What software does your company use for project resource management? Microsoft Project? Smartsheet?
These are two of the most popular Project Portfolio Management (PPM) solutions available to project and resource managers. These powerful and versatile tools can be extremely effective in planning and overseeing projects from start to finish.
However, both tools can also let organizations down when it comes to managing resources, especially for large-scale projects with multiple moving parts. The key factor behind this is that they do not offer sufficient functionality for the sophisticated forecasting and reporting of resources. All project and resource managers know that projects never go exactly to plan. Complications can arise when (and where) you least expect them. To be able to mitigate for these risks as thoroughly as possible, you need the advanced functionality that only a Resource Portfolio Management (RPM) solution can offer.
In this post, we are going to cover two key causes of project resource management breakdown, including:
- An inability to forecast
- Insufficient real-time reporting
We will then explain why, when you can integrate some of the best resource management capabilities into your existing PPM solution, you can truly get the most from your projects.
What can go wrong
You’re overseeing a project to open a new franchise of a chain restaurant. You’re in the early stages of planning and – due to a strict time schedule – are going to be pushed to your limits to get the restaurant open in time. You know that you cannot afford any slip ups, so you would like to be certain that you have your resources allocated optimally and are ready for all eventualities.
You are using Microsoft Project Online as a PPM tool and an Excel spreadsheet to monitor your resource allocation. On paper (and with a calculator) you jot down several possible things that could go wrong, work out the calculations and decide on the resources required to cover these eventualities. Although this takes longer than you would like, you feel satisfied and begin the project.
A few days into the project, several construction workers fall ill and one is injured on the job. You had run a few scenarios in your planning, but not this exact combination – it would have taken too long and required too much effort to manually plan for all eventualities.
Your project is now short on workers and you must push back the restaurant’s opening, much to the disappointment and frustration of your backers and board members.
What Tempus Resource offers
- Predictive models and forecasting
- ‘What-If’ analysis
With Tempus Resource, you can plan everything in advance and feel confident that you are ready for all eventualities. It allows you to run complex forecasts, based on data from your project portfolios, so that you can analyze and visualize the outcomes on costs and labor upfront. Tempus Resource does all the hard work for you in a matter of seconds on one screen. The new data can then be imported into your PPM tool and acted on instantly.
What can go wrong
Once again, you are overseeing a project to open a franchise restaurant. Two of your construction workers have fallen ill and one has been injured on the job.
You want to quickly analyze what this means for your resources. You think if you react quickly, you can reduce the consequences. You know your company has another project due to start in a few days, so you believe there will be resources available. However, you know you will have to be quick, as every minute counts.
You dive into your Excel spreadsheet to figure it out. Although it takes a while – and you have to switch between several spreadsheets – you finally work out who is working on what and who is free.
You then have to manually update the Excel spreadsheet, import the new data into your PPM tool and then send notifications to the workers who have been reassigned, explaining the situation. In total, you have lost more than half a day. You wish all of this could have been dealt with quicker and easier.
What Tempus Resource offers
- Real-time reporting
- Resource visibility
- Real-time resource allocation
- Drag-and-drop resources between projects
- Integration with PPM tools
Tempus Resource offers real-time reporting for adjusting resource allocation as and when problems occur. Drill down instantly to month, week, day, hour, FTE, FTE% to quickly highlight which resources can be reallocated. All on one screen, you can drag and drop resources into new projects – this is so much quicker and easier than having to switch back and forth between spreadsheets. Once your problem has been resolved, import the data into your PPM tool in a matter of seconds.
As great as they are, Microsoft Project and Smartsheet, at least in isolation, fail to provide people with the functionality they need to efficiently manage their project resources.
Most users of these PPM tools are using spreadsheets to allocate their resources. This provides a disjointed, overly-complicated approach that can produce information siloes and create bottlenecks that bring projects to a complete halt. It also means there is no real-time or predictive analysis available and many processes have to be manipulated manually.
Tempus Resource can integrate fully and seamlessly with PPM tools such as Microsoft Project and Smartsheet. This means that organizations can marry the versatility, power and range of capabilities offered by their favorite PPM tools with the sophistication and intelligence of Tempus Resource’s approach.