Would you use a tool that could save your consulting firm time and money? Most likely, your answer is a resounding “yes”!
Enter resource allocation. It’s a new BigTime tool that helps companies manage their resources: staffers and budgets. Knowing how and where time is being spent can ultimately help your consulting firm save time and money.
There are three ways BigTime’s resource allocation can help you manage your resources effectively.
When you create a plan, you think through how to get from point A to point B. It’s no different for project managers. They use resource allocation to plan projects from start to finish.
The resource allocation editor is where you create the project plan. Use it to add project and staff details:
- Add employees to a project and allocate the hours they work on it.
- See if you’re over or under the project budget.
- Gauge whether or not you’ll hit a project deadline.
As you fill out the allocation editor, you’ll think about a project from multiple perspectives. You may ask: Which employees are over and under capacity? Do you have the employee resources to get this project done?
The answers to these questions may incite action. Perhaps you shuffle staffers between projects in order to hit a looming deadline. Or maybe you inform your client that a project will be over budget by 50 hours. The point is, resource allocation helps keep you informed and accountable to make important business decisions.
Jim Collins writes in his book, Great by Choice, that successful business leaders practice “productive paranoia.” Collins describes it as “worrying about all the possible things that could go wrong and then building in the preparations that allow you to have options to deal with them.”
You, too, can be prepared by using resource allocation. Think about your present and future needs, as you plan months in advance. Then, take action as you prepare for various situations.
Consider these scenarios:
- You expect to land an important contract with a big project. In the allocation editor, you move your best senior engineers to this project. Then, spread out your junior engineers among smaller projects.
- March is your busy season. When using the allocation editor, you realize you need more programmers to handle the workload. So you begin looking for freelance programmers to help cover the month of March.
- Henry has been over capacity for the past two months. You reduce his allocated hours for the next several months and give Jan more hours, since she’s under capacity.
Although things are going well now, by thinking about and preparing for the future you won’t be caught off guard when you land that big contract or hit a notoriously busy time.
Feedback from resource allocation can help you hit deadlines and stay within budget. There are three ways to get feedback from BigTime’s resource allocation feature:
- Resource allocation editor. See if you’ve over-allocated hours to your employees. In the image below, we did just that, as indicated by the red “Allocated:116” in the right corner.
- Resource allocation data. Notice which employees are logging the most hours to a project and whether the project is on budget.
Based on this information, you may speak with the employee that’s logging tons of hours to the project and find out why. Or you have a conversation with your client asking for more hours to complete a project.
- Run resource allocation reports. Drill down further into project details. Resource allocation reports allow you to see how the many parts of your business fit together. You can get the answers to questions like these: Is time being spent on the right projects; and how much time did we actually spend on the project?
*Resource allocation is available to Premier users, however, existing Pro users can get a free 14-day trial. To find out more about resource allocation, contact your sales representative or email us at [email protected].
Amy Haddad is a writer at BigTime Software. She writes articles about the company’s software for product users. She also contributes blog posts on product features, company news, and workplace productivity.