange the bars to show the order in which the tasks have to be completed so you can meet the project’s deadline.

When two tasks or more tasks are related, it’s called a dependency, and Gantt charts are great at showing dependencies. That way, you can know when specific tasks need to happen for every project to meet its deadline and its budget.

Gantt charts also show the critical path, which is how much time it will take to complete the longest group of dependencies. A project can have several critical paths, which let you know what your milestones will be, as well as your deliverables.

What is a product roadmap?

For the sake of comparison, product roadmaps can be thought of as a subcategory to Gantt charts. They can also be highly visual to help map and plan a project but differ in that they’re only used for product development plans.

Because of this specific use case, product roadmaps tend to be a more high-level summary of the development project broken into phases or key milestones that may align with general deadlines and dependencies. Used as a guiding document for product planning, they can be adjusted to best fit the needs of individual products and how each company wishes to visually present their plan.

A product roadmap can also include additional information not crucial to project planning pending the different audiences it’s shared with beyond the developers. For example, customers, board members, investors, and other internal departments, may all have an interest in a product roadmap and need further context around the phases.

Additional questions your product roadmap may answer:
  • What specific problem does each product solve for your consumers?
  • What risks will your firm need to take in order to create its products?
  • How consumers will use your product(s)?
  • What solutions can you offer for the risks your firm will accept in order to create its product(s)?

  • The best part of a product roadmap is that it’s flexible. Roadmaps are meant to be changed when your firm’s understanding of the development phase changes.

    However, Janna Barstow, CEO of several management firms, advises being careful of how many variables you make flexible in your product roadmap: “the more you add to the roadmap and the further down the line you get, the harder it becomes to manage.”

    Finding the right balance in a project like product development that has many unknowns and unforeseen roadblocks can be tricky. Which is why you may want to consider using Gantt charts within the internal development team to keep each phase of your roadmap on track.

    Let’s dive into the appropriate use cases for each tool, now that you have a better understanding of their key purposes.

    When to Use a Gantt Chart and When to Use a Product Roadmap

    To break it down, product roadmaps are to be used for the planning of product development milestones. How granular and specific you get with a product roadmap is up to your team and the audience you wish to share the roadmap with.

    Gantt charts can then be used for the more specific phases within your roadmaps that need to be broken out into structured deadlines and dependencies for your development team to stay on course.

    In addition to that, Gantt charts are built to be a strategic framework that is applicable to any project. Consultants, engineers, architects, marketing teams, anyone who has a project they want to stay on course can use the Gantt chart structure to help them succeed.

    If you’re ready to see what you can do with Gantt charts and planning tools in a top-rated project management software, then request a free demo of BigTime today, and see all the tools available to you.

    • Jul 15,2019
    It isn’t easy to be a good project manager, and it’s even more difficult to do excellent project management. Your projects are always moving, and you have to hit your targets, every single time.

    If you aren’t keeping an eye on projects and people, then you’re meeting deadlines, or working your magic to stay under budget. Every time a deadline passes, you feel like you just barely made it, and you know there must be a better way.

    Of course, there is. In this blog post, you’ll learn four steps for using a resource management tool to amplify what you already do well as a project manager. See how a basic project management software can make the most of your talents for managing projects, people, and budgets.

    Step One: Figure Out What You Want to Solve

    Say what is it that you want to fix. As the staff of the Harvard Business Review writes: “Planning is really about defining fundamentals: what problem needs solving, who will be involved, and what will be done.” So know what problem you can use project management to solve.

  • Until you identify what you want to accomplish, you won’t know if you’ve been successful or not, so be as specific as possible:

  • What problem does the project solve?

  • Once you know what you want to accomplish, sort out who can help:

  • Who should be involved in the project?
    What should be each person’s role?

  • Now is the time to think ahead to how you’ll allocate each staffer to a critical role in your project:

  • What will be the steps to completing the project?
    What’s your project’s status, today, and what tasks will it take to meet your deadline?

  • Then think about your firm’s resources:

  • Do you have someone on staff to complete every project task?
    Does your staff have everything it needs to do the project?

    Write down in detail what your staff will need to do to complete the project, and the resources they’ll need to do it, as well. Now that you’re aware of your project’s scope and resources, let’s make a plan.

