Enterprise resource capacity planning is a high priority for most businesses. The information provided in this article will help in optimizing your resource management, allowing you to run your business as effectively and efficiently as possible.
What is Resource Management
Simply stated, resource management is the effective and efficient allocation and deployment of an organization’s resources, when and where they are needed. Coordinating resources can be challenging. However, when businesses master this skill, many benefits are noticeable
What Are The Benefits of Resource Management
This will give the business the ability to see where people are placed versus where they actually are. Having this capability helps companies make decisions. If we do not have this, sometimes we do not have the knowledge to see if we have the capacity to fulfill the commitments we have undertaken. Therefore, having resource visibility can help promote good decisions as well as making smart commitments
Increase business value
If we incorporate good business management practices into the overall project, and intake and demand process, we can ensure that we are getting the best out of our resources.
Save time and money
This means that we get more efficient when dealing with resources. We can save time and money on such things as duplication of our efforts or possibly having the wrong resources working at a certain place. This could be where different resources are used to make a job easier, quicker, or cheaper. Doing this would allow for things to be delivered on a more cost-effective basis
Increase project success rate
We can do this by making better commitments based on accurate representation of our resources. If we make better-informed commitments, we will hit those targets more often. Sometimes, we miss targets simply because we over-committed to something and did not know that we were stretching the organization too far beyond its capabilities.
As intake comes into the organization, we decide how the business would best utilize resources. This will allow us to assess what we can and cannot take on as a company. Sometimes that means suspending a current activity within the business to embark on something that has higher priority.
If you do not have a handle on the satisfaction of your employees, it can easily result in having a high employee turnover. This can be caused by a tendency to overuse resources, resulting in burnout.
What Are The Challenges of Resource Management?
Like most things, with benefits come challenges. Some of these challenges are listed below
Many organizations have a highly matrixed structure. This means that ownership of the functional managers, who are responsible for the resources, are under the control of the project managers. The project managers are the ones who need those resources to fulfill their projects. In saying this, there needs to be some level of negotiation and allocation so those resources can be effectively utilized.
You get demand from different places as an organization. This requires resources to have a different kind of focus, whether that be strategic or operational. The difficulty comes in determining which focus should be given priority over the other. Bringing clarity to this issue can be a challenge to the company.
This non-operational work, such as administration, often takes priority and can siphon resources away from other projects and affect business efficiency.
Just because resources are scheduled to be working in a specific area does not mean that is what is physically happening. To be able to track where people are spending their time and what efforts are being expended towards completing projects is the foundation of resource tracking. Knowing this helps us decide if there are any adjustments we need to make within the organization’s resource structure. Being unable to master this skill can leave the company’s resources underutilized, resulting in time and money lost, and employee dissatisfaction, among other factors.
Having proper resource visibility will help an organization avoid the downfall of being unable to make informed decisions that often result in embarking on commitments that it cannot fulfill.
Manually reporting on the resources of a business can result in expending a large amount of effort and time that can be spent on other higher-value activities.
Too much information
Sometimes the resource management data is overcomplicated and involves a lot of resources and projects that are time-phased by days, weeks, and months. This can turn into a lot of unnecessary data that can overload the people viewing it. Information such as this can cause a waste of resources as it can do more harm than good when making decisions.
There a variety of necessary steps on the journey to business process improvement. Here are five steps to resource management
1. Resource capacity planning
This can be looking at something very simple. This looks at how much of a specific resource we have and how much we need to fulfill this commitment.
- Resource allocation
Here is where you could possibly break a project or initiative into specific work elements and assign them to individuals. This will allow you to have a better understanding of who is in charge of handling which work element.
- Resource work management
This would be the managing of sectors within the business that are not only involving production. This could include operationally focused sectors of the business.
- Teamwork management
This comes down to team dynamics and getting better at working in teams. Improving on this enhances the way they deliver on tasks as a group and, as a result, leads to increased efficiency.
- Personal work management
Taking all the tools gained from the reasons mentioned above and combining it will provide the business with personal work management. This will give individuals the resources they need to become a lot more effective in delivering and prioritizing the work that has been given to them.
- Resource allocation
What are the Maturity Models of Resource Management?
There are different stages in maturity that a business can experience. The first stage is called the crawl stage, which includes detailed resource allocation. This is where projects can only begin when they care properly resourced. Along with this, there is an element of resource capacity planning. There is prioritizing of projects and programs as well as defining high-level project roles and staff being organized within the business.
The next stage is called the walking stage. This is when we start moving into a more detailed resource allocation phase. In this stage, resource capacity planning is met with refining demand requirements including, detailed resource allocation. This happens by moving away from FTE’s to named resources, confirming current assignments and duration as well as the skills needed, and moving to projects from soft-book resources. The need for managing human resources is also being met as the company gains the ability to assign the right resources.
Finally, there is a run stage in the maturity model. This comes from improving those team dynamics and encouraging team cohesion, which helps establish team formation. Another element that is met during this phase is managing human resources. This is done by monitoring project performance, improving project velocity, and maintaining project quality. Additionally, personal productivity is achieved by the use of encouragement of employees to understand their own personal rhythms.
To look at what we want to gain, we need to look at the steps required to get there. To do this, we need to take a look at where we are right now and where we would like to be in the future. The specific future needs to be identified, whether that be in a few weeks, months, or years. Some other important dimensions are mentioned below
Planning capacity can be subject to the roles and resources that are available. For instance, to properly plan for a specific output amount, the amount of input needed will need to be accounted for to fit this goal.
Planning or tracking granularity
This plays a role in how we wish to sustain that data. Are we able to stay at this capacity level?
We would want to track resource rates and look at what we are taking part in to find the business’s resource expenditure. This would help us better understand the implications of these resources to see if we are getting the best results from our resource expenditure, or if the money can be put to better use.
