tag:blog.allocatehq.com,2013:/posts Allocate Blog 2015-12-29T08:26:31Z Shaughnessy Speirs tag:blog.allocatehq.com,2013:Post/663230 2014-03-14T17:01:59Z 2015-03-26T23:14:16Z Allocate for all!

As you know, Allocate was built to simplify scheduling as it applies to our own business--software development. That personal, agency-focused perspective shaped Allocate’s early feature set and messaging, but since our release, we’ve heard from users across many industries: pharmaceuticals, law, architecture and even a printer. Getting to know our user base helped us realize that Allocate could be really useful to anyone who has resources they need to book.

We’ve now seen Allocate used for tracking year-long pharmaceutical launches, assigning legal associates to cases, allocating architects to projects, and physical equipment to booked orders. We realized our marketing message, focused on agencies, was excluding a variety of other applications.

So while our marketing page was due for a design upgrade, we decided to open up the messaging a bit to include some other industries. The broader approach has certainly been successful before. Trello does an excellent job of marketing their organizational tool across use cases. So do Wunderlist and Evernote.

Check out our update here. We were even able to collect some nice testimonials from our favorite managers in a couple different industries.

Why now? Allocate’s a young concept that we’re still working to validate. While we’re sifting out our best target audiences, it makes sense take a more broad approach and narrow from there, rather than refine the narrow, agency-focused scope that we launched with.

Does this affect current users? Nope--that’s how flexible Allocate is. Except for an adjustment to what we call your resources (they’re not always people!), you won’t notice any changes to the app.

Your thoughts and feedback are always welcome!

- Erin

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Shaughnessy Speirs
tag:blog.allocatehq.com,2013:Post/656939 2014-02-21T20:40:09Z 2015-03-26T23:14:32Z Allocate for equipment

Since Allocate has such a simple, straight forward scheduling interface, I wanted to share a bit about how it can be used for scheduling equipment. 

If your job is to manage scheduling of any sort of equipment, workspace or locations that are booked in daily, weekly, or monthly chunks, Allocate is going to help simplify not only the tracking, but also the sharing of that information across your team.

It’s fast to set up--just type your resources in the first column, and click in the calendar to add allocations for the days it’s already booked. Allocate comes ready to go with a monthly and weekly calendar grid aligned next to your list of resources.

Track availability of any type of resource, and share that information seamlessly with your other managers. Allocate updates in real time, so if they have the app open in their browser, they’ll see your change immediately.

Are you using Allocate to schedule equipment, workspace or another non-human resource? Let me know how it’s working out for you!

- Erin

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Shaughnessy Speirs
tag:blog.allocatehq.com,2013:Post/650718 2014-02-05T18:32:51Z 2014-02-14T22:49:41Z The evolution of app engagement

It’s been five months since I started as Product Manager for Allocate (MojoTech’s super-simple resource planning app). What have I learned? One trend that stood out was that users were signing up, but not staying on to actively use the app - even though it was free. This told us that people were definitely looking for an easy scheduling tool, but that Allocate wasn’t everything they’d hoped it would be. We needed to fix that!

The first step was to speak to our beta users. They gave us great feedback on features large and small that they were looking for, like the ability to “zoom out” to a month view. Next we tackled speed and performance issues and some key UX and UI pain points that we heard consistently. Importantly we also added event tracking across the app to see how people really used Allocate. This helped us get to the point where we were confident that Allocate was a tool that would help businesses tackle resource scheduling and be worth paying for!

So let’s take a look at how things have changed in terms of active scheduling boards, user actions, time on the app and bounce rate - all measures of user engagement.

Some facts and and figures:

• We use Google Analytics to track events. We do this not only to see how users are interacting with the app, but also to track the amount of logged-in activity that is occurring on our account pages. Let’s define an “active account” as an account page that sees at least 4 visits a month where least one event occurs - like scrolling or changing an Allocation. Using that benchmark, we have seen our number of active account pages increase 70% since October, with an especially nice jump from December to January. If we go back five months, active accounts have quadrupled.

• Google Analytics also gives us an average visit duration. From August through October this was consistent at around 5 minutes. In November, after we released some nice usability fixes, it doubled to 10:27; 11:36 in December; and 8:42 in January for a healthy 52% increase overall. Total tracked events on the site follows basically the same curve.

• GoSquared shows us our bounce rate has decreased at a steady rate since the fall, ending 16% lower in January. Traffic has increased a bit during this time too, and our conversion rate has been consistent. The decreased bounce rate is great, and has been boosted by previously onboarded users returning to their dormant accounts.

Our users are staying on the site longer and performing more actions while they’re around. The November-December engagement increases line up with some nice performance enhancements and UI adjustments that definitely made the app faster and easier to use.

Allocate is on its way to being a really powerful tool, and there are plenty more features that have been requested that we know will help anyone schedule and plan more efficiently. We are also adding a little polish to our marketing site to attract even more users - and more invaluable feedback to help us build better product.

As always, feel free to share your thoughts on this subject or any questions/suggestions for Allocate here in the comments.

- Erin

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Shaughnessy Speirs
tag:blog.allocatehq.com,2013:Post/646601 2014-01-27T16:14:14Z 2014-01-27T16:15:17Z Editing your Allocations just got prettier.

Today we released a prettier allocation editing pop-up tool! 

You can still quickly split, edit and delete your allocations just by clicking on the bubble. In this iteration, we’ve added notes to that same tool, as well as a shortcut to your project settings--that’s where you can change the color and project-wide attributes and notes.

Check it out:

  • Click on the allocation bubble you’d like to change.
  • Type in a different project name to change this person’s project.
  • “Split” will split this bubble in two--great for inserting a vacation or holiday.
  • “Delete” will make this bubble go away (without affecting any others).
  • “Settings” opens the project-wide settings and sorts to just this project (Click the X on the dropdown or press ESC close it).
  • And, type in the “Notes” area to add any comments about this particular allocation.
As always, let us know what you think!

Erin

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Shaughnessy Speirs
tag:blog.allocatehq.com,2013:Post/641339 2014-01-20T15:00:04Z 2014-01-20T15:07:31Z Tip: Add a New Board

Tip: Take full advantage of your remaining free weeks by creating additional boards--they’re great for visualizing potential changes that aren’t yet firmed up. 

From the account dropdown in the top right, click “New Board…” to start a fresh screen.

Now, get Allocating!

Erin

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Shaughnessy Speirs
tag:blog.allocatehq.com,2013:Post/641511 2014-01-16T14:53:08Z 2014-01-16T14:53:09Z Tweet us a pic for a chance to win Allocate Premium!

