How to Manage Resources For Digital Agencies
Resource management, the process of making sure your team is being utilized effectively, is perhaps one of the most boring but most critical components of managing your agency.
Utilization rates are often talked about but most of the tools I’ve happened across have you set them manually based on looking at how many tasks a particular team member is assigned within a given time period; what the s#!t is that?
I got frustrated while trying to find for my agency to use – any even more frustrated when looking for one to recommend to 7 Figure Agency members, so I did the thing I do; I built one.
A Look at The 7FA Resource Manager built in Google Sheets
I designed the 7FA Resource Manager to be completely data-driven, with an important caveat; the maximum utilization rate that should be expected for a full-time employee (or FTE for short) is 80%, with the ideal target being 75%.
This means that for a 40 hour work week, an FTE should be producing 30 hours of billable work.
The tool is comprised of the following components
- Deliverables Library
- Task Adder
This is your 10,000 foot view of what’s going on within your agency.
At the highest level it’s showing you your total available resource hours (budget), the hours allocated, and each resources utilization rate (also conveniently grouped by departments).
This gives you a snapshot of how you’re doing – and if most of these hours are from Contractors (like they should be in the beginning) than it’s important to note that your utilization rate may seem artificially lower, even though you’re running efficiently from a profitability perspective.
This sheet is also your window into utilization by Department and at the individual Resource level.
The most important element of the dashboard is the DATE SELECTOR in the very top (cell B2) as this the controller for all the data displayed on this sheet.
Is exactly what it sounds like, this is a simple roll-up of the total budget versus allocated hours within your departments – you will notice that ONLY THE DEPARTMENT NAME is marked in yellow (editable), this is because all the rest of the information is automatically pulled in via query scripts from the other sheets.
This is where you add in your actual folks doing the work, whether these are FTE’s, part-time folks, contractors or freelancers – this is where your fulfillment pipeline should be built out.
For each resource add in the Name, Role (this is optional but I may add additional reporting functionality around this down the road), Department, Hourly Cost, and Monthly Availability.
If the Department is new, add the Department to the Departments tab first and then come back to the Resources tab and it will be included in the drop-down.
Clients is a really simple view where you add new clients as they come on, not the ONLY field that is editable here is the Client Name, all the rest are calculated to track your profitability for the lifetime of your Client.
This is where this really starts to get cool.
The MOST IMPORTANT thing to note here is that this view is 100% non-editable, and is intended specifically as a reporting view to give you insight into your profitability at the deliverable level.
There is a Deliverable ID column that is used to associate tasks to deliverables. When the script runs, it fetches the highest ID number from the Deliverables sheet and creates a new ID by adding +1 to it.
The Deliverables Library
This is where you create your deliverable templates. For each template you define the tasks and scoped hours.
The Task Adder
Presented in the tool as the “Add a Task” sheet is driven by the 2 drop-down menu’s up top (one for clients and one for deliverable). The deliverables drop-down queries the Deliverables Library, so when you choose a deliverable it automatically populates the Deliverables and Tasks tabs based on the data in the “Add a Task” tab.
You can change the the due dates or resource assignment at any time – you just one to make sure you use the built in scripts;
1) Fetch Tasks – will go get all the existing tasks for a specified deliverable.
2) Add Tasks – will push any updates on the “Add a Task” sheet into all the other sheets and update all the associated date across the entire Resource Manager.
is where all of this data is pushed to, and you will notice all the yellow cells to see that if you need to make edits to any of your current tasks – this is where you can do this.
The Task Tracker
This is the last sheet and is incredibly important – this is another sheet that is 100% NOT EDITABLE, but has filters built to give you the on demand reporting you need to drill into your production schedule by Client, Resource, Department or Date Range.
Putting it All Together
This tool is meant to empower you to create your production schedules to get all of your deliverables out the door on time. The added benefit is the detail built in that pays specific attention to profitability by Resource, Deliverable, and Client.
If you notice that your resources have utilization rates above 80% then it means it’s time to hire additional resource for that role. On the flip side, if you notice that some of your resource are considerably less profitable than others, you may need to consider replacing them (or investing more time into training for them).
Ask away below in the comments.