Resource Allocation plays a key role in defining the success of any project. As we enter the third decade of this millennium, resource allocation is truly coming of age. As resource allocation matures, several important trends are arising. Businesses realize that efficient resource management is not possible by relying on manual methods like spreadsheets and silos. A large number of companies of all sizes and across industries are investing in modern resource allocation tools that meet their specific requirements.
Here, in this guide, you can find an overview of the upcoming trends in resource allocation and project management. Before, we look at resource management predictions, let's turn our attention to existing challenges of resource management.
Very often, when project managers discuss resource management, they consider it as only human resources management or procuring physical resources like printers, workstations, etc. However, resource management is more than that and it requires specific tools and strategies.
In the context of a service-oriented business, resource management also encompasses resource allocation – assigning the right tasks to the right people at the right time. Nailing this perfectly, is a challenging task. When you get resource allocation on track, it helps you use your resources effectively, while boosting profitability.
When resource management goes wrong, it leads to a variety of problems like:
In resource planning, there are several variables – unknowns that crop up during the course of the project. Modern resource planning tools have various sophisticated features and algorithms, which help in taking the guesswork out of resource allocation.
To do this, project managers need to be aware of what their employees are working on in real-time. Thanks to multiple sets of data, team managers will be better prepared for resource allocation problems that may arise during the execution of the project.
Project managers will be better equipped to handle variable scenario planning. To keep up with the resource requirements in the coming weeks and months, project managers will rely on data to make informed decisions. Instead of hiring at the last-minute to meet project demands, managers will be better able to predict resource requirements.
Generally, resource conflicts occur when a resource is assigned to more than one project at a time. Over allocation happens because of the lack of staff members. To avoid resource conflicts, different teams will become more open to sharing resource knowledge in real-time. Managers across teams and departments will be able to see who is working on what, thereby eliminating resource conflicts.
Another major reason for resource conflicts is not having enough team members to assign contemporaneously. Let's explain this with an example. Let's assume that your company has only one big data expert. The single big data expert can work only one project at a time. As a result, it leads to delay of several other projects.
As you can see, resource conflicts is not about the number of people in the company. Instead, it's the bottleneck for specific skills. This problem can be overcome by hiring multiple staff members with similar skills. This way, project managers can easily find an employee with the required skill for the task, thereby reducing conflicts.
Another alternative to overcome this problem is by getting knowledge carriers to share his/her expertise with other employees, at least within the team. This way, you can internally train different employees for critical skills, thereby avoiding resource bottlenecks.
While knowledge transfer is common in startups and other agile environments, for many traditional organizations, knowledge transfer is a big challenge. You can expect several conventional organizations adopting this attitude to overcome resource bottlenecks in the coming years.
Today, as projects get complicated, a company needs multiple resource with various skills working on a single project. Finding employees with the right skills in a specific geographic location is a massive challenge. It's both time-consuming and expensive. Thanks, to the rapid development of remote working and collaboration tools, today's teams are spread across physical locations. It's common to spot teams with members working from different countries and across time zones.
Remote teams offers other benefits for an organization like reduced overhead costs, zero commute for employees and improved productivity. However, to make virtual teams a success, businesses require the right resource allocation tools. The latest resource allocation tools have multiple features like a centralized repository of all resources, powerful filters and more that optimizes resource allocation.
While it's true that remote working is not a new trend, you can expect it to gain significant popularity in 2020 and beyond.
Resource allocation is one of the most crucial tasks of a service company. Earlier, resource allocation came under the responsibility of team managers or project managers. However, with the size of teams growing and the increase of remote workers, team managers find it overwhelming to handle resource allocation, along with other tasks.
As a result, more and more companies are hiring dedicated resource managers. As the job title implies, a resource manager is a person whose sole task is to allocate resources. The person is responsible for effective resource utilization, balancing of resources, avoiding resource conflicts, intimating the management about required resource hiring and more. The resource manager will use business intelligence data from resource allocation tools to improve and enhance resource management.
