4 Steps to Deliver More Projects Successfully – PSA Infographic Deconstructed: Part Three

In our last blog post,we talked about how service firms can increase project profitability by implementing a professional services automation (PSA) solution. That post was squarely focused on the bottom line. Today, we’ll talk about one of the keys to achieving those bottom line results: being able to deliver more projects successfully.

Success is measured by a number of factors in addition to just the bottom line. On time delivery, quality of work and referenceability are all performance indicators that, when in line with expectations, create a feedback loop fueling growth. Each project completed broadens a team’s skill set and an organization’s capabilities. Each lesson learned helps produce more accurate and competitive proposals in the future. Each satisfied client helps validate the value in the service being offered.

Plan for Success

Delivering a successful project takes a combination of the right talent and the proper tools. Sales teams need to have enough visibility into past projects to build reliable and competitive proposals, project managers need a complete understanding of a project’s health—throughout the entire delivery process—to make informed decisions, and service executives need access to actionable data as they pursue strategic relationships within their client base.

Project Delivery Success

In our recent PSA software infographic, 8 Fast Facts about Professional Services Automation, we highlighted how organizations that run their businesses on a PSA solution consistently deliver more successful projects. According to a benchmark study conducted by SPI Research, for every 100 proposals created, firms that use professional services automation software will win 2.9 more projects, cancel 0.6 few projects, and deliver 2.8 more projects on time. Add it all together and services organizations that use PSA software have 6.3 more successful projects per 100 proposals.

Win More ProjectsSuccessful projects start with a successful sales process. Organizations that have implemented a PSA solution to run their businesses have an early competitive advantage. Every project the organization completes acts as a baseline for the next.  Gaining reliable and real-time visibility into historical project data allows the sales team to produce more competitive proposals and helps them to win more projects. Furthermore, the sales team is able to ensure availability of key project resources up front, build accurate project estimates from templates, and know exactly where in the project they can trim some fat to win the deal. Combined together, these differentiators help fuel a successful sales process and give the project delivery team a better chance at success once the project starts.

Cancel Fewer Projects

Most of the time when a project is canceled it is for reasons beyond the control of the firm that won the work in the first place: a client runs into budget constraints, their needs change, or the project didn’t have the necessary executive sponsorship from the start. Although the primary driver of project cancellations may be out of the delivery firm’s control, there are scenarios where they are simply not able to deliver what was originally proposed. In this case it is typically a result of not having the right resources in place to deliver the work. Key talent gets pulled on to other projects, resources are double booked at the time of the sale, or insufficient visibility exists to project hiring or contracting needs.

Managing a vast and disparate resource pool has always been a primary challenge for professional service firms. Understanding where talent shortages exist and how to best leverage their current resource mix is one of the strongest advantages well-run professional service organizations hold. With a professional service automation solution in place, those same service firms can ensure that projects being canceled because of a lack of resources becomes a problem of the past.

Deliver Projects on TimeAmong the most challenging aspects of a project manager’s job is balancing the competing priorities of each project. Every facet is interrelated and, if a project starts to run behind, project managers may try to cut corners to save the project as a whole. Being able to consistently execute successful projects requires organizations to have ample visibility into and control over the entire delivery process. Services firms that run their businesses with a professional services automation tool are able to achieve a higher level of project insight than those who do not. Project managers understand where each project stands in real-time and have a wealth of tools at their disposal to effect change.

Early on in the project delivery cycle, organizations use their services automation system to build out detailed plans and budgets that will segment a complex project into small and manageable steps. Project managers can then monitor the effect of minute variations in the project’s plan on the overall success of the project. Maybe a task took an extra day to complete or a few more hours than expected. Each occurrence may seem insignificant; however, when combined with other deviations, may result in missing an on-time delivery.

Organizations that use PSA software are able to identify these problem areas in projects quickly. They are also able to use their service management software to determine the best action to correct a project’s course. Project schedule issues may be solved by bringing in more senior talent, or budget concerns may result in swapping in less costly resources. Regardless of a project manager’s objective, professional services automation solutions will provide a realistic view into the organization’s resource pool. Managers will be able to determine if the proper resource is available within the organization and, more importantly, if pulling them onto a new project will adversely affect other existing work.Combined with the visibility and control that PSA solutions provide, services organizations are able to keep a watchful eye over their entire portfolio and ensure the success of their projects.

Drive Revenue GrowthServices firms that run their businesses with PSA software tend to have more successful projects than their peers, driving long term growth and profitability. From enjoying higher close rates to delivering a larger percentage of their portfolio on time, improving project success should be a primary goal for professional service organizations. It is a combination of quality work, timely delivery and satisfied clients, alongside profitability, that defines project success. Professional services firms that use services automation software have the necessary framework in place to ensure each successful project translates into organizational growth for years to come.
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