Without a project resource management system, it is difficult for any project (or team) to succeed. It’s all too common to have resources from different projects overlap or for certain tasks to suddenly need additional people or equipment. When this happens, the project manager (PM) should be able to re-allocate or re-adjust as required. This flexibility is crucial as the average employee is severely overworked and burnt out due to unrealistic deadlines. In a 2021 global survey conducted by the consulting firm ADP Research Institute, they discovered that 67 percent of respondents experienced stress at work, up from 62 percent pre-pandemic.
While the primary goal of PMs is to ensure each project is executed as efficiently as possible to save costs, they also have to consider proper management of company assets and work-life balance for employees. Human workers are the company’s greatest resource, and their well-being should be a priority. This is where resource leveling and resource smoothing become handy. These two strategies enable PMs to look at their project plans and pinpoint problematic areas, like days when people are overworking or unrealistic deadlines given the available resources.
In this article, we’ll walk you through resource smoothing vs. resource leveling, their advantages/disadvantages, and the situations where these methods work best.
The resource management process
First, it’s important to understand the process of resource management, which involves planning, scheduling, and allocating people, technology, and money to a project. Resource management is crucial because it helps PMs prepare an inventory of existing resources, pinpoint gaps or missing information, and prioritize allocation based on the needs of different projects.
This process has three main components: resource allocation, resource leveling, and resource smoothing. The first step is resource allocation, where team members are assigned specific tasks based on their strengths and expertise. This is the planning stage, where resources are strategically placed to optimize the timeline.
However, projects might encounter resource and time constraints for various reasons. Resource leveling or smoothing is a method for anticipating these challenges and applying the right solutions and adjustments.
Here is a quick video on how resource management can work in a Professional Services Automation or Project Management Software.
What is Resource Leveling?
Based on the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) Guide, resource leveling helps PMs evenly allocate resources by adjusting a project’s start and completion dates. This strategy ensures that no one is overworking, the equipment is available, and requirements are made clear so that there are no additional costs to the project.
Leveling works best when there are limited resources and the PMs want resource usage at a constant level. That’s why this technique is sometimes referred to as resource constrained scheduling (RCS).
There are several factors that will help PMs apply resource leveling effectively. First is knowing the dependencies or the relationships between tasks. For example, which activities must be completed before the team can move on to the next? Another factor to consider is the resource conflict. What is the main issue that needs to be solved? Is it human resources, equipment, or technology?
Finally, it is also important to look at the different types of constraints. Is it mandatory (physical limitations like lack of equipment), discretionary (team members’ preferences or actions), or external (third-party challenges)? Only after figuring out these factors can PMs create a resource leveling plan that adequately addresses the pressing concerns of the project.
According to Online PM Courses, here are some of the things PMs can do during resource leveling:
Delay start times
Extend planned duration
Remove some tasks
Allocate additional resources
Split tasks up
Bring tasks forward
Assign alternative resources
In addition, there are also specific instances where resource leveling can be used:
There is no fixed deadline (e.g., the project can be finished within the first quarter of the year).
A resource has to be shared with another project (e.g., some teams have to work on another website for a few weeks).
A resource is highly in-demand (e.g., laboratory equipment has to be used for three projects simultaneously).
A resource is unavailable for a certain time (e.g., a subject matter expert won’t be available to consult until they return from their holiday).
Basically, resource leveling answers this question: Given the resources you have, when will you be able to complete the project?
Watch the complete video about What is Resource Leveling from OnlinePMCourses here:
Advantages and disadvantages of resource leveling.
Aside from re-balancing resources, leveling can offer several advantages:
Identifying under-allocated or unused resources
Reducing project delays
Team members can have one centralized reference that they can use to adequately prepare for their next tasks.
Team members are working on areas/tasks that best suit their expertise
However, there might also be disadvantages to this technique, mainly because something has to be sacrificed, whether cost, scope, or time.
