The Focal Point Blog // Resource Management // Team Parallax // April 19, 2023

The Secret to Resource Optimization: Improving Forecasting & Planning

What resources are available for our active projects? What resources do we need for upcoming projects? What resources would we need if we secure the projects and accounts in the sales pipeline? 

These age-old resourcing questions can be incredibly challenging for leaders and resource managers to answer if they don’t have access to real-time, accurate data that helps paint a picture about the current state of the business and allows them to prepare for its future state. If this is you, we’re here to help. Learn about the best practices that allow digital and development agencies to approach resource optimization with greater confidence and control. 👇

Table of Contents

What Is Resource Optimization?

Resource optimization is an essential but difficult best practice to nail down given how dynamic the digital agency and development firm worlds are—where the services themselves are always changing, as is the talent and resources required to deliver said services. 

In practice, resource optimization is the process of allocating the right talent and resources to the right projects and accounts to achieve the highest productivity and efficiency and the best performance possible. Or, in other words: it’s about maximizing utilization without burning out any one person. Easy, right? 😰  

This can be a pretty hard balancing act to get right without real-time data and forward-looking insights. 

With homegrown spreadsheets and legacy technology, resource optimization can be incredibly time consuming and frustrating for leaders and resource managers—and that frustration tends to trickle down to frontline workers, too, who bear the brunt when resourcing mistakes are made.  However, when agencies adopt certain best practices and the right tools to help them truly optimize resources for the near- and long-term, their organizations are better poised to scale from the heroic and operational stages to the strategic stage. Everyone and everything flows, and leaders can focus their time on coaching their teams and growing their businesses. That’s how important resource optimization is.

How Forecasting & Planning Supports Resource Optimization

Allow us to be blunt: you cannot and will not be able to optimize your resources without having an effective forecasting and planning strategy in place.

While these are all different processes, they naturally blend together, with each one helping to inform the other. 

Your planning strategy, supported (ideally) by your forecasting and resourcing solution, should take the guesswork out of resourcing. You should know if you have enough revenue to support your team, whether you need to hire, if and when to take on new work, and the impact deals will have capacity and utilization. 

This way, you can not only optimize each and every resource but also keep the focus on your craft, your people, and the growth of your business.

How to Improve Agency Forecasting & Planning

You might be wondering how to get started. How can you make smarter business decisions that will help improve performance at the individual level and at the company level? Here are a few initial steps we recommend.

1. Create a Shared Perspective

Disconnected tools that don’t talk to one another and keep data in silos is a thing of the past (or it should be!). Create a shared perspective across your business by integrating with the tools your team loves while empowering you with accurate data to enable strategic growth. You’ll achieve better and more consistent operations and gain forward-looking insights on how to meet your resource and revenue goals.

2. Move From Reactive to Proactive Planning

Reactivity is painful. It impacts the quality of work, it burns people out, it hurts culture, and it creates unnecessary tension. By adopting various best practices across each role, businesses can shift from a reactive state to a proactive one, where smart, accurate forecasts are guiding teams and the company forward. 

This also enables valuable conversations across teams. Resource managers can spot when there isn’t enough work coming down the pipeline to hit utilization targets. Project managers can identify when their team is overbooked. Team leads can help troubleshoot resourcing challenges before they even arise.

3. Eliminate Spreadsheets

We’re not going to beat around the bush: we’re not into spreadsheets. They require manual effort to maintain; they don’t allow for timely forecasting; they’re difficult to integrate; they usually have a massive learning curve; they inhibit problem solving. A strategic resourcing planning and forecasting tool, on the other hand, allows teams to work with best-in-class tools and provides predictive and proactive capabilities that enable strategic, forward-looking decision-making. We highly recommend making the switch. 😉

Parallax: The Must-Have Resource Planning & Forecasting Platform

Parallax enables companies to do all of the above—leaders can eliminate spreadsheets, move from reactive to proactive planning, and improve operational visibility. 

The Parallax platform creates a shared perspective, allowing teams to more easily work together to identify performance challenges and address them with the broader picture in mind. It also helps leaders be more thoughtful in how they invest, grow, and scale by delivering detailed forecasts and granular, strategic business insights. 

With Parallax, leaders can start to answer questions like:

  • What is our projected billable utilization?
  • What is our projected revenue?
  • Where can we optimize utilization?
  • Who should we hire, can we hire, and when should we hire them?
  • Do we have the right capacity to take on new projects?
  • What is projected to get off track, and can we get ahead of it?

The result? Optimized resources. Smarter forecasts. Greater confidence.

Improve Your Resource Optimization With Parallax

Forecasting and resource optimization can feel tricky – even out of reach – without the right practices and tools in place. That said, putting those practices and tools in place is easier than ever, so if you’re struggling with forecasting and resourcing and want a better, more controlled and confident approach moving forward, we’d be happy to chat. Learn more about the Parallax platform here—and know that we’re always game to connect if you have any questions.