In celebration of our launch this week, we're giving away a year of Allocate Premium to one of the lucky users that Tweets us a pick of how their team uses Allocate. 

So boot up your group's schedule, gather the team, and shoot a pic on over to @AllocateHQ using #giveaway. We'll announce a random winner next Friday, January 24th!

Check out Nick's set up:

Now, send over yours!

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Shaughnessy Speirs
tag:blog.allocatehq.com,2013:Post/641502 2014-01-15T14:42:57Z 2014-01-15T18:00:02Z Allocate Premium launches today!

When we started building Allocate to replace our scheduling spreadsheet, we knew we were onto something. We couldn’t find a simple, collaborative, calendar grid that we actually enjoyed using. Now, thanks to all of our Beta users’ amazing feedback and support, we’re pleased to announce that we’re releasing Allocate’s full version today!

And, as all good things must come to an end, this release concludes our Beta program. If you’re currently a Beta user, your 30-day trial starts today. However, read on to see how you can enter to win a year of Allocate Premium, and continue using it for free until 2015!

Our flexible subscription model is now available--remember you still have 30 days before you’ll be asked to pick one. Small teams of three or less will be able to continue using Allocate for free.

Want to win a free year of Allocate Premium? Get your cameras ready! We’d love to see how you’re using Allocate at your scheduling meetings, and help one of our early users get Allocate Premium free for one year. Tweet us a pic of your team scheduling with @AllocateHQ AND #giveaway mentioned. We’ll announce a random winner next Friday January 24th!

As always, please shoot any issues, feedback or questions my way any time.

- Erin

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Shaughnessy Speirs
tag:blog.allocatehq.com,2013:Post/638499 2014-01-07T17:49:42Z 2014-01-07T17:49:42Z Month view is here!

You asked and we listened. A zoomed-out view of your schedule several months out was your top Allocate feature request. And today, with just a click of the Month button, you can now peer into the future of your team’s utilization.

Check it out:

Use Month view to:

  • Assess your current, future and past team utilization at a glance

  • Catch upcoming blocks of availability

  • Track future staffing needs more easily

Tip:  Add, delete and adjust longer allocations from your Month view. Head back to your Week view to see Notes and shorter vacations and holidays.

Let us know what you think!

- Erin

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Shaughnessy Speirs
tag:blog.allocatehq.com,2013:Post/635999 2013-12-30T22:51:21Z 2014-01-06T15:00:01Z Happy New Year and Welcome Back!

With our sights set on a brighter, more successful year ahead, a lot of us are open to new ways to help meet our goals and improve efficiency at work. Are you exploring new tools to help get your house in order this year? If resource management is at the top of your list of things to streamline in 2014, give Allocate a spin! 

It’s super easy to get started: just sign up with your email and company name. Add a person, add a project, and you’re allocating!

As soon as you have your current work lined up, you’ll be able to see who’s available when. Wouldn’t immediate access to your team’s availability be a nice New Year’s boost for your business development team?

 - Erin

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Shaughnessy Speirs
tag:blog.allocatehq.com,2013:Post/635950 2013-12-30T20:50:55Z 2013-12-30T20:50:55Z Part 4: When your inventory turns the light out each day

In this series, we’re sharing MojoTech’s experiences around creating and using Allocate. We’ve learned a lot about resource scheduling along the way, and hope to help agencies like us with these lessons, too. In Part 4, we'd like to explore the "stocking" challenges of the service business.

Professional services is the ultimate expression of supply and demand. Our inventory is made up of humans, which makes for a much less flexible stocking system. It’s not easy to adjust your supply the same way a physical goods producer would simply order more components or advertise a sale to adjust for the market’s demand.

To account for this inflexibility, you need to plan ahead. Just as important as it is for you to see who is doing what, you need to know who is doing nothing. This is your excess inventory. Just as a widget producer is likely paying storage and interest on his components, you are paying salaries and benefits. However, you can’t exactly have a fire sale on your services. Since you’re working with humans, you need to plan ahead to make sure either everyone is busy, or that staffing changes are in the works.

A physical goods company wouldn’t be able to function without accurate projections of future shipments. Sure, you have time tracking for what’s already been done, but how about a roadmap of your future demand? Allocate gives you a real time view of your inventory, and also allows you to project, so that you know:

  • Upcoming excess availability

  • Upcoming bottlenecks

  • Past team utilization rates

Example: Baxter is unallocated as of January 13th.

  • Give Baxter a “project” called “UNALLOCATED” so that it’s clear to the other managers that this person does not have a client project, and so that you’ll be able to find your underutilized team members quickly.

  • Set the project to not be counted towards utilized time, and give it a special color, like grey.

  • Add the project to any people with upcoming availability you’d like to easily track.

  • Use the filter to find everyone with “UNALLOCATED” scheduled so that you can quickly assign them something else instead. Note that Winston and Emma, with sufficient client work, are removed from this view to help you focus on the team members without billable projects.

→ These “unallocated” resources will help business development know where to sell more aggressively, and will help you prioritize work on your internal projects.

Allocate is a verb for a reason. So schedule your future projects, mark your unutilized people, pay attention to your growth rate and start projecting!

- Erin

Subscribe to the blog so that you don't miss out! Next time we’ll talk more about how to effectively use the time of the unallocated.

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Shaughnessy Speirs
tag:blog.allocatehq.com,2013:Post/633899 2013-12-23T16:13:58Z 2013-12-23T16:23:48Z Bonus holiday tip: Tags make booking your next project team super snappy!

Booking a new project? If you’ve been using tags to set up your People, you can drill down to any team or function quickly to find the team for your next new project.

1. Click the pencil icon next to a Person’s name to open the edit panel. Click on a “new tag” and enter a descriptor you’ll use to find them later--like a team name (design) or specialization (ruby).

2. Then, with the editing panel closed, you’ll be able to filter People, not just by their names now, but also by any tags you’ve added.

3. So when you’re looking for a designer for your next project, they’ll be easy to find.

Wishing you new projects aplenty to book in the new year! Happy Holidays!

- Erin

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Shaughnessy Speirs
tag:blog.allocatehq.com,2013:Post/629795 2013-12-12T21:16:06Z 2013-12-12T21:16:06Z Part 3: With a dispersed management team, Allocate unites!

In this series, we’re sharing MojoTech’s experiences around creating and using Allocate. We’ve learned a lot about resource scheduling along the way, and hope to help agencies like us with these lessons, too. We've explained why we created Allocate and what made that a great experience, and now we'd like to share how we make the most of the app as a team. 

