Modern managers are constantly on the lookout for organizational tools that help them know when challenges could arise since so much work is simply done on a laptop these days. Yes, meetings can help. But more often than not you need data to supplement and improve the results from meetings.
Accelo's platform contains the option of seeing and working through team availability through a powerful visual calendar element. The design of this product allows you to easily see how any individual contributor's time is currently allocated and what the impact would be of assigning them to a new project where their skills are needed.
Team availability is at the heart of productivity and profitability. Keeping your team utilized as close to 100% of the time as possible helps you make the most of the salaries you pay. At the same time, ensuring that your team is doing the work they do best and most enjoy contributes to team morale, longevity at the company, and customer satisfaction.
The team availability view helps you to prioritize keeping your teams busy with work that clients are excited to pay for. Let's dive into the ways this benefits you in your service work.
Ideally, the team availability functionality will allow you to search and filter, finding everything from team members with a certain amount of availability to certain skills or degrees of skill with great visibility. Scheduling different milestones in projects for certain time periods helps to avoid overlapping schedules or unrealistically short deadlines down the road in the project.
An easy-to-use interface easily identifies whether someone is already booked solid, where their small consulting availability might be, or how you might bring a new team member into a project.
Access levels within projects allow you to assign the work and share need-to-know documents.
Using calendar integrations from Google and more can help you to ensure meeting dates make sense within the lifespan of the project so every minute will be fully utilized. Rather than committing a person casually to "full time" or "half time" or "quarter time" on a project, you can assign much more precisely, learning as you go how long individual projects will take.
Additionally, every piece of data you gain from the availability calendar goes back into making more intelligent, accurate schedules for future projects.
Your team availability calendar dashboard helps you note where you're currently staffed appropriately, but also where there are overworked specialists who need some more help. Rather than only choosing a new full-time person or not, your schedules can help you pinpoint options for hiring on a contract — the more specific your needs are, the better you can advertise for a contract position and find that person for a temporary surge in a particular kind of work.
When you note that more and more projects are coming in through a particular channel or for a particular skill, you can hire someone who brings those skills to the table, rather than a more generalist hire who might have a bit of expertise in all of what your company offers. Online calendars and team availability are hard to bring to bear on the hiring process without an up-to-the-minute understanding of how staffing is going at your firm.
On the flip side, when you know your full-time team is impressive and delivers great work, you want to find the next stellar, best-fit clients for them. The ability to look a few weeks or months in advance can help you to intelligently offer timelines to new clients that fit with what your current team can do, only hiring new staff if the project is exceptionally promising.
Sales teams can focus on promising leads that have the potential to generate projects for your team members who are currently underutilized or will be soon. Your sales team can keep more of their promises to new clients if you always know your utilization and who is about to be ready for new work.
A huge part of managing in a service firm where billable hours are key components of the work is knowing what your team members are working on and how they are meeting milestones. If team members are regularly unable to complete deliverables in their allotted schedule, you can address this head-on, looking at the time allotted and working through the challenges with the team member. Sometimes, these conversations will reveal inefficiencies in the work process, but they also might reveal other bottlenecks that are key for you to handle as a manager.
The team availability schedule can show you whether there is enough time for a given team member to achieve the next stage of the process in time to pass the project off to the next participant. Overall, it's a great tool to start conversations that can quickly address small issues before they become large ones that could impact on-time project completion.
Accelo's week and month views allow you to visually see how much of a given day or week is scheduled for a given person in your team.
The multi-colored columns for defining user work mean everything from client meetings, external commitments, auto-scheduled work, and more, allowing you to begin to understand where each person is spending the majority of their time in a given week.
Switching to the monthly view gives you a bigger picture of how far out this person has been scheduled into particular projects. When your team juggles a combination of quick turnaround projects and long-term commitments, this view is particularly helpful.
Everything from management decisions to sales focus can be influenced by how busy your team is currently and in the coming months. It only makes sense to create a team scheduling function powerful enough to deliver all the insights you need while building a record of current projects.
Want to see how Accelo has worked for a variety of service firms? Check out our case studies to learn where the team availability scheduling has proven most useful.
Let an Accelo free trial demonstrate the value of streamlining project data with tools like the team availability module. We're excited to show you how this productivity and profitability system helps you make data-driven decisions to move your team forward.