    Step Two: Make a Plan

    You know what you want to do, who you have available, where you are today, and what your deadline is, so let’s make a plan to get you there. Start by going backward: begin at your deadline, and fill in the details, including the people, the available resources, and the project milestones. That way, you’ll be less likely to run out of resources toward the end of a project.

    In a project management tool, you can use the task editor to enter project tasks and to assign tasks with budgets and deadlines. That means a project manager can use the software’s dashboard to keep an eye on how all of their projects are performing, including people and budgets, all the way down to a project’s individual tasks. It makes a project manager’s work much easier.

    When you’ve entered the project’s tasks, and when you know you want to work on the project, the next thing to do is to use the software’s resource allocation tool to officially assign tasks to staffers. But if you know project management, you know how quickly your plans can change.

    If you have changes to make to the project, you can use resource allocation to adjust your plans, and see how your changes would affect the project’s deadline and budget. Having all of your planning tools in one place makes your work on projects so much easier.

    Step Three: See if Your Plan is Working

    You’ve identified why you’re doing this project, and you’ve allocated the resources your staff will need. Now it’s time to see how your staff is performing, not only so you can manage their progress, but so they’re aware of their performance.

    A team that’s working in the dark isn’t really a team, at all, so give your staffers all the information they need to do their best work. Besides, you know that lots of conflicts arise from miscommunications, and good planning should help you avoid problems.

    A project management software enables you to create professional-quality reports to show your staffers, your management team, or your clients. These customizable reports can show each staff member’s percent-complete by task, the overall performance of any project, and which employees are the most productive.

    If something isn’t going according to plan, you can be proactive, and get in touch with your client to ask for additional hours to be allocated for the project. In case that isn’t feasible, a resource allocation tool allows you to reconfigure your project’s schedule, so you can see what’s possible for your firm to accomplish.

    Step Four: Make Any Necessary Changes

    If you’ve put your plan in place, and your reporting tool tells you that something has gone wrong, then you’ll have to make some changes. That’s where resource allocation can be really useful for helping project managers adapt to change.

    A resource allocation tool updates in real-time, and includes dashboards that show your staffers’ performance, the status of project tasks, the budget status, and your current revenue. All of this information is vital for making decisions about what you can do to meet your projects’ deadlines and budgets.

    Project management software will give you the power to make the kinds of changes, big or small, that will bring your projects to completion. Most importantly, you’ll know for sure whether a project is on time and on budget, every time.

    Get in touch with us today to schedule a demo of BigTime, our top-ranked, user-friendly software for project managers.

    • Jun 28,2019
    Managing a professional services firm the manual way can be tedious, time-consuming and at times feel disorganized, but you know this. Often the first signs that your firm is in the right spot to invest in a professional services automation (PSA) software comes from internal struggles. It may be difficult to predict your revenue cycle, invoices are a lengthy process for every client, and double data entry haunts you in your sleep.

    Making a new software investment is daunting for small firm leaders. In some cases, it may even seem unnecessary if you or your team are able to accomplish the work, even if it takes you double the time needed.

    “Proof of value” is a common request of CIOs at larger companies, and if you’re pioneering for a PSA software to help lighten the firm’s workload, using a proof of value model is the best way to help your firm leaders see the light. Vocalizing the internal struggles are a good place to start, but the below value messages are what will drive home the idea that’s it’s time to work smarter, PSA software checks all the boxes to do so.

    Measurable Impact on Business Performance

    Firms who utilize a PSA solution can expect an increase in growth margins. Simply put the automation of each phase of your engagement lifecycle leads to an increase in productivity and profitability.

    By tracking time, expenses, budgets and resources all in one place, it’s easy to stay on top of important business KPIs to ensure things never go off track and be able to forecast accurately for the future. Customized reports can be pulled in real-time for the leadership team, rather than having to compile data from Excel sheets and hope for accuracy.

    Tracking those key metrics also allows for stronger staff management and allocation on projects. More insights into staff’s time available and project status allow for a more productive workforce with a decrease in bench time.

    Strength in Consolidation

    When most firms first start out, they grow by adding on systems or technologies to solve individual needs as they come up. There may first be a need for time tracking, then project planning, until their tech stack starts to look like a spider web.

    Once a PSA software is introduced, many of the operational technologies previously needed can be consolidated. Much like a game of telephone, the fewer links it takes to function properly a higher accuracy level and lower error margin can be expected.

