(Originally appeared on Deltek’s blog on March 25, 2021)
Resource management is crucial for A&E and Consulting firms – but few have an effective planning structure in place. Here are three recommendations for getting it right.
Great resource planning is the key to maximizing utilization, productivity, and profitability. Done successfully, resource planning helps project managers, leaders and planners make more informed decisions and see that project demands are being met. And while it’s always been important, effective resource planning is more critical than ever for Architecture, Engineering and Consulting (A&E and Consulting) firms that want to thrive.
Yet many firms don’t have a clear, effective resource planning structure in place. Too many companies rely on gut feeling, overburden the same project team or leverage outdated processes to allocate resources, rather than utilizing accurate, timely information. So, as flexibility and agility become ever more important in the A&E and Consulting industries, it might be time to rethink how you handle resource planning.
To showcase the benefits of a more structured approach, we’ve put together a practical guide on the future of resource planning. As a taster, here are three recommendations from the guide on optimizing your teams, schedules, and processes.
Supportive leadership is a crucial place to start
Whether it’s embracing a new solution, implementing new processes, or getting rid of bad habits, change always starts from the top – and that’s just as true for resource planning. Consistency, efficiency and communication need to be driven and supported by the leadership team, project managers and department heads, to ensure every person in your team knows what they’re doing, when, and why.
For leaders, the first steps to creating stellar project teams include defining everyone’s responsibilities, setting expectations and holding people accountable if processes aren’t followed or tasks aren’t completed. If this step isn’t taken, planning can be inconsistent or responsibility could fall to the wrong people. And both of these outcomes can have a significant impact down the line.
Regular, consistent scheduling is key
Selecting the right team for your project is key; you’ll need to create a clear and accurate schedule to ensure efficient delivery. This can be broken down into three steps.
First, project managers need to identify the resource requirements of each project. Next, the project team needs to be reviewed and finalized based on capacity, skills and experience. Finally, as architects, engineers and consultants get on with their individual tasks, regular progress and team assessment can help keep projects on track.
With a consistent schedule that links up every component of the team, everyone gets a full picture of resourcing going forward. And with a set of discrete, defined tasks with clear timelines and budgets, everyone understands their responsibilities – and the consequences of not completing tasks on schedule.
Avoid over-complicating your processes
As the old saying goes, sometimes less is more. With resource planning, it can be tempting to plan every single process down to the last detail. But the more complicated your processes become, the harder they are to follow – and the less likely your people are to stick with them.
It’s much easier for your teams to follow a quick and simple protocol, especially if you’re providing a structured process that fits neatly into their schedule. And by avoiding unnecessary complexity in daily tasks, you can be more confident that every step of a project will be completed accurately. As a result, leaders won’t need to intervene as much, and projects are more likely to stay on time, and on budget.
The future of resource planning is here
With the right approach, A&E and Consulting firms like yours can take their resource planning to the next level. And that means streamlined projects, better outcomes and happier employees.
The three steps we’ve outlined are a good start, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg. To find out more, take a look at our guide: The Future of Resource Planning. It’s packed with practical tips, as well as insights into today’s resource management challenges and the solutions that can help you meet them.