“Never work with children or animals.” – that is what they say in show business. In the project business, working with children or animals is a rather rare occurrence. However, working with grown-up, two-legged resources is a challenge, too. Finding the most qualified person with enough time at the right place to dedicate to a project is a demanding task. Never mind how notoriously unpredictable the project business is. More often than not plans need to be discarded and made anew.
However, good resource management is necessary for the success of your project business. It minimizes additional costs caused by changes of plans and maximizes a company’s flexibility.
Project managers face a number of problems. The good news is: They can all be solved, especially with the help of modern technologies.
Let us have a look at five of the main challenges in resource management and how to overcome them.
1. Lack of transparency
Many companies fail to meet the most basic condition for successful resource managing: a project manager that knows who is available for their projects and is aware of the resources’ skillsets. “Skillset” means a complete overview over skills and qualifications, including their availability at specific times and places. You can only find the most qualified person for a work package if a) all project requirements are clear, and b) you have a full overview over all resources and skills.
The solution: Professional project management software usually includes a skills management database with all project employees, their roles, skills and qualifications. A scoring model can help standardize skills and qualifications. Skills management provides resource managers with more transparency and lets them find the most qualified, available people based on the requirements of project managers.
2. Assign the best available resource
If a project is meant to be a success, it needs precisely the resources that can finish all assigned work packages. Project quality will suffer from poorly qualified employees and lead to delays as well as a series of other problems.
The solution: Resource managers need a comprehensive and up-to-date overview over capacities, experience, qualification of employees as well as, most importantly, the precise requirements of project managers. A professional project management solution such as Dynamics 365 Project Operations makes communication between project managers and resource managers much easier.
Software can also overtake the work that is most crucial for resource managers: combine a variety of different aspects. Artificial Intelligence takes mere seconds to figure out a person’s availability and qualifications for a certain project.
3. Dependencies between projects or work packages
Usually delays, changes of plans and other unpredictable occurrences are part of the project business. They needn’t necessarily cause problems. However, they can trigger a chain reaction that impedes project progress and compromises customer satisfaction.
Resources that are forced to wait because their work depends on a previous part of the project that needs to be finished first is generally not a desired outcome.
The solution: Dependencies between work packages need to be clear before the resource management starts. Ideally, they will be reduced. In any case, there should be enough time between dependent work packages. Project management software with a Gantt view helps you visualize dependencies, offers an improved overview over all possibilities and helps optimize project planning.
Do you manage projects, resources or both? Then you should get to know Dynamics 365 Project Operations if you would like to professionalize your project business from the beginning, or learn more about the Time Tracking add-on by proMX to boost existing functionalities of your resource planning.
4. Capacity planning
More often than not resources are planned to give 100 % all of the time. Realistic? Hardly. No one is productive each and every minute of their work day. Replying to e-mails, calls, breaks, chatting with colleagues, making coffee, killing flies or errors on your PC – all that leads to people “only” being productive 80 % of their time. Aside from them getting sick, needing a vacation, days off due to bank holidays or simply having a bad day.
Planning people at full capacity won’t help you finish planned tasks on time and results in delays instead.
The solution: A project management solution such as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Project Operations helps you track or calculate work models, regional holidays, vacation times and the average capacity of individual resources, and thus plan your resources realistically.
In order to plan accurately, it’s also important knowing which resources are working at which capacity already due to being involved in other projects.
You found the perfect resource – person, location, skills and all! Oh, wait, no, they’re already working on something. If your software solution doesn’t provide you with a good overview or recent data, overbookings or double bookings of a resource happen all too easily.
The solution: In a professional resource management solution, this can’t happen. If a resource, for example a room, is already booked, it automatically won’t be available for a new booking or produce an error message when selected.
Specific assignment methods can automatically exclude overbookings. In some cases, however, companies want overbookings to be possible. For example when employees have the opportunity to clock extra hours. Project or resource managers can decide about the maximum capacity for overbookings.
If you want to avoid delayed projects and dissatisfied customers, you should professionalize your resource management with the right software. That will make your planning more transparent and efficient. Resource managers can keep track of all aspects important to their planning and keep up-to-date – something a spread sheet software just can’t handle.