    For the technologies that are still valuable for feeding information into your PSA hub, integrations come into play. Instead of spending extra effort managing a CRM and accounting software in addition to a new PSA tool, you can integrate the cloud-based systems to talk back and forth seamlessly. This reduces the time spent on the double-entry of data and allows each system to do its job in flow with one another.

    Direct Improvement for Customers

    Last but not least, the important value for your leadership team to see if how it will provide direct improvement for their brand’s relationship with customers. With an improved and more synchronized internal workflow, invoices and projects are more likely to be generated on time and with accuracy.

    Invoices can also be customized to show branding and give your firm the same representation as a larger organization. Being able to improve your project and business management has a direct overflow into your customer retention based on their perception of your work quality and professionalism.

    If they’re still uncertain, the best part of it all is everything is measurable with a PSA software. You’ll be able to see the results and track the improvement in your firm to see if your custom structure within the software is working for you.

    To learn more about BigTime’s PSA software or to use a free trial of our tool to see if it’s the right fit for your firm, request a personalized demo here.
    solving common consulting challenges

    • Jun 24,2019
    Every business has its own set of challenges. If you work or own a professional services firm, you most likely spend the bulk of your day solving problems for other businesses offering expert strategy, advice or skillset. But, while your busy helping clients succeed it’s easy to lose sight of the operational side of your firm.

    So who helps you? This is where professional services automation (PSA) software comes to the rescue.

    We’ve heard from many of our clients over the years, and when it comes to a growing firm the pains always seem to be the same. If you are faced with the four challenges outlined in this blog post – don’t worry, you’re not alone, and we even have some tips to share with you on how to overcome these hurdles when you take the backseat and let technology take the wheel.

    What does the future look like?

    Predicting what the future holds for your business’ financials can be one of the most stressful pieces of operating a small business. The solution to this is having analytics that can show your current status, averages over time, and the ability to then forecast for your next quarter or year.

    PSA software combines the data entered for time, expenses, bill rates, and operational costs to give you accurate reporting of where your business stands in real-time. Confidence in metrics makes it easier to take steps towards the future and have stronger management practices.

    Why does my team always feel spread thin?

    While your company grows there are often periods where you take on more engagements that seem exciting and manageable, but then becomes a scramble to coordinate the right people on the right projects at the right time.

    Using a resource allocation tool that is synced with your project management is vital. Many firms try to band-aid this problem with hours a month spent on staff capacity meetings and Excel documents that look more like crazy master plans than useful tools. When project planning and staff time are tracked within the same software, that’s when the magic happens. Project managers or firm leaders can easily find the right staff available for the project and how much time they have to dedicate to it.

    Once you’ve shifted to more automated project management that stores your firm’s efficiency data utilization rates can then be easily tracked. At staff and company level you can see how efficient your company is being managed and ways to avoid being spread thin or accumulating bench time.

    How can I have more cohesive information?

    As we hinted above, cohesive insights are key to success and often a puzzle for small firms that rely on manual systems for data recording. The traditional business model has groups operating in silos. Accounting owns their numbers, consultants own their time and expenses, and leadership manages bill rates and performance.

    However with the introduction of PSA software that can integrate with accounting tools to be the central hub of all your business metrics, keeping a pulse on performance and increase profitability because less of a mystery and more of a developed strategy. To protect the traditional silos, user rights can also be put in place so different groups only have access to their specific data, while the leadership team can still see the big picture in a variety of reports and dashboards.

    Where do we scale from here?

    At the end of the day, everyone is looking to grow their business. Reaching your existing numbers through strong management is important, but it’s where to go from here that most small firms are looking for the answer to.

    Here’s what we can tell you. Investing in a tool like PSA software can’t guarantee you new clients or engagements, but it will be the backbone of your organization so your internal operations are strong enough to stand up to new opportunities. When project management, staff allocation, budget tracking and invoicing all align your firm will be able to work at its optimal efficiency and the areas for growth potential will come to light.

    If you’re interested in hearing more about how our clients specifically have managed and created opportunities for growth through our platform, you can request a personalized demo of our platform here.

    • Jun 10,2019
    For smaller professional service firms, balancing the consulting you’re passionate about with the mandatory business management to run your practice can be difficult. While the client is always the priority, it’s like they say about oxygen masks before take-off, you must help yourself before assisting others.

