4 Solutions to Common Professional Services PM Pain Points

July 15, 2020 Michelle Hoover

 

Here’s a common scenario for professional services team leaders:

Another work week has begun and you received a calendar invite for a Wednesday executive update meeting. You already know you’re going to have to cancel any meetings you had booked today in order to start gathering all status updates from each department. Once gathered, you spend hours summarizing the information from various platforms like Google Sheets, Excel documents, phone calls, and emails. You’ve now spent four hours combining this information into a PowerPoint presentation for your executives. That’s when you then get asked to include the previous week’s data as well. Now you restart your process all over again.

This example, and other pain points reviewed in this article, are typical for professional services organizations that don’t have a centralized project management platform. In this article, we review how Easy Projects helps our clients to resolve these common pain points.

Problem #1 – Difficulty Providing Updates to Executive Team

Before switching to project management software, professional services teams have difficulty efficiently updating their executives. Like the example above, managers often find themselves rushing to get the correct information sent to them in order to summarize it and put into a clean, easy-to-view presentation that executives will understand.

Solution – Real-time Executive Reports and Dashboards

 

For a more proactive approach to providing either high-level or in-depth information for executives, this is where our professional services clients find Business Intelligence Reporting useful. With this reporting tool, executives will have access to real-time data and insights without managers manually putting reports together for them.

Here are examples of reports our team has built for our professional services clients:

  • Team Performance Dashboard
  • Quoted vs. Actual Labour Cost
  • Resource Loading by Skill
  • Portfolio Status Dashboard
  • Timesheet trends by team
  • + much more

Problem #2 – Complex Project Billing

Professional services companies often encounter complex billing situations that can’t be covered by a single flat rate. Factors like service types, salaries for individual employees, and even annual rate changes can complicate and create inaccurate financial projections, which is frustrating and time consuming for project managers to track.

Solution – Rate Cards

To increase efficiency and accurately track your resources, Rate Cards are very valuable. Clients have reported the following benefits of using rate cards:

  • Flexible project billing
  • Complete simple billing calculations
  • Access to detailed rate history
  • Ability to turn rate cards into Power BI Reporting

Problem #3 – Long Billing Cycle

Companies often start using software and continue to use it, even if it’s outdated and inefficient. People are resistant to change, especially when adding something unfamiliar to the mix, like new software they aren’t familiar with. An example of this would be when professional services teams track information like hours worked and billing rates in different software tools, it complicates the billing process by requiring that information to be transferred between the multiple tools and independently verified. This may cause delays, like your accounting department not being able to invoice the client on time and your company waiting longer to be paid.

Solution – PM Suite with built-in time, expenses tracking and billing

Easy Projects’ updated Financial Module allows project managers to accurately apply, track, and manage billing and costs to then reference them against the hours your team enters in the system. All calculations are handled in the Financial Module and final amounts are readily available for your accounting or HR departments to process.

Financial Module capabilities:

  • Expense tracking
  • Comparison of your estimated, projected and actual project costs
  • Breakdown of costs into labor costs and line item expenses
  • Dynamic charts that compare billable and non-billable expenses and how they affect the profitability of your projects
  • Budget, Revenue, Profit tracking for all projects and tasks

Problem #4 – Lack of Accountability & Missing Deadlines

Without a comprehensive tool that offers team collaboration features, professional services teams may miss deadlines. Deadlines being missed means notifying your clients of an extension on their delivery date, which translates into your company being paid later. Ideally, your company should have one central location to rely on status updates, rather than potentially missing deadlines because you’re waiting for your team to manually update you on progress.

Solution – Easily view all tasks assigned to team members

The My Assignments page is a simple way to review and manage tasks that are assigned directly to you.

My Assignments page capabilities:

  • See Activities assigned to you
  • Update an Activity’s Status when work is complete or simply indicate the next phase
  • Read, Reply or Post a message
  • Track your time
  • Create new activities
  • Easily download and upload files

Solution – Notifications Center

The Notifications Center does a great job of making sure deadlines aren’t missed.

Features in the Notification Center include:

  • @mentions Keep a history of communication between team members in a specific task, stay informed of updates and ask questions

  • ApprovalsTag a team member for approval on a project to move forward

My Assignments and the Notifications Center work collaboratively to help keep deadlines consistent and increase accountability.

To learn about what other features can help your professional services business, we invite you to book a free demo to get a more in-depth look at our software and how it can help you deliver successful projects to your clients.

Previous Article
Project Intake Best Practices for Project Managers
Project Intake Best Practices for Project Managers

Project intake can have its challenges. Project managers often receive project requests in various ways, li...

Next Article
Financial Module Update: Activity-Level Expenses and more
Financial Module Update: Activity-Level Expenses and more

Our Financial Module now offers enhanced functionality and reporting to make it easier for Project Managers...