Risks of tasks delays and budget overruns
Can be tricky to re-shuffle some tasks, especially if they’re all critical
There might have to be additional resources (whether labor, time, or budget)
Example scenario of resource leveling:
Suppose a project is planned to be completed in two days. It has three activities (A, B, and C), and each activity takes 8 hours to complete.
Activities A and B can be done by one employee (Alex) and C by another (Jane).
At first, it would seem like A and B could be performed at the same time by Alex. However, it would take Alex 16 hours to complete both activities. This situation would lead to him being overworked on the first day.
To address this, the PM decides to extend the project to three days instead of two. Activity B is then moved to Day 2 to give Alex enough time to finish each task and evenly allocate working hours.
Resource leveling methods
Now that we’ve discussed the basics of resource leveling, let’s look at the different methods or techniques that PMs can use, depending on the urgency of the situation. There are three main methods: critical path analysis, fast tracking, and crashing.
Critical path analysis (CPA). This most common technique comprises mapping out every critical task needed to finish a project. This process includes identifying how long it would take to complete each task and the other tasks dependent on each other. CPA is a good tool to ensure that deadlines are realistic.
The first step in CPA is to define all project tasks (both critical and non-critical), and the maximum and minimum times it would take to complete these tasks. It’s also important to include slack time (or float) in the calculation to come up with a reasonable deadline.
A timeline is then created to track each task using Gantt and bar charts. CPA is often used in industries that have complicated processes. However, most CPAs are now automated using resource management software.
Fast-tracking. This resource leveling technique compresses schedules so that some tasks are completed simultaneously instead of sequentially. For example, if certain activities are not dependent on each other, they can be done on the same day. This method is particularly helpful if there is simply not enough time.
One example of this technique is creating different prototypes before a design has been approved. However, while this can save some time in the beginning, it does have the risk of being reworked if there are mistakes or massive changes to the design.
Crashing. This method is often considered the last resort, particularly if fast tracking is still insufficient. The idea behind crashing is to shorten the project duration by adding more resources (e.g., labor and equipment) with the least possible cost, including hiring extra staff or paying a premium to acquire a service faster.
This technique can become expensive real quick, so it’s best to use it when there are no other options available or when a project can no longer afford to miss its deadline.
The chart below summarizes the main differences between resource leveling vs. resource smoothing in project management.
The finish dates of the project can change
The finish dates of the product stay the same.
Critical paths change, mostly increasing.
You can pause activities within its float boundaries.
Scheduling when resources are under or over-allocated.
Scheduling is based when resources are unevenly allocated.
The main constraint is your resources.
The main constraint is your project end date.
Resource leveling can be implemented for tasks on the critical path.
With resource smoothing, you don’t alter the critical path.
Resource leveling is usually scheduled first.
Resource smoothing is often performed after resource leveling.
What is resource smoothing?
We’ve discussed resource leveling and when to use it, let’s now look at the other resource optimization technique: resource smoothing. Some people might be confused about when to use resource leveling versus smoothing because they have very subtle differences.
Resource smoothing is used to balance the peaks and troughs of individual tasks after they have been leveled or re-allocated. Whereas resource leveling deals with the question of resource constraints, smoothing deals with time constraints (which is why it is also known as time constrained scheduling (TCS)).
Here are some instances where resource smoothing works best:
There is a fixed deadline (e.g., the tasks have to be completed within their allotted timeline).
The resources have been properly re-allocated, and the critical tasks can no longer be re-shuffled.
Only minor tweaks are needed to smooth out the timeline (e.g., slight changes in working hours).
Advantages and disadvantages of resource smoothing
While often done at the last stages of the project, resource smoothing is a good tool to keep everyone on track. This method is particularly crucial since the project can no longer afford any delays at this point, particularly for critical activities.