One of Allocate’s strongest features is its seamless real-time updating. You’ve seen it keep your team in the loop on availability throughout the week. But if, like Mojotech, you run a weekly scheduling meeting, you can also offer your managers a real-time visual of your upcoming weeks as you schedule just by updating Allocate along the way.

Why is this great?

  • No one has to take notes or struggle with a spreadsheet during the meeting.

  • If someone missed mention of a change, it’s likely already updated on their screen.

  • You can use Allocate to illustrate a scheduling suggestion to your group.

How does MojoTech do it?

On a call every Friday afternoon, the MojoTech managers run down our list of current and upcoming projects to confirm staffing for the next four weeks. (You can, of course, plan out as little or as far out as suits your agency.) Project statuses are discussed and allocation bubbles are added, extended or changed during the call. Adjustments needed to make room for new business are made along the way, and unallocated resources are often assigned to internal projects (like Allocate and mojotech.com).

We do this all on a call together so that resources and projects can be negotiated, and side details can be shared that may not have been otherwise.

Finally, we click the “Email Team” button to send everyone a copy of their upcoming schedules.

Tips:

  • Make an effort to get all the managers on the call. If everyone knows who’s working on what, and why, you’ll have an easier time negotiating any bumps in the the week ahead when clients’ needs change (or bugs crop up).

  • Update Allocate as you discuss the schedule, and your shared tool is up to date at the end of your meeting.

  • Remember that while Allocate doesn’t replace a weekly team scheduling meeting, real-time updates certainly help when you can’t get everyone together. Just remember to discuss conflicts well ahead of any resource confusion.

Subscribe to the blog so that you don't miss out! Next time we’ll look at agency challenges around our inventory being made-up of real, living people.

 - Erin

Sign up for Allocate.  |  Follow us on Twitter @AllocateHQ.
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Shaughnessy Speirs
tag:blog.allocatehq.com,2013:Post/628461 2013-12-09T19:15:39Z 2013-12-27T14:17:29Z Updates: Adding a new board and repeating allocations

Hi everyone - we have a couple exciting feature releases today:

Manage more than one group or team? Add another board to your account from the dropdown in the top right. Just click “New Board” to start a fresh screen. To get back, just use that same Account dropdown to navigate between boards. They’ll always be connected, but you do have to invite any people you’d like to share this new board with.

Adding holidays and new projects? Now it’s easier to repeat the same project to people on your team. After adding the first, just click to add the next one (as you do now) and the new bubble will default to the prior project name and length. This should make starting a new project and adding upcoming holidays much easier.

Let us know what you think!

Erin

Sign up for Allocate.  |  Follow us on Twitter @AllocateHQ.]]>
Shaughnessy Speirs
tag:blog.allocatehq.com,2013:Post/621662 2013-11-20T17:10:03Z 2013-11-20T19:34:16Z Splitting up bubbles

Today we released a new feature: Split. Some of us found it a little cumbersome adding vacations and holidays in between long, already scheduled allocations. Now you can split up a bubble and insert a new one with just two clicks.

To split up an existing allocation, click on its bubble in the spot where you'd like to insert something new--that will bring up the new edit menu. Click “Split” to break up that bubble and add a new allocation in between. Add the new project name and adjust lengths as usual. “Edit” lets you change the project name or add a note, and "Delete" now lets you quickly delete that allocation bubble.

This release also speeds up filtering, which you’ll notice especially if you have a longer team list.

Let us know what you think!

- Erin Costanzo Cummins

Sign up for Allocate.  |  Follow us on Twitter @AllocateHQ.]]>
Shaughnessy Speirs
tag:blog.allocatehq.com,2013:Post/621404 2013-11-19T22:20:47Z 2013-11-19T22:28:02Z Part 2: Allocate as a lesson in a focused, fast, MVP

Last week I shared with you how our unruly scheduling spreadsheet motivated the MojoTech team to build our resource scheduling solution, Allocate

We knew we had to keep Allocate simple--not just because we thrive at building focused apps for our clients, but we really wanted to get off of our bloated scheduling spreadsheet as soon as possible. Allocate was going to solve a painful problem, which made for excellent motivation for sticking to an MVP (Minimum Viable Product). Any scope creep would not only balloon our investment in the tool, but also delay the day we could start using the solution we’d been searching for.

We started by defining the problem: managers needed to know who's working on what and when, so that they can easily see our team’s availability, and therefore, more easily respond to new requests from clients. Yes, there were all kinds of useful things that this app could do, too, but we narrowed down the core elements that we needed it to represent: people and projects on a calendar grid. Here's a screenshot that illustrates that core functionality:

Of course, the great ideas for additional features rolled in. We iceboxed just about all of them. MojoTech schedules in full weeks, four weeks out, so Allocate beta features full weeks, four weeks in a view. We kept it lean by solving just MojoTech's problem, and would later build from there.

Four short weeks later, with contributions from across the team, we had our MVP, Allocate beta, and MojoTech enjoyed its benefits immediately. The successful release of a super-focused MVP benefited our group in three ways:

  • MojoTech got to ditch the scheduling spreadsheet(!) and enjoy a much richer view of our most valuable assets--our people!

  • Allocate receives early user data and feedback from all the other agencies (thank you!) trying out the app. Our future customers are telling us what they need.

  • Team members, sitting in the client’s chair for this one, got to experience making the hard, but correct prioritizing decisions.

So, before simply adding features large and small, we're collecting the feedback and usage data that will shape our upcoming releases.

Have some feedback on Allocate? Go ahead and post it here in the comments, or send it on over to allocate@allocatehq.com.

Subscribe to these posts up on the left so that you don't miss out next week. We'll show you how MojoTech uses Allocate to unify our dispersed management team over our weekly team scheduling meeting.

 - Erin Costanzo Cummins

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Shaughnessy Speirs
tag:blog.allocatehq.com,2013:Post/617093 2013-11-07T22:04:24Z 2013-11-08T14:07:24Z Part 1: Still using spreadsheet for scheduling? (How Allocate came to be)

Through this series we aim to share with you, likely managers at similar agencies, the valuable resource scheduling lessons we at MojoTech have learned along the way. I thought it would be helpful to start with the story (and picture) of why we built Allocate, because you likely can relate to where we were coming from last year.

For about two years MojoTech used a spreadsheet to track our resource allocations before we decided to build Allocate. At the time the spreadsheet met our needs, but became cumbersome and time-consuming to use as we outgrew it. Here’s a screenshot of what it looked like at the time of abandonment, showing the upcoming four weeks from the last time we used it back in March 2013:

Yeah, it’s kind of a mess. And compared to Allocate’s UI, I’m finding the colored grid blocks pretty funny. I’ve included it here not just for a chuckle, but in case some of you can relate. I know there are agencies out there still tracking their allocations on a shared spreadsheet, or maybe even in some physical manifestation within your office (post-its on your wall?).

