A recent study by Service Performance Insight reveals that project-based businesses that deliver close to 90% of their projects on time enjoy over 80% client reference rates. Satisfied clients are naturally forthcoming with references, and which business wouldn’t want that?

No doubt on-time delivery is the silver bullet but the point to note is that it results from several things done right but the onus largely falls on the shoulders of project delivery. Let’s explore the factors that make on-time delivery possible and how a unified platform can help you get a grip on them.

Streamlined resourcing

For Project Management, getting the best-qualified resources is important. The absence of this critical factor makes it impossible to deliver projects on time and within budget, but there are other stakeholders involved and service delivery needs a buy-in from them too.

In other words, what’s in it for other functions? Each function in your organization views resourcing from a different lens. For HR, it is about preparedness to meet the demand for talent. For Sales, it is about the ability to promise an achievable delivery date. For Finance, it is about the best utilization of billable resources.

When we say project-based businesses, we refer to a wide range of organizations bound together by the fact that they are highly people-centric and bill time and resources to projects.

Examples are architectural firms, advertising agencies, legal firms, contract research organizations, accounting firms, engineering and construction businesses, and the like.

With so many stakeholders involved with varied expectations, how do you streamline resourcing?

A unified platform is the answer

Imagine a single platform capable of fulfilling the requirements of each function. Let’s understand how this impacts resourcing. Sales would have clear visibility into the existing resources as HR would have already keyed in this data. Further, Sales and Service Delivery collaborate on this data to promise realistic deadlines. Any shortfall in resources is readily visible to Service Delivery, and the request to fill this gap can be sent across to Human Resources. Finance can enjoy ongoing visibility into how well the resources are utilized throughout the project lifecycle. The result: service delivery would be able to get the right resources at the right time as every function would see value in it.

One view. Different perspectives.

A unified platform ensures a single version of the truth, but how this truth is consumed by each function may vary. The platform must, therefore, be capable of churning out tailored data such that its consumer gets the insight that is relevant to her.

Ability to justify change orders

There is no such thing as perfect planning. It’s common for clients to come up with additional requests based on their changing business requirements. If you are not able to charge for such ‘scope creep,’ it is likely that the project will turn out to be less profitable than planned. It will impact the timelines, not only of the project witnessing a scope creep, but also those dependent on the engaged resources. While denying the client is not an option, additional billing is, but only if you can quantify the effort and bill the client through a ‘change order.’

Is your project-based business able to quantify scope creep to justify change orders?

You need visibility into how changes impact on-time delivery and cost

There is a reason why your clients prefer fixed-price projects: The onus of remaining within budget and on-time delivery lies on you, the service provider. You are obliged to achieve the preset milestones to invoice your efforts, and scope creep impedes this.

A unified platform brings visibility into the entire project lifecycle. You can quantify additional resource requirements, the associated costs, and the time needed to execute the widened scope of work. It brings transparency to the whole process. Clients usually are open to approving change orders when backed by numbers.

Curbing project overruns

Scope creep is not the only reason for missed project deadlines. Project overrun can be a factor too. You can quantify ‘project overrun’ by comparing the actual time or cost versus the time and cost estimated during the project planning phase.

  • Most often, project overruns are a result of inexperienced resources taking longer time to execute tasks while the more experienced ones are forced to spend time on non-billable tasks such as recruiting. Besides, the inability to create repeatable processes and lack of automation play a part.
  • You must capture data and insights gained from ongoing projects. In turn, you can create ‘standardized, repeatable processes’ by analyzing what has worked well in previous projects and avoiding those that did not. Efficient processes can be standardized and replicated in similar projects. However, data and insight capture cannot be individual-dependent or manual, as it will be prone to opinions and omissions.

Do you have a system that captures data and insights? Are you able to engage the right resources?

You must be able to draw insights from past projects and automate repetitive tasks

What were those areas that impeded on-time project delivery? What additional requirements did you or the client not foresee at the commencement of the project? Is there a set of tasks that are likely to be repeated in the upcoming project with no/minimal changes? These are the questions you need to ask yourselves.

Your system must be such that it is flexible to accommodate your changing requirements. It could be through apps that are easy to configure and use, built-in AI that brings BI to your fingertips, and automation based on the work habits of your resources.

You must be able to engage the best-suited resources

A unified system aligns the sales pipeline with resource management. It gives HR a foresight into resource requirements and enough time for recruitment. Consequently, to a large extent, it negates the need to engage experienced resources for recruitment.

An umbrella solution for all the requirements of your project-based businesses

In the quest to achieve service maturity, project-based businesses deploy ERP, CRM, Professional Services Automation software, HR systems, and so on. Individually, these systems come with multiple service contracts and fail to perform well in unison. In other words, you create an ecosystem of disparate systems, compelling you to rely on spreadsheets to fill the gaps, leading to information silos.

You will find adoption tough as you might be forced to login to several systems depending on the data you wish to view. Besides, the usability might differ from one system to another.

The answer is a platform that sits atop all these systems and provides user-friendly interfaces through which your employees can draw data, get insights, and collaborate. For all practical purposes, the platform must behave like ONE system. At sa.global – pooling our three-plus decades of experience in serving project-based businesses – we have built a platform that achieves all this for you. We call it evergreen.