Project sticks to its assigned timelines
Tasks are monitored well
Fewer ambiguities and unexpected factors that can affect the overall schedule
No more room for flexibility
Increased pressure to stick to the timeline
People have to commit to their work schedules as best as they can
Example scenario of resource smoothing:
A project must be completed within three days and is once again assigned to Alex and Jane. They can both work on the project simultaneously, without any activity dependencies. The PM notices that on Day 1 and Day 2, Jane is working 10 hours while Alex is working for only 6 hours.
The PM then re-arranges the tasks on Days 1 and 2 so that they’re evenly distributed (as much as possible) between Alex and Jane. This strategy would ensure that both employees are not overburdened and can maintain the quality of their output to finish the project on time (Day 3).
The important thing to remember on resource optimization is to understand the main challenge the project is facing. Sometimes, these two techniques are done simultaneously to ensure that issues are being addressed in a timely manner. Like everything around project management, there is a time for flexibility and a time to stick to the plan.
Find out how Resource Leveling & Resource Smoothing can be done in resource management tool.
If you want a resource management tool that’s automated, flexible, and highly customizable, Klient can build one to tailor it to the needs of your business. We can help you take control and manage staffing, and allocate tasks appropriately and intuitively.
Resource Management in a PSA Software for a specific project
Resource Management in a PSA Software for all your project.
We’d love to help you out. Schedule a demo with us.
What Can You Do With a Resource Histogram? An Introduction to Resource Leveling and Smoothing
How to Build a Resource Histogram on Excel/Google Sheets?
Project management is a complicated beast, mainly because it requires monitoring resources. And resources – whether people, time, or money – can rapidly disappear. However, with a resource histogram, project managers (PMs) don’t have to panic. That’s because they know exactly where the budget is going daily and where they might tweak things to get the project back on track.
Resource histograms are just one way PMs streamline processes and protect themselves from unexpected situations. Fortunately, companies seem to be catching up to the importance of being prepared. According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), wasted funding due to poor project management (e.g., budget overshoots, scope creep, and missed deadlines) has declined to 9.4 percent in 2021 compared with 11.4 percent in 2020.
In this overview, we’ll walk you through your burning questions about resource histograms, how to build and implement one, and how you can take advantage of these tools to get the best results possible.
What Is a Resource Histogram?
A resource histogram is a visualization and statistical tool used to manage resources. Typically, a simple table might give you an idea of how your resources are monitored daily, but it’s hard to visualize information that way. (Also, let’s face it, tables can be boring). By turning your tables into resource histograms, you can easily see at a glance how well you’re keeping everything on track and if daily costs are exceeding the budget.
You might have guessed it, but the first step is establishing the resource cutoff per day. Without this clarity, it can be very easy to overshoot spending or over-allocate. Next is creating a “table of dependencies,” where details like types of activities, how long these activities will take, and how much they will cost per day are recorded. From this information, you can create a Gantt chart to visualize the data.
Most people stop at this part. But if you take a step further and create a histogram, then you can have a better guide on when to move resources around or when to delay the due dates. We highly recommend two great videos from Engineer4Free that explain this concept really well. But, don’t worry, we will explain everything in this blog.
Video #1: Resource histogram explained for project management
Video 2: Resource constraining example with resource histogram
However, to give you a better context, we will explain the concept further with some nuance.
Why Use a Resource Histogram?
Aside from getting a cool visualization tool, resource histograms give you detailed information on the progress of your projects. In particular, some tasks are too complex and have many components; without a resource histogram, it’s like getting lost in a maze. The Gantt chart below demonstrates how you can have multiple activities/resources that overlap on a project.
In this video, you can watch how a Professional Services Automation/Project Management Software replace a Resource Histogram with no effort.
When to Use a Resource Histogram?
The PM can use a resource histogram throughout the project. It can be a handy tool, even if it takes time and effort to create one in Excel. (It can even be manually created on paper, but it would be time-consuming and error-prone).
The resource histogram can help PMs figure out how profitable a particular activity is and which activities are interdependent. They can also monitor different processes and make data-based decisions. For example, they can determine which part of the project might benefit from added resources or have been over-allocated for quite some time.