Week after week, we were manually adding columns for days and weeks, rows for people, and color-coding projects. Whoever was running our weekly scheduling meeting would have to open up that spreadsheet five minutes ahead of time just to get the next week’s calendar set up and ready for updating. And then we’d add the little colored blocks to denote a resource on a project for an upcoming week. It was a distracting chore and there was too much room for simple human error--accidentally giving an allocation a wrong project color or dating a week incorrectly. We found ourselves leaving out important information when we ran out of room or needed to make a note.

We knew we had out-grown the spreadsheet, but we couldn’t find a tool that was faster and easier to start using than what we had now. But…we’re MojoTech--we build apps! So why don’t we just build a tool ourselves that solves this resource allocation problem? After some market research, we decided to go ahead and build Allocate, hoping it would help other agencies like us, too. All those spreadsheet-related headaches we were experiencing motivated us to work fast, and the result is the beta release of Allocate that you see today at www.allocatehq.com.

Next week, we’ll discuss how releasing Allocate was a truly rewarding lesson in to sticking to an MVP.

- Erin Costanzo Cummins

Sign up for Allocate.  |  Follow us on Twitter @AllocateHQ.


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Shaughnessy Speirs
tag:blog.allocatehq.com,2013:Post/616879 2013-11-07T15:40:54Z 2013-11-07T18:52:22Z Follow our story - schedule like a pro!

In our upcoming blog series, we’ll be sharing MojoTech’s experiences around creating and using Allocate. We’ll highlight our resource scheduling best practices and lessons learned to help other agencies working with the same challenges. 

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Shaughnessy Speirs
tag:blog.allocatehq.com,2013:Post/616949 2013-06-02T16:00:00Z 2013-11-07T21:44:41Z How to Manage Time Better With Less Time

Knowing how to manage time better is something we all could get better at doing. Whether it's managing time while at work or time with your family, we all wish we had a few extra hours everyday. So how can you manage time better with less time? It sounds like something out of the 4-Hour Workweek, doesn't it?

Before we begin there are a few mental hurdles you must clear in order to achieve more time to work with.

Start respecting the time you have. Get serious about it. We all know someone who is super productive and gets a lot done during the day. Chances are they're pretty serious and super selective about where they spend their time. They're not checking their Facebook or watching Youtube when they should be answering emails or writing a report. They are organized, prepared, and know exactly what they have to get done for the day. Respect the way you spend your time and it will start rewarding you with more.

This leads us to the next step.

Track your time for an entire week. After every task you complete, log what you did and how long it took. Be very strict about logging everything. If you spend 15 minutes looking at the latest animated cat gifs on reddit you better put it in your log. Don't be ashamed. This is your baseline of productivity. How will know if you're making time if you don't know how much you were spending in the first place?

Pat yourself on the back. Being accountable every minute of every day is a hard task, so you deserve it! Now that you have logged of all activities for the week, take time to analyze and discover where you're wasting your time. Did you use the bathroom a lot? Take a few more snack breaks than you thought? You may be surprised at how much and where you wasted your time during the week. What did you find out?

Write your findings down because you'll be experimenting next. To help you analyze your activity log I've created of list of time wasters to be on the look out for:

  • Bathroom Breaks
  • Snack breaks
  • Smoke breaks
  • Phone calls with Friends
  • Social media sites
  • Blogs
  • Interruptions
  • Non-business meetings
  • Daydreaming

You've got a lot data about yourself. So what should you do? That's really up to you but here are a few tweaks you could try out in the upcoming weeks.

  1. Schedule all phone meetings to occur during one day of the week. Make the calls back to back so you can get them out of the way and so that they don't distract you and un-prioritize your tasks.

  2. Wake up earlier. If you're a night owl, this one is hard, but if you noticed you're being interrupted during your peak hours you may have bite the bullet and wake up a few hours earlier. You'd be amazed how much you can get done when no one is bugging you.

  3. Use software meant to simplify your life. You' don't have to do everything yourself, you can save time by using allocatehq.com to delegate to and manage contractors. And there are browser toolbars that block Facebook, YouTube and any other Internet distraction during your day.

  4. Stop checking your email all day long. Try checking it twice a day at 10am and 2pm. This may seem scary at first but when you're a slave to email, you're constantly pulling away from your current priorities

  5. Turn off the clock on your computer. Many people have the bad habit of glancing at the clock every so often to see what time it is. All of these glances are distracting you from work and make it difficult to re-focus in on the task at hand. Stop being a slave to time and start getting your work done.

  6. Remove all distractions from your work area. Somebody pays you to get a job done, so avoid unemployment by skipping the extra snack, smoke and gossip breaks.

  7. Block off on a calendar all the things you need to do for the week. If you have any problems with procrastination, which is often the biggest culprit of time-wasting habits, you can benefit from a better schedule.

For example, if you check reports every Monday morning, block off the amount of time you estimate it should take you, in your case it's between the hours of 9 and 10. When 9am on Monday morning rolls around, you check those reports. You don't check your email, you don't chat with your co-workers you only do the task you have blocked off. This may seem very strict, but it's actually frees your mind from having to worry about other things.

If you breeze through in less time than you anticipated, move on to your next task. Keep this up and you'll be done before you know it.

Getting more time is all about focus. The better you can keep your attention on the task at hand, the faster you can get things done. It takes determination and willpower to master managing your time better. By structuring your time during the week, you give yourself the foundation of what focus is and what your time means. Get serious about using your days deliberately and the nights and weekends could be yours!

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Shaughnessy Speirs
tag:blog.allocatehq.com,2013:Post/616945 2013-05-26T16:00:00Z 2013-11-08T14:04:54Z How Task Tracking Software Makes Management Easier
Are you feeling overwhelmed? It's OK, take a big deep breath and repeat after me: "managing my resources and tasks can be easier". Feeling better? Nope? That's normal. Running a business, especially when you have a whole class of contractors to manage, keep up with and prioritize, is exhausting.

We know...why do you think we built Allocate anyway? Keep reading to find out how task-tracking software makes management easier.

In the Loop

Keeping your team and resources organized is one of the major reasons for using task-tracking software. If you had to constantly keep people in the loop, you'd be spending most of your day sending emails and obnoxiously CCing the whole team on every single one. That's what you call not getting anything done, and wasting the time of your hard-working team as well. Resource and task-tracking software lets your team know what's going without having to babysit anyone.

