Efficient resource allocation and planning the capacity and workload are usually considered as one of the top challenges for project managers. Though there may be several reasons why a project may fail, incorrect staff allocation or misallocation of resources is usually the reason for projects getting derailed. It’s important to note here that resources in project management include not only employees, but also finances, time, materials, tools, and equipment required to complete the tasks and the entire project. As the term implies, resource allocation can be defined as a process that starts with planning, scheduling, allocating, and managing all your resources while maximizing efficiency. Wondering how you can do that? Implementing the right resource management software is the best way to go about it. In addition, let’s look at some tips to remember that can make team allocation easier for you.
1. Know the exact scope
The first step before beginning work on any project or doing staff allocation is to determine the project’s scope. Be it any kind of project, it is very important to have all the queries answered and decide what will be in scope and what won’t be. After doing so, you can go on to decide the kind of resources you’ll require and how many people will be needed to complete the project. If the project scope is clear, then it becomes easy to do resource allocation. Thus, gaining a clear insight into the project scope before doing any work or people allocation is imperative.
2. Prepare your resources
After determining the scope, a project manager should define the project objective(s) clearly. This includes all the critical tasks that are related to the project including the schedule, deliverables, etc. You need to think of all this while keeping in mind the approved budget. It’s true that resources are usually in limited supply. Therefore, first checking which are the resources available at hand is important. Then, you may determine the additional resources that may be needed to complete the project successfully. Creating a list of all required resources, then checking their availability, and if they fall within the established budget or not is very important. While checking resource availability, it’s also very important to map the skill set of employees required. Resource allocation software helps in finding the right people for the relevant tasks in just a few clicks.
3. Be aware of your resource dependencies
Another important resource allocation tip is to know all your resource dependencies. You can do so by planning for your resources before the project begins. This will also avoid any loopholes and challenges around employee allocation and project execution. Proper planning also enables you to ensure that you don’t fall short of resources. Though this doesn’t mean that resource shortage cannot happen because of some unforeseen reasons, it becomes very less likely in case you are aware of your resource dependencies. For this, it’s also recommended to create a contingency plan to ensure your project doesn’t get derailed because of fewer resources. Don’t create a plan where you are over-dependent on just one or two key resources so that you may avoid any issues down the line.
4. Stick to the project timelines
The key point of creating a workload and resource allocation plan is to streamline the project execution process. One way to do this is by following the project schedule properly as that will make sure that the project objectives are met. There may be times when you have to reallocate some resources to other important projects or maybe because some people are under-utilized or over-utilized. An efficient reallocation plan is also important to make sure that the project's outcome is successful. Implementing the right allocation software that can handle an allocation program while also managing staff and workload allocation is the best solution.
5. Track your team’s time
A team will always consist of different types of employees. Some team members will be very driven whereas others may not be very confident or willing to take a lot of responsibility. A project manager is responsible to get multiple tasks in a project completed within the constraints of limited time and cost. Thus, it is important to ensure that each team member utilizes their time efficiently. For this, you will need to monitor how they’re using their time from day to day and even on a weekly and monthly basis. Here, time management software helps in a big way. Not only does it offer real-time insight into how and where each employee is using their time, it also raises a red flag if anyone is spending too much time on non-productive tasks. This further helps in establishing clear priorities in such a way that the project timelines can be met.
6. Be careful of not over-allocating or over-utilizing resources
Over-allocation or over-utilization of resources is very detrimental for both employees and the organization in the long run. If you assign extra work to a few top resources all the time, it may lead to high-stress levels, lower productivity, frustration, and gradually the quality of work may also start dipping. As a project manager, one way to resolve over-allocation is by assigning extra resources to projects where there is a tight schedule or delaying low-priority tasks. It is not fair to expect one employee to show the productivity of two or more people. Likewise, under-allocation or under-utilization of employees is also harmful for an organization as they lead to loss and the employees not discovering their full potential. An allocation tool is your best bet for efficient resource allocation and avoiding over-allocating resources.
7. Resource Leveling
Another great resource allocation tip is resource leveling as that provides a clear insight into the best course of action with the given resource constraints. Resource leveling is a technique to adjust the start and end dates by manipulating the Gantt charts to balance the demand and supply of resources. This technique can be used for your staff and other material resources as well and is needed when your critical employees are over-allocated, or maybe are in limited numbers or quantities.
8. Optimize the resource utilization
Imagine not being able to utilize your employees, machinery, or finances effectively. This will lead to a lot of wasteful expenses and at times, maybe losses. To ensure that your project makes a profit, it is important to make the best use of your resources, while ensuring that none of the resources are left idle or unused. Optimal utilization is more critical for your strategic or top resources, as they may be more expensive and lesser in number. To ensure a balanced workload and resource allocation, a resource allocation software that comes with built-in resource utilization capabilities is very helpful. Optimally utilizing your resources helps to improve productivity and the timely and successful completion of more projects.
9. Capitalize on technology by implementing a resource allocation tool
You may be doing efficient resource allocation and planning for your team but if the rest of your organization cannot gain visibility into resource availability and other key data, then it isn’t useful. Implementing the right allocation tool can make it possible for the entire organization to see various project plans, resource allocation and alignment, availability, utilization data, etc. Even if you have a distributed team located in multiple geographies, the resource allocation tool can help align the right resources by checking availability reports, assessing utilization, and then planning accordingly. Shared calendars, the capability of time-tracking, email notification, and a lot more help in working with remote teams. Such a tool also acts as a central, online repository of all key information that any employee can log into and check from anywhere and at any time. In addition, with features like detailed reports, you can view how over- or under-utilized are your resources for any specific period, and then you can make changes to the plan accordingly.
Streamline your resource allocation, and workload allocation, and manage your projects with ease with a leading allocation software – eResource Scheduler. This award-winning cloud-based allocation tool not only helps you to plan, schedule, allocate, and manage your employees and other resources efficiently but it also helps make accurate schedules and optimizes resource utilization. Its features like an intuitive interface, advanced filters, drag-and-drop functionality, detailed reports, time-tracking capabilities, etc. help project managers in managing multiple projects and resources across different geographies. This resource allocation software becomes a centralized repository that stores all
information about organization-wide resources and projects. eResource Scheduler also offers real-time visibility into availability and utilization data, which helps create better plans and handle ad-hoc requests or last-minute amendments in schedules. So, book your free trial to know more about how this resource allocation software can benefit you.