In project management, resources primarily refer to the manpower required for a project, but can also refer to tools, such as this Resource Guru software, facilities, budget, or time. Resource allocation, also known as resource scheduling, involves recognizing and assigning resources to various activities for a specific time period. Without the right tools and techniques to help you determine which resource to allocate to which project, resource planning can be difficult.
Some of the challenges affecting resource allocation include changes in project scope, outdated legacy tools, poor communication between delivery and sales teams, skills mismatch between capacity and demand, and lack of visibility of resources within an organization. Resource allocation significantly reduces resource costs, maximizes resource productivity on projects, and facilitates customer satisfaction through successful project delivery. It also improves employee engagement and helps to achieve the best results within the limits of existing resources. Here are resource allocation tips for project managers.
1. Take advantage of resource management software
Since your employees are your most valuable asset, you need to make sure you’re getting the most out of their time. Using resource management software, you can track what your employees are doing, where and when. It lets you use drag and drop to schedule your shifts quickly. With the unique waitlist feature, you can control workloads while ensuring project success.
Additionally, a resource allocation tool can help you automatically drive budget tracking while monitoring your team’s schedules in real time, creating transparency. With the right tools and resource management in place, you can easily deliver successful projects on time and keep your staff happy.
2. Know your reach
Before you can allocate or manage your resources, know the scope of the project you’re working on. Determine if the project is big or small or if it is long or short. Understanding the scope of your project helps you determine the resources you will need and the appropriate quantities for project completion. Getting a clear picture of the scope of the project will help you determine how you will allocate your resources.
3. Identify the resources needed
In resource planning, a resource is anything that helps you achieve your project goals and objectives. Defining the goal, budget, duration, resources, and tasks involved in the project will help you identify the resources you need. Companies working simultaneously on several projects, the organizational resources of the project are not always available. Confirm available resources before you allocate them so you can buy, rent, or wait for those you don’t have. To make your job easier, create a list of required resources versus those available and make sure they stay within budget.
4. Avoid over-allocating or under-allocating resources
Distributing resources evenly across all your projects ensures that none of your employees are under- or overworked. Excessive allocation can lead to burnout, affecting production quality or leading to unplanned attrition. Under-allocation of resources leads to loss of income and productivity. Forecasting billable or mission-critical usage helps you periodically move resources from non-billable work to mission-critical or billable work.
5. Diversify employee skills and responsibilities
Encourage your staff to learn two or more skills, as allocating resources to projects that require various skills will help them hone their core skills and give them a chance to develop new ones. You can also provide them with additional training on their acquired skills and field experience to build their capacity. If there is a demand for a niche skill set to take on a new project, you can automatically rotate a niche resource from a current project to start the new project. At the same time, you may have another minimum qualification resource replacement to continue the current project. This ensures that none of the projects suffers from a skills shortage.
6. Adopt an automated resource request process
Manually sifting through the pool of resource requests or taking email and phone requests for resources from individual managers can be tiring and time-consuming. However, an automated resource request eliminates tedious use of spreadsheets while streamlining the process. It allows you to specify qualifications, required skills, cost, experience, and project timelines. The entire application and award process is documented and can be audited.
7. Empower your team to take on projects of interest
When employees work on projects of choice, it has a positive impact on their engagement and productivity. Instead of allocating resources based on skills and availability, consider looking at employee interests. You can consider posting open opportunities and making them available to everyone. Interested candidates will then express their desire, and you will only have to select the best talents to form a dream project team. It saves you time you would otherwise spend looking for the perfect fit.
Resource allocation can make or break a project. With the right tools and techniques, it becomes easy to effectively allocate resources to all your projects. Consider incorporating the tips above into your resource allocation process to increase efficiency.