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Resource allocation

Allocating suitable staff  to tasks is an important part of the multi-project resource management process. The overall goals are to maximise each team’s utilisation, whilst ensuring that every project is properly resourced. If it goes wrong then team usage levels can become too low because there is too much spare capacity, or key project dates can be missed, because resources with the right skills and experience are not available. Resource allocation software helps with getting this demand/capacity balance right, before assigning individual resources to tasks.

The resource management process consists of two phases:

  • Skills capacity planning. This is about maintaining the right balance between skills capacity and demand. It can be very challenging in volatile environments where there are lots of project changes. If the resource bottlenecks are too severe, there will be no suitable candidates as new tasks are planned.
  • Resource allocation. This is the collaboration between project and resource managers, so that projects will be correctly staffed up, whilst teams meet their utilisation targets.

The resource allocation process

Organisations that manage lots of projects demand effective collaboration between project and resource managers. Both roles need to use resource allocation software to achieve this. The process genrally follows these steps:

  • Project manager requests resources. In preparing the resource plan, the project manager specifies the work quantity and profiles for the resources needed to complete each task. He may have to add other requirements, such as professional qualifications, or specific system experience and competencies. Resource allocation software includes a skills database, where such attributes can be maintained for each person, and should have dynamic data updates from the HR system.

Shows how required language competencies cab be specified for the ANALYST

  • Resource manager proposes candidates. On approval of the resource plan, each resource manager should receive requests just for their resources. Where additional attributes have been specified, the resource allocation software will display a list of those candidates that best fit the requirements, so that the most suitable candidates can be proposed. Where few additional requirements have been requested, a simple drag and drop of the work profiles to available team members may suffice.
  • Project manager reviews proposed candidates. The resource allocation software displays a list of proposed candidates for each of the project’s tasks, and compares the requested attributes with those of each candidate. Where a candidate is deemed unsuitable, the proposal can be rejected, with an explanation of the reason why.
  • Resource allocation gets confirmed. Once a candidate has been accepted, the allocation gets confirmed and the project manager can monitor just his outstanding requests for resource.

For most project portfolios, the frequency of project change can easily disrupt the balance and cause new bottlenecks. Resource allocation software helps manage such volatility by providing:

  • What if… scenarios to help re-balance the workload.
  • Track details of who changes what, by how much and when, so that adjustments to assignments can quickly be made.

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