When we built Bridgit Bench in 2019, we wanted to create a tool that would help our customers get the most out of their workforce plans. We interviewed countless operations teams about their current process and the feedback was consistent across the board.
The most common pain point that we uncovered was poor data management surrounding their people. What exactly do they consider poor data management? Well, there’s a number of factors they pointed to:
- Data is segmented, often living in multiple tools and spreadsheets
- Segmented data often leads to stale and inaccurate information
- Maintaining their data requires manual entry that can be extremely cumbersome
Fast forward to today and Bridgit Bench has become an indispensable tool for our customers. We’ve onboarded over 190 contractors, seen what works and what doesn’t, and we’ve seen new workflows emerge to meet complex needs.
Our customers have given us great insight to help make the workforce planning process more effective and more efficient for every general contractor we work with, and we wanted to share some of that today. Here are the ten best practices we’ve seen across our customer base.
Here’s a summary of what our top users are doing
- They create a Rules of Engagement policy to control usage
- They keep their data clean and consistent
- They automate data transfers using integrations
- They leverage permissions to give each user the right amount of access
- They use forecasting features to hone in on their long-term planning
- They use phases to organize and control their projects
- They track and plan for their project bids with Pursuit Tracking
- They group projects together for easy visualizations using colors
- They export PDF reports when they need to take discussions offline
- They track important role, people, and project information with notes
Codify your process with a Rules of Engagement policy
You can do one thing ten ways given the level of flexibility in Bridgit Bench. Many customers create a Rules of Engagement policy to stay consistent.
The policy should include best practices, things to avoid, and other information your team needs to use Bridgit Bench effectively.
What our customers cover in their Rules of Engagement policies:
- Who should be using Bridgit Bench?
- What should their access level be?
- What are their responsibilities on the platform?
- What is the step-by-step process for making changes?
- Who should they contact if they run into trouble?
- What data should be tracked and how?
- What custom fields should be created and maintained?
- Who is responsible for what data?
- How should other software be integrated into the platform?
- Who monitors the integrations and how often are the updates?
- What are the standard allocation percentages for each role?
- How should project colors be used and interpreted?
- What are the rules for data entry? (ex. No abbreviations for titles)
Improve outcomes with clean and consistent data
To make the most of Bridgit Bench, our top users consistently keep their data clean. Clean data means information stays accurate and is easy to understand for all users.
Clean, consistent data also feeds into everything else you do on the platform. Integrating your tech stack into Bridgit Bench? Clean data will make it easier for information to transfer over.
How our customers keep data clean
- They specify data entry rules in their Rules of Engagement document, like
- How often should you update information?
- Who updates what information?
- How often should a piece of information be updated?
- Should you use abbreviations for titles? (ex. Asst. Superintendent)
- How often should you update information?
- They keep the rules and processes consistent across platforms. Codify a set of rules for all the tools in your tech stack to make data management easier.
- They check the data regularly. Top users avoid changing information in a vacuum. We see users set time aside to clean and review data holistically.
Cut down on non-productive work with integrations
Our top users are integrating Bridgit Bench with their existing tech stack. You can automatically pull project and/or people information, including custom fields.
Integrations are effective because they reduce the need to manually enter information stored in other software. Why add project information all over again when you can pull all of it directly from Salesforce, Procore, or BIM 360?
Integrations help your team to get ahead on planning. That means pencilling in project teams early, and figuring out who you’ll need to hire (long before you need to hire them).
Once a new project is created in your CRM or Project Planning tool, copying it over to Bridgit Bench earlier in its lifecycle will help to get ahead of mapping out the project team.
Ways to integrate with Bridgit Bench
- Use our Workato integrations. Once you have your Workato account setup, check out our guide on how to integrate with Bridgit Bench.
- Use our open API to build a custom integration. You can learn more by reading our documentation here.
For more information regarding integration options, visit the Bridgit Help Desk.
Control access and usage with permissions
Permission groups are a key collaboration feature in Bridgit Bench. Instead of having one person or group in charge of everything related to workforce management, you can have different groups with different permissions to do specific tasks. It’s a great way to get key parties to be part of the planning process, while saving others time by delegating work to project owners.
