Resource allocation in large organizations

Finding people with the right mix of skills and experience is crucial to each project’s success. Resource management tools enable project managers to define what they are looking for, but the differences in how businesses are organized have created a variety of resource allocation processes. Each of these must be supported if effective collaboration between project and resource managers is to be achieved, and individual projects not suffer.

This blog looks at the variety of resource allocation processes in place and describes how resource management tools can support the different approaches


Screenshot shows how Analyst’s required languages can be requested

For simple organizations, where the required skills, roles , or disciplines are in distinct teams, each resource request can simply be directed to the resource manager of the appropriate team.

Larger organizations often have a number of separate business units (BUs) or departments that undertake different types of projects, but where each can have staff with similar skills. So there could be different resource managers for Process Engineers in various BUs, for example. If a project falls within a single BU, there is likely to be an assumption that requests for Process Engineers should be met from within the project’s own BU. This helps the resource management system to direct each request to the appropriate resource manager.

A further complication is when resources with similar skills are spread across different regions or locations, within the BU. If there are regional resource managers, it will not be possible to direct each resource request to a single resource manager, unless the project manager is specifying the required region. If so, a combination of Skill, BU and Region will identify the request recipient.

Should the project manager not be concerned about the source location, the request must be seen by each location that has resources with the required skills. A vacancy board approach work best here, so that each new request is visible to all potential resource providers. They can then each propose their most suitable candidate.

These scenarios describe the wide variety of resource allocation processes that are in place. Once a candidate has been proposed, the project manager will want to see how well their skills and experience match those he requested. The resource allocation process must support candidate review and rejection, before proposed resources are accepted.

Whatever the resource allocation process, there must be effective collaboration between project and resource managers, if individual projects are not to suffer.

Barry Muir is a Director of Innate Management Systems Ltd. We have been implementing resource management software in a wide variety of professional services organizations for more than 20 years.
Posted in resource management