Morgan Freeman may have been talking about the entertainment industry when he said, "As you grow in this business, you learn to do more, with less." But, these valuable words work for all businesses.
Irrespective of the nature and style of your business, as you grow bigger and expand, you have to make the best of the resources in hand to deliver huge results. Businesses that adapt to this challenge thrive, while others get lost in the melee.
So, coming to the big question – How can you get more work done with lesser hands? Here, in this post, you can find some great tips on how to get the most from your resources, without risking your team from burning out.
When you have limited resources, the key to attain success in a project is to utilize them in the best way possible. Make sure that you are aware of the strengths, skills, and weaknesses of all members of your team so that you can match them to the right tasks.
Very often, businesses rely on spreadsheets for resource allocation and management. While spreadsheets may be simple and easy to set up, one of the biggest drawbacks of this method is that – they don't scale well, as your team grows.
Additionally, taking a manual approach to resource management is not only labour intensive but also has several other drawbacks like – inaccurate and stale data, unrealistic views of capacity and demand, lack of real-time data and more. While allocating resources, there are plenty of factors to consider like – vacation time, leaves of absence, and the resource availability for this project and so on.
The best way to get all these variables in one place is to invest in effective resource management software. The software helps you take an integrated approach to resource allocation and planning.
Now, that you have a dedicated resource management tool or software in place, here are some of the top tips to help you get more work done, with the few resources available.
Focus on Short-Supply Resources
The 80-20 Rule works here. Very often, you can find that 80% of resource constraints come from 20% of your team. These are the people who are in high demand and work in multiple projects at the same time.
Start by allocating these resources first. This helps you plan other lesser-demand resources around the availability of high-demand resources. This is a great strategy to avoid unnecessary delays and bottlenecks.
Be Prepared for Resource Conflicts
You may assume that once you have allocated resources for a project, your work in resource management is done. However, this isn't the case. Resource management and allocation is an ongoing process that continues throughout the project timeline.
There are bound to be conflicts due to unexpected delays and unavailability of key resources, and changes in resource allocation are inevitable. Make sure that you work with other management team members to resolve conflicts and continue with the tasks on hand.
Spend Time on Comprehensive Planning and Allocation of Work
For formally defined tasks, make sure that you specify start/finish dates and duration to each team member. For other lightweight assignments, that don't take much time, you can skip the formal lists and provide team members with just due by date.
Wherever possible, try to automate these processes to reduce admin time. Most resource management software let you automate repeated processes, thereby helping you save valuable time.
Here are a few tips for Effective Planning, especially when you are dealing with resources shortage:
Embrace Forward Planning and Prioritizing
The most successful teams don't just plan, but they forward plan. Meaning, they anticipate and plan resources for future tasks.
Forward planning has two main advantages:
Work prioritization is essential, especially when you have limited resources. This is because, with prioritization, you don't just do work, but work on the right things. Make sure that your team is aware of the priorities so that they can focus on what's important and not get side-tracked by less important projects.
Assign Resources Based on Specific Goals
At the very start of the project, when you are looking at long-term planning, assign unnamed, role-based resources, instead of assigning specific team members. Start soft-booking resources during the prioritization stage. You can finally hard-book resources when you are looking at short-term goals and have all the detailed information about the project.
Time Track Resources
Not all team members are ready for time reporting. So, keep it simple and easy, especially when you are getting started. Once the team members get into the groove of time reporting, you can further refine it. Use the data from time tracking to evaluate and understand resource performance, so that it can aid with future planning.
In time tracking, it's also essential that you also monitor non-project time like time spent on administrative tasks, breaks, lunches and so on. This helps you to get a realistic view of the time required, thereby optimizing future resource allocations.
Limit or Avoid Multi-tasking
While multi-tasking may seem like a great idea on paper to get the most out of your resource, it often results in lower productivity. Try to reduce the number of parallel tasks for each resource, thereby helping them focus better on the tasks at hand.
By using the right resource management software and adopting these seven best practices, you can see a significant increase in productivity levels. Here are the other benefits of Efficient Resource Management:
Get started with the right resource management tool today, and empower your team to deliver their best.