    To keep your practice afloat and running profitably, it’s important to keep a constant pulse on your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and make adjustments to optimize your work and plan for future projects. Often firms without a PSA (professional services automation) software struggle to see their metrics or spend hours compiling data from different places into one spreadsheet to get a general idea of their performance.

    With PSA software, project, staff, and financial data live all in one place giving firms the power to access these KPIs in real time. Stronger measurements lead to better management.

    Below are the five KPIs every professional services firm should track that can be uncovered easily through automation software.

    Project Margin – What projects are turning the highest profit? Review the revenue earned minus the labor costs associated with a project to find out how successful your revenue model is and which projects, in particular, are the strongest.

    Tip for Improvement: The projects that turn a low profit, go a step further into the data to find the weak points that need to be tweaked. For example, fewer hours being budgeted than are actually required causing an increase in non-billable time.

    Delivery Margin – How profitable is my current business structure? Similar to your project margin, the delivery margin includes the overhead cost in addition to labor cost. This will give you insight into operational and internal expenses that impact your bottom line.

    Tip for Improvement: Take advantage of all the automation solutions available in the PSA software to cut down on time and money spent on internal workflows. Streamline project approvals, set up invoice templates and integrate into your accounting software to cut down on manual data entry.

    Billable Utilization – Am I using my team and resources efficiently? Track how much time is billable versus bench time, and then adjust for a higher utilization rate. By look at a combination of historical and forecast data, this stat gives you the power to boost profit from efficiency.

    Tip for Improvement: Use a staff allocation tool with your PSA software when planning projects to see which staff is available to take on more work and which staff members have too much on their plate and may affect the projects progress. This will ensure you’re making the best use of all team members time and decrease the amount of time staff spend on the bench.

    WIP (Work in Progress) Status – Are my engagements within budget? Instead of only measuring project performance at the end, project managers can play a role by staying on top of current projects with real-time analytics to make sure budgets are on track and deadlines are met.

    Tip for Improvement: When a project starts to go off course and you’re able to alert your clients as it’s happening rather than a surprise on their invoice, there may be the opportunity to budget in more hours for the project or use the resource allocation tools again to get all staff hands on deck to make sure another deadline isn’t missed.

    After you have your dashboards set up for tracking the KPIs that are valuable to you, reports can be pulled in minutes to share all 5 of these KPIs easily with your leadership team. You can also create custom user rights for staff to view analytics that is valuable to their success without sharing full business performance metrics.

    To learn more about BigTime’s PSA solution and reporting capabilities and dashboards, request a free customized demo here.

    • Jun 03,2019
    If you want to do better project management, you have to keep a close eye on your projects’ deadlines and budgets, each and every day. That’s not easy to do. The best way to avoid any mistakes is to start using resource allocation to guarantee that your firm has the time and the staff to meet every project’s deadline.

    What’s more, resource allocation can save you time and money by keeping your firm’s projects on schedule and within budget. Here are five common problems that businesses can overcome by using software to assist in resource allocation.

    1. Planning and Prioritizing Projects Remember that you’re in full control. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you’re in charge of planning your firm’s projects: there’s a lot of time and money riding on your ability to make accurate plans, and see those plans through to completion. At any point, you could make a mistake in scheduling or budgeting, and ruin the whole project.

    When your project planning includes a resource allocation software, you can schedule every step of a project to see when your project will be complete, and you can see how any scheduling changes could affect your deadline. You can even assign a project’s different tasks to different employees, monitoring the project’s progress, and making necessary changes along the way.

    In this image, you can see that when Ben Herrol was added to the project Website Updates: Task 1, BigTime’s resource allocation feature responded with Allocated: 61 to show that you’ve allocated too many hours to this project. That’s why resource allocation is valuable. You don’t want to go over budget, or off schedule, do you?

    2. Understanding Capacity It’s hard to know who in your firm is available to work on a project. That’s why one of the secrets to good project planning is capacity, which is how many hours a given employee is available to work during a month, on average.

    Resource allocation can help you make decisions based on what is most important to your firm. When you view a project by staff member, you have the power to make vital capacity-related choices for staffing projects, and to make informed decisions for the future of your project.

