The Focal Point Blog // Resource Management // Team Parallax // June 13, 2023

The Secret to Effective Professional Services Resource Management

Resource management is like a well-choreographed dance for digital services shops and agencies. It’s the weekly hustle where leaders juggle and allocate people’s time to projects—and yes, we know it can feel like a tactical headache, but it’s incredibly important to get right (or close to right!).  

Resource management and resource planning for professional services businesses don’t need to be stressful. With a fresh perspective and a different approach, it can be a fun, strategic process that can help take your business to the next level. Yup, we said fun.

No more guessing games or last-minute scrambles. 🙅 With our tips below, you’ll gain control over resource management and resource planning and be better equipped to lead your team with finesse and confidence.

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How a Reactive State Impacts Resource Management

Picture this: a surprise spike in demand hits you out of nowhere. Maybe it’s an urgent request from an existing client or a new client in crisis mode needing your help. It could even be a last-minute new business pitch that one of your key team members is pulled in on. 

These unexpected spikes in demand can catch teams off guard, and they can definitely mess with resourcing plans, often leaving leaders to navigate what feels like an always-on scramble. In other words, being in a constant reactive state with resource management can be a real game-changer—and not in a good way

If you’re constantly making decisions on the fly and relying on the same go-to people to handle new work, it can quickly spiral into a resourcing nightmare. Teams are always playing catch-up, leaders are putting out fires, and everyone is struggling to keep up with the ever-changing demands. It can lead to overburdened team members, missed deadlines, and even burnout. 

Operating in a reactive state also prevents leaders from having a clear strategic vision when it comes to capacity planning and resource allocation. It hampers the ability to plan ahead, anticipate potential challenges, and make informed decisions based on data and insights. 

How can you avoid this? First, know that trying to cram all resourcing decisions into just one or two weeks is too short-sighted. It’s a “robbing Peter to pay Paul” situation just to survive the week. This type of approach will most certainly erode confidence in the organization’s future. There’s a better way to tackle resource management. It requires taking a strategic, long-term approach, looking beyond the week at hand, and planning for the future. This is how you can break free from the vicious resourcing cycle and start to build confidence in your organization.

The Solution Starts with Services Resource Planning

It only takes a small shift in your approach to resource management – leveling it up to services resource planning – to gain more confidence, better forecasting, and improved performance.

To ensure we’re on the same page, here’s what we mean when we talk about resource planning vs. resource management – and how both are slightly different from resource forecasting

  • Resource forecasting (also called capacity planning) involves leaders predicting where they should invest in resources to meet changing needs and future goals (i.e., new services, market expansion, company growth), using current workloads and sales pipeline data to inform their predictions.
  • Resource planning involves leveraging the forecast to develop an actionable plan, assigning specific people and resources to specific projects. 
  • Resource management is the process of monitoring the progress of projects against resources, ensuring everything is on time and on budget + making real-time adjustments as needed. 

Now, here’s how we recommend evolving your resourcing strategy: keep your weekly resource management meetings, but instead of only planning 1-2 weeks ahead, try allocating hours 6-8 weeks out based on the information you have on hand (the forecasted data won’t be all-encompassing, but it’s a great starting point). 

We know planning 6-8 weeks out might feel intimidating, but it doesn’t require a big lift to start experiencing the benefits—and the business outcomes will be notable. Again, these elongated plans do not need to be super precise. They need to be directionally correct using larger increments for allocation (i.e., 25% of a role). You’ll then refine and add more precision to the resource plans closer to each week. These directionally-correct plans will give you a CONSISTENT sense of what’s to come, which is likely more than you have today. And of course, over time, your ability to improve precision further out will get better and easier. 

Ultimately, this approach will help you move from tactical resource management to effective resource planning. Plus, with an integrated resource planning, capacity planning, and active forecasting solution like Parallax, you can easily create a future-forward view that helps optimize resources and enables smarter, faster decision making. 👇

We have a lot more to share about resource planning tips and tricks—download our free guide on Strategic Forecasting Through Better Resource Planning to learn more.

Simplify Resource Planning With Parallax

Still unsure about what it takes to improve your resource planning approach? Not sure you have the right tools to make it happen?

We’re here to make your life easier. The Parallax platform is a powerful force multiplier for the valuable tools you already use, allowing you to say goodbye to clunky, homegrown spreadsheets that just patch the gaps between different functions in your services business.

With Parallax, services companies get reliable data and actionable insights all in one place. Our resourcing and planning engine curates critical resourcing and forecasting data, providing you with a shared source of truth on how your business is performing. This means leaders can make smart, data-driven resourcing decisions that are future-forward and based on data rather than gut instinct.

No more guesswork. No more spreadsheets. No more outdated information. 

Parallax empowers services companies to elevate their resource and capacity planning game and unlock the full potential of their data for better business performance. ✨When you’re ready to shift your perspective on resourcing being a complicated puzzle to a well-thought-out strategy that sets you up for sustainable success, let’s connect.