A while ago, we did some work with a major law firm, and found their staffing process had potential for improvement. In this post, we will describe an approach and tool we developed that resulted in a more balanced allocation of people to projects.

StaffingMatters is a web application that allows professional services firms to more effectively manage people and projects. It was developed for law firms ("matter" is the common name for a case or project in the legal world). Unlike typical information systems such as billing or human resources systems, StaffingMatters looks forward rather than backward, and helps clients to actively manage the future, rather than just track the past.

At its core, StaffingMatters allows users to record people, projects, and the staffing of these people on projects. This is done using very informative and interactive graphical screens. For example, the screen shot below shows the Availability Timeline, with the activity of everyone in the group for a four week period, in one glance. There are similar images for individual projects, and for the workload of each individual, colour coded by type of activity.

In addition to providing the partner team with all the right information to manage the future, StaffingMatters also encourages best-practice project management and project planning, as evidenced by a detailed plan for each project. Not only is this critical in the context of delivering the very best client service, but it is also the key to pricing, margin control, teamwork and the avoidance of write-offs.

StaffingMatters captures the most important operational aspect of your business - how everyone in the firm is likely to be spending their time. StaffingMatters therefore provides you with the key information to enable you to manage:

We believe an approach such as this has great potential to change how professional service firms work, increasing both results for clients and satisfaction for team members. Please contact us if you would like to see a demo of StaffingMatters, and discuss more about how it works, and how it can be applied to your business.

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