    In this image, you can see that Jason should work 40 hours per week (see Jason Alexander, 40.00 Hrs.), that he’s been scheduled for 28 hours during the week of December 3rd (see Totals), and that he has been given 113 hours to work the chosen period (see Allocated). Knowing that Jason hasn’t yet met his capacity, you could allocate him another 27 hours, without worrying if he’s over time. That’s really easy, isn’t it?

    3. Thinking Long-Term A huge part of resource allocation is thinking ahead to where your project and your staff will be in weeks, months, or even years. Succeeding at project management means being able to guarantee that all your projects will be under budget, and will meet every deadline, so you need a smart way to make reliable decisions about how your projects will happen.

    There are a lot of software tools available for project management, so you have to be careful. A good project management tool will prevent you from:

  • Over-allocating tasks to your project staff. Any useful software lets you know your current capacity and future capacity for any project.
  • Becoming under-staffed. A helpful tool will inform you’re understaffed, so you can make hiring decisions at just the right time.
  • Getting swamped at busy times. Every good project management software lets you restructure your project’s staffing, at any time, and shows you the results.
  • Being caught off guard when your project’s deadlines or funding change. A smart tool for project management will allow you to make changes as the situation of your project evolves.
  • Running into conflicts with other projects. Any worthwhile software will let you see all of your projects, at the same time, so you can see all of the projects your firm is working to complete.

  • That’s why, in BigTime, you can check the status of any project, or staff member, or task. As the image below shows, all you have to do is to use the navigation arrows to scroll forward or backward in time.

    4. Rolling with the Punches Nothing ever goes as you’ve planned, and when you’re managing projects, you have to be prepared to change your project planning at a moment’s notice. If at any time you need to modify a project’s staffing, timeline, budget, or scope, then a project management tool will help your firm to easily adapt to change.

    Any high-quality project management software uses dependencies to do resource allocation, which is a way of managing projects where a staffer must complete a certain task before a staffer can begin another task, to avoid wasting money and time. For example, resource allocation in BigTime has a tool called Shift Allocations that lets you move around your resources without re-entering anything, at all. Just move your resources where you need them to be.

    Once everything is in the right place, you can re-assign your staff and their tasks, and keep your project moving. In the image below, you can see what BigTime looks like when you re-assign how your project resources are allocated.

    5. Staying Informed You are the person with your finger on the pulse of every project, so you need to be able to see the progress and status of every employee’s tasks, immediately and easily. A useful project management software will update you on your firm’s projects, in real time, using elegant and informative graphics. Look at all the information you get from a quick glance at software like BigTime:

    In seconds, you can answer questions like:

  • Have I assigned all hours to all available staff members?
  • Which staff member is logging the most hours on a particular project?
  • Is a project on budget, right this second, and will it be on budget next month?
  • What staffing changes would you need to make in order to get back on budget?
  • Who has hours available, tomorrow, to work on a last-minute project?

  • If you need to make a big decision based on the best information you can find, a project management software will create reports using your resource allocation data, showing you everything you need to make smart choices.

    You can even run reports based on resource allocation to do revenue forecasting. Whether you’re forecasting by project, or across staffers, you can learn which months you’ll be cash-flow positive, or which staff members will most likely to make the most revenue during the next quarter. Any top-tier Project management software gives you two ways to predict your firm’s revenue:

  • Hourly Revenue Projection (as rate * budget): do revenue forecasting based on an employee’s hourly rate.
  • Fixed-Fee Revenue Projection (as % of overall budget): forecast revenue using a fixed amount that you set for a client.

  • For example, here is what revenue forecasting looks like in BigTime’s resource allocation tool:

    When you look at everything you have to do to be good at project management, it can feel a little overwhelming, but there are a lot of excellent tools to help you do your best. Even when you’re at the top of your game, a top-rated project management software like BigTime gives you every tool you need for resource allocation, whenever and wherever your firm’s projects demand.

    See what project management software looks like by requesting a demo of BigTime.

    prioritizing tech spend bigtime

    • May 30,2019
    Spending money to make money is a fine line for any company to walk. Add in the stress of a growing business where investments can feel like they’ll make or break your success and it can be like walking a tightrope.

    For smaller firms in fast-growth years, investing in new technology is not an easy choice but necessary to reach their full potential. Professional services firms see an average of 11% increase year-over-year, and according to Spiceworks’ State of IT Report, 57% of smaller companies surveyed cited their reason for purchasing new technology to business growth.