Missed Milestones

When deadlines are approaching, you have to be able to count on your team to hunker down and get the job done. If you weren't using resource and task-tracking software you'd be resorting to writings thing down in a notebook. This is totally cool if you're a company of one (have you seen that Evernote Moleskine?), but what if you're juggling eight contractors? How would they know what to do and in what priority they should do it?

Consider for a minute, the idea of setting milestones in the first place. You may not have thought to even create milestones for project. Having mini goals (aka milestones) spread throughout the project keeps your contractors focused and your customers happy.
Task management software can make you think about your projects in new ways -- like being able to see all your available business resources on one screen. Having this level of overview is empowering and can make tackling the next project easier.

Reminders to Remember

Does Pam have the latest copy of the report? You were supposed to have it ready for her by the end of day! Dang, now Pam's got to scramble around to get it before her big meeting. Having someone or something remind you can really save the day.

Reminders may seem trivial, but if you were able to capture all the things you'd like to be reminded of on a daily basis, your brain would be a whole lot less cluttered with mental post-it notes. Task-tracking software consolidates your to-dos so that you can focus on everything else.

Doing the Right Thing at the Right Time

You can't shop for groceries while you're at the home improvement store just like you can't assign Pamela new work if she's on vacation in Belize for the next two weeks. But you don't know what you can't do unless you have a grasp on the availability of your contractors, or anyone you delegate to.

Task-tracking and resource management software can give you the peace of mind and information to make better money making business decisions. What other ways has task-tracking software made managing your business easier? Let us know in the comments, that's something we're pretty darn interested in.
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Shaughnessy Speirs
tag:blog.allocatehq.com,2013:Post/616943 2013-05-19T16:00:00Z 2013-11-08T18:54:22Z Simple Resource Management Software You'll Actually Use
Having simple resource management software sounds too good to be true.

To be able to quickly add resources (contractors, equipment, etc.), and define the availability of each resource sounds like a complicated task. In the past, managers had their own pen and paper system for managing these resources. If you’ve ever worked in the restaurant or retail business and had a shift chart, it tends to look something like that -- a visual display of when people can work, and then filling them in when applicable.

But again, if you've ever worked in the restaurant business or retail, how many times were you scheduled on days that you listed as unavailable?

That's what we mean when we say resource management – the availability of your resources and assigning them to tasks only when they're able to complete them.

Thankfully, the days of pen and paper scheduling are almost gone, but larger businesses still struggle with managing resources in an organized way. That's where resource management software comes in. The real question is, what does having simple resource management software really provide for you? How can it affect your business and the decisions you make? All of these benefits can be distilled down to one word.

Power

It all comes down to power. Simple resource management software gives you the power to understand the resources you have access to. It should be able to tell you who's available, what they're working on, and when they're open for additional work.

This knowledge can help you make informed business decisions such as estimating a start date for a new project or knowing when you'll be able to take on new work.

If your staff is made up of contractors, each of them has their own set of schedules and skills. This can be very challenging to manage but if you had a resource management tool, you could quickly look to see who was available at any given time and determine if they possess the right skills for the task.

The equipment you use to get the job done is also subject to availability. Juggling the schedule of open equipment can be an art form of its own. Sometimes this equipment is mission-critical.

If you don't know when you can use it, then you're completing the project blindly. If someone is using it right at the moment you need it, you could be setting back the project by days or weeks. Being able to quickly see a high-level view of your equipments availability makes for better decisions.

The Foundation

Resource management creates a foundation that task management sits upon. The resources you have available will determine what you can do and when you can do it. Knowing this information is critical to any business.

Do you really want to be making guesses when it comes to setting milestones for projects? You can't provide your client with an accurate start and finish date without knowing who has time to work on their project.

Simple resource management software can save you time and money. It also helps you make money by keeping clients happy and by saving dough on unnecessary resources. It's the foundation that all other project tasks you perform sit upon.

One question still remains. Why haven't you tried a simple resource management platform like Allocate yet? Do you have any questions about the resource management process? We'd be happy to help so feel free to get in touch with us by email or by leaving a comment.
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Shaughnessy Speirs
tag:blog.allocatehq.com,2013:Post/616939 2013-05-12T16:00:00Z 2013-11-08T18:56:36Z Motivation in the Workplace- Are Your Project Managers the Problem?
Motivation in the workplace is a big deal. If your team isn't motivated, projects get hacked together, customers get disappointed, and more things just seem to go wrong.

A motivated team that feels appreciated also performs better. They're more likely to speak up at meetings when they feel heard, and they're more likely to work longer and harder to make you happy.

If hiring project managers that are super-organized is the number one thing you hire them for, being able to motivate people should be second. Motivated workers work harder and will make you more money.

Unfortunately, some people are born motivators and some folks aren't. You can't fault one of your project managers if the ability doesn't come to them naturally. You can however, help them develop motivating habits by asking them to be mindful of the five things below:

A Positive Frame of Mind

Having a positive outlook for a project is key trait to instill in your project managers. When a PM trash-talks a client to his employees or contractors, he's basically saying, "don't take what the client wants seriously." At this point, you've put out the fire in their motivation and have subconsciously told them that the client is a joke and that they don't need to work as hard to please them. If you want the people who work for you to be happy, motivated and driven, your PM should display the same confidence and integrity. Keep frustration out of the communication loop.

Clear Communication

Clearly communicating tasks and directives can really help motivate your PM's team. You do not want a PM that is flippant with directions. Project Managers should also never assign tasks and then chastise their team for performing them. The importance of clarity in communication with contractors cannot be said enough. Project Managers should be the most accountable people on your team in terms of deadlines and milestones, but if contractors aren't keeping up to speed, there may be a communication breakdown.

The Right Environment

The environment your project managers establish for their teams directly correlates to how successful they are. Demand that your managers foster an open environment so that team members are given the freedom to question anything about a project without persecution. This can lead to new discoveries in efficiency and project heuristics. The goal of an open team environment is that everyone is working towards and thinking about the best way to finish the project. If your PM needs "sensitivity training" in terms of giving constructive criticism, work with them on it. No idea is a stupid idea, and nobody should be allowed to tell anyone they "don't think that's a good idea" without coming up with an alternative solution.

Daily Words of Encouragement

A quick daily word of encouragement can really boost motivation in the work place. Have your project managers shout people out for the good work, especially when they meet or come in ahead of deadlines. A group email is always nice, but it can be sent directly to the team member too. Make a point of thanking someone on your team for his or her hard work at least once a week.

Empowerment

All of these things start with you. Set the example for your managers by creating open environments where you communicate clearly, acknowledge hard work, and move forward in a positive manner. Teach by example and your project managers will follow suit.

