7 Signs of Resource Management Problems and How to Solve Them

In the world of professional services, where every project is a blend of ingenuity, precision, and logistical prowess, resource management practices serve as the foundational pillars. An effective resource management system is akin to the infrastructure of a successful operation; it underpins and shapes the entire endeavor. It’s the discipline that ensures resources – whether they’re human, financial, or physical – are allocated efficiently, schedules are adhered to, and the inventive and practical facets of the project function in unison. Without robust resource management practices, even the most promising venture risks tumbling like a deck of cards. Conversely, professional services organizations with well-honed resource management practices not only sidestep this pitfall, but can thrive, expand more rapidly, and enjoy increased profit margins.

Table of contents:

Resource management problems in professional services

In professional services, managing resources often means dealing with trouble finding the right people and tools for jobs. This can cause staff to be either overworked or not used enough, people doing tasks they’re not best at, and mix-ups in who does what and when. Such problems can lead to late projects, unhappy workers, higher expenses, and less satisfied clients. To fix this, it’s helpful to use better planning and scheduling tools, make sure everyone knows what’s going on, and be more flexible in how resources are assigned.

In this article, we explore some of the problems that your resource management might require bolstering, and how adopting a strategic approach can fortify your organization’s growth and profitability.

Problem 1. Your Team Often Complains About Being Burned Out

Imagine a pressure cooker that’s been left on the heat too long without a breather; it’s eventually going to go boom. That’s pretty much what happens when folks in an organization are constantly piled up with work and never get a break. The first red flags? People start talking about feeling burnt out. Teammates might start grumbling about the non-stop workload, the crazy hours, and how their work-life balance has gone for a toss. Ignore these signs and you’re looking at your star players waving goodbye. Losing these pros can be a real downer, hitting the team’s vibe and the quality of work big time.

Solving the Problem

Having visibility into the team’s workload in real-time and being able to forecast if someone is going to be overloaded will help create more balanced workloads and improve employee well-being. Ensuring that tasks are evenly distributed, professional services companies can create an environment where team members feel valued and supported. This not only reduces the likelihood of burnout and attrition but also contributes to a more engaged, motivated, and ultimately, more productive team.

Problem 2. Your Billable Utilization Is Low

In professional services organizations, billable utilization is a key performance indicator. When it’s low, it signals that employees are dedicating a significant chunk of their time to tasks that don’t bring in direct revenue. This can be due to a range of reasons, like inefficient task distribution, too much time sunk into internal meetings or admin tasks, or a shortage of client projects. Low billable utilization hits where it hurts – the bottom line – as it points to missed chances for pulling in cash. By the way, you track billable utilization, right?

Solving the Problem

Tackling low billable utilization calls for a laser-focused strategy. To start, you’ve got to be able to break down how time is being used and pinpoint non-billable activities that can be streamlined or cut down. Following that, it’s crucial to match team members’ skills and availability with the needs of clients, ensuring that billable tasks are handed out effectively. By cranking up billable utilization, professional services organizations can amp up their revenue and ensure that their team is being put to the best use.

Problem 3. Sometimes Your Resources Are Double-Booked

Picture a lead consultant who’s crucial in the closing stages of two different projects. Two project managers, blind to the consultant’s workload, accidentally schedule this key player for their projects simultaneously. Now, someone’s got to break the tough news to a client that their project timeline is going to shift (sic). The question is, did you really have to imagine this, or just recall some repressed memories?

Solving the Problem

To dodge these mix-ups, professional services resource organizations should implement resource scheduling software that offers real-time peeks into who’s available and when. This lets project managers plan resources effectively, ensuring smooth sailing operations, happy clients, and a team that works together like a well-oiled machine. With clear, open scheduling, your organization can sidestep the cringe and fallout from double-booking mishaps.

Problem  4. Your Team Relies on Their Gut, Not Hard Data, to Pick the Best Available Resources

In the hustle and bustle of a professional services organization, quick decisions are often the name of the game. However, when it’s about picking team members for a new project, going on gut feeling instead of solid data can be a fast track to lost revenue and squeezed profit margins. Without data-driven info on skills, availability, and resource cost, you might end up putting people on tasks that aren’t the best match for the project’s needs. That can cause inefficiencies, ramp up costs, and ultimately leave a client feeling less than thrilled.

Solving the Problem

Advanced professional services resource management can be the guiding light in these scenarios. By crunching numbers on the needed skills, availability, and profitability of each team member, the software helps you zero in on the top fit for the project. It’s like having a savvy sidekick that filters through all the data and serves up the smartest picks. This ensures not only that the right mix of skills handles the project but also that it runs smoothly and delivers a healthy profit.

