The Zoho One for Professional Services: Resource Management Made Easy
Statistics revealed that there are 5 major reasons for project failures, first is the change in the priorities of the organization; second is the change in project objectives; third is the inaccuracy in gathering project information and details; the fourth one lies in the lack of a centralized vision; and finally, the fifth reason lies in the poor ability to communicate.
Interestingly, you will notice that the 5 reasons are connected with a common thread that is the People.
The people that work in your business as a team are your prime resource. They are also responsible for the success of the project. Especially if you look at a professional Services Company, the human resource is the most important factor. This is because their business deals with providing services, which are intangible and directly based on the skill set of the team members.
Hence it is not shocking to know that 80% of the high performing projects are led by certified project managers, as they have the right training and skills to manage the team and handle the project.
So, if you own a professional services company, it is super-critical for you to have competent resources.
But managing your resource is not a simple task, especially when you’re handling multiple projects. So, in this article, we will discuss the challenges faced by a Professional Services Company when managing resource. Also, we will look through the best practices of resource management, enabled by the fantastic suite of applications from Zoho One.
So let’s hop in…
Challenges a Professional Services Company Faces in Resource Management
It is not an easy for your HR to keep your employees motivated, but still, they are doing a great job!
Because resource management brings a series of responsibilities, which nurtures a productive environment and a healthy work culture.
But keeping pace with these responsibilities can seem like a challenge. So, let’s quickly understand these 6 crucial factors that make resource management a tough nut to crack.
1. Identifying the Skill Sets
Every single person in this world holds a spark of brilliance that manifests through different talents and skills. Some have great analytical sense, some are good with visual and creative expressions, and some are just great communicators. Each human being is different, which makes the world really interesting to engage with.
As a company, you have an immense duty to identify the skill set of each resource and divide the work processes based on their individual capabilities.
Now, being a Professional Services company that aspires to be big in this industry, you have to venture into multiple projects. Not just that, to earn a big name, all the projects you deliver must reflect a spirit of perfection and professionalism. This is not possible if your team members are not being able to perform well, especially when this industry is service dependent.
So, to create an ecosystem that can function flawlessly, it is of utmost importance that you assign the right task to the right person.
Also, when you understand the skill sets of your resources, you can automatically identify the gaps. This allows you to look for effective solutions for resolving it. You can do this, either by providing sufficient training to the individual for enhancing his/her skills or hire another person who has the ability.
2. Time Management of Resource
46% of Team managers have stated that completing the project within the set deadline is the toughest, and you cannot blame them!
Managing time is important and is a serious piece of work; especially when you have to assign each resource with a particular project task and personal deadlines. This is needed as many tasks within the project are often interconnected and depend on the completion of the other.
This also means that when your resources complete their assigned tasks within the set period, it automatically results in your company delivering the project on time.
But it is easier said than done…
If we really calculate the time that each resource can use per day, then we will find it to be approximately 8 hours. This means that for 5 working days, each resource gets 40 hours a week. Hence, once you multiply this number of total hours with the total number of members involved in the project, you will get a proper overview of the time that your team can dedicate.
But here comes another side to this. Each project has different requirements that call for different levels of skill-sets and time-spans. So even if all your team members have an equal number of hours dedicated to your company, their responsibility might demand different time commitments.
Also, let’s not forget that you will inevitably deal with multiple projects.
So, if you do not manage time properly, your resources might hop from one project to the other, aiming to complete their target and getting all muddled up.
Proper time management will ensure that your team members have a better way of scheduling themselves to look after multiple projects.
3. Managing Engagement
This is a very crucial factor in a Professional Services Company, which gets resolved when you manage time well.
Managing the level of engagement towards the assigned work of each resource is important. This is because it determines the amount of the workload to be assigned to each member.
Your team leaders need to have a better way of understanding how to balance responsibilities, allocated to each member. This comprehension will help to make sure that your resources are neither over-burdened nor underutilized.
Both over-burdening or underutilizing your team members can be disadvantageous for your company. An overburdened resource will soon start to burnout and their performance will deteriorate. At the same time, an underutilized resource will start losing their grip on their skills, making them lazy and incompetent.
In this way, you will lose the talents that could have benefitted your company. So managing work engagement is the next step towards making the right decision when assigning the project tasks.
4. Monitoring Work Quality
For a Professional Services Company, the only thing that you have to offer is the human capital; experience and expertise of the people working on the project.
Your project consists of delivering specialized services that are based on your resources’ skill set, nurtured through their experience. Hence being of an impalpable nature, it is difficult to keep track of the quality issues that might appear within the project.
There are incidents of clients coming back with the projects, reporting issues. In these cases, you need to monitor the quality of your resource’s work. This will enable you to judge where the problem lies in the project and who was in charge of it. This will also help you to keep a close watch on the performance of each team member.
When you monitor the quality of work executed by your resources, you are in a better position to make critical decisions regarding the use of that resource. A member who has been flawless throughout and has always proved to solve issues dexterously, he/she can be utilized in higher aspects of the project that might benefit from his/her touch. At the same time, if you find someone not delivering an optimum quality, then you have to identify the reason behind it, to make the right decisions.
For a Professional Services Company, high quality of the work is imperative to have an excellent reputation and retain customers. So, look for the right ways to monitor the quality of work for each resource at every stage of the project.
5. Timesheet Management
It involves many factors when you manage a timesheet. This is because the daily logging hours reported by your resources result in the formulation of many other elements of the projects, primarily the billing hours.
