What if you could allocate and schedule your resources where you needed them most—plus have a real-time visual of your project costs and forecast financials—all in one place?
PMI’s 2017 Pulse of the Profession report presented the shocking news that only 26% of companies always use resource planning tools, and fewer than half of those do so as a regular part of their workflow process. So the same study’s findings that fewer than 60% of projects meet their budget and only 50% of projects are completed on time were perhaps a bit less shocking.
What Is Resource Planning?
Resource planning ensures the peak use of resources by maintaining balance among projects—both present and future.
At any time, resource planning managers might be required to reallocate resources, change deadlines, or even request additional resources in response to changing demands. Resource planning requires a clear picture of each project’s life cycle and resources in order to remain flexible.
What Is a Resource Plan?
At its most basic, a resource plan identifies and organizes the resources needed to use resources successfully—usually measured by meeting deadlines on time and on budget.
Solid resource plans should answer the following questions:
- What is the scope of work that needs to be done?
- What is the duration of time for which each resource will be needed?
- At what point in the scope of the project will each resource be needed?
- From where will each key resource be procured?
- How much of the budget can be allocated to resources?
- Which of these resources need to be shared with other projects?
Why Is Resource Planning Important in Project Management?
Being able to most effectively use all resources means you can see the small details without losing scope of the big picture. This view lets you make real-time decisions, especially during unexpected occurrences like weather delays.
Effective resource planning enables you to:
- Prevent underutilization. Often the amount of time spent on a task is overestimated to avoid missing a deadline, which means that you’re not getting the most and best out of your resources.
- Prevent burnout. Just as underutilization is expensive, overutilization is a devastating consequence of not planning effectively.
- Close resource gaps early. Sometimes you need extra resources at only the project level. Identifying this early in the planning process means not running the project into the ground before help arrives.
- Minimize dependencies. Most people can name at least one time they’ve seen a project stall because it was dependent on one resource in order to move forward. Planning helps you identify weak points in your resource availability so that you can still value your team members without risking success.
Having access to real-time tracking of actual resource utilization across projects allows resource managers to make proactive decisions to keep the project on track, even when faced with hiccups.
What Does Resource Scheduling Involve?
Once you have a resource plan, you can begin creating a schedule based on resource availability and capability. Resource scheduling allows you to:
- Assign and track projects from A to Z
- Schedule resources based on skills and availability
- Anticipate and assess delays so you can reschedule tasks and deadlines
- Analyze resource utilization and reassign tasks as needed
- Track project outcomes and compare to estimates to improve future scheduling
Resource scheduling means looking at a lot of pieces of a very big pie all at once to determine what is working and what is not, including variables outside of your control.
What Is Resource Scheduling Software?
Resource scheduling software can help you plan and manage your company’s projects as well as its resources. It can be used in resource planning to create resource plans and forecasts.
What Is Resource Tracking?
Resource tracking is the monitoring of time spent on work by individual resources over the course of a project in order to analyze how effectively you are utilizing your resources.
For example, by filling in timesheets, or by providing access to automated timesheet software, you can capture accurate data on how much time your team members spend on tasks.
Tapping into resource tracking data can allow your company to better understand the strength of your organization by measuring both individual and team performance. It also means having the people analytics to support human resources decisions such as recruitment or training to address gaps.
What Is Resource Management Software?
Would you send a carrier pigeon to your client to update them on project progress? Unless you are aiming for theatrics, you would likely choose a more efficient 21st-century way to communicate.
Resource management software makes planning and scheduling easier—and plans less likely to contain outdated, incomplete, or inaccurate information. Not only can you see resource availability and organizational capacity project by project, but the data collected can be used to forecast and make even better decisions down the line.
Do You Need Resource Management Software?
Managing your team members without the solid foundation of resource management software can be a nightmare — but you might already have realized that.
Depending on the sophistication of the software, it might also include tools for time tracking, scheduling, budget management, resource allocation, project management, and more. Many resource scheduling software programs integrate with companies’ existing platforms, such as their enterprise, payroll, or accounting systems.
Which Resource Management Software Should You Use?
Using project resource tracking software to make better business decisions begins with the collection of good data. Effective software empowers you to have real-time access to a complete picture of your projects.
Journyx PX resource management software allows you to:
- Visually track resource usage across all activities
- Quickly scan resource usage through a Gantt chart interface
- Accurately plan resource availability around team members’ attendance, including vacation time
- Frequently assess the financial impact of resource usage
- Confidently define project scope and estimate costs at a glance
- Seamlessly integrate data across multiple systems in real time
Widespread utilization of Journyx PX to collect and use data is easy, especially with remote or field-based personnel, using the available mobile app. To learn more about how Journyx can customize a a solution for your resource tracking needs, contact us to schedule a free custom demo.