Make confident data-based decisions - fast - with these five essential resource management reports.
Data is key to making confident decisions about your professional service business - particularly when it comes to resource management.
Resource management is consistently voted one of the highest value - but highest challenge - processes in project management.
Resource management reports help project managers and senior leaders confidently and proactively manage their resources.
They help answer questions like:
This results in a range of business-boosting benefits - like higher efficiency, lower costs, increased productivity, better performance, and bigger profit margins.
If that sounds good, here are five essential resource reports you should use to inform your decision-making.
We’ve used examples from Runn to show you what each of these resource reports can look like. But even if you don’t choose to use Runn, you should still implement these five key resource management reports. They’ll lay the groundwork for growth and profit.
A resource report is - as the name suggests - a report that relates to resource management or planning.
They’re typically used in professional service businesses where resources - the talented team of knowledge workers and consultants who work there - are the biggest draw and the biggest expense.
Project managers, resource managers, and senior leaders use resource reports to inform decision-making around resourcing. This helps them plan and manage resources to achieve the best outcomes for clients, staff, and the business.
There are lots of different reports relating to resource management and planning. These include:
Resource management reporting is an essential tool for any business navigating uncertain economic conditions.
With inflation causing spiraling costs, the global recession reducing client budgets, and competition for staff getting stiffer, businesses should seize every opportunity for competitive advantage.
And while resource management reporting might not seem like the most obvious solution to business challenges, trust us when we say it can prove extremely valuable to project-based businesses like yours.
The benefits of resource management reporting are the same as the benefits of resource management itself.
Effective resource management:
Resource management reporting simply gives you the real-time data you need to do it.
And resource management tools make that data easier to extract, interpret, and act on.
Now that we've covered the benefits, let's cut to the chase and explore the most important reports resource managers can rely on,
At the start of any project, the project manager lays the groundwork for success through resource scheduling. It’s a process that incorporates information from a variety of sources, to create a viable project plan.
By viable, we mean one that can deliver desired client outcomes on schedule and on budget. And in a professional services context, that relies heavily on resource scheduling. Allocating the right people, at the right cost, at the right time.
A resource schedule makes this process much easier by consolidating different sources of information into a single real-time report.
In a nutshell, a resource schedule report:
In the example above, information is shown according to timeframe - monthly, quarterly, or six-monthly. You’ll see the project manager has filtered available resources by job role, so they’re looking specifically at developers.
The bar chart at the top shows:
This lets the project manager easily identify any potential bottlenecks or resource clashes.
Below this, individual availability is also color-coded to make it easy to spot the best resources to schedule.
Project managers - A resource schedule is mostly used by project managers to help them make informed decisions about resource allocation. Real-time insights into capacity and availability help PMs avoid resource clashes, even out workload between team members, and create a realistic project schedule.
Resource managers - Resource managers may have responsibility for resources for an entire program or portfolio, not just individual projects. They can use a resource schedule report to understand broader capacity and utilization trends and report back to senior managers.
Happy clients - Effective resource scheduling helps PMs deliver projects that are on time, on budget, and meet the customer’s brief. They allow project managers to make powerful decisions about who to use, when to schedule certain tasks, and whether to use resource management techniques - like resource leveling - to achieve satisfactory goals.
Happy staff - Like many of the resource reports discussed here, a resource schedule report helps optimize resource utilization by identifying over- and under-utilized individuals and sharing work more equitably between them. This means staff are more engaged, less stressed, and more likely to do their best work.
A resource availability report shows which resources have availability to take on more work - and when they’re actually available. It helps project managers allocate available resources to active projects. And supports sales and senior management to decide whether you have capacity to commit to new ones.
An availability report shows:
The availability report in Runn is highly visual, to help you understand availability at a glance. You’ll be able to filter results - for example, by role or skill set - and see what availability that group of individuals has.
Availability is shown by month, quarter, or six-month period. Just scroll along to the timeframe when you’re planning your project and you’ll see colored charts denoting availability.
In the screenshot above, the mountain range at the top shows availability across the full selection of resources. Red peaks show where availability is severely limited.
Below the mountain range you’ll see availability for individuals. On this color-coded heatmap you’ll see.
Project managers - Availability reports are a PM’s best friend. They help you identify and allocate people to projects based on their workload. So you don't overbook people with work. If someone isn’t available, you can make an informed judgment on whether to allocate a different resource or tweak your schedule. It’s about being in control and proactively managing variables.
