This guide will help you understand and apply resource management to help your team work more efficiently and with less stress. The guide is updated frequently so you’ll always have the latest research and techniques to make your projects successful.
Managing a team is one of the most complex and challenging aspects of the working world. Successful team management often comes from having the right leadership skills and the right tools to help engage your team.
This guide will teach you to properly manage your “people” resource in a way that will save time and money. We’ll’ cover the ins and outs of selecting the right team members, how to manage your team's progress, and how to analysing/track resource allocation to make your team more accountable.
Resource management means organizing the necessary resources to complete work in a way that costs the least amount of money, takes the least amount of time and produces the best possible outcome. Effective team management is the difference between success and failure.
Here’s what Resource Management gone wrong looks like:
As you can see, there are a lot of things that can go wrong when resources are not managed well. To make your project a success, you need to plan, and plan well.
The reason why resources must be thoughtfully allocated is because 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.
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 colour 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 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 assignment 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tracking resources is arguably just as important as planning and allocating them. For that reason, you need to make sure that your team has a process for tracking what matters. Not only will this help keep the project going, but help you gain clear visibility into their progress.
When your team is not tracking their time, responsibilities and workload in your project management software, it makes resource allocation impossible. In Easy Projects, there are several ways that your team can actively track progress.
Your team can easily manage tasks from within the Activity Centre (the central hub of Easy Projects).
When assigned a task, they have access to update several details about the task as they progress. They can update things like:
It’s a way for you to dive into any task and check up on it’s progress, leave a message or add attachments if needed. All of this data is recorded within Easy Projects and then can be used to calculate BI data points and more accurately calculate the resource loading report we talked about earlier.
When your available resources are documented in the same place, they will appear in the same reports and simulators ensuring nothing falls through the cracks.
There are certain data points that every project manager needs in order to plan resources. On of the most important is time. Your team needs to be able to estimate time as accurately as possible so that projects can be completed on-time and on budget.
As a leader, you need to train your team on the importance of recording data. Without enforcing rules on how to properly document time, tasks, and progress you won’t have the information you need to make your projects successful.
Blog Post «How to estimate project time»
There are four ways in which you can track time inside of Easy Projects:
Your team can track time:
For more info check out this blog post.
One of the greatest dilemmas, and business problems of our time is our inability to prioritize. Organizations that can get this right are leaps and bounds ahead of the others.
To learn more about priorities see this blog post.
One way that resources can be tracked with a simple click is through Gantt views. Gantt view is a project tracker that can be filtered to view a specific project, person or scenario. This means that a project’s progress can be viewed and analyzed at any given time and human roadblocks can be easily identified. Also, as opposed to resource reports, a Gantt chart can be updated in real-time. Resources can be changed, deadlines extended, etc. and the entire team will be automatically updated via notification.
The Kanban view is straightforward way to gain insight. It’s highly visual in nature, so it’s easy to see if there are any holdups. For example, if any column is looking a bit crowded, you need backup.
In this Chapter, we’re going to look at all of the ways to measure your resources - check-in on how your team is doing.
Since we’re focused on your team as the main resources here, let’s look at all of the ways that we can measure team progress and overall performance.
In advanced project management EVA is used as way to pulse check your projects - a way to make sure your time and budget are on track. The only thing to keep in mind about this particular metric is that it takes into account your entire project and does not look at the individual contributions of each team member. It’s a good place to start, to see if everything is on track. If it’s not, you can drill down and find out why.
Traditionally, this would take some math and complicated equations to figure out but, lucky for us, Easy Projects is a math whiz.
If you’re curious, you can quickly learn how to do an EVA with (or without) the math as explained in this video:
The resource utilization rate is a valuable little metric used to calculate how much of your team’s time is spent working, expressed as a percentage. The good thing about this is that you can calculate it for every team member individually.
It’s also really easy to figure out:
Resource utilization = Busy time / Available time
Though this looks pretty easy to compute, the question of “time” arises. What kind of ‘time’ should we be calculating. Planned time or recorded time? It all depends on what you’re goal is. The formula below will help you see how under utilized or over utilized a resource is.
Resource utilization = Planned working hours / Available hours
If the percentage is low, it means that your team member doesn’t have enough work. On the other hand if the percentage is too high or over 100, someone is overloaded and you need to make adjustments asap.
Another way to look at this ( the preferred way) is with this formula:
Resource utilization = Recorded working hours / Available hours
This uses actual time recorded by each team member to calculate the actual percentage of resource allocation. The problem with this approach though is that it is done after the work has already been done so you can’t really go back and make changes. What can do instead is use this data for future planning.
Tracking metrics for your team can be tricky business. It tends to put people on edge because it makes them feel like they are being micromanaged. Make sure that you have a team meeting to discuss how progress will be tracked. It’s very important to be clear about this from the beginning so that there are no misunderstandings and so that you get the best possible data for the overall look at how your team is doing.
Tracking metrics for your team can be tricky business. It tends to put people on edge because it makes them feel like they are being micromanaged. Make sure that you have a team meeting to discuss how progress will be tracked. It’s very important to be clear about this from the beginning so that there are no misunderstandings. This will ensure that you can gather the best possible data for clear insight into how your team is performing.
People are what make projects happen. They are the most valuable resource and should be treated as such. Resource management is not just about getting a project done, it’s about treating your team right and respecting their limits for how much work they can accomplish in a given time period. After all, a team that is overloaded and stressed out will not be happy. And unhappy team will lead to negative results and negative results will lead to a spiral of demotivation and some high turnover for your HR team to deal with. But, since you have just learned to prevent that apocalyptic event from happening, we’re pretty sure you won’t have to worry about that at all.