Our users take full advantage of permission groups, and tend to be similar in their approach. Here’s a common way the standard permission groups are used:
- There tends to be around two Administrators. Both are senior decision makers (ex. Operations Manager) who use Bridgit Bench regularly. Administrators have full access to Bridgit Bench, and will be responsible for the account settings and customizations.
- Most of the operations team is onboarded as a ‘Full Contributor’. Full Contributors have full access to manage information in Bridgit Bench, but are limited in their ability to adjust account setting and customizations. Sometimes HR is a Full Contributor too, depending on their role in the process.
- Anyone benefiting from tracking project progress tends to be View Only – like marketing, business development, or c-suite. View Only is exactly how it sounds – they can look, but they can’t touch.
Onboard specific groups using custom permissions
Human Resources – they tend to be able to update people, but not projects
Project Managers – they tend to be able to update projects, but not people
If you want a user to manage projects and add roles, but not have the ability to add allocations, you can create the following permissions group.
Optimize long-term planning with forecasting
Our forecasting tools automatically update as you make changes to your people and projects. Our users leverage them to plan more effectively, and reduce the risk of last minute, panic decisions.
Use the Strategic Workforce Plan to track gaps in staff availability. Need to know how many superintendents you need in six months? This report can tell you. The report also shows you the impact of your project pursuits on your workforce capacity. If you know there’s a project you might win, you’ll know who you might need to hire to have the right team.
Use the Utilization Rate Chart to see long-term workforce productivity. Is your utilization rate going to plummet in six months? It’s a good sign you need to start searching for new projects to keep your people busy. The chart also shows you the impact of project pursuits. Meaning you’ll be able to see how the utilization rate changes based on projects you might win.
With Scenario Planning, you’ll be able to narrow down and understand the impact of project pursuits. Are there projects you’re more likely to win than others? You can sort for them and see how that impacts both your workforce capacity through the Strategic Workforce Plan Report, and your utilization through the Utilization Rate Chart.
See our forecasting guide to learn how you can use the forecasting tab in Bridgit Bench to plan more effectively.
Get granular in project control with phases
We see customers add project phases to create more fluidity in their project tracking and to allow for more flexible date shifting.
You can allocate team members directly to project phases and create custom allocations for those phase dates. A key benefit is being able to quickly select which project roles, phases, and project dates should be impacted when dates shift.
The phases we see most commonly tracked are:
Our customers keep it simple, and we’d recommend you do the same. Phases sort alphabetically, so if you want to sequence them, use numbers. For example:
- “01 – Precon”
- “02 – Construction”
- “03 – Closeout”
Use Pursuit Tracking to create winning teams for bids
Pursuit Tracking lets you add project bids and opportunities directly into Bridgit Bench. You can use project opportunities to pencil in a team for bids you’re chasing.
Tracking project opportunities is a wildly popular feature in Bridgit Bench. We see our top users onboarding their business development teams to drive better collaboration and put together stronger bids.
You can add a new opportunity in the new project screen. Click the Type dropdown and select Opportunity. This project will now be listed as a pursuit.
For more information, check out our guides on Pursuit Tracking.
Visualize your project groupings with colors
When you create a new project in Bridgit Bench, you can change the default green project color to something else. We see companies color projects in different types of groups.
Here are three common approaches to grouping projects:
- Group by Building Type
For example – red is used for residential projects, blue for commercial
- Group by Project Manager
For example – all of Gina’s projects are green, all of Bob’s are black
- Group by Region
For example – projects in North East USA are purple, Texas projects are yellow
Don’t forget to include your color legend on your rules of engagement.
Share information offline with PDF and CSV exports
File exporting is a feature used by many of our power users. If you need to take your discussion offline, you can export information in both PDF and CSV formats. You can export both list views and Gantt views.
You can export filtered information in either PDF or CSV. The report will export the information that is showing on your screen, and can include allocation percentages too. Take your files offline, format it, analyze it and create reports in Excel.
Use notes to keep track of important information
You can add notes to roles, people, and projects. Our customers use role notes for content like what location the role needs to be in or whether they’re a new hire.
People notes are located on the sidebar panel in the People details. People notes are generally used for a wide range of specific details like relocation details, project information, promotions, certification statuses, or education.
You can find a sidebar panel for Project notes in a project’s details section. Leave notes on project specific details that you’d like everyone to know. These sections can be used to share changes, delays, and other project-specific information.
Are you doing something that should be added to this list? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know.