I’ve written here before about my hunt for the perfect PSA system and while I still haven’t found my ‘white whale’ I did feel it was important to share with you my thoughts on why a PSA system is important and what advantages it brings.
Using the Past to Predict the Future
How many times have you been asked to put together a prediction on what is going to happen? Billable hours for the next quarter? Time estimates for a group of tasks? Delivery date on your custom software build? You may not know it but you’re probably already doing this in some form or fashion with a multitude of specialized spreadsheets and formulas. One of the primary functions of a good PSA tool is to track and store historical data on your project deliveries. Armed with the knowledge of what you wish to seek out for heuristic data, you should be able to extract information to support some of these questions and help predict what your delivery capabilities are. You can use this information to seek improvement on how you do your business today or to demonstrate to clients and prospects that you truly have been there before and can back up your promises.
Nothing builds a team more than communication and collaboration. Most PSA tools know leverage some sort of a ‘social’ component to them where collaborators will create posts, forums and discussions pertaining to tasks or projects that encourage participation among peers. These social tools typically will track discussions specific to the topic at hand and provide an easy-to-read history of comments and discussions. Think of it as a meeting-less meeting where your minutes are posted for you automatically as part of the discussion thread. This can be useful when conducting lessons learned for other tasks within the project or for other teams to learn from your team’s discussions. Nothing ever replaces human (i.e. voice or in person) contact however having a forum where messages are easily placed and disseminated by the team is a very underrated and valuable tool.
Time Entry Accuracy
How many times have you reviewed timesheets only to question (and ultimately reject) the hours that have been presented to you as part of the timesheet submission? Good PSA tools enable quick and easy time entry that make it simple for your team to enter and submit accurate timesheets. Time entry is a cornerstone process of a professional services shop – why not make it a focal point for ease of use and accuracy? That’s exactly what good PSA tools focus on to ensure that staff can easily input accurate and timely timesheets. Fair warning – this does not come without some leadership and coaching. Timesheets can be viewed as the bane of existence for some staff and it’s important to help those team members out to understand the value and criticality of timely and accurate timesheets.
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