Project Resource Allocation and Resource Management, Say What?

The resources of an organization consist of people, materials, equipment, knowledge and time. Organizations typically have limited resources that must be shared across a multitude of projects. A resource allocation plan is an important tool in effective management of those scarce resources. Part of any good resource allocation plan is the ability to capture actual hours worked on a project as well as utilizing a portfolio management tool to reduce bottlenecks and balance the workload.

Project schedules can facilitate planning how those resources are allocated and where their available time will be most needed. Resource planning is critical to resource management. When proper resource planning is implemented across multiple projects and varying timeframes, you can begin to see where bottlenecks will occur and adjust accordingly. Without this insight, your projects will most likely be at risk.

Dealing with Unknowns

In developing resource plans, there is little chance that the project manager will have all the necessary resources assigned to the project at its start. The fact is when starting a project the details of that project are typically unknown. Therefore, knowing the types and duration of required resources is not always possible. That is why it is so important to begin the planning process early and review and update the project schedule throughout the project life cycle as information becomes available.

In building the project schedule some deliverables can be decomposed into detailed tasks while other deliverables will only be known at the highest level. When details of a deliverable are not sufficiently known, an estimation of resources will have to be employed. Obviously, the more detail you can provide, the more accurate the resource estimates will be.

Tracking Resource Hours

Tracking resource hours is also an important part of the resource management plan. Accurate accounting of resource hours spent on a project, not only provides the leadership team a clear picture of how much effort and dollars have been expended, but it also affords them the opportunity to shift resources as the organization’s strategic plan dictates or as project hurdles arise. Lastly, tracking resource hours provides the necessary information for future project planning and budgeting. Knowing the amount of resources required expended for various strategic and tactical projects will lead to better planning resulting in better project execution.

To that end, the Project Management Office (PMO) led by the Innovation, Project Coordination, and Decision Support (IPCDS) team will be implementing a resource tracking tool to capture the number of resource hours worked on each of our 2019 strategic and tactical projects. Every project team member will be asked to record the number of hours they spent working on their assigned projects. As mentioned earlier, this information will be an invaluable asset for future resource planning and budgeting. Additional information on this new tool, along with detailed instructions on how to use it, will be forthcoming.