6 Resource Allocation Tips for Project Managers
What’s challenging about managing a project? Almost everything! You need to oversee a lot of moving parts. You have to lead a project team that is in charge of deliverables. And, most of all, you need to be an expert in resource allocation.
What can you do to maximize your resource allocation plan on a project? There are a lot of tips that can make things easier. Of course, you start by advocating for all the resources you can get. Then, it’s time to make the best of what you have.
Here are six tips that can help.
Here’s What We’ll Cover:
1. Understand Your Resources
Sometimes project managers make assumptions about their resources. This always leads to problems. You never want to be in the thick of a deliverable and realize that a person or financial allotment isn’t actually available.
Instead, take the time to list and double-check your resource availability in the beginning. How many people do you have? What’s the budget? Do you have conference rooms available for meetings? Are your people on other projects at the same time?
Never make assumptions, always check! Then move forward with the allocation of resources.
2. Know the Scope of the Project
Once you have verified your resources, it’s time to nail down the scope of your project. Hopefully your project is well-defined and stakeholders have been clear about their needs. If not, make sure you ask a lot of questions — and don’t be afraid to say no.
For instance, if the project deadline is “six to eight weeks”, does that mean six, seven, or eight? It’s better to define it as eight weeks specifically so that stakeholders aren’t upset after week six if everything isn’t complete.
If the resource requirements don’t make sense, let the decision makers know right away. This way they can make changes to the project or resource allocation plan. Also, watch out for scope creep!
3. Note Potential Bottlenecks
As you create your project plan, make a note of where resource bottlenecks might occur. These are called resource dependencies. Perhaps a specific senior manager has to release funding for the next stage of the project. If that individual is sick, on vacation, or otherwise unavailable, you could lose several days of project time.
As you notice these potential roadblocks, make a plan for how to get around them. Ask in advance who else can release the funds if the manager isn’t available. Set up backups in case team members get sick or have time off during their deliverables.
Noting bottlenecks and setting up workarounds in advance will save you a lot of headaches later. It’s key for effective resource allocation.
4. Check Estimates Against Progress
When you create your project plan, your initial resource allocation is based on estimates of progress. As you go, make sure this timeline is accurate.
If it’s not, you may need to reallocate more resources to a specific deliverable. Or, you might need to have project team members reprioritize their work. The only way to know is to consistently stay aware of where the project stands.
5. Use Tools That Keep Everyone on the Same Page
Project management software doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive, but they are an important part of keeping your project on track. Everyone should have access to the timeline and the tasks they are assigned.
However, team members also need to know how others are doing. Not only does this help everyone see progress, but it also helps hold everyone accountable.
There are both free and paid collaboration tools available, so do some digging and find what works best for your team. You may also want to use resource management software.
6. Respond to Over-Allocation Right Away
If you discover that a resource is overworked, it’s important to take action immediately. You might find out that a team member can’t keep up with their tasks in the current week. Or that a piece of equipment will be used by another group as well as yours.
As a project manager, you have a lot of options. Perhaps there are more resources available, you can remove or shift someone’s workload, or you can find alternative equipment. If you do need to expand the timeline, perhaps other deliverables can be shifted.
You never want to ignore a problem. It definitely won’t go away. Instead, take action and reallocate resources as needed.
Hopefully, these resource allocation tips will help you as you tackle your next project. It’s never easy to do a lot with few resources, but project managers are incredibly resourceful. You wouldn’t be in your position if you weren’t able to do a great job!
Our goal is to see businesses succeed. We know it takes a lot of planning, and that’s why our guides are available. For more tips and tricks, take a look at our other resources today!