Once the new project plan is approved and a skills capacity check confirms that sufficient resources should be available, resource allocation can commence. Whatever the process, Project managers and Team leaders must collaborate effectively if individual projects are not to suffer.
Organisations can have quite different approaches to resource allocation. Innate provides a flexible framework so that, once we’ve understood the rules, the system can be configured to suit.
With the technical complexity of projects increasing, project managers are having to specify more precisely the skills and competency levels that they need. There may only be a few individuals that meet each requirement, but resorting to lesser skilled staff can have significant ramifications for the project.
Project managers will want to specify the primary role or discipline that they need, plus any particular skills and competency requirements. They can easily see how well each proposed candidate measures up.
Innate handles skills related data as a matrix so project managers can easily specify the skills and competency levels required for each task. System > ERP > NetSuite, with a minimum competency of Advanced is shown as a requirement in the screenshot below:
Skill and competency requirements for an Analyst to work on the Specify task
Each Team leader sees this detail when searching for suitable candidates. Whenever their proposed resource fails to meet a required competency level, the non-compliance is highlighted in red, as shown below:
The non-compliance of Pat Pringle, the proposed Analyst, is highlighted in red
This alerts the project manager to any shortfall, helping them to decide whether to accept or reject the proposed candidate.
Dealing with Resource Requests
Using a list of outstanding requests for their staff, Team leaders have a couple of ways of identifying and proposing suitable candidates.
For more complex requests, where skill and competency requirements have been specified, the requirements can be applied as search criteria. This displays a list of suitable candidates, ordered by their availability and how well they comply, as shown in the video below:
Re-PlanningNo sooner is this cycle completed than a project scope change or need to re-estimate the outstanding work can create a demand for additional resource. This re-planning needs to first check the impact on skills capacity before looking to allocate additional resource. The video below shows how suitable additional resource can be identified and added to a previous allocation, in a typical re-planning exercise.
Different Resource Allocation ProcessesIn a simple matrix organisation, where teams are organized by role or discipline, each resource request is directed to the appropriate Team Leader. In more complex situations, people having the same role or discipline can appear in multiple business units or regional offices. For these, Innate provides appropriate filtering so that allocation can be restricted to resources within the project’s business unit and/or region, as required. These rules can be amended so that individuals can be requested from multiple locations, each with their own Team Leader. In this case, a vacancy board displays the requests, so that each region can propose their most suitable candidates. Whatever the resource allocation process, Innate tracks the status of each one to fulfilment, through Request, Proposed, Accepted/Rejected until final confirmation. Although Innate’s permissions system can be used to restrict who can do what in this process, having such controls can cause unacceptable delays. In particularly volatile multi-project environments, some organisations have decided to free up these constraints and to simply track the details of changes made to resource assignments. Change tracking reports that show who changed what, by how much and when, provide the visibility needed for control.
Highlighting OverloadsA degree of overload is generally acceptable in resource allocation, particularly where the workload is planned in weeks or months. Innate provides a loading chart that signals when a resource conflict affects any assignment. The indicators are typically set to the following conditions, but can easily be amended to suit. (a) Red – work exceeds 100% of availability. (b) Amber – loading is between 90% & 100% availability. (c) Green – planned work amounts to less than 90% of availability These are applied to resource loading cells, giving a vivid heat map of over and under-utilisation alongside the target of Amber cells.
In these ways, Innate’s software capabilities can be used to effectively manage the resource allocation process.