The business world has shrunk. Previously, running projects with one team in one specific location was the norm. And why not? It was easier to assign tasks, track them and monitor progress. However, all this has changed now. It’s not uncommon for companies to plan and execute projects with members residing in different geographic locations. But this global landscape comes with its set of challenges. It is a huge task for companies to bring together a diversified team of individuals and monitor and motivate each to give their best.
What can organisations do to consistently churn out global projects at a high success rate? This blog focuses on just that – how efficient tracking can make global project management easier and simpler. We explain how a resource management software is probably the missing ingredient in your global project management toolkit and even provide you with a framework to use it.
For the purpose of the blog, it’s easier if we have a definition of a global project. A simplified definition of a global project is one where project activities and deliverables are performed abroad and whose members operate in more than one country. Familiar with the concept of “Doctors without border”? We can look at global projects as projects without borders.
There are certain risks associated with global projects and these aren’t necessarily novel, but what is changing is the sheer complexity of executing these projects successfully, and that too consistently. The interdependencies and magnitude of the global projects continues to increase and there are several employee management issues that need special attention.
For example, a business might have a staff scheduling application that provides information about which employees are available for pick up from the office or what schedule, on-site or remote employees can be scheduled for work. It also provides information about current projects, projects with dates of completion, and other important information.
To mitigate any risks associated with large, global projects, managers need to be able to track the resources efficiently.
Global workforce tracking gives you a sense of direction, much like a map does when you are travelling to a new place. If you don’t track the progress of your projects, you won’t have an idea of how far you’ve come or how much further you need to go. But that isn’t the only reason - here are some more benefits.
More sustainable, efficient planning: :When you are tracking projects from the beginning, you are creating a system where it’s easier to identify and avoid bottlenecks. Why? Because in the planning process you are, firstly, identifying the needs and calculating the availability of people with the necessary skills. Secondly, you are also working through potential “what-if” scenarios and creating back-up options. All of this gives you a tighter grip on the project plan and results in developing a sustainable and reliable work process.
Fewer overloads and burnouts: Individuals and teams that are in high demand (example, like an artificial intelligence expert for software development) often suffer from an excessive workload (over utilisation), but having a clear overview of your resource utilisation helps avoid this problem. It can result in greater job satisfaction and employee retention because no one is stretched beyond their means.
Improved risk management: Tracking resources accurately also keeps risks at bay. If resources are not tracked, the organisation is opening itself up to errors like unrealistic timelines, inadequate budget and resource scarcity which can significantly impact any global project’s profitability.
Shared accountability and transparency: With diligent tracking, all team members can see what role they are playing in the global project and how their task impacts one another. With tracking there is also transparency; for instance, an assigned task for developing a small 3D blueprint of a construction site model was allocated just three hours, but the resource has taken five. A manager who has real-time tracking can intervene to understand why a task might be taking longer than expected and resolve the problem.
More profitability: According to Statista, 41% of companies’ projects faced budget overruns in 2022. That’s a pretty high number. With diligent tracking of project expenditures and billing rates, one is more likely to stay within budget limits.
Tracking global employees through a global workforce software will help your organisation become part of the elusive 29% of companies that are able to consistently deliver projects on time and budget.
Successfully tracking a global project requires the following
As a manager, you need to understand which metrics can be tracked and decide which are the most relevant to your global projects. There is quantitative metrics (numbers like cost, milestones or time) and qualitative data (team meetings) that you can use to track project progress. The most common form of quantitative tracking is task tracking. Much like its name, task tracking is breaking a project into bite-sized portions and ensuring each part gets done on time. When all pieces are completed on-time, the major project will be delivered on schedule, or possibly even before.
There is also time tracking where one is not only monitoring what tasks are completed, but how long is each task taking. What time tracking allows is that you can ensure employees are staying focused and completing assigned work in proper sequence, without delays. And, it also can be used to prevent employees from working too hard and burning out as you can monitor how work is allocated amongst all available resources.
In addition to the above, one can also track project progress via GANTT charts or Kanban boards. These two visual tools allow you to see how one task is related to another and which sequence they need to be completed. Both also help to identify backlogs and track major project milestones.
Lastly, you can also track employees’ utilisation rates to ensure they are used to their optimal capacity. If resource A’s utilisation rate is consistently at 40%, but resource C’s is at 110%, you know there is an allocation mismatch. Underutilised and over utilised employees can lead to lower productivity and attrition. As per a study by Gartner, the ideal utilisation rate should be around 70-80%.
You can have all the metrics you need, but it won’t make a difference if they aren’t monitored consistently. For successful global workforce tracking, schedule into your calendar when (frequency - weekly/every fortnight?) and which metrics you will check.
Fortunately, a lot of the top employee management solutions, like eResource scheduler, make monitoring progress easier by providing real-time updates and feedback on a resource or project’s timesheet and utilisation. One can also set a load metre that will send an automated alert if a resource gets overloaded.
With eRS, a project leader can also schedule a weekly “status update” task on team members’ calendars to automatically provide the progress reports via the inbuilt communication tool. This can be a tricky line to walk because you don’t want to do this too often and become a nagging manager.
Use the metrics to step in and check in on employees. For example, if resource A is taking three hours to design the app UX for a project as opposed to the hour and a half assigned, maybe it is time to make a call to understand where the bottleneck is.
Active tracking will allow you to quickly react to sudden changes in team behaviour, product quality, or workflow management without losing track of deadlines or KPIs in doing so.
Expert Tip: We recommend making the analytical reports available to team members or upper management to allow them to pitch in with their thoughts and suggestions regarding future progress, which will also increase collaboration and communication. With eRS you can customise who can access which reports and data.
Finally, efficient tracking comes down to using the data you have in your hands to drive decisions. Instead of just relying on experience, “intuition” or “gut feeling”, it’s smarter to use the data in hand to improve the project planning process. For instance, capacity planning data can be used to assess what expertise level is available and if any skill set training or hiring needs to occur.
Nowadays, it’s not only hard to imagine managing a large-scale project without the right global employee management software — it’s almost impossible to execute it. An intuitive resource allocation software makes it easier to deliver a finished project on-time, within budget and without overworking the resources.
You might be wondering, “Where do I find a workforce management tool?” A quick Google “project tracking tool” search will yield you hundreds of project tracking solutions. But, is there one global employee management tool that stands above the rest and is best for your company?
eResourceScheduler fits the bill. We have done our research and can confidently say that there is no other all-in-one platform like it that includes real-time tracking tools like timesheets, utilisation rates, capacity reports and GANTT charts. Let’s not forget that all of these features are provided at a pocket friendly price point. This premium platform has helped over 800 customers, across five continents, manage projects better.
So, why not give it a shot? Try eRS today.