3 Resource Allocation Options – Choose the Best Fit
Have you heard or talked about resource allocation with others? You know,
talked about the fact that there had to be a better way to make sure someone
was assigned and responsible for everything that’s critical. Make sure you’ve
got enough people assigned or allocated, so that you meet your deadlines
without pulling all-nighters… because you didn’t plan ahead and allocate?
Well I’m writing this blog to see if I can offer you a way to rethink resource
allocation, and make it more accessible. Lots of people in the project
management area talk about resource allocation as if it is something universally
defined, but actually people operate with very different perspectives
on what it means. You know what else? Almost everyone nods their head
in agreement that it’s a good thing, but the enthusiasm for investing the
time and effort to keep it in place dies out about as fast as a summertime
run-off in the desert. So what does that say?
So there’s this big gap between the ideal and what really happens. Maybe
for you as well. It turns out there are a number of ways to edge yourself
into resource allocation and a clearer working definition for how it could
help you. And it will help you get better results. So what if I grab you for
2 minutes in this blog and share a couple of thoughts that might help?
1. First of all, when thinking about resource allocation, most people’s
practice of resource planning and allocation is defined by the level of effort
they anticipate will be required.
What I find is that most people are really operating with one of three
different perspectives, which include levels of effort they are willing to
expend to answer the questions of:
– Who’s available?
– Do I have the right person available and on this project?
– Do I have enough resources, given our throughput, to get it all done?
So let’s quickly define the 3 groups, to see which one you fit in, and then I’d
like to share a couple thoughts about the software you will need to help
given the group that best describes you.
The first group I’ll call “Exact”. They operate with very defined estimates
for the number of hours to complete each task making up a project.
Sometimes they have to, because they are bidding out work on an hourly
estimate basis, or resource allocation is their professional job role and
they are rolling up requirements for large projects.
They work with and talk about concepts like resource leveling, and usually
work with large groups of people (resources). They typically track time via
time cards by task line item as well. This can be a lot of work, but you get
a very exact picture or number for what a project “should” require. Is this you?
I’ll call the second group “Roughly”. They want to know roughly if
the required hours of work left remaining and availability of staff stack up.
Projects aren’t as precisely defined or cut and dried, and they may or may not
use exact time card entries against project records. But they still need to
roughly know who’s available and what percentage of their time, as well as
what they are working on currently and have been signed up for in the future.
Sometimes the “Roughly” group, just estimates the amount of hours each
project will consume and don’t bother to assign people by the hour, because
they just want a general picture of whether or not there are enough work
days or work hours left before the due date.
The “Exact” group tends to view the “Roughly” group as making it up as they go,
but either option is a viable method of resource allocation. I’ll show you how
ManagePro addresses both of those groups and their questions in the video
below. But before I do, let’s cover the third group.
This group is mostly focused on, and we’ll label them, “Getting it all done”.
If this is you, resource allocation is something you do when you have
concerns about running out of time or money or missing something critical.
You assign resources primarily to track accountability and to make sure the
right expertise is on the right project. You are focused on the deadline or
due date, and you want to know if we are on track to get there, and to ensure
that everything is assigned to someone and doesn’t drop through the cracks.
To that end, you want to be able to see everything that’s left and
its status. Resource allocation takes the form of viewing outstanding projects
sized by expected duration or complexity. It’s a primary form of risk mitigation.
In effect, to see how many of the let’s say high complex versus low complex tasks
are left, and who they are assigned to. Resource allocation becomes a vehicle
to ensure all the critical stuff is getting attended, and the same person isn’t
assigned to multiple critical tasks that they can’t possibly cover.
It’s all in service of making sure you can “Getting it All Done.”
There are multiple ways to approach resource allocation. Choose the approach that
fits you best, that creates the best trade-off between effort to create and manage and
value generated. But… don’t avoid or neglect using resource allocation, otherwise you
become the person who can’t finish (on time), as depicted in the Gospel of Luke.
Watch this short video to get a bit more detail and implications for how software, such as
ManagePro can help you.