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Pipeline: The most important — and most difficult! — component of resource planning

Resourcing is a perennial problem for professional services companies. There will always be projects to deliver, and there will always be a need to keep people busy and know who’s working on what and when.

But live projects aren’t the full story. Projects, by their very nature, come to an end. New projects need to be won. There’s demand you need to fulfil tomorrow that doesn’t exist today.

This intersection between live projects and pipeline opportunities is the critical component in resource planning. It also happens to be what most companies find the trickiest part to manage. In this blog, we’ll discuss why including pipeline in resourcing decisions matters, and we’ll provide you with best practice guidance to achieve cohesion between the two areas.

Why is Combining Pipeline and Resource Critical?

Managing resourcing in isolation without factoring in future pipeline is one of the six most common mistakes we’ve seen in resourcing meetings.

Chances are you’ll get caught short and have to turn down work, or you’ll put your staff under huge pressure to deliver a mountain of work, risking burn out and a drop in service quality.

To ensure you can put the right people on the right projects in the future, you need to include the projects that’ll need staffing in the future.

Pipeline + Resourcing: The Single View

The answer lies in bringing resourcing and pipeline into a single view. The difficulty lies in determining how much of the pipeline to factor into the resource plan.

If you factor every potential project into your planning, you’ll look like you’re going to be overwhelmed. The truth is, much like you won’t expect to win every opportunity, you shouldn’t include every opportunity in your planning.

The key is implementing a forward-looking resourcing model which factors in a weighted sales pipeline into a single view.

Best Practices on Combining Pipeline and Resourcing

To effectively include your pipeline in resourcing, there are 4 key elements:

  1. Well defined and consistently used percentage probabilities. Probabilities enable the company to make better sales decisions. For example, it makes more sense to focus sales effort on a strong opportunity than an outside chance. But even more importantly, probabilities enable you to produce a weighted forecast that provides an accurate forecasting model of projected demand (and revenue) for the months ahead
  2. Up-to-date estimated start dates. Put simply, if project timings aren’t accurate, the demand forecast that you use to make hire/no hire decisions won’t be accurate
  3. Fully developed job costing estimates. To forecast demand you need an awareness of the roles that will be required, how much of their time will be required, and across what timeframe they’ll be required
  4. Real-time data. With both pipeline and resourcing, the picture is always changing. Trying to manually keep disparate systems or spreadsheets in sync is prone to error and can result in costly mistakes. The utopia is to unite pipeline management and resource management into a single, consolidated system

 

How Can CMap Help You Achieve a Single View Pipeline?

CMap combines pipeline management and resource management in a single system, eradicating disconnected spreadsheets or systems and giving your company a clear picture of the route that lies ahead.

CMap's consolidated database enables you to manipulate data as varied as pipeline management and resource management — and much more — from one point of access, and turns the data into insights that drive better, faster decision making.

A fantastic example of this is the Staffing Prediction Report. The report takes data from live and pipeline projects and automatically translates it into a vivid picture of capacity vs. demand moving forward.

Conclusions

Resource and pipeline management need to be considered as a singular entity in your resourcing strategy. A single view approach allows you to be effective with resource allocation and provides a holistic view of capacity and demand.

If you want more information on how to implement an effective resourcing strategy, download our free whitepaper: Resource Capacity vs. Demand: Mastering the Six Forces.

In this guide, you’ll discover how to master the six forces of resource capacity vs demand and learn the key factors influencing this equation. Topics covered include:

  • How a view of live and pipeline projects can be combined to provide clarity on future resourcing demand

  • Factors to consider when choosing between internal and external resource, and what the optimum balance looks like

  • How roles and skills impact capacity and demand decisions, and how you can effectively audit skill sets within your teams

  • Tips on dealing with peaks and troughs in workload and how you can adjust your staffing levels to deal with this

Download Guide

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Learn more about how to implement an effective resourcing strategy by mastering the six forces of resource capacity vs demand.