The reason why resources must be thoughtfully allocated is that there are a limited number of them and, often, many projects that rely on the same resources for their successful completion. This can be an overwhelming amount of information for a project manager to try and organize. How can you be successful at allocating resources? Optimizing your team’s workflow by delegating a comfortable workload that matches their schedule availability and skill set is the first step to great results.
Resource Capacity Planning
Simply put, capacity planning is a process which allows you to determine how much work can be done with the time and resources available to your team. When capacity planning, your goal is to plan so accurately that you can anticipate what your project needs and add resources on time. On the other hand, adding capacity too late will overload your team and push deadlines causing mass confusion. We have a really easy way to help you successfully overcome the challenge.
To prevent work-overload, using software that allows you to track your team’s workload is a good place to start. If your desired team members (people who you want on your project based on their skills) are working on projects for other teams, a Resource Loading Report can help by showing you when they will be available to start your project.
At a glance, it will show you a color coded view of what everyone is currently assigned to, hours available, and where their priorities lie, helping you gain visibility into resource gaps and your team’s workload forecast.
With this information, you can assign tasks to your team based on their workload.
Easy Projects has a cool feature called the resource loading simulator. It helps you run a live mock-up of how and when your selected team will be available to start and complete a project or assignment.
You can also “reserve” a team member (s) for an upcoming project in other words “call dibs” on a specific person (s) for a specific upcoming time period.
Once you finalize your team selections and timelines, the resource allocation is updated for other team leads or project managers who have access. Your team members will be able to see their upcoming assignments and not be able to take on work that interferes with their new impending schedule.
This is done with just one quick click by selecting a date range, which will tell you whether the said resource is available to fit your plan and what their workload will be during your planned timeline, factoring in all other projects, assignments, and tasks they have already been assigned as well as any vacation or upcoming days they have already booked off.
Essentially, resource planning gives a project manager or team leader the ability to put together and reserve the perfect team (based on skill, availability, and budget) for their project BEFORE officially allocating a single resource.
See How The Resource Loading Simulator works:
Once you have established who is available for a specific project or assignment using the Resource Loading Simulator, and more specifically, which resource is best for the job, you are ready to allocate. Resources should be allocated in such a way that doesn’t add significant stress to your team’s anticipated workload and current workflow. As mentioned in the previous chapter, the Easy Projects Resource Loading Simulator is ideal for getting the job done.
Build a detailed skills library
A skills library is a list of the different skill sets that are required for any and all projects. The skills library is important to have because it helps you pick the right team members to work on your project. This is a data point required for the Resource Loading Simulator to give you the best results.
Project Manager Bonus: Risk Management
One of the best things about the Resource Loading Simulator, that shows you in real-time exactly what will cause issues for your project.
Here are three videos that explain how to manage risks effectively from planning, monitoring and execution.
Business Intelligence: Using Data Insights to Make Better Decisions
One you’ve run a simulation of the project, the business intelligence tool will help you get a numeric hypothesis of project outcome that can be presented to executives before the project begins, or used as a guideline or jumping off point for future analysis.
Live business intelligence has the power to run multiple possible scenarios based on the resources you allocate to any given task or assignment. Resources can be listed by a multitude of filters and thus reports can drill down and allocate the perfect person for any job.
Business Intelligence Video
The truth is, only 36% of companies use resource allocation tools beyond to select resources for projects. With this statistic in mind, out of the same companies surveyed, only 60% of projects are meeting original project budgets and less than 50% are meeting original project schedules. (PMI, 2017)
This means that there is a correct way to allocate resources. It also means that the lack of resource management tools being used in project oriented organizations is a possible (and probable) contributor to projects being late, incomplete and over budget.