The Future of Project Resource Management in Professional Services

When it comes to PSA, automation is (literally) the name of the game. We turn to machine learning and AI to make our processes easier and cut down on the time we spend manually allocating hours and resources to a given project. Of course, it’s important we don’t neglect to factor in the very human component of taking a project from planning to execution to completion, but even as we consider the people behind the project, we can look to the upcoming trends in resource management technology to guide us toward making smarter decisions that will have a positive impact on our bottom line.

After a year that saw more companies shifting to remote work, and the inevitable disconnect that resulted from having teams scattered far and wide, focusing on your team’s people is more important than ever. In fact, 83 percent of senior executives say that strategic allocation of resources — including dollars, people, and focus — is the key driver of company growth.

But managing resources in a year like this isn’t easy. There are numerous inefficiencies that must be tackled in order to lead your teams toward a more productive and more successful future. So what lies ahead in project resource management for professional service organizations, and how is Polaris — a self-driving PSA platform from Replicon — helping you solve the challenges ahead? Read on to find out.

Project Resource Management…Today and Tomorrow

Chances are, your resource management process today looks a lot different than it did 10 years ago. And in another 10 years, it will be almost unrecognizable. If you’re still using spreadsheets and manual methods for tracking and allocating resources, you’re stuck in the past. The future of project resource management lies in automation, and with the right tools, it can be implemented in the present, too.

Here are the trends currently shaping PSA and resource management, right now…and in the years ahead.

Smart Forecasting

Project managers know there’s no way to predict the future, but there are ways to be prepared for it. And yet, nearly a quarter of PMOs attribute inadequate resource forecasting as the primary reason for project failure. Another 38 percent say their organization only sometimes, rarely, or never uses resource management for project estimation and resource allocation. At this rate, it’s no wonder projects fail to deliver on time or on budget with so much manual labor tied up in getting the right people on the right tasks.

A better, more efficient approach is to set projects and people up for success by forecasting your needs and making intelligent predictions based on availability, skills, and past performance. This data-driven approach to resource management, just like you’ll find with Polaris, ensures you have instant visibility into your resource pool in real time, so you can make accurate and proactive decisions.

Intelligent Allocation

Ever notice that resource allocation feels a little like operating an online dating site? If you’re manually allocating, there are an overwhelming number of factors to consider, and you might spend a lot of time wondering if the person who “looks good on paper” is actually the right person for the job. And just like online dating, the future of resource allocation centers around automation. You don’t need to play matchmaker when you have a tool that does the work for you, and that’s exactly what the right PSA will provide.

With Polaris, we offer customers our collaborative workflows, which allow project managers to set their criteria and submit requests based on skills and project needs. Plus, our built-in SmartMatch feature, a resource recommendation engine, will help resource managers pair the best available candidates with the tasks that need to be completed, so you’re always assured the right match.

Skill Management

Project managers in professional service organizations are putting skills front and center when considering how and where to allocate resources. Soft skills, like flexibility, leadership, and communication, are growing in importance, but they can be hard to measure.

Creating a catalog of measurable skills, like industry expertise, tools and technology, and professional certifications, will help you narrow the field and ensure the resource you’re assigning is well-equipped to handle the job. Polaris helps you design this catalog and leverage it to initiate and fulfill resource requests. Set skills by role, and make it easy to stay on top of team members’ expanding knowledge base by implementing self-service reporting and attestation.

People Power

Time may be your most valuable asset, but it’s people who will make or break your project’s outcome. Project management, particularly in professional services, is shifting away from task-based management and increasing the focus on resource-based management. But to do this effectively, you have to have real-time visibility and insight into your resources’ time. Pushing task completion, deadlines, and deliverables will never work if you don’t have the right people in the right place at the right time.

A self-driving PSA like Polaris PSA takes care of this for you, giving you a visual representation of your resources, so you can see at a glance who is available, who has scheduled time off, and upcoming holidays or closures that may impact your project timeline. Get a global perspective on your resource pool, and know in an instant which of your resources is being over- or under-utilized, so you can make intelligent, data-based decisions.

Resource management is always evolving, but the heart of it remains the same — people. Managing those people, however, takes agile, real-time insights and automation to allocate and track resources for optimal performance. Polaris PSA is a tested and proven tool to help you do that. If you want to test out Polaris and SmartMatch for yourself, schedule your live demo to see how it works today.

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Wendi Williams
Wendi Williams
Wendi Williams is a freelance writer based in Indianapolis, IN, with over a decade of experience writing for a variety of industries from healthcare to manufacturing to nonprofit.
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