5 secrets to strategic resource planning - how to do more with the resources you have
People are the most important asset your Business has so it is important to work hard to truly manage and look after this precious resource. Optimising your workforce and allocating them effectively across new projects and your ‘business as usual’ activities is at the heart of operational efficiency. Implement resource management best-practice and project resource management software is central to the effective management of conflicting priorities and resource requirements and here are 5 secrets to get resource planning engrained in your culture and start maximizing your revenue.
1. Don’t plan too far ahead
In smaller, more agile businesses, the key to maintaining the competitive advantage is to not plan too far ahead. Planning long into the future is fine for longer term projects, but building an element of flexibility into short-term projects makes it easier to find solutions to unexpected problems, without having to turn the entire plan on its head. Effectively planning for future projects really depends on your ability to build ‘what-if’ scenarios into your projects. Responding quickly and adapting your resources to meet changing project requirements allows you to achieve more, with less.
2. Develop a central resources pool
Creating a central resource pool to draw from when planning multiple projects can help you and your team understand the ‘bigger picture’. By drawing from this giant resource pool, everyone involved will be able to see the limitations on resources and the part they have to play. Developing a clear view of how they fit into the picture can empower and motivate your team to perform their own individual tasks better, and deliver on time.
3. Keep a central schedule
It’s also an excellent idea to create a master schedule everyone can access to see how long they have to perform their part of the process. When everyone can see what their time constraints are, as well as the deadlines imposed on others, they’re more likely to be accepting of their limitations. This approach will be particularly beneficial for those with multiple parts to play in the process. Other departments will be able to see when individuals are on a tight schedule, and will not ask for assistance when important deadlines are looming.
4. Find the ‘dead space’
Project resource management software will allow you to take a proactive approach to your resource planning and help you identify gaps where those involved in projects are not engaged. This gives you the chance to factor in those ‘business as usual’ activities that help keep your business afloat, or fill this space with more paid work.
5. Identify your key resources
Generally speaking, 80 percent of your discretionary work will be constrained by 20 percent of your resources. There are always key employees who are central to your activities. Competition for these resources has the potential to cause bottlenecks and hold up the delivery of your projects. By identifying these key resources early on, you can stagger project phases around their availability, or consider taking on new workers in key roles.