Problem 5. It’s Very Time-Consuming to Put Together Multiple Scenarios with Different Timelines and Team Members

In the ever-changing world of professional services, it’s often necessary to play around with various project scenarios involving different timelines and team configurations to find the best way forward. But when this juggling act starts eating up too much time, it’s a glaring sign that your resource management tactics need a tune-up. Old-school resource scheduling and planning can make drawing up and comparing different scenarios feel like you’re trying to fit pieces from mismatched puzzles together. The sheer time drain can put a dent in productivity and stall crucial decision-making, causing a domino effect on project timelines and client happiness.

Solving the Problem

Bringing in a cutting-edge resource planning system can slice through these snags like a hot knife through butter. With the power to whip up, compare, and analyze different scenarios in a flash, project managers can make savvy decisions way quicker. By taking over the grunt work of piecing together different timelines and resource setups, the system frees up managers to focus on dissecting the scenarios, instead of getting mired in the nitty-gritty of creating them.

Problem  6. You’re Not Being Able to Take On New Projects with Confidence

When new project opportunities come knocking, the ability to embrace them with confidence is a sign of a well-oiled practice. However, if you find your firm hesitating or unsure about taking on new projects, this could be indicative of underlying resource management issues. The wavering might come from not having a clear view of who’s available or worrying about overtaxing the team and hurting the quality of the work.

Solving the Problem

The fix? Solid resource management processes that offer a crystal-clear snapshot of who’s free, what they’re committed to, and how much they can handle. With real-time info on who’s available and when your organization can make smarter calls about taking on new projects. Plus, getting the lowdown on your team’s workload and capabilities helps with more effective planning and dividing up tasks. When your professional services organization can confidently say “yes” to fresh opportunities, it shows itself to be a reliable, competent, and forward-thinking player in the field.

Problem 7.   You’re Hiring Too Late or Too Early  

Having the right talent onboard at the right time is crucial for delivering high-quality projects on schedule. But if your organization keeps finding itself hiring either too late or too soon, it screams resource management snafu. Hiring too late can leave your team in a mad dash to hit deadlines while hiring too soon can lead to idle hands and extra costs. At the heart of this mess is a struggle to accurately predict the need for skills and match it with your organization’s bandwidth.

Solving the Problem

Professional services resource management tools can be instrumental in addressing this issue.   By shedding light on both current and future project demands as well as the existing muscle of your team, these tools pave the way for more strategic hiring moves. With a clear view of the highs and lows of project needs, your organization can time hiring to a T – bringing on board the right talent when they’re needed. This not only fine-tunes resource utilization but also makes sure your organization is primed to deliver projects efficiently and to the highest caliber.

Problem  8. Everyone Panicks the “Spreadsheets Master” is Away

Think of a smooth-running machine suddenly stuttering to a halt because a single gear is AWOL. In many professional services organizations, there’s often one person who’s the keeper of the resource plans typically kept in labyrinthine spreadsheets. This individual has the lowdown on these docs, and the whole resource management process pivots on them (pun intended). Now, picture what happens if this person suddenly needs to take unexpected time off. It’s like your navigation officer just up and vanished, leaving the crew to steer through stormy seas without a map or compass. The organization loses the power to manage resources effectively, and everything goes haywire, all because the resource allocation process leaned too heavily on one person and their trusty spreadsheets.

Solving the Problem

To dodge such curveballs, professional services organizations should spread out knowledge and access to resource plans. This can be achieved by introducing systems that don’t depend on one person and are accessible and easy to grasp for multiple team members. Having a tool or system that’s transparent and can be managed by the team ensures the organization is never caught off guard, no matter if a key individual is suddenly out of the picture. This strategy not only bulletproofs against unexpected leaves but also creates a sturdier and more efficient resource management process, where the team’s collective skills and insights keep things on an even keel.

Birdview PSA is a PSA software that incorporates a comprehensive resource management process, designed to optimize the allocation and utilization of resources in professional service firms.

Try the Right PSA Software for Effective Resource Management for Free

Professional services resource management software is more than just a tool; it’s the unseen strategic guru pulling the strings, making sure your organization carves out a legacy of success and innovation. Armed with the power to offer real-time visibility, ward off double-booking, guarantee profitable allocation, empower confident decision-making, optimize billable utilization, and precisely forecast hiring needs, it’s the bedrock of efficient resource management. Organizations that welcome this mighty tool will find themselves not just keeping up but setting the rhythm in the fast-paced dance of the industry.

Related Posts

Best PracticesProject Management

Workload planning: a practical guide

Best PracticesProject Management

Workload management strategies: techniques and examples

Best PracticesProfessional Services

Resource Capacity Planning for Project Management - Guide 2024

Birdview logo
Nice! You’re almost there...

Your 14-day trial is ready! Explore Birdview's full potential by scheduling a call with our Product Specialist.

The calendar is loading... Please wait
Birdview logo
Great! Let's achieve game-changing results together!
Start your Birdview journey with a short 9-min demo
Watch demo video