As a bonus, give your managers the power to give their teams perks. Give them the ability to treat their team to gifts or a catered meal. Wantful is a neat gifting site that allows you to pick gifts your team might like and they get to choose what they want.

It's the little things that show your team that you care and that you're excited about working together in the future. Do you have an effective way of boosting motivation in the workplace? Let us know in the comments.
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Shaughnessy Speirs
tag:blog.allocatehq.com,2013:Post/616936 2013-05-05T16:00:00Z 2013-11-08T18:56:56Z 6 Ways to Prioritize Tasks Better in Any Project
In The Alloy of Law, Brandon Sanderson wrote,
"The mark of a great man is one who knows when to set aside the important things in order to accomplish the vital ones."

Do you know the difference between your important and vital priorities? One might say that in the work/life balance, sleep is a pretty vital priority that often goes forgotten, especially in the start-up world!

And on that note, there are important and vital priorities in your business too. Spending the time to decide what matters most can be as simple as the process of paying down debts one credit card at a time, paying off the lowest balances first.

Do you know which priorities have the lowest balance? Which ones will take the most time to complete, versus how mission-critical they are to holding up other wheels in the project?

Below are six ways to prioritize tasks better, smarter, and in a way that won't create a lengthy priority out of creating new priorities!

1. Time

The most basic way to prioritize a task is to ascertain how much time you have to complete it. Is it due today? Is it due in a month? Your answer may mean working on it right away or moving on to a more urgent task.

Another element of time is how much you estimate the task will take to complete. If it's only five minutes, does it make sense to move it to the top of the queue and off your list?

If You're unsure of which task to complete first, ask yourself this question: If you only had two hours to work on one thing today, what would it be? Does one task jump out? Now go and do it!

2. Context

Are you in the right place to perform the task in question? Context can mean that environmental and resource requirements need to be met in order to complete a task.

For example, perhaps you're traveling and your laptop doesn't have InDesign on it needed to complete the task of updating that brochure You're working on. If it can't be done right now, delegate it or move on to the next task.

3. Resource Availability

Much like prioritizing by context, you can prioritize by available resources. You can't pour concrete without a cement truck, so if your resource isn't available, move on to the next task. Or better yet, check in with your cement crew to see if things are still on schedule to pour in the afternoon. Then move on.

4. Task Review

Do you have a process for prioritizing project addendums? You know, those phone calls and emails that creep up throughout the project with new ideas and updates?

Those tasks need to be integrated into whatever priority list you've already created. Performing a task review every week, possibly with the client, can help you spot new tasks that may need to get done first.

This may seem like giving yourself more work, but if you get into the habit of reviewing the week ahead, you'll gain the advantage of spotting trouble, hiccups and holdups in advance.

5. Fortune Telling

Some people are professional fortune tellers and psychics. Your customers and clients can benefit when you play that role for them.

Projects have twists and turns that occur during their lifecycle. Foresee when these things are happening and quickly mitigate their impact. The sooner you're able to spot these hiccups, the more time you'll have to craft an action-plan to combat them. These unexpected tasks become less unexpected with a watchful eye and professional experience.

6. The Magic Hat Trick

Sometimes you have so many tasks that your brain gets overwhelmed and completely melts down when you look at your task list. This leads to procrastination and is where the magic hat trick task management system can help get things done.

Instructions are as followes:
  • Write down all tasks on strips of paper
  • Place strips of paper with tasks on them into a bucket, hat or whatever container you have on hand
  • Shake the container and mix up the strips
  • Select one strip of paper and remove it from the bucket
  • Read and perform the task on the strip of paper
  • Discard paper when finished
  • Repeat until all tasks are finished and your container is empty
This trick might sound a little juvenile, but when a task list is too overwhelming to look at, this little trick keeps your mind focused on one thing at a time. You're not worried about what's coming up next because you can't see it. Your only mission is to empty that container. Simple but powerful.

These are some of the many ways to prioritize tasks. Do you have a special way of prioritizing what you need to accomplish? Share them with us in the comments.
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Shaughnessy Speirs
tag:blog.allocatehq.com,2013:Post/616932 2013-04-28T16:00:00Z 2013-11-08T18:58:54Z 10 Ways Business Resource Management is Overlooked
The core problem in business resource management is not knowing who's doing what. No one's on the same page, time's being wasted and money is being spent to keep the whole charade going.

Wouldn't it be good to know where things may be overlooked so that you don't fall into the "time is money" cliche?

Below are 10 ways business resource management is overlooked.

1. Hiring

The entire hiring process can be filled with setbacks and useless meetings. Defining who's in charge of the hiring process puts the responsibility on a singular person.

2. Firing

The last thing you want is to have multiple people in charge of letting someone go. It's a topic that should be handled with care but as the saying goes, the only thing worse thing then firing someone is not firing.

3. Purchasing

Your company has multiple departments. Each may have its own purchasing power. Wouldn't it be great to know if another department has a piece of unused equipment that's needed by your department? It would! Simple resource management software can quickly gives you the entire scope of equipment you have at your disposal.

4. Project Management

It's always a best practice to assign different tasks to the team member with the right skillset. This introduces responsibility and accountability for the various tasks within a project. But how do you know who has the bandwidth for the new tasks? Do they have the right skill set required for the task? Resource management software give you this snapshot of team members at a moment's notice.

5. Equipment Management

If your company relies on equipment to get jobs done, it's easy to overlook which piece of equipment was checked out and when will it become available again. Do you have a system in place that can quickly see where everything is? Searching around for who has what is waste of time and money.

6. Sales Teams

Are your sales teams are constantly calling each other's leads? This a big problem that is aggravates potential clients and kills deals. Get everyone on the same page and to collaboratively make more money!

7. Client Management

What's going on with your current clients? At what stage are they into their project? This is information that is business critical and should be available to you at a moment's notice. Having this high level picture of how your clients are doing is a big deal.

8. Expenses

Keeping an eye on business expenses is one of the keys to success. Try reviewing your expenses during a weekly or monthly routine.

9. Workplace Efficiency

Are things getting done in the time you thought they would? Should you be billing for more hours? Keeping an eye on efficiency across the board (that includes you!) can make big a difference.

10. Business Intelligence

You've collected all of this data, but who's in charge of it? What methodologies, processes, and technologies are you using to process it? Are you spending money to collect this data? The data isn't good to anyone unless someone is responsible for to measure, organize and re-plan it.