Most Professional Services Companies have a billing system, based on an hourly model. Hence, the record of the hours required by each task within the project can determine the overall budget. This makes it highly crucial for you to manage the timesheet.
But when you manage it manually, then this can be a real challenge.
You have to centralize the time invested by the multiple resources for better visibility that can ensure more transparency. Set the time for resolving quality issues in the project. Also, keep track of the out-of-scope tasks which can be billable or non-billable.
Moreover, maintaining time logs will clearly indicate which team member is dedicating how many hours towards a particular task. This also gives you the ability to perceive the average timeline of the project.
6. Time to Delivery
In a study conducted by PwC, it was found that only 2.5% of the companies complete the entire project, whereas the rest either fails to meet all the targets or are unable to complete within the set budget and deadlines.
Delivering the project flawlessly within the proposed time and budget is extremely crucial to keep your business in the game. If you can manage your resources well, then you can join that 2.5% of the companies and increase the percentage.
Every project is unique and demands different time requirements. Some projects might be straightforward and some might be complex, all having different deadlines.
In such cases, if you have a well-defined matrix that categorizes each resource based on their performance, you can then make better decisions when assigning tasks. At the same time, you can fully utilize all the resources, while giving them the chance to en-cash upon their skills.
As mentioned a little while ago, every person is distinct in their different ways. So, some might perform well but work slow, while others might complete the work quickly but not display a phenomenal performance. You can observe and monitor these traits and categorize them accordingly.
Resources who work quick but are not well-skilled can be assigned to the tasks that are simple and need a swift delivery. Resources who are highly skilled but slow can be assigned to tasks that are complicated and have flexible deadlines.
In this way you can make justice to the project and your resources, managing the total operations competently.
How to Manage Your Resource Better with Zoho One?
If you want to manage your resources well, then you have to welcome a system that can offer you useful management features. The features should enable you with a centralized platform where you can monitor and track your resources and their associated components.
Zoho Projects, a potent application of the Zoho One bundle, can do the deal for you!
Zoho One has tons of applications, used for almost all business purposes and can be stitched together. So, if you integrate your CRM with Zoho One applications, then all your deal information will get automatically transferred from the CRM to the other applications.
Similarly, with Zoho Projects integrated into the CRM, resource management becomes easy to manage.
Let me tell you how…
Overview of the Resource
With Zoho Projects, you can easily identify the skill sets of the resources. This is because here you will get a more centralized platform to have a look at all the team members involved in the projects.
To have that access, you have to click the “Setup option” at the top right corner of the page.
It will redirect you to the setup page where you have to select the option, “Manage Users”. You will find this option on the left panel:
As you can see, when you’ll click that option, it will show you three more options from where you can choose, “Portal Users” to view your resources.
With the application Zoho People, you can manage the resources efficiently.
Managing Time and Engagement of the Resource
Zoho Projects gives you amazing features through which you can also manage the time and determine the level of engagement of each resource.
To monitor the time utilized by your resources for each task and projects, you can click the option “Reports” on the left panel :
As you click the option, it will redirect you to the Reports page, where you can have a look at how your resources are being utilized each day:
This will give you a better sense of judging which resource can deal with more responsibilities and which ones need to take a break.
As you select the option, “Legends”, you can selectively view all resources under the specific option:
In this way, you can keep track of the tasks allocated and prevent overburdening or underutilizing your resources.
A Centralized List of Reported Issues
At Zoho projects, you can also keep a close track of the reported bugs that appear while completing the project.
You will get a centralized platform, where you can see a total overview of all the reported issues. This is accompanied by the name of the reporter and also the name of the team member who has been assigned to solve it:
This will always ensure that you can maintain optimum quality. It will also be easier for you to identify the gaps reflecting via the project work.
Monitoring the Timesheet for Daily Performance
Maintaining the timesheet manually can make resource management tough and time-consuming. But With Zoho Projects, you can get an overall outline of the daily time log, reported by your resources.
Once you click the option, “Timesheet”, you can view the total hours recorded by each of your team members:
Categorizing the Resources Based on their Planned Vs Actual Delivery Hours
To assign the right resource to the right project, categorizing your resources is the most important thing. This is because you have to know which team member can handle what type of work.
You can easily do so via Zoho Projects.
Once you have entered the Reports page, select the option, “Planned Vs Actual”, located right below the top panel:
After you select this option, you will see a list of all your resources. Along with this, you can also get a detailed view of the number of hours allotted to them (Planned) vs the number of hours which they actually completed within the set period (Actual):
Once you get access to this information, you can understand who works fast and who is slow. This makes the categorization process easy.
When managing your resource, you have a heavy responsibility to deal with. Every single allotment and related decisions that you make can affect your company and your projects.
Hence, mismanagement of your resource can be fatal to your company’s work process and reputation. Also, rash decisions can affect your resource personally, which will again reflect on their work.
So, you must overcome the challenges and build a company strengthened by mutual support and well-being.
To foster an environment of internal trust and respect, you need to identify the skill set of each resource and allocate work accordingly. By doing this, everyone gets the time to use their skills. You must also ensure that the time is well distributed so that none is super exhausted or lazy. You must monitor the gaps that get reflected via the quality checks and take the appropriate steps.
All this might seem too much. But with Zoho One applications, you can manage all these factors easily. You just need to integrate your CRM system to Zoho Projects and then it will all become a child’s play.