The goals, art, and science
Whether your projects are time & material type or fixed price type, whether you follow the waterfall method or the agile method, allocating the right resources at the right time has emerged as the most important success factor. Even in projects with a higher proportion of material costs, the people factor is vital for success. We shall focus here on human resources needed in projects.
Masterful resource allocation in project management helps you achieve several goals of your organization. Your resource management group (RMG) plays a central, but often unacknowledged role in this.
Resource allocation in project management is both an art and a science. In this first part of the two-part series, we shall discuss which goals can be achieved by mastering the art and the science of resource allocation.
The foremost goal of allocating resources is to complete every project successfully -completing all deliverables on time and within the project’s budget. Project delays not only result in cost-overruns but can also result in the cost of lost opportunities for your customers. Delayed projects will undermine your ability to win bids in the future against the competition.
The other goals of resource allocation are:
Only the right kind of people can ensure that every task is done well. RMG’s role, therefore, is crucial for meeting the required quality norms.
Balancing demand and availability
The allocation of resources must be such that resources are utilized without periods of excessive load or benching. Excessive load can cause fatigue and burnout. Quality can suffer as a result. Too much benching causes losses and demoralizes people.
Matching tasks with resource skills and competencies
RMG’s allocation decisions directly impact people’s morale. If a highly skilled person is given a task that can be done by a relatively less skilled person, he or she gets demoralized. People with lower skills can get demoralized if tasks beyond their current capabilities are assigned to them. RMG’s resource decisions impact levels of attrition over time.
Acquiring talent proactively
RMGs can utilize demand for project orders that are expected with high levels of confidence to identify the gaps in resource availability. The projected demand availability gaps can be used by the talent acquisition team to recruit talent well in time.
Meeting customer’s cost budgets
In the case of time and material type projects, your organization may not get affected directly but customer costs keep escalating due to delays. By making available resources as estimated at bid time, RMGs can help in avoiding time and cost overruns for customers.
Achieving ‘as-built’ project costs within ‘as-sold’ project costs
In the case of fixed-price projects, RMG’s role is quite important for keeping as-built costs within the as-sold costs of projects.
Optimizing the use of your best resources
Every organization depends on some high-caliber people to perform critical tasks. Such people are always in demand and project managers prefer to have them all the time. RMG’s role is to ensure that your best resources are used optimally. Doing your RMG contributes to the success of several projects.
Mitigating project risks
Resource allocation is key for the management of risks, assumptions, issues, and dependencies (RAID). Firstly, skilled and experienced people need to be assigned to identify the RAID. Secondly, the right resources need to be allocated for tasks that get identified by the RAID assessment. RMG’s role is crucial here.
The above goals are ambitious, diverse, and conflicting! It is tempting to think that having more resources than you need will ensure project deliveries on time and even necessary to meet the delivery quality norms. But in reality, this is not that simple. More resources at disposal can lead to their wastage. It can also cause delays because of the ‘the things are under control ‘ kind of complacency. Resource allocation is the art of balancing all the goals and achieving optimum results in multiple projects by collaborating with various groups in your organization! Your RMG needs to master this art.
The science of resource allocation requires that your organization follows best practices in resource allocation and that your RMG has resource management software that supports the best practices.
We shall describe both the art and the science of resource allocation in the next part of this series.
ProductDossier Resource Management Software provides a ready platform for performing the art and science of resource allocation in project management. It is highly configurable, yet it can be deployed in less than two weeks! Please contact us for a demo at firstname.lastname@example.org