When a new project begins, there is a lot to juggle. However, by properly arranging your resources, you can put your best foot forward by reducing the chances of things going wrong.
If there’s no method to your madness, planning out the project timeframe, recruiting the correct team, and sketching out the tasks that need to be performed can be a hassle.
Assigning tasks to the appropriate individuals, determining who is accessible and when, and managing non-human resources are all part of resource planning (like tools and equipment).
Isn’t it straightforward?
While you most certainly currently have a resource planning strategy in place, chances are you might improve it. Even simple modifications can help you enhance your process, save time on decision-making, and promote smoother transitions across teams so that everyone is kept informed.
So, what exactly is resource planning?
By distributing the proper tasks to the most suitable team members, resource planning determines what resources (or team members) are required to efficiently finish a project.
If you do it correctly, you may increase your efficiency, prevent missing deadlines, and always deliver projects on time. Resource planning tells your team what they need to work on and when they need to work on it, as well as the tools and equipment they’ll need.
It’s the polar opposite of “winging it,” which is the biggest no-no in project (and customer) management.
Getting resource planning right is an art; an over-resourced project wastes time and money, while an under-resourced project can result in missed deadlines and disgruntled stakeholders.
So, what exactly qualifies as a resource?
Although it may seem weird to refer to humans as resources, they are but one component of the resource planning process.
- People: Individuals who will be part of a project’s team. Employees, contractors, and freelancers all fall into this category.
- Equipment and tools: Your team’s tools or project management software will be required to finish the job on schedule.
- Budget: How much money is being poured into the project and how it should be spent.
- Facilities: This is where team members will complete their jobs. Will you require a meeting room or a recording studio, for example?
- Time: The amount of time it will take to finish each task, as well as the project’s overall timeline.
Why is resource planning so crucial for team leaders?
Project managers, team members, stakeholders, and department heads all benefit from resource planning. Knowing what resources are available, as well as the timeframe and financial constraints will help you prepare ahead.
The following are some of the most important advantages of resource management and planning:
- Save money: Companies save 28 times more money on average when they use a resource planning procedure.
- Maximize resources: Use the finest individuals for the job and manage their workload to maximise resources.
- Deliver outstanding results: To keep stakeholders pleased, maintain projects on track and on time.
- Prepare in advance: Estimate how much money you’ll need for future initiatives.
- Increase productivity: By getting started on projects faster and avoiding unnecessary delays.
- Improve client relationships: Once a project has started, there will be no unpleasant shocks for stakeholders.
What you should know before starting your resource planning
If getting your ducks in a row at the start of a new project feels like a crazy race, it’s time to mix up your resource planning.
Before a project can begin, you must examine which abilities should be used, who has those skills, how long everything should take, and how this particular project will fit into everyone’s schedule.
Just because you care about the project doesn’t mean it’s the most important responsibility for everyone on your team. Make a list of the following to assist you in considering all of these factors:
- The contract’s start and end dates
- Team member, contractor, and freelancer hourly rates and prices
- The abilities you’ll need to finish the job
- Who on your squad possesses those abilities? (or whether you need outside help)
- The availability of the members of your chosen team
- The project’s proposed budget
- Your resource planning will be built on the responses to these questions. Then it’s only a matter of sliding everything together to ensure the project is completed.
How can you make your resource planning process better?
Perhaps your present resource planning method is ineffective. Perhaps you don’t have one in place and are guessing what resources you’ll require. It’s also possible that you don’t have much issue with resource planning and merely want to improve your strategy.
These pointers can help you improve your resource planning game for every new project, no matter where you are.
1. Make a list of the chores you’ll require the most.
When allocating resources, it is beneficial to work backwards. Trying to estimate how long something will take or whether you’ll need a specific piece of equipment will not help you. Instead, consider what you want to accomplish at the end of the endeavour.
You may break it down into smaller, more achievable tasks once you have a large picture view in mind. It’ll be a lot easier to figure out what resources you’ll need for each of those smaller projects and how to assign them.
For example, if you’re considering a web design project for a customer who wants a user-friendly website with new branding, you should think about:
- What are the steps in the procedure? (logo design, branding consultation, wireframes, user testing, development, content writing, testing, etc.)
- What materials are required for each of those steps? (a graphic designer to create the new logo and an illustration tool, a copywriting and editor for the content, etc.)
2. Evaluate your available resources carefully and completely.
Managing your team’s workload is one of the most difficult aspects of project management. Throwing a bunch of duties at people and hoping for the best is easy, but it may rapidly lead to burnout and a demotivated staff.
Begin by thoroughly studying the resources accessible to you. After that, you can link resources to tasks. You won’t get it right every time, but the more you practise, the easier it will get.
3. Determine the budget and timeline (and stick to it)
Successful resource management entails properly managing the project’s cash as well as the milestones that must be met.
Once the budget has been approved, it is up to you as the project manager to ensure that efficient resources are allocated within that budget.
After you’ve determined which resources you’ll need for a project, you can begin planning where and when they’ll be used.
Another crucial part is to keep track of how long specific chores take. This provides you (or your client) with a better understanding of what everyone is doing and how long it will take.
You can keep track of project deadlines and monitor how much time each team member spends on certain activities with the RisePath PlanCentral time tracking function.
We’ve got you covered if you’re searching for a more holistic view of your resources.
Make sure you have the necessary tools to keep track of how much time you’ve spent and how much money you’ve gone over budget. If you’re still using spreadsheets, it’s probably time for an upgrade.
4. For the most comprehensive picture, track and measure resources across your entire team.
It takes time to get resource planning correctly. You’ll need to change your method on a regular basis and learn from previous initiatives to identify what works and what doesn’t.
You may discover that you under-resourced one project, causing all of your other efforts to come to a halt. You’ll remember not to make the same mistake again.
With RisePath PlanCentral, you can keep track of the resources you’ve utilised for each project. You’ll have a better sense of project requirements and timetables at the end of each completed project, allowing you to generate better project estimations in the future.
Not everything will go according to plan, so be sure you’re ready for any setbacks. You may need to make modifications for the following:
- Slow approvals or stakeholder feedback
- Modifications to the project’s scope
- Leaving of team members (getting sick, leaving on maternity, etc.)
- Cutting the budget or the timeline
You can easily match the new budget or bring in additional team members who are available if you have all of your resources in one spot.
5. Conduct a post-project study in order to make improvements in the future.
Every project presents a fresh opportunity to learn and improve your resource planning strategy. Begin by comparing the number of resources you budgeted and allocated to the number you actually used to finish the project.
Have you hired an excessive number of team members? Isn’t it enough? Or did you set aside money for a piece of equipment that you never used?
At a project retrospective, dig into these questions to determine how you can enhance your resource management. You may also create project reports in RisePath PlanCentral to get a complete picture of your project.
View milestones, task lists, tasks and subtasks, project changes, and current project health with ease.
We can’t underscore enough just how crucial this activity is for future planning.
You’ll almost certainly find some inconsistencies between profits and project resources. Your post-project analysis will assist you in identifying areas where you can improve next time.
Make resource planning beneficial to you.
The days of stale, out-of-date Excel spreadsheets are long gone. The project management process is incomplete without resource planning.
Doing it correctly guarantees that you stay on budget, complete projects on time, satisfy stakeholders and improve future project estimates.
Use a resource planning application like RisePath PlanCentral to enter the resources you’ll need for a project, keep track of what’s being used, and plan out the timeframe and budget for each one.
A spreadsheet won’t cut it if you’re managing numerous projects at the same time, each with its own set of resources. RisePath PlanCentral gives you a clear picture of where you are with each project at any given time.