Below are other examples of when a resource histogram is most beneficial.
You have a limited budget and must stick to it to the last dollar. Sometimes, budgets are incredibly tight, and overspending even for a few hundred dollars can lead to the dreaded scope creep (when unplanned tasks keep adding up, most of which were not initially included in the budget allocation).
You want to limit the number of daily resources assign for a project. For example, you have a specific role that executes a particular task and want to monitor that these tasks/roles don’t excessively overlap or get unnecessarily duplicated.
To demonstrate this, let’s say we have five parent tasks for the whole project.
Cost / Day
In the table of dependencies below, you can see that each task/role is clearly specified per day, along with their corresponding budgets. Being detailed as much as possible helps to create relevant and accurate histograms.
Total Daily Cost
Configuration + Implementation
Configuration + Implementation
Configuration + Training
This is the kind of table that is simple to do like this, but it’s a nightmare for a 6 months project. This is the kind of report that a PSA Software can generate quickly.
Pros and Cons of a Resource Histogram
While resource histograms are very useful, they also have certain limitations. For one, it feels outdated and should have been automated long ago. But resource histograms do serve a purpose, and PMs continue to benefit from this simple but informational tool.
They allow users to compare and contrast data easily.
The data can cover a long period range (e.g., monthly or annually).
They have commonly used tools, and references are easy to find.
It can be difficult to compare different categories because histograms work best with one dataset over a long period.
They can require a lot of file space just to display basic information.
They can present misleading or incomplete data if the parameters are not clarified in the first place.
What can you do with a Resource Histogram?
Resource histograms enable PMs to do two main strategies: resource leveling and resource smoothing.
Introduction to Resource leveling
Let’s say you discovered through your resource histogram that there are three days where the project exceeds the daily budget or time limit. PMs can then re-shuffle major activities to move some tasks to the days below the resource limits, leveling the playing field and avoiding strains on teams.
When to use resource leveling
Resource leveling basically ensures that resources are spread evenly throughout all the client’s projects. Here are some examples of when to apply this technique.
To maximize resources. As we described earlier, projects can have multiple tasks, and companies can have various projects simultaneously. With resource leveling, PMs can ensure that resources are re-allocated as needed.
To give teams work-life balance. For groups overworking or exceeding time limits, PMs can either bring in other employees to help or push back the timeline to accommodate incontrollable delays (e.g., experiments and test results).
To manage client expectations and output quality. PMs can efficiently update their clients on how resources are allocated while maintaining the quality of every deliverable.
Resource leveling examples
Here are more concrete situations where resource leveling works best:
Moving a project completion date.
Let’s say a user interface (UI) developer team is refreshing an e-commerce website for re-launch within the week. However, a bug fix has been delayed for a couple of days. Since it is very critical to ensure that all bugs have been fixed beforehand, the PM can choose to extend the deadline to the following week. To make up for the lost time, the PM can maybe tweak the due dates of some minor tasks.
Moving a project start date.
A large project is due to start by next week, but the requirements/specifications from the client are still not complete. The PM communicates to the client that since they don’t have all the needed information yet, they will have to start a few days later. The PM then gives the client choices on how they want to re-allocate resources to compensate for the lost time caused by the client’s delay.
Short on staffing.
A team of software engineers got sick at the same time, and a project needs to be delivered to the client by next week. The PM can then re-allocate some of the engineers from the other projects that are not due yet to help out in the meantime.
Introduction to Resource smoothing
Resource smoothing is usually done after resource leveling. In leveling, the primary constraint is resources; in smoothing, it’s time or schedule. After everything has been re-allocated, PMs saw that there were still some workdays that exceeded the limit within the new plan. The PM can then re-allocate tasks and teams without major re-shuffles, particularly in critical activities.
Smoothing ensures that things are going according to plan and that the project won’t have any more significant shifts or scope creep. Here are some examples of when to use resource smoothing.
