The popularisation of remote working has raised many questions about managing a remote team, especially when it is international. Such a system of work requires a completely new approach and tools, as well as setting priorities. In...
Knowing how to improve resource management is essential for any software house. This is a fact. They sell the time of their employees for the money of their customers. After all, we are not talking about a repetitive job where every day, for many years, the same employees come to the office to perform the same tasks for 8 hours. The technology industry is incredibly dynamic: projects change, new solutions to implement appear constantly, and teams are faced with employee turnover. Mastering this tornado of changes requires your resource management to be rock solid. This article will show you how to do that.
What does resource management do?
Before you decide to take steps to improve resource management in your software company, you need to know why it’s even worth your effort. You will:
- optimise your work by making the most of your team’s capacity and potential.
- avoid wasting time and money caused by ineffective management.
- improve the satisfaction of your employees. Too many tasks and pressure can be just as frustrating as boredom and feeling useless.
- be able to monitor project progress and profitability more easily.
How to improve resource management in a software company?
1. Identify the problem
There comes a time when, after brainstorming with your management team, you decide that something definitely needs to change and your company demands new solutions. You need a modern approach and reforms, so you can take the market by storm and leave your competitors far behind. You want it all. And you want it now.
Unfortunately, this is precisely the reason why ambitious plans often come to nothing. Even with the best management of resources, it is not possible to implement all the changes at once. Especially when you’re dealing with a medium or large software house, where processes have to work together. Your first step to optimise your work is therefore to identify the problem (or problems). Maybe the weak point is staff shortages, lack of tracking of layoffs and holidays, lack of documentation needed for onboarding new employees and handing over projects, underestimated or overvalued projects, complicated decision making. The best way to identify problems to start any change in your organisation is to analyse the data. Reports based on the various processes and outcomes in your business will prove invaluable.
Knowing what needs to change is the basis for making the change. The next step is to prioritise these issues. Consider which ones cause the greatest losses or block other processes – address these first, and then one by one implement further improvements. It is worth dividing large projects into individual stages and tasks to systematically achieve the goals.
2. Review and simplify the decision making
Often the implementation of a task, even a simple one, is like bouncing a ball.
- First, Person A performs the task and needs approval.
- He sends a request for review to person B – a senior teammate.
- Person B says this is not his area of expertise and redirects Person A to Person C – a senior member of the other team working on the project.
- Then person C says he does not have that decision-making authority and it is best to refer person A to person D – his direct supervisor.
- Next, person D says that this project should be referred to person E – the head of the other department that is working on the project.
- Finally, Person E, when asked, says that it is the first time he has heard of such a task and who commissioned it in the first place.
Of course, the situation described above is quite caricatured... but not that much? The problem of the complicated process of accepting individual stages and doubts as to who has the authority to make decisions on various issues affects many companies. And not only big ones – even an organisation of 20 people can face an acceptance bottleneck. The first crisis moment is when the management is no longer able to decide on everything personally. This is the moment when it has to delegate more independence to middle-level employees. The more people in the company, the more the problem will deepen, so an effective structure must be put in place as soon as possible. Especially since the pace of startup development doesn’t forgive slowness. Blocking the work cycle is the best way to lose time and money.
So start by reviewing the entire ladder of approval
See who has the authority to make decisions. The next step is to simplify the whole process, and this is best done by giving some autonomy to individual departments and specialists. Setting general rules for current duties will speed up daily tasks considerably. In a modern company, it is worth betting on good workflow, even resigning from total control.
3. Create a resource base
To manage your resources well, you need to know what you have available. It’s just like in a game – you won’t play the game well knowing only half your cards. The basic information that is important to you is:
- how many people you have at your disposal,
- your employees competencies,
- their responsibilities,
- what their capacities are
Your resource base is the key to efficient project management and delegating people where they are needed. It allows you to strengthen teams that have too much work on their shoulders. It will also enable you to assign new tasks to those employees who simply have nothing to do and are bored. Of course, keeping and using such data in your own head or Excel tables would be inefficient. It is therefore a good idea to use resource management tools that will show you, in a clear form, which team members are now able to engage in which tasks and in which projects they will do best.
4. Gather and organize knowledge
A very common blockade to smooth work is a lack of the necessary knowledge and materials. How many times have you had to ask several or more people in the company where particular files or documentation are? This process is tiring and time-consuming even when it concerns current employees in the company. Imagine what happens the moment someone leaves... and with them the secret knowledge of where to find materials concerning the project you are currently working on.
