Project managers who excel in their jobs know that resources are key to any project, and good project resource scheduling can be the difference between hitting your targets and failing to meet expectations. But while managing resources is a crucial part of any project, many managers lack a full awareness of its importance, and thus fail to optimize what they are given.
What Is Project Resource Scheduling?
Essentially this concept goes hand in hand with resource allocation, or the way you deploy your workforce, supplies, and the budget you’re provided with. Basically, it’s how you divvy up your resources over the life of a project. The nature of any project will force you into some form of scheduling regardless of your workflow—even if it’s a less desirable “seat of your pants” approach—but finding a way to excel at resource scheduling will put you head and shoulders above the competition and ensure that the projects you manage are successful.
Benefits of Project Resource Scheduling
Planning out your resource deployment has numerous benefits, but they all tie back into the golden ticket: efficiency. Coming up with a schedule ensures that your project will stay on target and that nothing goes to waste. With that in mind, below we give an overview of some project management resource scheduling methods to improve your scheduling and optimize the resources you have.
1. Forecast for the Whole Project
As with any scheduling-dependent task, the ability to plan is crucial, not just in the specifics of how you aim to use your resources and when, but in forecasting potential hiccups along the way. Identifying tasks to the best of your ability for the full duration of the project is going to make things easier for your team and will make the difference between effective resource scheduling and scraping through by the skin of your teeth. Any sort of forecasting will require you to be flexible, but if you have the right data and right expectations of the tasks needed to complete a project, you’ll be starting on the right foot.
2. Understand Your Resources
Good project managers know what resources they have available, but great managers know those resources intimately. Do certain members of your team work better for an upcoming task than others? Can the budget be more effectively spent in one area than another? There are so many variables in your resources, so the more information you have available, the better you will be able to plan your resource allocation methods.
3. Reduce Risks
Risk is unavoidable in most projects, but finding a way to reduce the scale and scope of potential risk is going to make it that much easier to use the resources you have. More often than not, road bumps in your project are going to throw a wrench in your scheduling and waste the resources you have already spent and/or scheduled. Forecasting with an eye toward potential problems will help you skirt waste, or at least identify it before too many costs are sunk.
4. Deploy Your Resources Effectively
You’ve identified your resources from the start, but it’s important that you keep track of what you’ve used and how as you move through a project. The last thing you want is a bottleneck because too much has been spent too early and your team has come up against a deficit in supplies or manpower. Schedule with an eye toward using everything and everyone as effectively as possible so that you can stay on target.
5. Plan for Flexibility
The best laid plans rarely work with total accuracy. You’ve forecasted as wisely as possible, but it’s important to be aware of the potential need to recalibrate. If you have a backup plan—and, more importantly, the willingness to switch to it when appropriate—then you will be able to avoid pouring resources into an area where they are no longer effective. Make your preferred schedule, but if you’re able to build in an alternate to it, you won’t regret it.
How Journyx Can Help
Employing the best practices discussed above is going to give you an edge in scheduling your project resources, but you shouldn’t rest on your laurels just yet. At Journyx we know how important efficiency is for project managers, and we have developed tools that can help you effortlessly employ the strategies discussed here.
The key to effectively executing any winning strategy is having the proper data, and with Journyx you can be sure that you’ll have the most comprehensive, accurate data—especially in regard to who does what tasks and when they do them. And you can have this data at your fingertips, leaving you free to get back to the tasks at hand. Request a free demo today to see how Journyx can make your job even easier.