The project deadline is set in stone. PMs can look at their histograms and ensure that work hours and labor are evenly allocated across the remaining days/months.
The critical paths/activities are not going to be affected. As long as the main tasks are going along as scheduled, then some small re-shuffles (a day or two) will be fine.
Some minor activities can be paused within their timeframe. To make room for other more crucial tasks, some activities can be slightly delayed without much impact on the overall project timeline.
Resource smoothing examples
To better visualize how this technique works, here are some sample situations where resource smoothing works best.
The project is due within the week, and the PM sees that everyone seems to be working overtime on Wednesday. The PM can re-allocate the excess work hours to the other weekdays to smooth out the schedule.
A website banner is due for review on Monday, but the Design Manager is on leave and will return on Wednesday. The PM can pause the review until the manager returns. Fortunately, the manager will still be able to finish the task before the banner’s scheduled to release on Friday.
How to Build a Resource Histogram on Excel/Google Sheets?
First of all, it’s much more simple to use a project management software or a PSA software to manage those. But I know that some of you are still using excel for those report. Now that we’ve gone through the background and essential characteristics of resource histograms, let’s look at how we can build them. We’ll start with a relatively simple example. First, we need to create a table of dependencies on Microsoft Excel. For example, the table below shows the number of employees required per month.
Next, select the entire table, including the titles and headings, and click the Insert tab. Under Column, select the Stacked Column in 3-D (under 3-D Column). (You can also choose the 2-D version, but in general, stacked columns work best).
Our table of dependencies should be transformed into this:
Source: Watch the complete video from Eugene O’Loughlin on how to Create a Resource Histogram in Excel.
As we can see from this basic resource histogram, additional information can be included, like extending the months or adding more roles/employees. This way, PMs can immediately see the months where employees would be needed more (e.g., July-September on the sample histogram). The team can then prepare in advance for these periods, including hiring additional staff if required.
Another way to read this histogram is if there’s an employee limit. For example, the client only wants to pay for 10 employees max for this project. By referring to the histogram, PMs can choose to shuffle specific tasks so that they are performed in the first quarter or last quarter of the year, where resource allocation is much lower.
For more information on how to build resource histograms in Excel, you can check this video out.
Resource histograms can be simple to create but can give valuable detail. It all depends on how PMs want to use and adjust them to the project’s needs.
Are you interested in a resource management tool for your business?
You don’t need to be an excel wiz to do this kind of report. This is why a solution like Klient can help you out. If you want a resource management tool that’s automated, flexible, and highly customizable, Klient can build one to tailor it to the needs of your business. We can help you take control and manage staffing, and allocate tasks appropriately and intuitively.
We’d love to help you out. Schedule a demo with us.
Billable hours are the lifeblood of any professional services organization.
The more billable hours your consultants log, the more successful you’ll be!
But It’s easier said than done… For a variety of reasons, consulting and professional services firms often don’t record as many billable hours every week as they should.
If your consultants aren’t billing 30-35 hours every week, here are some things you can do to improve the numbers:
1. Clearly Communicate What’s Billable and What’s Not Billable
What’s billable and what’s not? Getting this right is one of the fastest ways to increase the number of billable hours your consultants deliver every week. Do you bill for communication time? Emails? Phone calls ahead of a consulting gig? What about the time spent preparing materials for an on-site visit? Often these activities are not billed to a client. Some of them could be billed. But only if you clearly set expectations with your clients during the sales process.
2. Use Communication Checklists
It’s easy to tell your sales staff to “clearly communicate” with prospects. It’s not easy to get them to actually follow through. The easiest way to ensure communication happens is to give your sales team a checklist of items to cover with new clients. Require that they use the checklist with every new customer, check off the boxes, and turn it in with all purchase orders. That way clients aren’t surprised (or upset) when they see the items their invoice later.
