Let’s take a look at an example to better understand the power of an accurate resource forecast. Let’s say you have five full-time data analysts on staff today, but there are projects coming down the pipeline that are likely to start three months from now that would require eight full-time data analysts to complete. In order to successfully deliver these projects on-time, it’s critical to recognize this gap with ample time to hire, contract, or cross-train resources. The only way to recognize this need before it’s too late is with an accurate resource forecast.
A proper resource forecast equips an organization with an accurate picture of the future, enabling decision-makers to make better, more proactive choices based on the insight gleaned from the data. When done right, a forecast allows teams to take actions that drive profits, utilization improvements, scalability, customer satisfaction, and ultimately success. By accurately predicting the resource requirements for upcoming work, organizations can make forward-looking, data-driven decisions regarding budgeting, hiring, staffing, procurement, and scheduling, ensuring that the necessary resources are available when needed, minimizing delays, cost overruns, and other potential issues.
By performing resource forecasting, organizations can proactively plan, mitigate risks, optimize resource allocation, and ultimately improve project performance and success rates. An accurate resource forecast reveals the resources that are being either under or over-utilized and any potential opportunities to more strategically assign resources to drive profits. Businesses should always strive to have a professional services workforce that is precisely calibrated for the work that will need to be done — with too few resources, people will be overextended and burn out, but with too many, talent will sit in the bench incurring costs. Depending on the forecasting horizon decision-makers are looking at, different tactics can be employed to turn insights gleaned from forecast data into actions that ensure there is work for every resource, and a resource for every piece of work. Check out this guide to improving utilization rates to learn about some techniques you can use to ensure optimal resource utilization for work that is 30, 60, or 90 days away.
Forecasting enables effective resource management, cost control, and timely delivery of projects or objectives. In professional services, profitability, client satisfaction, scalability, and ultimately success heavily depend on an organization’s ability to consistently deliver high-quality projects on-time, on-budget, and within scope. Delivering exceptional projects within these guidelines grows increasingly difficult without an accurate or comprehensive resource forecast.