Account managers - Your sales team needs to know whether you have the capacity to deliver a project before they onboard a new customer. Availability reports in Runn increase visibility into what time and resources you have available at any time. By consulting the availability report, sales can ensure they’re not overcommitting to potential clients, which results in better customer outcomes and less internal friction.
Delivery leads - Our availability report is so straightforward that your leadership team can easily hop in and see where things stand. A quick glance at the mountain range flags any forthcoming capacity crunches so they can take decisive action.
Greater clarity - Knowing resource availability brings greater clarity to the project planning process. Everyone from sales to delivery needs to know whether you have available resources to complete a project - and when they’re going to be free. It means no nasty surprises that can delay deliverables, such as waiting on a developer to get back from holiday or a designer to finish another project. This reduces the risk of disappointing clients and the reputational damage that follows.
Better utilization - An availability report is one way to increase utilization rates. It surfaces spare capacity so you can mobilize under-used resources and increase the ROI of your investment in staff. It also evens out the workload between your people, which increases engagement and job satisfaction. Win-win!
Surfaces opportunity - An availability report may surface periods when you have the capacity to take on a whole additional project. This lets sales go out and proactively pitch to new clients. And when you can squeeze in more work, without taking on more people, it can boost your profits.
Learn more about the benefits of getting serious about resource availability.
You don’t want to allocate billable work to fill 100% of their capacity. That’s unrealistic and reduces productivity because people get stressed out. But you do want to make sure you’re making the most of your team’s time.
A resource utilization report provides at-a-glance insights into what percentage of your people’s capacity has been scheduled/used.
A resource utilization report:
You can see how well you’re sticking to your utilization targets - and whether corrective action is needed to maintain productivity and performance.
It compares available hours vs actual hours scheduled or worked. This will give you a utilization rate as a percentage.
Hours allocated / capacity = utilization %
For example, if someone has 40 hours available each week but their actual hours worked total 20 hours, that’s a 50% utilization rate. There’s room for improvement because they can easily fit in more work.
However, if someone has 30 hours available each week and is working 35 hours, that’s a 116% utilization rate. That’s a red flag to say they’re overutilized. That poses a risk to them as an individual, to the projects they’re working on, and to the business as a whole.
In Runn, resource utilization reports include:
And you can see utilization information at an individual or organizational level.
Read more about how people utilization reports help you understand your capacity and schedule work effectively.
Project managers - As a PM, you can use a utilization report to identify the best resources to assign to a project. For example, avoiding allocating an over-utilized resource and choosing to mobilize someone who is sitting on the bench instead.
Department leads - Your leadership team can use a utilization report to get an organizational overview of utilization rates. The report will show how the business is performing against utilization targets. And highlight any skills or roles that are consistently over- or under-utilized. This data can support decision-making around what projects to take on, what roles to recruit or make redundant, and even performance management.
Lower risk - A utilization report improves visibility around resource risk. It clearly flags areas where utilization is problematic - whether that is because people are being over- or under-used. When people are over-used, it may lead to delays and even burnout. Where people are under-used, profit and productivity suffer. Monitoring utilization lets you address these issues before they impact your staff, clients, or profits.
Higher ROI - Monitoring the proportion of time spent on billable vs non-billable work will help you identify and reduce non-billable activities. For example, by delegating admin tasks or reducing the number of meetings people are asked to attend. This leaves knowledge workers with more time for work that is directly billable, which leads to higher profits.
Higher efficiency - By optimizing your resource utilization and minimizing non-billable activity, your business will be more efficient. You’ll be able to do more with the same number of people - meaning higher revenue at no additional cost. That’s a benefit you can take directly to the bank.
Discover more benefits - and how-tos - of creating a utilization report here.
In any knowledge-based business - one that converts workers’ expertise into company profits - skills tracking is essential. But it’s hard to keep on top of. Staff come and go, they upskill, they gain new expertise as they work on different projects.
This is where a skills report is invaluable. As the name suggests, it is a report that lists all of your resources alongside their skills and competencies.
This could be anything from technical skills - like programming languages or project management - to soft skills - like negotiation or leadership.
You can filter the skills report to refine the results. For example, to only see staff with availability, at a particular billable rate, at a certain skill level, or with a particular combination of skills.
The skills report lets you:
Project managers - A project manager would use the skills report when allocating resources to a project. It allows you to identify the people who have the skills and availability to deliver excellent project outcomes. Skill report filters - like availability, billable rate, skill level - let you identify someone with the skills and capacity to take on a project role, without blowing your budget or schedule.
