How to manage a business without really trying?
June 9, 2011 4:37 AM   Subscribe

Suggestions for managing resources and schedules at a growing consulting firm?

I manage a small (11 person) consulting firm that's doubled in size over the last few months. The resource management tools that have worked well for several years (i.e., Basecamp and a whiteboard-based calendar) are starting to become ineffective for managing simultaneous 20-40 projects. Specifically, it's becoming difficult to get a "big picture" sense of the accumulating commitments and to determine what resources are available and not overworked.

We've considered MS Project and various other project management tools, but haven't found one that's sufficiently intuitive, efficient, and flexible for managing many, frequently-changing projects.

Have you found any tools, software or other types, that have worked for you?
posted by ciocarlia to Work & Money (3 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
You might try poking through PM Sherpa's list of Web-based PM software and compare what's available. If you're looking at MS Project, there's also Studiometry, Daylite, and OmniPlan to consider, though some are platform-specific.
posted by evoque at 8:21 AM on June 9, 2011

With 11 people working in consulting, more than likely some with interwined project needs for different companies, I would you suggest taking a more holistic approach. Especially if you expect a further strong growth period.

Instead of relying on planning and pm tools that can prove to be extremely expensive, I would look into running a Programme Management Office (PMO - PgMO in American circles) as a role within your organisation. Your upfront costs might be higher, but you will have an increasingly valuable tool to manage internal needs and provide client insight into costs, sourcing and overall performance.

With that many projects and people involved in a variety of things, one of your best investment paths outside of software to manage is going to be human competance to organise and facilitate your business activities. If done right, you should get a better return on investment for both your company and clients.
posted by Funmonkey1 at 9:22 AM on June 9, 2011

posted by jillithd at 9:52 AM on June 9, 2011

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