As mentioned above, companies of today are spread across the globe. With multiple offices, multiple locations and different types of resources, there is a pressing need for a centralized database of all resources in the company.
For efficient resource allocation, team managers require visibility of:
Instead of having separate resource pools that are segmented by team, skills, department, availability or geography, resource managers will maintain a centralized database of all resources. Having an easy to access central database makes it easy for resource managers to assign the right person to the right task. The database also helps project managers assemble the best team, with people with varying levels of expertise, experience and skills.
Businesses will update their resource pool to best suit the changing market needs. It involves considering the following factors:
As mentioned above, resource managers will maintain a centralized database of all resources. It will include not just the following details of a resource like – location, availability but also include other features like skill sets, experience, certifications and more. Resource managers can use filters to sort the database, thereby locating the ideal resource with just a few clicks.
Human capital cannot be built overnight. Finding the right employee, interviewing and hiring them, training and on-boarding the employee can take multiple weeks or even months. Generally, the hiring process of a company is – a vacancy opens up and then the HR team scouts and finds the right person for the job. This is a reactive approach.
In the coming years, you can notice a large number of companies taking a proactive approach to recruiting. Instead of waiting to hire at the last-minute, companies will use resource allocation tools to predict resource requirements. Based on this data, hiring decisions will be made ahead of time.
You can expect more companies to take a forward-looking recruitment process based on accurate predictions. As a result, companies will be able to hire highly-skilled people ahead of time, thereby enhancing project outputs.
In a service-oriented business, the workload of employees depends on the clients the sales team manages to bring in. Hence, it's imperative the sales managers and resource managers work closely. This way, resource managers are aware of the upcoming resource demands down the pipeline. They get a clear picture of – which skills are needed and when.
When resource managers get real-time updates from the head of the sales team, it improves the efficiency of resource planning. It helps in avoiding under or overutilization of resources.
Resource allocation is not just about allocating tasks to team members. It involves several other processes like time tracking, manager approval, on-time project delivery and more. Contemporary resource management tools will be able to handle all aspects of resource management, offering a 360-degree resource allocation solution.
One of the biggest challenges of resource allocation is real-time visibility. With sophisticated resource allocation tools, it's easier than ever before for resources to update their status in real-time. They don't have to go through the hassles of manual reporting. With just a few clicks, the tool updates resource availability and resource working time in real-time.
Integrated dashboards of resource allocation software keep the collaboration centralized and focused on a single timeline. Everyone can easily see the status of a project, get regular updates on any changes and so on.
Simply put, the entire team can see who is working on what, and till when.
With remote teams spread across the world, companies require a robust resource management software that makes it easy for employees to see the tasks allocated to them, the deadlines and more. As a result, a large number of resource management solutions offer a cloud version. With this version, businesses don't have to worry about installing the resource management software across devices. All that a user has to do is log into the software via the internet and access it from any device.
Thanks to the rapid-evolution of technological systems, resource allocation and utilization has undergone massive changes. Long gone are the days of manual resource allocation. A few years back, project managers had to rely on cumbersome manual process that didn't paint an accurate picture of the situation. As a result, project managers failed to optimize resource utilization rate.
Resource allocation was more like "a last-minute fire-fighting effort." It was more reactive than proactive. The future of resource management lies with sophisticated resource management tools that help project managers make the right decisions at the right time. By using these tools, managers can optimize resource utilization, which in turn, boosts productivity and revenues.
Just like cloud-based ERP systems transformed Finances and HR, resource management software has altered the resource allocation landscape. Modern resource management tools use powerful features to help managers assign the right tasks to the right people with the right skills. It enhances overall business decisions, which in turn, improve the bottom line of the business.
If you're looking for a resource allocation software to optimize your in-house resources in 2020, choose a software that complies with all the trends listed above.