Essential Resource Allocation And Planning Tips For Project Managers

Key takeaways

  • Know you goals and deliverables
  • Have clear timelines
  • Have real-time visibility into performance and workloads
  • Review and learn from every project

4 min read

Resource allocation sounds simple in theory.

But in practice, resource allocation and planning can be overwhelming. In fact, only 26% of companies always use resource management to estimate and allocate resources, according to PMI’s 2017 survey. The same study shows that many projects’ failures are down to resource dependencies, inadequate resource forecasting and limited resources.

But this doesn’t have to be the case. By knowing resource allocation best practices and getting real-time reporting and management software in place, you can properly utilise your people and equipment for success.

In this article, you’ll learn the actionable tips to streamline your resource allocation and planning, so you can ultimately keep your project deadlines and costs on track.

Here are our top resource allocation and planning tips:

1. Pinpoint the project deliverables and timeframes Toggle Section

Once you have a scope of work, make sure you understand the deliverables and timeframes. This will help you properly allocate how many people and resources for the project you will need to assign to your project. This makes it easier to prevent you from getting carried away and over-allocating resources.

Look at the big picture – do your project deadlines overlap with other projects? Are you balancing the workload? If so, you may need to look elsewhere to source the people and equipment you need. Worse case, you may even need to look at the activities and the resources to adjust your schedule around their availability.

2. Get to know your resources Toggle Section

Only by knowing the resources available to your project can you properly assign them to tasks. Pinpoint the skills you need to complete the project and achieve your goals, then use a skills matrix to see which existing employees you can involve, and where you need contractors to fill the gaps. Do the same for tools and equipment.

Remember, you may not have an unlimited pool at your disposal. See who’s currently available and what equipment you need to hire or purchase.

3. Gain visibility into workloads Toggle Section

You cannot effectively allocate resources unless you have a real-time view of workloads. Case in point, Adam’s Pest Control has over 4,000 clients per month and more than 90 staff. They need to see exactly what’s going on in the field with every project.

Gone are the days of creating complicated Excel spreadsheets to manage resources. Using Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) tools designed specifically to improve resource allocation they now use time trackers and have custom reports.

Adam’s Pest Control use their ERP to view who’s doing what, and for how long. This makes it easy to coordinate workflow management, spreading it evenly amongst staff.

4. Track time and costs in real-time Toggle Section

Once the project has kicked off, monitor how your team is tracking so you can continue to optimise your resources. For example, cloud ERP MYOB Advanced allows employees and contractors to record their time via the mobile app, so you can see precisely how time is tracking on your project in real-time without relying on paper-based timesheets.

You can also connect specific projects and budgets directly to the timesheets and assign labour hours to specific projects and tasks. This makes it easy to review estimated time against actual time and manage costs accordingly.

5. Communicate, communicate, communicate Toggle Section

Check in with your project team on a regular basis. Are they comfortable and confident with the workload? Are there are barriers preventing them from doing their best work faster?

Your team is on the front line, so they may have some great ideas to improve processes and drive efficiencies. Set up weekly check-ins on a specific day and time to talk to team members.

6. Review your project plan regularly Toggle Section

Just as you check in with your team, make a regular time to review your plan. Are more resources required to meet deadlines, or can your team shorten the timeline? How is the budget tracking?

Don’t wait until it’s too late to find out there are issues. By reviewing your project plan on a regular basis, you won’t face any unwelcome (and expensive) surprises.

7. Learn from every project Toggle Section

At the end of every project, do an in-depth analysis of the original project plan vs. the actual project lifecycle.

Look at your task creation, hourly estimation, resource allocation, and ability to meet deadlines. What worked and what didn’t? Take your learnings and apply them to your next project plan.