Vadim Katcherovski, Founder and CEO of Easy Projects.
Growth is paramount for any CEO. Yet scaling successfully and minimizing growing pains requires forward-thinking preparation and long-term planning – and tools that facilitate this. Unfortunately, many companies often use short-sighted solutions for immediate problems, without thinking of the bigger picture.
In fact, poor project performance has led to $122 million wasted for every $1 billion invested in the U.S. Clearly, many organizations are not making the kind of well-planned business choices that facilitate smooth-running projects and ultimately drive growth.
Many of these choices center around the kinds of tools an organization opts for in order to improve efficiency and productivity of projects. By choosing tools that do not scale with your company, you could face stunted growth and project setbacks. Let’s take a look into the kind of things you should be looking for in a project management tool to make sure to set your business up with the best chance for success.
Flexible Resource Management
Knowing the exact state of your resources and how much you can expect to dedicate to certain projects is crucial to pain-free growth. With an AI-enhanced project management tool, not only do you have real-time visibility into the state of your resources, but you can also see trends and make predictions accordingly.
Tools like this identify patterns and trends that humans cannot see on their own. For example, it could indicate to project managers at which stages of the project are they likely to need to scale up or down their resources (budgetary or manpower) based on learning from past project data. This allows for optimized planning, less wasted time, and fewer unexpected hurdles.
By tracking and recording data on employees’ workloads through a project management tool, you can also minimize the risk of someone becoming overworked. For example, let’s say you track the average percent (%) of workload capacity of each of your team members. Once you see that this average is in the high 80s or 90s, it’s a clear sign that you need to expand your team as everyone is almost at capacity at this point and wouldn’t be able to handle an increase in demand. And it’s no secret that a burnt-out team is not only bad for employee well-being, but it’s also bad for business, so avoiding this at all costs is crucial.
The busy CEO is no stranger to the prioritization of tasks. Nor should this be a foreign concept to the whole team. Ranking and organizing work translates into high levels of efficiency as less time is wasted on things that are not top priority.
Demand management is about balancing scope, budget, and resources. It’s about doing the right work, not just the requested work in any random order. Teams can achieve this by value-ranking and strategically aligning tasks.
Giving priority to the most important projects or initiatives without the help of a data-driven tool might seem simple a company just starts out, but as it scales, a manual approach becomes less realistic. Let’s say there are 50 projects or initiatives that you could work on, but you only have enough resources to work on ten. A lot of the time, executives make emotional decisions driven by factors such as the most unforgiving client, or which project manager vocalizes the most ideas.
However, these biases can result in a lack of efficiency, so it’s important to use a logical and scientific approach to help you avoid them. A way to assess which initiatives deserve priority would be to give each one a score based on different criteria such as the amount of resources required, its potential value, the risks involved, or future maintenance level. To make it even more accurate, you could add varying weights to each criterion based on its importance.
Going through this process manually might be possible if you are just dealing with a few projects, but as you grow, conducting “what-if” simulations in real time will become extremely time-consuming. That’s why choosing a tool that can help you with these kinds of strategic decisions is paramount to maximize efficiency.
As your company grows, the likelihood is that you will have to face more risky decisions. And – sorry to say – people are not naturally good at measured risk management. So investing in predictive tools is a great idea to understand when something could go off-track.
By choosing a project management tool that gives you metrics and reports on KPIs such as schedule performance, the average time to complete projects and tasks, as well as performance trends across the year, you can expect considerably more risk aversion than you had before.
These reports should provide an at-a-glance view of your projects, activities, and milestones to enable team members to identify risks and trends in schedule performance. Teams can understand when a deadline is likely to be missed by looking at past data to estimate end dates, allowing them to channel more resources ahead of time. And we all know that unexpectedly missing deadlines can deal a heavy blow to profitability, team morale, and professional image, so working with a project management tool to avert is sure to minimize these effects.
When just starting out, it’s understandable that company executives might be apprehensive about investing in tools that cater to future project management needs, rather than ones that act as a quick fix for immediate problems. However, the long-term gain in having tools that scale with your company will far outweigh the advantages of a cheaper short-term solution. By going for project management tools that give you and your team real-time, in-depth understanding of your resources, demand, and potential risks, you can efficiently scale your company, without the growing pains.
About the Author
Vadim Katcherovski is the Founder and CEO of Project Management software platform, Easy Projects. He has over 20 years of experience in the IT industry and has managed dozens of software development projects. He founded software development company Logic Software in 2000, followed by Easy Projects in 2003, with the aim to enable project managers to create, manage and update projects quickly and easily.