3. Take Administrative Duties Away from Consultants
Consultants are often burdened by countless administrative duties. Emails, phone calls, planning sessions, internal conference calls, quarterly check-in calls, appointment confirmation calls, and on and on.Some of these things are necessary. But some could be delegated to administrative staff. The more “non-billable” activities you can take away from your consultants, the more money they can make for you.
4. Assign Team Members Based on Skills and Availability (Not Just Assigned Accounts or Territories)
Out of convenience, leadership in many service delivery firms assign work based on territories, size-of-company, or pre-existing relationships. While common, these approaches can easily lead to major workload imbalances a your consulting or professional services team. One team members might be booked for months. Another might be sitting around watching training videos. There’s nothing wrong with training of course. But with a bit of planning, most consulting teams could do much better at allocating their resources. This is one way using a professional services automation (PSA) tool can lead to major improvements in revenue. In Klient Software’s PSA solution, resource planners can see everything they need to know to assign resources—all at a glance. Each consultant is tagged with his or her specific skill set. And a visual, drag-and-drop calendar makes it easy to make assignments—in a way that maximizes the resources you have available.
5. Enforce the Use of CRM and PSA Tools
The tools you provide your team can provide significant increases in efficiency (and revenue) if utilized. The easiest way to enforce the use of the tools you provide your team is to say: “If it’s not logged in the system, it didn’t happen. “That’s usually motivation enough to get your team to use their CRM or PSA tool—especially if they’re paid on commission or eligible for bonus pay for performance.
So… What can you Do ?
Take some time today to evaluate the number of hours each of your consultants are billing.
Even better, set up a regular report that tells you the average hours your consultants bill every week.
If the average isn’t 30-35 hours per consultant, it’s likely you’re leaving money on the table. Use the tips in this article as a starting place to improve your numbers—and your revenue.
… and if you want the ultimate shorcut, why not scheduling a Klient Demo?
You’ll will see all the amazing features klient has to offer, including the one to “Make your billing easier”.
We are excited to share recent product updates from the Spring 2020 Release.
Klient continues to push forward on innovation, user experience, and mobility with these releases, including the addition of many new Lightning Components, and a brand new mobile experience.
Modern Project Management
Klient Project Management is designed to be both simple and powerful, so anyone can get started quickly and take control of any project right away.
The New Project Task Management Lightning Component offers the ability for users to easily create and manage tasks including rapid inline editing support, task resource assignment and drag-drop task management.
Teams can quickly add new members and set up tasks, and then easily switch between grid, board, or timeline (Gantt) charts to track progress
The new Project Board Lightning Component offers a modern Kanban board representing project phases, sprints, or milestones, easily recognizable with drag-drop ease. The Project Board offers project managers and customers an easy and at-a-glance view of the project structure and progress towards completion.
Modern Task Management
The new Task Lightning Components include the ability to add and update task resource scheduling, update and completed task checklists, setup repeating tasks, and enter time against tasks directly from the task record.
Project Timeline Lightning Component
The new Project Timeline Lightning Component provides real-time insight into critical project activities including when project and task hours exceed scheduled, when project budgets exceed actuals, when new resources are assigned to projects, when task statuses are changed, new project notes, issues, and risk are added and more.
Resources can subscribe to these notifications as well (individual notifications or all) and receive an email notification when the event occurs.
Project Activity Lightning Component
The new Project Activity Lightning Component provides the ability to quickly review and create project activity including events, calls, notes, and emails – including the ability to send and tack email replies – directly within the project.
Time Entry Lightning Component
The update Time Entry Component can be plugged into any record and now with the latest updated, record details will default into the component – such as the account, project, and task if the time entry lightning component is added to the task record.
You can even add the time entry lightning component to the Salesforce Case record, where the Case ID will be automatically be associated and tracked against the time entry.
Expense Entry Lightning Component
The new Expense Entry Lightning Component allows rapid expense line creation including the attachement of expense receipts directly from the expense record.
The New Customer External Site
The new Customer External site, available from a link on the project page, enables customers project access without the a user or login required. Customers can simply access the link and start collaborating on projects including viewing and update tasks in the kanban board, accessing the Gantt chart, adding files, and adding project notes.
