In project management, resources mainly refer to the workforce needed for a project but can also mean tools, such as this Resource Guru software, facilities, budget, or time. Resource allocation, also called resource scheduling, is recognizing and assigning resources to various activities for a specific period. Without the right tools and techniques to help you determine which resource to allocate to which project, resource scheduling can be difficult.
Some of the challenges affecting resource allocation include project scope changes, outdated legacy tools, miscommunication between delivery and sales teams, mismatch in skills between capacity and demand, and lack of resource visibility within an organization. Resource allocation helps to significantly reduce resource costs, maximize resource productivity on projects, and facilitate client satisfaction through successful project delivery. It also enhances employee engagement and brings out the best outcome within existing resource constraints. Here are resource allocation tips for project managers.
1. Take advantage of a resource management software
Since your employees are your most valuable asset, you should ensure that you’re getting the most out of their time. Using resource management software, you can tell what your employees are doing, where, and when. It allows you to use drag and drop to schedule your teams quickly. With the unique waiting list feature, you can keep workloads under control while ensuring project success.
Additionally, a resource allocation tool can help you autopilot budget tracking while watching your team’s calendars in real-time, creating transparency. With the proper tools and resource management in place, you can easily deliver successful projects on time and keep your staff happy.
2. Know your scope
Before you can allocate or manage your resources, know the project’s s cope you’re working on. Determine if the project is big or small or if it’s long or short. Understanding your project scope helps you determine the resources you’ll need and the quantities suitable for project completion. Getting a clear picture of the project scope will help you determine how you’ll allocate your resources.
3. Identify the resources needed
In resource scheduling, a resource is anything that helps you meet your project goals and objectives. Defining the project’s purpose, budget, duration, resources, and tasks involved in the project will help you identify the resources you need. Since companies simultaneously work on several projects, the organizational resources for the project may not always be available. Confirm the available resources before allocating so you can buy, rent, or wait for those you don’t have. To ease your work, create a list of required resources against the available ones and ensure they’re within the budget.
4. Avoid over or under allocation of resources
Uniform resource distribution across all your projects ensures that none of your employees are under or overburdened with work. Over allocation may lead to burnout, affecting output quality or resulting in unplanned attrition. Resource under allocation causes revenue and productivity loss. Predicting billable or strategic utilization helps you to move resources from non-billable to strategic or billable work periodically.
5. Diversify employee skill sets and responsibilities
Encourage your staff to acquire two or more skills because allocating resources to projects that require various skills will help them sharpen their primary skills and give them a chance to nurture new ones. You can also offer them additional training on their acquired skills and on-the-job experience to boost their capabilities. If the demand for a niche skill-set to take on a new project arises, you can auto-rotate a niche resource from an ongoing project to begin the new project. At the same time, you may have another minimum qualification resource backfill to continue the ongoing project. This ensures that none of the projects suffers due to skills shortage.
6. Embrace an automated resource request process
Manually sifting through the resource requests pool or taking email and phone resource requests from individual managers can be tiring and time-consuming. However, an automated resource request eliminates the cumbersome use of spreadsheets while streamlining the process. It allows you to specify qualifications, the required skill set, cost, experience, and project timelines. The entire request and allocation 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 positively impacts their engagement and productivity. Instead of allocating resources based on skill and availability, consider looking at employee interests. You may consider publishing open opportunities and making them available for everyone to see. The interested candidates will then express their willingness, and you’ll only have to select the best talent to form a dream project team. This saves you time that 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 allocate resources to all your projects efficiently. Consider incorporating the above tips into your resource allocation process to increase efficiency.