Knowledge is also your resource and an incredibly important one. Put up a good, organized database of all the materials you might find useful in the onboarding process, taking over responsibilities or just your daily company routine. Of course, this won’t be a one-off process – such bases only make sense if they are kept up to date. The software house generates so much information that this needs to become a habit. However, you can be sure that everyone will benefit from it.
5. Build communication between departments
The various departments in a company sometimes act like separate organisms. After all, that is their function. Each department is supposed to take care of a different aspect to make your company run like clockwork. On the other hand, as an organisation, you can achieve much more if the different departments support each other.
New business can provide marketing with good insight in content creation, while the marketing department’s promotion is good for sales. Also, Marketing can do a lot to prepare a convincing offer. Developers can help the HR department create the best job ads by telling them what to look for and how to convince candidates. Then HR can bring in new employees with the most desirable set of competencies who will be perfect for the project you are working on.
Improving communication between departments and making sure they know what each other is working on and what they need will allow you to provide the right support and achieve even more through synergy. An integrated team is very important for the quality of work and well-being of your people.
6. Research the needs of the market
The only constant in the market is its volatility. Updating your knowledge of current industry needs is a never-ending story. Part of improving resource management is constantly monitoring what is worth investing in and developing. As an effective resource manager or project manager you should regularly review:
- which skills are most in-demand at the moment,
- the current trends,
- what new technologies customers are looking for,
- whether your company invests in training for employees, allowing them to develop their competencies and expand their knowledge.
In this process, time and regularity matter. By knowing the needs of the market, you can channel resources into the most promising solutions as quickly, so that you can always offer your customers innovations before your competitors do.
7. Plan your work
The topic may seem trivial and obvious – after all, work planning is the foundation of any resource management. However, the more we delve into it, the more opportunities but also risks we discover.
What is work planning? Making to-do lists in a notebook is work planning, sure. But work planning is also writing out a project 3 years ahead using big data, probability and specialised software. And interestingly, both of these ways will be effective. Just not for everyone. The key here is to match the system to the characteristics of your business and the working style of your team.
Recent trends often focus on agility and flexibility, so work is arranged in sprints, for example, weekly, containing a certain number of tasks that are feasible to complete in that time. It’s also a good idea to break up individual tasks into smaller components. This strategy avoids the huge number of tasks that hang over us for months ahead. On the other hand, some long-term projects require a schedule planned well in advance. A well-thought-out plan helps you avoid delays and have a broader perspective in improving resource management.
8. Don’t wait to recruit
If your employees are starting to feel like you’re short-staffed then this is probably the case. Situations like that are very unfavourable. Frustration and fatigue build up in the team and projects start to get delayed. Of course, you are the expert and know best the rhythm of your company. Sometimes there may be more hectic periods and you may need to use subcontractors. Then everything returns to normal, but be alert for signs that your team is overworked and feeling overwhelmed. It’s not worth waiting too long to recruit a new person, especially as the perfect candidate doesn’t lurk around every corner. The recruitment process can sometimes take a really long time.
9. Use modern tools to improve resource management
At this stage of reading the article, you’re probably thinking to yourself “OK, but where do I manage all this information to be effective? After all, I can’t keep everything in Slack conversations, an email inbox and thousands of tables.” This is where modern work management tools come to the rescue and do all the dirty work for you. Let’s illustrate it with Teamdeck. Our system will allow you to manage your work schedule, check which employees are busy and for how long they have projects scheduled, automatically find the right people for a project, create entire teams with the necessary set of competencies and resolve scheduling conflicts.
Moreover, you will be able to track timesheets in real-time to see which team needs more support and which projects are the most time-consuming. At each stage, you can also generate a report to analyse the data and correct aspects that are not working as they should. Teamdeck is a tool created by a software house out of necessity. We’ve been there, we saw that so our system is straightforward, containing only the functions you really need.
10. Remember that resource management is a continuous process
Working in a software company is dynamic, so you need flexibility to manage it in the best possible way. If you want to improve resource management, you need to be prepared for it to be a continuous, ongoing process that requires attention and commitment. It is not enough to solve problems once and forget about workflow optimization. Fortunately, good practices and effective solutions will bear fruit, and once big changes are made, it will be easier for you to make further small improvements.
Improve resource management and create great opportunity to better exploit the potential of your business. Each subsequent change will result in noticeable effects, so it’s worth betting on a good strategy and being systematic. At Teamdeck, we always meet our customers’ expectations and look for the solution that best meets their needs. You can easily import all the data into our tool. We want your Teamdeck to be tailored to the demands of every company we work with, which is why we leave plenty of possibilities for customisation to create a custom version of the software. Contact us and jump into a new level of work management!