After we solved our first problem (see blog 1) of managing complex programmes and projects our project management then started to feedback that we were struggling to gain insight into our resource pools
Problem #2: We couldn’t see who was on-site/off site and billable/non- billable easily
We really liked the NetSuite SRP Resource Chart and Grid, out of the box it is a powerful tool that provides a visual tool for viewing, creating, and editing resource allocations. You can choose to view your allocations in either a chart or a grid. The main challenge we found with this functionality however is that we couldn’t easily:
- See if our delivery team were on client site or working remotely
- See visually if the work was billable or not
- Share the information meaningfully with clients/internal stakeholders
Cooper Software typically deal with 50-100+ projects per month ranging from 1-3 days consultancy to 600+ man day implementations so getting the balance of detail in system without the need for a burdensome administration was difficult. Our small PMO team was taking 40-50% of their time simply making the system work and struggling to add real value to our customers.
As resource managers it was key for us to understand this information so we could make judgement calls on smaller pieces of ad-hoc work that could potentially be squeezed in from home or where an on-site commitment couldn’t be touched.
Increasingly we found that our team structure and how we wanted to categorise our resource pool was becoming limited based on the restrictions on billing and employee hierarchies. For example, we wanted something that would represent Joe Bloggs being a R&D developer one day and customer facing developer the next, all whilst maintaining the existing supervisor/department hierarchy and billing class setup.
We also wanted the ability to pull into a single project view other commitment in a way that was invisible to individual project managers and customers which could then be shared easily.
Cooper Software pride themselves on value add to our customers so the issues above needed to be solved as we grew quickly.
How we solved it
Again, leveraging our expert in house development resources and experience we had gained in developing applications for our customers based on the NetSuite SRP framework, we added into our PSA Advanced Toolkit our visual resource sheets for both teams and projects.
Even with this simple addition to our toolkit our resource/project managers save on average 2 days a week from their resource/project management administration to focus on maximising customer facing time and project delivery.
These visual sheets allow us to enhance the resource allocations that come out of the box to provide a more excel like feel to resource planning, colour coded by status etc…
These Resource sheets allow our Project and Resource Managers to:
- Plan daily across team and projects directly allocating to tasks
- Establish teams separate from HR structure & billing class constraints
- Export pixel perfect sheets to Excel to share with clients etc….
- Via Instant pop ups indicate project task information and notes to allow managers the detail to make resourcing decisions easily
- Edit and manipulate resource allocations directly from the spreadsheets
All of this has been transformational in terms of how our PMO office works on a day-to-day basis and illustrates the power of NetSuite SRP whilst solving the issues we faced in maintaining the ever changing resourcing picture for our professional services business.