Forecasting compared to actuals
Taking a look at the forecasting of the business can help make decisions about which projects would be best suited for the business to pursue. However, always comparing the forecasted data to the actual data will help the business see if they are accurately forecasting their results. This can help in ensuring businesses take part in projects that will have the best outcome for the business rather than just having the best-forecasted outcome.
Governance and Prioritizing
Doing this will help the business effectively use its resources. This goes hand-in-hand with resource costs. It ensures that the money invested in the resources is resulting in the biggest return. Prioritizing these resources will allow for the most profitable or beneficial projects to take preference. It gives the business the ability to know the right things on which they should be focusing their resources.
Approval and negotiation
Since we are usually in a matrixed organization, being able to have an approval or negotiation process between project organizations and functional organizations is important. This establishes a way to get resources onto a specific project.
How to Balance the Top-Down with the Bottom-Up
There should be a reconciliation of managing the top-down with the bottom-up. As we look at resource capacity planning, people tend to build detailed project plans from the top-down that they need to execute from the bottom-up. This is why there will need to be good communication channels available for this to occur.
The Use of Roles in the Demand and Portfolio Management.
We need to be able to balance the demand and the resources of the business to ensure efficiency within the company. To do this, the available input, such as resources, will need to be weighed against necessary demand. To have the company become successful in doing this, they will need to be able to commit to a demand that is achievable with the available resources. Resource allocation, as well as prioritization, play a huge role in this.
Understanding Resource Capacity
We need to have a reconciliation between the demand and the capacity of the company.
- How many people do I have that are available to work on this project?
- For how long are they available to work?
- What would their roles be
- The amount of resources needed to complete each project.
- Prioritizing these projects.
- Allocating the resources based on the roles and priorities used until these resources are exhausted.
The need for demand and capacity is great as this can help us decide what projects should be developed based on the committed available resources and what projects should be abandoned due to there not being a priority and a lack of resources.
The Next Steps of Resource Management
- Understand your business’s readiness.
- Understand your resource management maturity.
- Understand the environment in which you are working.
- Build a resource management roadmap.
- Develop a practical action plan to get to the next maturity level.
- Define your process first, and then automate in a solution.
How do Organizations Manage Resources Today
A very common tool that is used by many organizations today is Excel. Why is this? There are a number of reasons why this is a great tool. Some of the benefits of using Excel is that it is freely available, it is easy to use, and possibly because most people are unaware of alternative tools that can be used instead. However, this may result in a large number of problems. Some of these problems are
- It is a manual and static model.
- It is easy to break formulas and calculations.
- It has a lack of standards.
- There is no dynamic visibility of resource capacity.
- It is time consuming when things change.
- It is disconnected from project management information.
Here are some alternative, transformative options to Excel:
- Embedded processes. This would mean that information is not fragmented into all different spreadsheets that are not inter-connected.
- Central data-based storage.
- Actionable intelligence. This would allow the business to make good decisions on accurate information without manually trying to link all the spreadsheets together.
OnePlan: Connecting Strategy to Execution
OnePlan offers a strategic portfolio, financial, and resource management solution that fits every PMO’s needs. It can be used to embed processes, create central data-based storage, and give businesses actionable intelligence. It is easy to use and install and can be connected with Microsoft Project, Office 365 Planner, Azure DevOps, Jira, as well as other platforms to provide a complete view of all the work across the enterprise.
How OnePlan Can Help in:
Visual Resource Capacity Planning Within Projects
- Using OnePlan can be used to detail time-phased resource estimates.
- Help in planning from the idea to the execution.
- Give accurate information to the business, such as FTE, percentage, and hours.
- Give you a look at the existing commitments and demand as you are planning.
Resource Capacity Planning Organization-Wide
OnePlan will give the company the tools to:
- Achieve high-level capacity and demand with a fast and visual user experience.
- See the resources proposed and committed across all projects and work efforts.
- Easily substitute and balance resourcing with a drag-and-drop re-assignment, or simple replacement feature.
- Match individual resources to the project’s requirements by finding the team members according to their roles, skills, and available.
Leverage for Strategic Portfolio Analysis
OnePlan offers the capability to easily model each different scenario to help determine the best strategic path for the business. This allows the business to weigh project proposals against strategic business drivers and objective scoring criteria, all while considering cost and resource constraints.
It gives the business the ability to:
- See flexible cost types and categories.
- See original estimates to budgets, revised forecasts, and actuals tracking.
- Time-phased costing.
- Part of the original business case and the ongoing project execution.
Dynamic Reporting and Analysis
This gives the business the visibility to make the right decisions by gaining access to reporting and analytics. You can visually monitor your teams utilization and help with capacity planning, enabling you to monitor and improve your team’s efficiency and compliance.
The Bottom Line:
- A crucial success factor for PPM success is resource management.
- The approach and process for the business should align with the readiness and maturity of the organization. In doing this, the company should create a roadmap of where they are currently and where they would like to be. This will make it easier to put things in place to achieve the goals set out by the business.
- High-level capacity planning is always a good place to start with any business. This will help identify and plan the business’s demand and capacity. The result is that there is more efficiency within the business.
- OnePlan provides a great platform for all PPM capabilities. This is a superior alternative to using Excel, which is what most companies use instead.
- OnePlan extends solutions to provide enhanced visual planning capabilities. This can help the business determine what commitments the business can and cannot keep and which commitments should be abandoned or undertaken.
- OnePlan enhances all aspects of top-down, strategic planning, and analysis.
- OnePlan is fully embedded and integrated into the Microsoft Cloud, which gives the business central data-based storage. This grants the business actionable intelligence to make good decisions without having to manually link all the data together, as it is already done automatically.