The Better Fit - Resource Management and Sales

June 2, 2016

Niki Saukolin

Personnel Management in Project Organizations – Is sales involved?

What are the first thoughts that come to your mind when you think about improving personnel resource utilization in a project organization? I would guess that project planning and allocation of resources are close to the top of most people’s lists. They certainly are for me. Proper planning and allocation are integral to achieving high resource utilization. However, these steps come relatively late in time compared to the sale of a project.

The truth of the matter is that when business development is selling projects, the resources required to perform them are often mostly locked. This brings up some interesting questions. How are resourcing needs taken into consideration by sales? Is much thought given to how new projects will fit in with the the existing project portfolio?  Are there significant overlaps or gaps that will create resource management challenges for the organization?

One of the key ingredients of high resource utilization is minimizing overlaps and gaps in the demand for people when old projects end and new projects start.  Focusing sales efforts based on how potential new projects fit the overall demand for personnel resources by existing projects is key to improved resource utilization.

Influencing utilization should therefore already start at the sales stage. Integrating business development and sales into the process of personnel resource management will make this possible. Ensuring that every sale is made with the demand and supply of people in mind will not only help improve utilization, it will also provide additional criteria for sales to prioritize bids and determine the distribution of effort between proposals.

Personnel Management and Sales Focus

If you work in a business development or sales role in a project organization – and have participated in preparing proposals for larger projects – you are sure to appreciate the amount of effort that is required. Each proposal is the work of a team of people, who work countless hours in order to address even the smallest details. The objective is always the same – to make the best possible proposal and increase the likelihood of winning the contract. When you think about it though, you may not always have the resources to give every proposal your best effort and not all contracts fit in equally well with your company’s current and future projects.

Some contract’s may require starting way too soon resulting in substantial overlaps and most of the work will need to be outsourced due to lack of resources, eating into your margins and potentially risking lower quality delivery. While other projects may be so far off in the future that they leave giant demand gaps in their wake. By focusing sales efforts and bidding for projects to get the best fit with the demobilization of projects nearing completion, it is possible to have a significant impact on overall utilization and profitability.

Personnel Management and the Fit

The fit between existing projects and prospective projects is critical for enabling high resource utilization. Mitigating overlaps and gaps between projects enables optimal overall resource utilization, and allows for project planning and resource allocation to have the maximal effect.

Achieving the best fit between projects requires two key actions:

1. involvement of business development and sales in the personnel resource management process, so that sales focus can be given to potential projects that are a better fit with existing projects;

2. implementation of a software solution that enables seamless collaboration between projects, departments and business development, to facilitate good decision making when determining sales focus.

About the author

Niki Saukolin

Niki is the head of business development at Promineo and a software industry veteran with over 20 years of experience working with enterprise customers.

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