Full Sail Partners Blog

10 Most Common Resource Management Problems

Every professional services firm works to distinguish itself by the creativity, effectiveness and execution of its services. But more often than not, the reality is that these firms tend to succeed or fail based on how effectively they overcome the most common resource management problems.  

  1. Resource Management, Resource Management Problems, ERP, Deltek VisionMissed project deliverables and deadlines — Getting the work done on time sounds simple, but it’s not. It’s a complex balancing act involving creativity, quality control, resource management and much more. If you don’t have sound processes in place, all the best thinking in the world won’t mean a thing.
  2. Ineffective documentation on billable hours — What creative person wants to hear that their success might rely in part on basic accounting skills? For professional services firms, effectively managing billable hours is one of the biggest factors in profitability, and thus, lasting success.
  3. Lack of project resource visibility — A firm’s management needs to be able to quickly understand what projects are underway for which clients. Essentials include progress on milestones, technical issues and how, when and where resources have been allocated.
  4. Assigning the wrong people to teams — Each project requires a team with the right insights, talents and other qualities. As Deltek’s Bob Stalilonis observes, “In an industry where the workforce is one of its greatest assets, staffing processes can be either a boost to profitability or a thorn in the side.”
  5. Accounting and project management disconnect — Using several different tracking systems for key financial and project data can waste time, cause frustration, and increase the likelihood of data-related errors. Also, managers are less able to quickly respond to cost, scheduling or resource issues.
  6. Inefficient cash forecasting — Some firms are good at this, and others, not so much. It’s a complicated discipline (involving such areas as accounts payable and receivable, taxes, regulatory compliance and more), and without resource allocation to a timeline, there’s no way to forecast cash from projects.
  7. One-off spreadsheets and workarounds — Not all solutions are created equal or, for that matter, shared equally with the right people. Too often, spreadsheets and other workarounds exist in silos across a firm, leading to duplicated efforts, incomplete solutions, missed opportunities and unprofitable projects.
  8. Under-informed decision-making — Resource management problems always involve information in one form or another. Whether the information regards projects, teams, or human and other resources, it adds up to a large dataset that management must have at their fingertips before making any big decisions.
  9. Failure to meet financial reporting standards — Depending on their market, professional services firms often need to comply with various EVM (Earned Value Management) reporting regulations. It may not be rocket science, but failing to ensure metric reporting compliance can result in firms not getting reimbursed on contracts.
  10. Missed opportunities in business capture — Organizing and managing the work of business development teams is a complex, high-stakes process. Firms that find an effective way to do so tend to not only optimize their ROI and profitability, but also ensure just-in-time hiring or business development.

Of course, this list is really just a starting point — and depending on your firm, there are probably some resource management problems that may not belong in the top ten, or others that should appear right at the top of list. 

But whatever the core problems you face, and whether you manage them with in-house staff using ERP software and other solutions, or outsource them altogether, they must be addressed. Nothing can sink a firm deeper, or faster, than failing to properly handle these basic resource management problems.