    Certain aspects of businesses could always benefit from the latest technology/software, but there may be cost-effective alternatives to get the job done in a relatively efficient manner. Other processes are more prone to struggling to keep up with growth due to an increase in manual roadblocks.

    According to Capterra, “SMBs are allocating budget to four business technologies: finance and accounting, cloud computing, data security, and digital marketing.”

    Of the surveyed respondents, 54% believe software that assists with the financial aspect of their business is their top priority, followed by 40% choosing project management solutions. Capterra’s report also sites that poor accounting practices that cause cash flow problems are the primary reason small businesses’ fail.

    Following this status quo of prioritizing financial tools, after purchasing a strong accounting software like Quickbooks, investing in a PSA (Professional Services Automation) solution will add an extra layer of security to your business strategy. PSA software improves the efficiency of internal workflows and increases accuracy in the data pushed to your accounting software for quick ROI. Many PSA tools also come with key project management features to keep teams accountable for project deadlines, budgets and use of time.

    Much like building a house, once a strong foundation is in place with an accounting and PSA software to ensure your business is prepared for any storm, other “finishings” can be prioritized to create the strongest tech stack for your firm.

    Here are our three quick tips for prioritizing your tech spend after the basics:

    Think long term – When evaluating software, it’s important to look for a tool that will grow well with your company. Purchasing something up front that offers more sophisticated solutions in the hopes of one day needing all of them may end up dragging you down from ever getting there, with too many clunky features and a high price point. Look for software that offers different package levels that are appropriate for what features/spend fit your firm today and where they can grow into tomorrow. Additionally, resorting to quick band-aids or solutions that fit only one project/problem are probably not worth your money in the beginning.

    Listen to your employees – Some pain points are obvious at every level of the company, but others might be hidden behind the hard manual work of your employees/coworkers. Just because certain work is getting done by the deadline, doesn’t always mean it’s the smartest way to do it. Investing in a technology that streamlines those processes to eliminate the hours of manual work will open up time for other projects and opportunities.

    Take your time searching – Time is valuable, but making a decision too soon without thoroughly evaluating your options can lead to problems. For most software, the primary investment is made up front when paying for support or training hours in addition to your subscription or service. Save yourself the headache of flip-flopping to a different software after the initial spend by receiving demos for the whole team and asking about free trial options to ensure its the right fit.

    To learn more about how BigTime’s PSA solution can reduce your firms growing pains for tracking, managing and invoicing time and expenses, request your personalized demo here.

    • May 07,2019
    For small-to-medium sized businesses, it’s common for the leadership staff to not only manage the business but also still be executors heavily involved in day-to-day client projects. This leaves little time for managing the overhead of the business and adds stress to the pressures of running a successful company. Most likely, you’re also then the person tasked with finding a solution, but where to start?

    PSA (Professional Services Automation) and PM (Project Management) software are often confused because at their core they offer the same key values of getting your business more organized and increasing productivity. Where they differ is in the way they get this done and the resulting benefits.

    In this blog post, we break down the difference between the two software, and how to evaluate your existing needs to see which solution is the best fit for your SMB.

    What is PM Software?

    Project Management software helps your individual employees work smarter. Primary features include project task management to set deadlines and to assign team members responsibilities, as well as file sharing, and communications tools.

    As a result of improved internal project workflows, you can expect to meet deadlines more efficiently and increase your clients’ happiness with your work. This, in turn, may lead to higher profits if your team is more productive and producing better client relationships.

    Any company can be a fit for the PM tool, regardless of industry, target market or project types, since the technology is built with employees in mind, rather than servicing a client. Because of this, most software has a one-size-fits-all model that your company will then have to tweak and customize to your exact use case.

    What is PSA Software?

    Professional Services Automation software helps build a smarter business strategy. Going a step further than just tracking the success of a project, PSA software is built to ultimately track and manage the success of your business.

    Features include some of the PM basics like project/task management and resource allocations, layered with time/expense tracking, budgeting, and invoicing. Custom reporting can then be built off of the data captured within the tool to measure the KPIs that are important for evaluating the success and growth of your business. Examples of this include: if your budgets are on track, where to allocate your team, what projects are turning the highest profit, and what gaps need to be filled to avoid a low revenue period.

    If used every step of the way, PSA tools will benefit not only your employees’ internal workflow struggles, and give you company insights, but also improve your client relationships. Invoices will be more likely to be generated on time, with accuracy, and in a customized format.

