With a downturn in the economy, firms must embrace ‘less is more’ in both design and business. Not only surviving but thriving in a market downturn requires doing more with fewer resources across the board. Here are 7 proven strategies to succeed in any market.
1. Break down siloes to get the most out of your talent
In order to manage work, firms must stop operating in small studios and silos and instead embrace a centralized, collaborative system. Connecting all projects and people in a single place gives the firm transparency into who is working on what, to manage work together. By planning work collaboratively and working across teams, much higher levels of efficiency can be achieved.
2. Balance workload and monitor burnout
Burnout is a hot topic these days at firms. It's a symptom of a poor project and people management. Modern resource management helps firms distribute work across teams and departments, reallocating staff to ensure that everyone is at capacity - but not overloaded, leading to improved productivity and greater retention.
3. Plan projects and prioritize work
According to Deltek's Clarity report, competing priorities are a firm's second biggest project management challenge. If you're not planning your projects, chances are you're stuck reacting day to day rather than properly prioritizing the most critical work. When strapped for resources, firms need to plan smarter. The reality is that most work can wait —but only by planning work can you focus on top-priority work and avoid falling behind.
4. Closely monitor budgets to manage scope creep
According to the Project Management Institute, up to 68% of projects experience scope creep. But with the proper process and tracking systems in place, scope creep is entirely manageable. Managing it is the most significant way to reduce the threat of financial loss and improve a practice's profitability. The key to managing scope creep is providing PMs and Sr. Managers with real-time project budget visibility to closely monitor potential issues and take action before it's too late.
5. Forecast workload and monitor demand to hire efficiently
When things get tight, practices can't afford to have people sitting on the bench, and hiring becomes a tough decision. Do you have enough work? Do you need to hire another PM? And if you don't, will people burn out and quit, leaving the firm in an even worse place? To get clear direction, you need to evaluate workload and role demand before hiring.
6. Monitor projects and the business in real-time
If reports are analyzed after the month has ended, it’s too late to take action. You’ll need real-time data on key metrics like workload, utilization, variance, role demand, and profit.
7. Leverage the latest software
From manufacturing to billing time, all businesses come down to efficiency. Yet most firms are managing their business with archaic software and processes. As a result, the industry experiences low pay, blown deadlines, late nights, and burnout. It’s time to replace your outdated project and resource management spreadsheets with next-generation firm management software to properly manage the business.