These are just ten common areas that are often overlooked. What other places do you see resource management slipping? Let us know in the comments.
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Shaughnessy Speirs
tag:blog.allocatehq.com,2013:Post/616921 2013-04-21T16:00:00Z 2015-12-29T08:26:31Z How to Manage Remote Employees More Effectively

Learning how to manage remote employees is a new skillset that just about every employer needs to get familiar with. With all the fantastic ways we can communicate via the web, our teams are no longer bound by geographic location. Your marketing director could live in Dubai and your office assistant could live in Dublin.

Lets begin with an overview of goals you should have in mind when managing remote employees.

  • Creating a system that shows an overview of the team's effort.
  • Giving employees a balanced and equal share of work.
  • Effectively managing due dates.
  • Motivating employees, even when they're 3,000 miles away.

Synchronize your team members.

If you don't already have a task management system, start looking, like now. It will be difficult to manage your team if you don't know what they're doing. Give yourself a couple weeks if you're adopting a new system. It will be difficult to get everyone on board, but be diligent. Set the example for your remote workers by using your task management system to its fullest extent.

Give ownership to tasks.

Making your employees accountable will give them a sense of accomplishment as well as make their tasks ahead much more clear. Giving everyone updates about who's working on what will keep communication up and competition friendly.

Be a guiding light.

If you see a task or project going astray, correct it constructively as soon as possible. Spend more time on the phone with remote employees to keep them on-task and on schedule. Sometimes remote employees get behind without anyone noticing until it's too late.

Plan further ahead than anyone.

Always have a back-up plan, you never know when you may hit a snag or need to let one of your remote employees go. Firing a remote employee is even more difficult than one in-house because it's typically you that will be re-training "the new guy".

Let the software do the heavy lifting.

You don't need to micromanage tasks. Let your software tell you what upcoming milestones and deadlines are ahead. Day Planners are for real estate agents, not project managers.

Meeting Deadlines

  • Always ask your team what their estimation is for a task. You may be surprised at how much time they think it will take.
  • Hold constructive discussions to find out what hang ups your team may have.
  • Build in extra time for unforeseen challenges.
  • Daily check-ins may help as deadlines approach.

Keep The Good Feeling Going

  • Acknowledge and appreciate important achievements individually and collaboratively.
  • Create an open environment where your team members can speak their minds.
  • Be overly available to them. An open communication policy is essential.
  • If you have the ability to send your team gifts, send them one when they finish a project. Even something small like an Amazon gift certificate can really boost someone's spirits and keep them motivated.
  • Bring the whole team together once a year. This will do wonders for building company culture.
  • Hold project wrap-up meetings to glean insights into what worked, what didn't and what could be removed.

Learning how to manage remote employees may take a little time but you'll get the hang of it. Organization and communication are the most important skills to strive for when forming a remote team. Have you had success managing people remotely? Do you have any insights into what make remote teams tick? Please share them with us in the comments section.

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Shaughnessy Speirs
tag:blog.allocatehq.com,2013:Post/616916 2013-04-14T16:00:00Z 2013-11-07T16:39:21Z How to Fire a Contractor Before It Hurts Your Project

Knowing how to fire a contractor is an art form. It takes planning, tact and a keen assessment of the situation. Let's face it, no one wants to fire anyone.

But if you've ever watched a project fall behind because one of your contractors couldn't keep up or was in learn-as-you-go mode, you know that firing a contractor is one of the most stressful parts of managing a business.

In this article we hope to give you a framework for firing a contractor and some helpful hints to make the process as smooth and conflict-free as possible.

Preparation

Knowing how to fire a contractor all starts with the right level of preparedness. Below are a few precautionary steps you can take even before you start working with a new contractor.

Agreements

We aren't lawyers nor do we play them on TV, so please seek your professional legal council when drawing up the agreements that pertain to you and your business. The agreements you have with your contractors are the first place you can tighten up to make firing a contractor easier.

Your contracts should explicitly include language that states you have the right to terminate the contract and agreement for any reason and at any time. This agreement clause is helpful when you're trying out a new contractor and you may need to let them go quickly.

Add a "work for hire" line into your agreement for any intellectual work so that the creator of that work can't claim ownership of the content after they leave.

Vetting Your Contractors

How does that saying go? "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure".

The same is true for hiring contractors. Finding good people to contract work out to will save you the hassle of having to fire them later. Even when you're busy and struggling to meet deadline, check their references and mentally scrutinize their work. Technically this isn't exactly in the scope of how to fire a contractor, but it's certainly a good way to avoid having to fire them.

Keeping a Stable

Having a stable of contractors on deck is a business savvy way to keep things running smooth. A contractor's not making the grade? Switch them out for one of your trusted contractors. The key to making this work is to build trusted relationships with your contractors that rock.

Did they really kick butt on that last project? Send them a bonus. Is it their birthday? Send them a gift. This is where constant communication with your "stable" is crucial. It also means you need a simple, easy to use resource planning tool (ahem) to organize which contractors are available.

Monitoring Your Contractors

Constant communication is the key to keeping a good relationship with your contractors.

When you're working several active projects, its key to have daily contact with your contractors. A daily check-in meeting is a great way to see how a project is progressing and one of the best ways you can foresee problems arising before they get worse. You can use services like Hipchat or Skype to get updates throughout the day.

Observe how your contractor acts, too. Are they constantly late to meetings? Are they always missing milestone dates? They may need more motivation for you or they may need to be let go. There isn't any way to sugarcoat it. Some people just don't take contract work seriously. They see a paycheck and they just want to get to the finish line. If you get that vibe from them, let them go before it really hurts your business.

How To Fire

This is the easiest and the most uncomfortable part of the process. One thing to note before you fire your contractor: keep detailed records of the systems, services and tools that your contractors have access to.

You should have the ability to control any account they have access to. The last thing you want is for your freshly fired contractor to take revenge.

When dealing with a new contractor it may be a good idea to have weekly (or even daily) file check-ins where they submit their latest work into you. That way if you have to fire them you have their latest draft of the project.

Tips for the firing

  • Be calm and friendly, remember it's just business.
  • Be short and to the point with why you're firing them. You don't need to get into great detail or insult them. If they wasted too much money, it might be your fault for waiting too long to recognize the problem.
  • With contractors you may want to explain to them that this project didn't best fit their skillset, but future ones might.
  • If they reach for external excuses, explain to them that you've already made up your mind.
  • Explain how much they'll be paid based on the work they have already performed (another reminder to keep good records and log hours weekly!)
  • Keep a record of why you fired someone and look for warning signs in the future.

Firing someone sucks. Being prepared and organized can make the process less stressful and help you spot problem contractors earlier. Do you have a contractor horror story? We'd love to hear about it.