HR leaders - Your HR leadership team can use the skills report to understand the current skill profile of their workforce and conduct a skills gap analysis. This is helpful for capability building and capacity planning. The skills report helps them assess whether they have the right skills and resources to fulfill their strategic vision. If not, they can implement a plan to recruit and train staff to suit the future direction of travel.
Other managers - The skills report is also useful if you want to break down organizational silos and encourage internal movement within the organization. For example, if you have a secondment opportunity, you could use the skills report to identify suitable staff.
Client satisfaction - Allocating appropriately skilled resources to each project means you’re more likely to meet and exceed client expectations - which leads to repeat custom, lower customer acquisition costs, and a virtuous spiral of positive word of mouth.
Staff retention - Providing people with work that aligns with their skills - and the skills they want to develop - increases their job satisfaction, engagement, and performance. This translates into better client outcomes, higher staff morale, and lower staff turnover (and associated costs). Skills tracking also surfaces opportunities to provide training, which can help retain staff in a competitive market.
Capacity and agility - Including skills in your capacity planning ensures your business has the expertise it needs to achieve its future goals. If you don’t have the skills you need, you won’t have the capacity or agility to jump on juicy opportunities when they arise.
Sound good? Read more about the benefits of skills tracking in Runn.
Your capacity is the amount of work you can deliver with the resources available to you. It represents your ability to take on, deliver, and realize revenue from client projects.
Calculating how much production capacity you have can be challenging. There are lots of factors at play - including the number of resources you have, their skills and roles, individual availability and working patterns, different combinations of projects, etc.
But it’s vital to get right. Too much capacity and you’ll start losing money. But too little capacity means you’ll struggle to meet your commitments.
Thankfully, a capacity report tells you exactly how much capacity you have to work with - now and in the future. It compares the hours you have available, against the work to be done. You can quickly see when and where you might be:
A capacity report can drill down to different levels of granularity. You can see anything from a bird’s eye view of the organization, down to individual roles, skills, or resources. This helps you understand where your capacity crunches are coming from, and how best to tackle them.
In summary, a capacity report lets you:
Project managers - As a PM, you can use the capacity report for day-to-day management of active projects, plus planning for future projects. It lets you assess any individual’s capacity to take on more work, so you schedule the right resources for each project. And it helps you ensure a balanced workload across different team members. This helps optimize resource utilization and increase your ROI.
Resource managers - Resource managers use capacity reports to understand production capacity across different projects. This helps them allocate resources fairly and effectively across the project portfolio, prioritizing high-value projects and resolving resource conflicts. Capacity reports into specific skills or job roles can help resource managers make a case for recruitment or retraining.
Senior leaders - Senior leaders can use a capacity report to answer key questions that underpin your business success. For example, can we complete confirmed work with the resources we have available? Do we have the bandwidth to take on additional projects? What future projects can we onboard with current staffing? Do we need to make changes to meet projected customer demand? Who do we need to hire - and when?
Resource optimization - Effective capacity management ensures you get the maximum ROI from your investment in resources. You can identify any underutilized resources with unused capacity and make decisions about how to rectify the situation. For example, retraining employees with less in-demand skills. This ensures your employees are earning - not burning - money.
Perfect productivity - A capacity report also helps you spot resources that are constantly overutilized. These are likely to be your most in-demand and valuable workers. And yet most at risk of burnout. This results in reduced productivity, lower mental acuity, and higher turnover. Spotting capacity crunches tells you when to recruit, so your MVPs stay on top of their game.
Strategic alignment - Capacity planning aligns your workforce with your future direction. It highlights any divergence between the capacity you have and the capacity you need. This informs your resource planning- for example, by highlighting recruitment needs - so you can confidently pursue your strategic objectives.
As you’ve seen from the screenshots, Runn has all of the above reports integrated in one dynamic platform, all using real-time data to give you up-to-the-minute insights.
Our easy-to-use resource management platform was designed by project managers, for project managers. We’re on a mission to make resource management easier and more effective for all project-based businesses. Because life is just too short to be stuck in Excel all day.
Runn provides decision-makers with at-a-glance, oh-so-intuitive built-in resource reports. No more wading through spreadsheets to extract actionable insights. They’re right there in glorious technicolor.
So you can assess your data, make confident decisions, and grow your business. It’s that simple.
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