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Case Study: Improve Human Capital Allocation

Client: Global Management Consulting Firm

Project: Improve Consultant Resource Allocation

Overall Project Mission

The project mission was to improve resource management for a global management consulting firm by improving usage of the firm’s resource allocation system. System functionality to enter project assignments existed but a number of users were not entering data in a timely fashion and in some instances, were not entering assignments at all. Therefore, resource availability in the system was not accurate and the value of the application to the firm was in question.

The Challenge

The Intellilink team needed to identify the root cause behind the poor usage and implement changes before all users lost confidence in the system. Users were globally geographically dispersed and had little time to spend with the project team. Therefore, the Intellilink team needed to find alternate but accurate means of solving the problem.

The Solution

To analyze the situation, the team developed hypotheses behind the poor usage and collected data from the application to confirm them. Based on the data, the team outlined a set of conclusions and solutions to the issue. User interaction was kept to a minimum and the project progressed without visiting each office.

Develop hypotheses – From initial interviews the team believed that poor usage was mainly due to the difficulty of using the system. Too many steps were involved to enter and subsequently maintain a resource assignment. Also, all assignments followed the same complicated workflow regardless of assignment type. For example, the steps required to enter a vacation were as comprehensive as the steps required to enter a client engagement.

Collect data – To test the hypotheses, the team analyzed the assignments that were entered into the system.  The team mapped the actual data entered against the fields that were displayed in the multiple screens required to complete the entry. The team found that the most commonly used fields were dispersed across multiple screens. Additionally, the team analyzed the types of assignments that were entered and the frequency of the various assignment types. For each assignment type, the team reviewed the required fields and found that for certain assignment types the required fields were again dispersed across multiple screens. Finally, the team compared the data entered onto project assignments to those entered on the client engagement and found numerous fields that needed to be manually entered in both places.

Develop solutions – The Intellilink team concluded that different screens should be developed for client vs. non-client assignments and the integration between the engagement management and the resource management modules needed to be improved. For each of the different screens, the required and most commonly used fields were grouped together to reduce user effort. For example, non-client assignments required fewer fields and could be entered with as little as three clicks. For the client assignments, the development of improved integration with the engagement management module allowed the defaulting of numerous fields, such as client industry, functional classification and location.