Effective resource planning can have a huge impact on the outcome of a project. Take construction projects in the Houston/Fort Bend County metropolitan area, for example. While the number of construction workers in the area has risen by 14% in the past five years, many constructions sites remain understaffed. Why is this? Put simply, there is a lack of skilled resources who have the qualifications to do certain tasks on these projects.
Resource planning is hugely important for ensuring projects get completed. By being able to accurately view how many workers there are available for a project, and then drill down to their skill levels, you can produce the most accurate picture of how your projects will really progress. In the case of construction sites in Texas, resource planning could tell project and portfolio managers that while there are plenty of workers, not enough of them have the specific skills required for project success.
When resource planning is done effectively, projects tend to be completed more efficiently. As one study on resource allocation discovered, top-performing businesses are 58% more likely to have a holistic view of both demand and capacity during the planning stage. If you can maximize your resource planning capabilities, you will have a much clearer idea of when and where resources are needed and have a transparent view of what is really possible.
Resource planning reduces waste and helps provide you with a truly accurate view of whether a project can be done on time. However, while one survey found that resource planning is high on the agenda for project managers, it remains a challenge for many others:
- Three quarters of organizations view resource capacity planning as extremely important
- Yet over half of ‘low-maturity’ organizations find it difficult to achieve a culture which focuses on resource capacity planning
- Just under a third (29%) of ‘low maturity’ companies do not consider capacity constraints at all
Overcommitting or underutilizing resources can prove both expensive and damaging for your projects and your organization’s reputation. Let’s look at what you can do to improve resource planning.
In an ideal world, you would carry out all resource planning steps right at the beginning of a project. But, even if the project has already started and you’re facing problems, the following steps should help.
- Replace or add resources early on
If you are having problems with your existing resource allocation, make changes as early in the project as possible. Introducing resources later on could cause disruption in the team, and new resources will take a long time to get up to speed.
- Have clear roles for all resources
Resources should not simply be assigned unilaterally to a project. Your resource planning should allow for clear definitions of each resource’s responsibilities and their purpose in the project.
- Ensure resources are available
Far too often, project managers assign resources to their projects when these individuals are already close to capacity working on another project. Review where else they are being used, and if in doubt, ask them or their line manager directly.
- Monitor resource utilization in real time
You should constantly be reporting on resource utilization in your projects. Are resources close to capacity? Has a pause in the project left them underutilized? Could they be deployed elsewhere to save money?
- Can you reduce resource requirements?
There’s no point reinventing the wheel. If you can reutilize work done on previous projects, why not repurpose it? This is especially true in software design and light manufacturing projects.
Effective resource planning gives you a holistic view into your resources and projects. It can help you view how many resources you’ll need for projects, and also view whether you have the right resources with the right skills available. It can help you decide who to employ and get a good idea of what your real project deadlines will be.
Tempus Resource is a Gartner Cool Vendor-recognized resource management tool which gives you the ultimate perspective into how resources are deployed across your projects. It gives you an easy-to-use and easy-to-understand view of resource allocation at the project portfolio level, while also letting you drill down to the individual resource level and see how much work a specific employee can take on.
Tempus Resource works as a standalone product, or in conjunction with Excel, Microsoft Project and many other PPM tools. It allows project and portfolio managers to not only view resource allocation, but perform ‘what-if’ analysis and discover better ways of deploying resources in your organization.
Whether you’re running a construction project in Texas, a complex IT deployment or almost any other project, Tempus Resource gives you the resource planning power to ensure the project will be a success.
Want to take your resource planning to the next level? Contact ProSymmetry today for your free trial today.