The new “Task Visibility” setting determines if customers can see all project tasks or only tasks you designate to be customer facing.
You can also determine this site should be read-only for customers, only allowing the addition of notes and attachments.
Modern Work Management – Lightning Design
With the Spring released we are further modernized the user experience of the My Work page – the central area to manage all project tasks from once central location. The updated My Work page is now built on the Lightning Design System.
Template Project Insight
We are now storing the template project and id on created projects so now service leaders can compare template project estimates vs actual project performance.
Xero OAuth 2.0 support
We have now moved the Xero integration to support OAuth 2.0 as required by Xero. All customers including existing Xero integration customers must re-authenticate the Xero integration upon installation.
New Products and Expanded Features Deliver Unmatched Innovation in Professional Services Automation and Client Onboarding Technology.
Klient Software, the service experience platform developed to build long-term customer relationships through improved customer experiences and better services delivery, today announced new solutions and features as part of the latest release.
Summary highlights of new and expanded features include:
Project Manager Experience
Now Project Managers can create and maintain sophisticated client projects by adding multiple project or task templates in the order specified to stitch together the creation of a project. Additionally templates can be added after project creation to expand projects with additional phases as an example.
New functionality to create recurring tasks now let managers easily create project tasks that repeat during the project lifecycle and need to be scheduled and tracked for resource availability such as a weekly client meeting or weekly training.
The new project board view enables users the ability to view and complete project tasks by defined project phases. An example would be a software implementation with defined task phases including kick-off, requirements gathering, configuration, testing, training, and deployment phases, all delivered in an easy to understand and use drag-drop project kanban board.
A new Chrome Extension enables consultants the ability to instantly view, search, and take action upon project tasks without needing to navigate away from a current web page while performing project work.
A new Timesheet Lightning Component is now available to add to any page layout to easily track time without requiring the users to navigate away to the timesheet page. The new timesheet component can be added to any page including projects, tasks, or even support cases to tracking time. The component can be added as a global action, making it available at the top of the navigation bar permanently.
Enhanced timesheet functionality includes the ability to recall submitted timesheets that have yet to be approved to immediately make changes and re-submit. This new functionality is configurable to turn on or off for a subset of users as desired.
An updated project status report available to customers now displays additional project insight including the ability to define any configurable fields for display including custom fields. Project Statues reports are available to customers online or delivered by email.
A brand new external site available for customers to collaborate on projects is now available requiring no license or login for customer access. Customers can collaborate on task completion, viewing Gantt charts, access project files, and update project notes all from a dedicated project portal.
Service Leadership Experience
A new survey API enables service leaders the ability to drag and drop business rules using Salesforce Process Builder to define when surveys should automatically be distributed to customers.
New analytic reports for services leaders include the new NPS Survey Report and the new Resource Capacity Planning report. The NPS Survey report displays customer NPS trending analysis to gage the health of customer implementations. The Resource Capacity Planning report enables service leaders to forecast supply and demand of resources including projects still in planning.
Enhanced integration with accounting vendor Accounting Seed includes the ability to synchronize projects and tasks created in Klient to Accounting Seed. Additionally, we have updated the Invoice mapping to send Project and Task data mapped in the Invoice to Accounting Seed.
Expanded integrations with vendors Quickbooks and Xero include updates to multi-currency, multi-company and global taxation support.
About Klient Software
Klient PSA is the service experience platform developed to build long-term customer relationships through improved customer experiences and better services delivery. Built 100% native on Salesforce®, Klient delivers complete customer visibility from sales through service delivery, a modern and seamless customer experience, fully transparent communication between the project team and client to ensure alignment of expectations, integrated customer feedback, and real-time integration with existing back-office systems for more successful project implementation and greater customer success.
Even the most world-class Professional Services Organizations (PSOs) with the best project managers and service team members will encounter problematic projects every once in a while.
