How Good is the Data Being Fed to Your Resource Management Software?
Every company needs effective resource management. But even the best software is only as good as the data it relies on.
Resource management is key to every business, whether it is a legal firm booking out its top lawyers by the hour and making optimum use of its paralegals; a supermarket having the right number of tills open at the right time; a restaurant allocating tables for Christmas dinner; or a car factory having the right number of engines to slot into next week’s production schedule.
In years gone by, the allocation and management of resources was fraught with inaccuracy, guesswork and waste. Yet today, every good business has state of the art resource management software that removes the guesswork, automates the process and optimises resource allocation to maximise revenue and minimise costs, right? Well, not necessarily.
We have all heard of the phrase “garbage in, garbage out,” and any IT system is only as good as the data it has to work with. It is certainly true that the right system can provide a genuine competitive edge through all the factors we mentioned above, but only if the data is accurate and credible.
Let’s take a look at three metrics you need to consider when assessing just how good your project management data really is. We call them the three Cs.
It is essential that the data you are using in relation to the project and resources is consistent across all the schedules. In other words, there must be agreed metrics and timescales in place across the board, and every project manager must be singing from the same hymn sheet.
Look at it this way – if two projects include the same piece of work but have completely different plans for its completion, the overall picture will make no sense whatsoever.
An effective way of ensuring consistency is to create templates that include the tasks, skills and jobs that are likely to be involved, along with standardised work patterns. That way, everyone can see what is expected.
However good your resource management software is, it does not have psychic powers. If there is data missing, the outputs are certain to be inaccurate. Make sure routine, ad hoc and departmental work is all logged in the system, as well as the formal projects.
Data decays at a faster rate than you would believe possible. Unless everyone is committed to processing timesheet data regularly, the output from your resource management system will consistently be working on yesterday’s news.
As well as keeping the system constantly updated, Project Managers must also ensure they progress their plans according to the agreed deadlines. Any changes in scope need to automatically trigger a re-evaluation of the entire project.
Keeping the guesswork out
Pay attention to the Three Cs and your resource planning software can deliver all the benefits and competitive advantages that we mentioned earlier and more. Ignore them, however, and your business will be plunged back into the 20th century world of inspired guesswork.