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 and resource managers must collaborate effectively if individual projects are not to suffer.
Organizations 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.
Project managers specify the primary role or discipline that they need, plus any particular competency requirements. They can easily see how well each candidate measures up.
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.
Innate handles the data in a skills matrix and project managers simply specify the skills and competency levels required for each task. For example, System > ERP > NetSuite with a minimum competency level of Advanced is shown as a requirement in the screenshot below:
Skills 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.
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 the proposed candidate.
Dealing with resource requests
Each resource manager has a list of outstanding requests for their staff. They have a couple of ways of identifying and proposing suitable candidates.
Where the list of candidates is relatively short, a simple drag and drop routine can be used. The screenshot below shows a request for an Analyst, below which is a list of team members showing how busy they are.
Just highlight the work periods of the Analyst row and drop alongside the preferred team member. If the target resource has insufficient capacity, a range of options is offered:
For more complex requests or larger team sizes, the competency requirements can be applied as a search. This displays a list of suitable candidates, ordered by their availability and how well they satisfy the requirements.
Different resource allocation processes
In a simple matrix organization, where teams are organized by role or discipline, each resource request is directed to the appropriate resource manager.
In more complex organizations, 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 when individuals can be requested from multiple locations, each with their own resource manager. 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 organizations have decided to free up these constraints and to simply track the details of all changes to an assignment. Reports that show who changed what, by how much and when provide the visibility needed for control.
A degree of overload is generally acceptable in resource allocation, particularly where the workload is planned in weeks or months. Innate provides loading indicators that signal when a resource conflict affects any assignment.
The indicators are typically set to the following conditions, but can easily be amended to suit.
Overload – on some days work exceeds 100% of availability.
No Overload – on no days does work exceed 90% of availability.
Warning – loading on some days is between 90% & 100% availability.
The same colour indicators can be applied to resource loading cells, giving a vivid colour pattern of over and under utilization, alongside the target of Amber cells.
In these ways, Innate resource management software effectively manages the resource allocation process.