    Designed with professional services firms in mind, PSA tools are best suited for firms that are looking for an all-in-one solution from time tracking to invoicing. Companies that need only part of the feature set, like clock in-and-out time tracking or just project management, are better suited for a more simplified product.

    The benefit is, if you are a professional services firm that meets the needs set for a PSA tool, the product will already be tailored to your use case with minimal time spent customizing.

    To learn more about BigTime Softwares PSA solution, and to see if it’s the right fit for your firm, contact our team today.

    Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash

    • Nov 29,2018
    The internet of things (IoT) is reshaping the way we work and live, but it’s also bound to impact how project managers manage projects. Simply put, the IoT is a network of devices that use the internet to exchange information. Consider Amazon’s Dash Buttons as a small-scale example. Push your Tide Dash Button, a small device that connects to Wi-Fi, to re-order a new bottle of detergent. More broadly, the IoT is being applied to cities—collecting data to better infrastructure, monitor traffic, and improve waste management—and many other facets of life from cars to homes. The IoT certainly has a “cool factor” going for it right now. But the IoT also offers practical benefits, as we as new demands, for project managers. What’s in store for you?

    Increase Collaboration

    If you think collaboration in an IoT world means messaging staffers on Slack, think again. Interconnectivity is at the heart of the IoT, explains author Maciej Kranz in a Harvard Business Review article. He’s right: nearly 31 billion devices expected to be connected to the internet by 2020. But “interconnectivity” is not just about devices, Kranz says. It’s also about “the connections between customers, partners, and suppliers.” The “IoT is driving a shift in business structures from a one-company-does-it-all model to a let’s-work-together approach,” Kranz points out. Put another way, the IoT enables you to easily work with people across companies and industries. Consider this example: “With data analytics provided by Microsoft Azure and an informational infrastructure developed collaboratively by Industrial Scientific and Cisco,” Kranz writes, “operators now have a dashboard to remotely monitor the people, equipment, and air quality in the mine in real time.” Approach project management with the same mentality: an interconnective one that goes beyond your company walls.

    Build New Skills

    Don’t get too comfortable with your current skills. The influx of IoT breathes new life to the buzzword “lifelong learner.” The “IoT requires new technical skills, ranging from data science and systems architecture to cybersecurity,” argues Kranz, as well as the “people” skills needed for collaborative work. Understanding technical topics can help you better use and understand the tools and data at your disposal. At the same time, you may find yourself partnering more with people who already have a technical background, such as data analysts, who can help as you navigate your projects.

    Increase Productivity

    Get the data you want when you want it. That’s one benefit of the IoT. You’ll have access to more real-time and historical data, more easily. That’s useful when you’re trying to spot trends and plan for future projects. But, of course, there’s a flip slide: dealing with a deluge of data. You’ll need to become efficient at filtering information: knowing what data you’re after and stopping once you get it. Just because an endless amount of data is accessible, doesn’t mean you need to sort through it all. The IoT has already brought exciting changes, and project management isn’t exempt. Don’t fear the IoT, but rather embrace how it will enhance the way your work.

    • May 01,2018
    Have a BigTime expert show you how to access and use BigTime features when it’s convenient for you. If it sounds too good to be true, think again. We’ve put together short knowledge base (KB) video tutorials and recorded webinars to help you get up and running with BigTime faster.

    Video Tutorials

    Our video tutorials cover a range of topics, from creating an expense entry to posting invoices to QuickBooks, and they’re only a few minutes long. Below are a few videos to get you started: For more videos, go to the KB and type “video tutorial” in the search box and a list will populate.
    time billing software knowledgebase


    Maybe you’re new to BigTime or need a refresher on how to use a feature. Either way, it’s also worth checking out our recorded webinars, where a BigTime expert gives detailed explanations on important software features. Here’s what you’ll learn about in our three recorded webinars:
    • Project management: find out about BigTime’s workflow, so you can manage your staff’s workload.
    • Invoicing: discover how to use each of our invoicing calculators: manual, time and materials, and fixed fee. You’ll also learn how to set up bill rates, print or email invoices to clients, and post invoices to QuickBooks, among other topics.
    • Reporting: put your data to good use by using our pre-built and custom reports.
    We also post “how-to” videos on YouTube, so you’re bound to find what you need!