Mavenlink revealed its latest update this week. It has focused on improving its resource management capabilities. Key to this update is Team Builder. It enables resource managers to build the best team for a project. It achieves this through a new resource recommendation feature. Once configured, it highlights the best resource for a given role in a project.
Jared Haleck, SVP of Product, Mavenlink commented: “The business-driving engine of a services organization is its staffing and delivery teams. However, many teams lack visibility into their organization’s available resources and struggle to compose teams that will deliver the best outcomes for the organization and the client at the right time. Mavenlink empowers resource managers with the unique insights needed to make more strategic staffing decisions that improve business performance.”
Team Builder is part of the Resource Management Module and is included in the Enterprise and Premier tiers; it is generally available now. Enterprise Times spoke to Haleck about the update after the announcement was made.
At the heart of Team Builder are resource recommendations. This works for a single requirement, where a project manager needs to fill a single role. The solution will propose potential resources based on the suitability for the role using the weighting criteria. Where it really delivers is the ability for the solution to propose a complete project team, saving considerable time for the resource manager.
Once weighting is complete, resource managers can surface recommendations based on the resource requirements for each project such as role type and skills required. For each role within a project, they can edit the skills required. When completed, the resource manager can edit the requirements and remodel to identify if the new requirements change. Project template enable skills settings to vary as well making the solution very flexible. For example, a project manager on the implementation of an ERP project will require different skills from that running an HCM project.
Team Builder will also enable a resource manager to model the resources for a given project requirement. This can highlight the likely profitability; resource managers can then change resources to get an optimal team.
Underpinning resource recommendations are the criteria and their weighting. Account administrators are the only ones that can configure default priorities weightings. While these defaults apply to all projects, project managers can change weightings of priorities by project. The weightings are on a scale of 1 through 10. In an upcoming release, according to Haleck, administrators will have the capability of setting default weightings across different sets of projects.
For all projects, an account administrator can set the criteria priority for resource recommendations on a scale from 1 to 10. Criteria include :
- Role Match
- Skills Match
- Executive Oversight
- Informal Allocation
- Spoken language
- Can model project
It is also possible to set exclusion criteria, including:
- Role must be an exact match
- The resource must be 100% available
- Department must be an exact match
- Spoken language must be an exact match
The administrators are also able to determine how many recommendations are displayed, up to 15.
ET asked Haleck about the omission of profitability and utilization from the criteria list. He replied: “What we’re working on is some extended capability that will allow you to set the what we call the objective function, which is really the outcome. I am not just looking for a match for what the project roles are asking for. I’m also potentially trying to balance that across some objective functions like profitability and potentially utilisation as well. That’s going to be coming in the future.”
A brief look into the future
This is a foundational release for Mavenlink with Haleck, who only joined the company earlier this year having a vision for what it might become. He commented: “Recommendations and Team Builder are just the foundation that we’re going to build on. To continue to provide more optimization for folks, things like being able to set objectives or outcomes that you are trying to model for, things like profitability, and so forth. What we’re releasing today are at the individual and team level. The goal is to continue to extrapolate that out to the company level. Not only looking at a single team for a single project but how can I get the optimal mix of people across all my projects and within the organisation? That’s how we’re thinking about the future around in this area.”
Another area that Mavenlink is working on is scenario planning. Haleck revealed that a lot of customers are asking for this. He described it as: ”Being able to say, hey, this might be the most margin that I could create, that’s scenario one. But this other scenario might have, you know, less travel, which might yield less burnout on your team, but here’s what the margin impact is going to be if you were to take, a less margin optimised approach. That’s definitely an area that we’re working on.”
Looking even further forward on the roadmap, Haleck sees the potential to introduce personality type that might help shape high performing teams in the future. It is not just looking at the individual resource requirements but the wider team ones. This is not imminent, but Haleck sees the potential, he noted:
“What’s going to be interesting is the mix, because it’s not a right or a wrong; someone has this type of personality or that type of personality. It’s how you create the right and optimal mix of potential traits, based on the type of engagement, the type of customer, based off of previous team interactions, where there’s just incredible synergy that you may not otherwise be able to spot.”
Why is this important
Mavenlink is aiming to reduce the workload of resource managers with this update. The company highlights several important advantages that Team Builder delivers:
These resource recommendations increase the likelihood of project success by:
- Surfacing best-fit resource matches to accelerate staffing decisions
- Saving resource managers time sifting through availability data
- Flagging the margin impact of different candidates before staffing
Mavenlink also highlights that using the weighted criteria it can reflect project strategy. However, in this iteration project strategy cannot vary. This means that larger organisation, which may have a different strategy for new implementations to upgrades this could become a limitation.
What is clear is that the recommendation engine will be of significant benefit to resource managers. It simplifies their task and helps to ensure that the right people are placed in the right roles on projects.
Dan LeSueur, SVP/GM, outsourced services, Health Catalyst, commented: “Delivering our services in a fixed-capacity, FTE-based contractual model and a professional services team of over 200 team members requires sophisticated resource planning to dynamically match capabilities to needs as accurately and as efficiently as possible. Mavenlink’s Resource Recommendation helped us be more efficient by proactively providing relevant staffing suggestions as a starting point in our decision-making process.”
Enterprise Times: What does this mean
As LeSueur infers, this new feature will be welcomed by many, and prospects will see it a significant step forward. As RMI Managing Director Randy Mysliviec stated, Resource Management is about “getting the right person with the right skills in the right place at the right time.” This latest release from Mavenlink helps to deliver that.
Where this becomes really interesting it the future possibilities that Haleck spoke about. This is not just about the wider team-building capabilities but the strategic resource mix. Mavenlink is taking a bottom-up approach to the problem. But it is doing so in a way that when it delivers a strategic approach across multiple projects, it should be able to do so.
In its current state, Team Builder will help smaller organisations. The intent, from Mavenlink, is that once it has built greater flexibility into Team Builder and introduced scenario planning, it will be even better able to tackle larger deployments. This also brings it closer to strategic portfolio management.