Resource cost variance is one of the resource management KPIs you should definitely keep your eye on. This metric is usually expressed as a percentage value. It shows you the ratio between scheduled costs per project team...
The popular piece of wisdom states that bigger is better. While that may be true to a certain degree, what often goes unnoticed by the casual observer is the string of problems and challenges that arise as a result of surpassing a certain size. Many difficulties faced by software houses nowadays have to do with the proper allocation of resources and efforts in the endless battle to make deadlines and achieve targets, while at the same time developing your product. In this article, we will explore some of these problems. Be assured, however, that we will not leave you without solutions! We offer you techniques, tips, and tricks that will elevate your skills in handling these issues. Check out how you can solve the typical challenges of a big software house?
Sticking to a budget
One of the great joys in life is spending money. Who hasn’t irresponsibly splurged half of their paycheck on the first day and spent the rest of the month living off of canned soup? While this behaviour is tempting and makes for a good story to share with friends and family it makes for a notoriously poor business model. A study by Oxford University has found that a whopping 45% of all large software projects go over budget. Moreover, running out of cash is the most common reason why startups fail. As we can see, keeping a business in the black isn’t as easy as it seems.
Fortunately, there is a whole slew of techniques that will help keep your business from going under due to a mismanaged project budget. Money isn’t everything, of course, but in the business world, it is one of the pillars of market presence. With the pace of the IT industry today, the first place we look to solve financial problems is income. An investor or a new client will allow not only to plug a hole in the budget but also enable further expansion of the company. This practice may work for a while, but the larger your organization’s structures, the more crucial it becomes to look for savings internally. And that’s when effective time and resource management becomes priceless for any big software house.
Even small structures sometimes have problems with communicating the status of projects, giving feedback or arranging meetings for more than 3 people. Let alone workplaces with more than 100 employees. As our professional lives have become dominated by remote work these issues have come to the forefront of the discussion. Communication bottlenecks, lack of integration between various departments and a linear approach towards the production process can all cause delays which result in costs skyrocketing.
A more innovative approach towards combating the challenges of traditional linear production models is by introducing parallel processes that allow for more spontaneous decisions to be made at every step of the product’s development. The various departments that are simultaneously working on a project should be in the know at all times on the activities of others to prevent confusion and overlap.
As companies grow in size it becomes more and more difficult for decision-makers to keep in mind who is needed where. An invaluable asset in keeping your team on track and hitting all their deadlines is synchronizing their activities through the use of a resource calendar. This multi-functional tool will allow you to check who is available for work, the tasks they have done so far, keep tabs on the progress of various projects while juggling staff to those in which their expertise is most urgent.
A resource calendar solves many of these issues allowing you to efficiently allocate your staff to the tasks which will allow them to spread their wings and positively impact a project’s development. Also worthy of note is that these solutions make synchronizing communication easier. It is difficult enough in small companies to arrange everyone’s schedule in a way that would allow for a handful of people to meet. In large businesses doing something similar can lead one to insanity. The software makes this easier by possessing various filtering options. It permit for parsing information efficiently and makes time management a breeze.
The subtle charms of resource utilization
Gaining insight into the resource utilization of an individual employee is critical at every stage of a project’s execution. Having a view into the inner workings of your employees’ duties, timetable and engagement allow managers to make smarter business choices. Moreover, it leads their teams both more efficiently as well as ethically. You do not want your employees to be swamped with more tasks than they could handle at any given moment... But at the same time, you want to ensure they aren’t dying of boredom. As with everything, a healthy balance must be entertained. Overworking an employee is just as bad as underutilizing their talents.
Growing a big software house must also broaden the scope of their analysis and monitor not only individual employees and their utilization but also monitor effectiveness at a team level. Observe the workloads of different departments. It may very well turn out that one department of the company is overworked in comparison to the others. This kind of information is invaluable for HR and its hiring strategies. It allows for more dynamic reactions to the problems gnawing at the company. Now let’s see what these solutions can do for the R&D department. R&D projects are extremely important: they foster innovation, allow you to master new technologies, and attract new customers to the table.
Despite these benefits, they also carry risk and costs that have sunk many companies in the past. To ensure that your risky yet potentially lucrative R&D project flowers as it should, remember to keep an eye on your team’s capability to deliver the work promised. You can monitor their current obligations, the fields of their specialization, planned vacation times and other factors that you should be aware of. It helps you in making educated choices that will ensure success in your new endeavour. Also, it allows for the proper scaling of your workforce in a dynamic work environment. In this situation, it is essential to pay attention to modern resource management techniques.
Maintain workflow during vacations and employee turnover
Nothing can derail a project more than the sudden realization that you are understaffed. This can happen for any of a number of reasons with the most noteworthy being vacations and turnover that can cut into the most efficient of organizations. An easy remedy for this is keeping a close eye on the circulation of employees on a project. Use dedicated software that caters to these needs and watch as this problem ceases raising its head.
You can use this solution to monitor general staff numbers and their specialisation. It permits you to predict when a fresh recruitment process will be necessary to maintain your company’s operational capabilities.
Optimizing expenses and calculating profits
One of the challenges you have to face is keeping accurate records of your expenses. Billable and non-billable activities, should be closely monitored to ensure that you can accurately gauge the costs of your projects. Ypu have to maintain balance between internal projects which foster a company’s innovative ambitions while increasing its competitiveness on the market and gaining new clients which drive profits. Both getting involved in costly R&D projects as well as taking on too much work can negatively impact your company. As with everything in life, the balance must be sought out. In the end, we should all strive to have our cake and eat it.
Get your big software house more data-driven
Prepare to roll up your shirt sleeves and get your hands dirty as you start taking data seriously. Fortunately, the market is resplendent with various tools that will help you analyze in every aspect of your company’s structure. Introducing new tech tools though isn’t enough! Tech is only as good as the data you feed it. Prepare to implement time tracking to allow for precise profitability measurements and keeping strict tabs on timesheets and resource utilization.
The insight gathered will allow your company to understand which of your company’s services are most utilized. It will also permit for the comparison of the predicted costs for your project, and the actual costs incurred. This will help improve the project estimation process in the future.
Find the right tool for the job
Remember to choose your new tools wisely. This will have long-reaching consequences as you centre your process around your new chosen tech ecosystem. What are some of the factors that you should take into consideration before dedicating yourself to a software system?
First of all, consider your budget. This goes without saying of course but you need a solution that will fit your budget while also being a tool that will grow alongside your company.
Secondly, consider a software ecosystem that will give you access to actionable reports. This will allow your company to become more data-driven and will provide valuable real-time information on the inner workings.
Lastly, choose the solution that will provide the best customer support. Adopting new tools can be costly and time-consuming. To make the process stress-free, choose a company that will provide onboarding services, product tours, and crash courses. Thanks to this your team will be able to use the new technology effortlessly.
Teamdeck – created by a software house out of necessity
Teamdeck is a perfect solution that fulfils all the aforementioned requirements, providing the highest quality service for any big software house. It has never been easier to track your business’s profitability and resource utilization. Allowing for a more transparent business model that is sure to benefit both management and employees. If this sounds like something you would be interested in, be sure to contact Teamdeck.