When this happens, projects can run over budget and clients can become frustrated if the service team doesn’t turn the project around and get things back on track.
If you find yourself with a project that seems like it’s derailing quickly, here’s some steps you can take to resolve the issues, get the project back on track, and deliver a successful and complete project that will keep your client satisfied with the service you provided:
1. Identify the problem areas
When a project starts to derail, the first step is to identify what the problem is. Maybe your service team has hit a roadblock where they’re waiting on a piece of information from the client. Or perhaps there is a technical difficulty that needs to be resolved by another department within your organization, such as the IT department. Maybe the project was incorrectly scoped during the sales process and your service team is unable to deliver a complete project with the allotted hours dedicated to project implementation.
Whatever the problem may be, identifying it allows you to step back and look for a resolution to the problem. This is where a project manager should take control and resolve the issues at hand in order to get the project back on track.
A Professional Services Automation (PSA) Software can help a project manager identify and resolve project issues, because it helps provide a clear picture of the entire project lifecycle. Part of monitoring a project for success requires tracking a project’s estimate-at-completion against its budget. Doing so, acts like an early warning indicator, alerting project managers when a specific aspect of a project may have taken more effort than intended. For this to be effective, however, project managers need to maintain accurate resource management projections and visibility into the project in real-time. Using a PSA software can easily enable a project manager to do this.
2. Resolve the issues by making necessary adjustments
When you’ve identified that there’s a problem with the project, the worst thing you can do is hope that it will correct itself along the way and everything will work out in the end. If it seems unlikely that a project will be completed on time and on budget, that will most likely be the case unless you step in early and make adjustments in key result areas.
Some project managers will assume that a tiny setback will not have a large impact on the completion of the project. This may be true in some circumstances, however, tiny setbacks can often add up throughout the lifecycle of the project which means it is the responsibility of the project manager to adjust for these discrepancies and keep the project moving along smoothly.
One tactical action that project managers can take is to identify the project’s key result areas, also known as critical success factors in project management. These are the big-bucket items that must be completed on time and to a high degree of quality in order to achieve project success. Much like an intricate game of chess, project managers can shift around priorities to accommodate for discrepancies in the project’s plan.
For example, if you know that a client is more budget-conscious than time-sensitive, you may be able to play around with resource utilization in project management. You might trim the team to stick to the budget but at the expense of time to market. If scope or quality are factors that can be adjusted, you may be able to make small reductions that don’t jeopardize the ultimate goal of the project while still achieving your key result areas.
3. Include the client in the discussion as adjustments are being made
There’s nothing that will frustrate your client more than being told at the last moment that the team has used up all of the allocated hours for the project and the work hasn’t been completed, especially if the client was under the impression that things were running as planned. If your client has a strict budget for the project or a non-negotiable date for project completion, they will not be happy if they find out at the eleventh hour that there are issues with the project plan.
As soon as the problem has been identified by the project team, and suggestions for making adjustments have been decided on by the project manager, the client should be made aware of the adjustments that are proposed and sign-off with their approval of the changes to the project plan.
This transparency provides the client visibility into the project and ensures that they are less likely to feel blindsided later on if there are unexpected costs associated with their project, or timelines have shifted.
4. Use data and insights from problematic projects to ensure future projects run more smoothly
Sooner or later every project team will face a problematic project. Hopefully by taking the steps above you can turn a project around and successfully deliver a project that meets your client’s satisfaction, however, the best PSOs will learn from their mistakes and use the lessons they learn from problematic projects to make future projects run smoother.
A PSA software with functionality for creating detailed reports of projects, can help PSOs plan for better success in the future by using project data to understand where improvements can be made. In addition, a PSA software with the ability to send surveys for client feedback and create communities for clients to have visibility into a project can help you get a better understanding of what your clients are looking for and how to do better in the future. Project Health Check Statuses will allow you to quickly see your most successful and least successful projects and empower you to make changes where needed.