See all Insights

Resourcing to the Rescue

After hearing for years how we should be resourcing, we finally bit the
bullet in November of 2007 and had the position in place by this past
January. For those of you that arent familiar with this practice, my
best definition of resourcing is the practice of measuring and
planning all billable resources in the company. This sounds obvious
enough, but we went from 6 people 18 people over the course of the past
few years and things that would have been unnecessary overkill in 2005
are essential to operating an effective business in 2008. For a more
detailed primer on resourcing, please check out Chris Butlers article on resourcing.

David Baker, the prophet of resourcing, estimates that it
takes 18 months from the time a firm makes resourcing a top priority to
show its true benefits. The most easily quantifiable measurement for
this is utilization, that is, the difference between the amount of work
a firm can do and the amount of money that comes in the door each
month. David estimates that for a mid-sized marketing services firm
(which is the category we loosely fall into, with a few exceptions),
the utilization goal should be 60%. Put another way, this means that
60% of our total people-hours should be paid for by our monthly

When we took our first pulse on this in October, we found that we were
a far cry from that number. Since adopting resourcing, we have come a
long way in figuring out why and weve taken many steps, across the
breadth of the entire company, to try and correct this. I look at this
process similar to gauging and correcting a cars mileage. You might
know that your Honda Accord should be capable of getting 30MPG, but the
painful truth is that youre only averaging about 23MPG.

After identifying the problem, and deciding to fix it, you need to
examine all aspects of the vehicle in
order to fully correct the mileage deficiency. So, to pull this analogy
along, weve popped the hood, tuned the engine up, inflated the tires to
the proper pressure, started changing the oil more regularly and
replaced the exhaust system in an effort to get things on track.

The most important part of this, though, is the way we drive it. How
much and what kind of work do we let into Newfangled each month? What
sort of expectations are we setting with our clients in regard to
deadlines? Are we meeting our goals in a very calculated and determined
way? Are we analyzing sources when things go wrong? Fortunately, the
answers to these questions are usually positive, and when they arent,
we make it
our business to figure out why – because this is our business. If we
dont do this well, our ultimate goal of truly serving great clients
well is simply unattainable.

a snapshot of the beauty of resourcing, I can offer a fresh experience.
I have semi-annual reviews with everyone at Newfangled, and yesterday
happened to be a review day. When asked how things are going, one of
our programmers had to say that, to him, the biggest change over the
past six months has been resourcing. Because of resourcing, his
workload has become exceptionally even and predictable, which, as he
observed, has allowed him to focus much more on quality as opposed to
draining himself trying to meet sudden and entirely unrealistic

This was hard proof that this
concept of resourcing, which could easily seem like management fluff
and posturing, has instead shown an immediate impact on the lives of
the people in our company we most want to help, those actually doing
the deliverable work. There is nothing we can do that has more
immediate benefit to our clients than making sure that the people doing
the work for them are in a stable environment that fosters ideal
productivity. Once perfected, this system will ensure accurate
timelines and exceptionally high quality work for our clients and
profitability for us. Sounds great, right?

Related Posts