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Shaughnessy Speirs
tag:blog.allocatehq.com,2013:Post/616905 2013-04-07T16:00:00Z 2013-11-08T19:02:06Z 7 Business Resource Management Tips To Save You Money
Business resource management is part of the day-to-day management of running a business. And everything you do in your business, from the way you manage your time to the contractors you keep on payroll, have an effect on your monetary resources.
  • The way you pay your bills (payroll software, staff, etc.)
  • Receiving money from clients (invoicing, payment processing, etc.)
  • What you spend money on (contractors, supplies, etc.)
Understanding how to manage these assets can make or break you business. Below are seven business resource management tips to save you money. The order of importance may depend on your priorities:

1. Watch Out for Bank Fees

These days it seems like there's a bank fee for just about everything. Whether it's a fee for maintaining a monthly minimum or over-drafting your account, it's important to know what fees you may incur. Have your bank give you a list of fees. You may even want to switch banks if you feel like these are too high or unreasonable. If you have several business accounts with monthly fees and are only using a couple of them, close the extras.

2. Make It Easy for Clients to Pay You

Technically this is a money-making tip and not a money-saving tip. But, if you're making money aren't you also saving money?

Many businesses still don't take advantage of the number of payment services out there. These services (Paypal, Invoiceable, Harvest, etc.) make it easy for your clients to pay with debit and credit cards, and even automatically send invoices when they're late. These services often cost money and/or take a percentage of the amount charged, so be sure to read the fine print and use them wisely. The real benefit of these types of services is the increase in cash flow. The faster and more consistent, the better.

3. Stop Spending Money on Dining Out

It's fun to be the boss and take the team out for a meal. Businesses can get caught up spending needless amounts of money on food. Take a step back and think, do you really need to have Friday's lunch catered? Food is one of the worst, least deductible tax write-offs, so maybe instead of every week, you have Friday's lunch catered once a month. You could save $200-$500 a month! It's important to reward your team when they have worked really hard, but make sure it's a prize, not just an expected perk.

4. Go Easy on the Supplies

Purchasing pens, paper, copy machines and other miscellaneous supplies can get out of hand very quickly. Be strict about the budget you set for supplies. Think about what supplies you really need to do business. You may not need that $2000 copy machine after all.

5. Skip the Booth & Just Attend

Ok, it's cool to have a booth at your industry's biggest conference but they are a an infamously huge waste of money when done half-hearted and without a full-on lead-generating strategy. You essentially pay an exorbitant amount of money to have your team confined to one place during the show. At least part of your team always needs to be at the booth.

It's true that some networking may occur within the confines of your booth, but if you and your team were in five different places at once, you'd have better business development opportunities by not having to babysit the booth. Just going to a conference is expensive. Save thousands by skipping the booth and just attending. Be a bag sponsor if you want.

6. Set an Example

As the saying goes, "Be the change in the world". Culture within a company is set by executives but it's also set within individual departments and teams. Set the example for your team. Demonstrate how you use company resources and your team will follow.

7. Be a Better Scientist

"We've always done it this way because that's how we've always done it". That statement gets repeated at hundreds of businesses on weekly basis. Most businesses have forgotten how to experiment.

Every company is guilty. You have a repeatable process that works, you already have a relationship with one vendor. Why should you change any of it?

You should always be striving for the best, but the unknown may be better and cheaper. To start experimenting you only need to ask yourself this one question, "Is there a better way of doing this?". It could a faster way or a cheaper way. It could be as simple as using a new software tool to help give you better perspective of what your team is up to.

Be curious, try new things and you'll make discoveries that benefit your business by saving them time and money.

These seven business resource management tips are just the beginning. Every company is unique so we hope we've sparked your imagination. Business resource management is about getting creative with the way your company uses its time, money and effort.
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Shaughnessy Speirs
tag:blog.allocatehq.com,2013:Post/616894 2013-03-31T16:00:00Z 2013-11-07T16:33:41Z What is Resource Planning?

What is resource planning? Good question. Depending on whom you're talking to, resource planning can mean something different to just about everyone. So for this article we'll just discuss resource planning in general terms.

A great way to think of resource planning is the organization of people, equipment and other critical assets to complete a task. This could be a task for school, organization or in the workplace. It's used for managing many simple tasks and also complex projects, like building a spaceship. Most of the time you won't need to plan out simple tasks and projects, but when things start to get complicated you'll be glad you had a simple to use resource planning tool like allocatehq.com.

Resource planning is most essential for when you're in charge of a time-sensitive project that requires a team of people, lots of equipment and has multiple phases before the project is complete. Below are few key areas resource planning can come into play. We'll be using a couple different real world scenarios to illustrate these points.

Gauging Bandwidth

Imagine you're the production director of a video production studio. You have been asked to submit a proposal for seven 30-second commercials in four weeks. This could mean a great deal of money to your firm, but does your company have the bandwidth to take on such a large short-term project?

Before submitting a proposal, you should probably find out what the availability of your production crew is, what production facilities are open and what equipment is unavailable. You need to have all of this information at your fingertips in a simple organized system.

Using a tool to manage all of these resources can help you determine which projects you have the bandwidth for. Because there's nothing worse than taking the time and resources to bid for project you can't complete because you overlooked what resources are available. This will save you time and money.

Avoid Losing Money & Making Clients Mad

A video production company is just one example of how a company can use resource planning in the discovery phase of a project.

Let's now pretend you're already knee deep into a project and you have a situation pop up where you need to act fast to keep everything running smoothly while keeping the client or customer off your back.

Pretend for a minute that you're now the construction site manager for the newest Dunkin' Donuts to be built in the great city of Providence.

You're three days away from the building being complete when one of your flat bed trucks breaks down.

This is a big problem. You have to deliver the Dunkin' Donuts sign for the outside of the building. This could keep the entire job from being complete for an extra couple of days if you have one single resource to transport that sign.

By more effectively planning your resources, you can reroute a secondary flat bed truck that was on its way back from another job site, preventing a needless delay and keeping your client pleased! And we all need another Dunkin' Donuts, right?

Keeping Contractors Happy

So you've saved the day in both your video production and construction companies but there is another area that resource planning can have a huge impact on. Keeping your contractors happy.

Much like a maitre d' in a restaurant, you need to spread the work around to keep your waiters (in your case, contractors) happy. Resource planning lets you know who's doing what and who's available to handle something new.

Steady work keeps contractors happy and more reliable and makes your organization run like a well-oiled machine. It makes business sense to use resource planning.

So we hope we answered your question. It's a topic that's near and dear to our hearts. How does resource planning fit into your workflow? How does it save you money? Lets us know in the comments!

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Shaughnessy Speirs