Juggling Workloads And The BeachJuggling Workloads And The Beach
Summer is almost here. Do you know where your employees are? When colleagues are on vacation, those back in the office are often left scrambling to make up the work that's left behind, especially when there's a project deadline approaching. But project resource planning tools can help.
June 2, 2008
Summer is almost here. Do you know where your employees are? When colleagues are on vacation, those back in the office are often left scrambling to make up the work that's left behind, especially when there's a project deadline approaching. But project resource planning tools can help.At interactive advertising agency imc², Web-based project management tools from Project Insight help the company better manage its staff and workload on all sorts of projects, including IT plans, Website launches, client engagements, and more, says Erica Robertson, director of imc²'s project management office. "We use the software for about 20 different kinds of projects," says Robertson.
"The subject matter of the project doesn't matter," says Robertson. The tools can assist managers in allocating project staff "whether it's a building a Website, a house, or a road," she says. Prior to imc² signing on to use Project Insight's hosted, software-as-a-service offering about 18 months ago, the advertising company used manual processes and home-grown applications to manage projects. However, the software and manual processes had limitations when it came to balancing the time and workloads of people involved with projects, Robertson says. The Project Insight services not only assist imc² managers to staff projects based on the specific skills needed for the work, it gives project managers a heads-up on upcoming needs. With a look into the near future, project managers can ensure that graphic design work is covered while the graphic artist is on vacation, while also confirming that "we have the right people at the right time" to complete projects on time without burning out the rest of the staff. In the past, if, say, a graphic designer requested vacation days and that time was approved by that designer's direct manager, a project manager wouldn't necessarily know the designer planned to be out. Now, when vacation or other time-off is approved for a worker, that information is fed into the Project Insight system, automatically alerting project managers about the possible need to reassign work. The tools help imc² project managers balance workloads, to make sure people are fully utilized and "aren't sitting on the bench," says Robertson. The biggest benefit to using the tools is employee satisfaction, she says. The software eliminates the need to find people to cover work at the last-minute or "scrambling like crazy," says Robertson. The tools allow project managers to more effectively plan workloads based on who's available. imc² uses the Project Insight tools not only for project workers, but for all 650-plus employees, "from the janitor to the president up," says Robertson. imc² employees log in daily to the Project Insight portal to account for how they're spending their time. The software also integrates with the company's accounting and financial applications. How will you manage your projects while your staff is taking time off this summer? Will you use automated tools to balance workloads, or will you just wing it?
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