If you’ve worked on projects for a while, you’ll know that making sure the right people are focusing on the right tasks at the right time is a perennial challenge. Managers want to know when the team will be able to take on new work, but they are tired of creating plans that don’t survive the week, due to new requests, changing priorities or any multitude of reasons that mean you’re dealing with uncertainty every day.
Resource management is the art and science of making sure people are deployed to the tasks that need their attention at any given moment. However, it’s more than simply making sure there are warm bodies in seats. In order to hit the organization’s strategic goals, those people should be working on priority tasks for priority projects. And that’s not easy to do when you’re juggling a portfolio of many projects.
Common resource management challenges
We’ve written before about the top project management resource issues faced by teams. Our research shows that eight challenges come up time and time again for project leaders:
- Concern over the team’s workload
- Understanding where bottlenecks slow work down
- Having to share resources across several projects
- Not knowing how people are spending their time
- Struggling to allocate resources to last-minute or unplanned work
- Wasting time due to poor communication
- Being able to allocate the right tasks to people with the right skills
- Overpromising and then being unable to deliver without a big push.
That’s quite a list! Having to come up with ways to address each of those challenges would be a daunting task for any project manager. Fortunately, you don’t have to deal with them separately. What if we told you there was one solution that helped resolve them all, all at the same time?
Let’s talk about planning intelligence
Planning intelligence is a new approach to project automation that adapts to change in real time. When your software tools use the power of planning intelligence, you can’t overcommit your resources. People, projects and business goals sit seamlessly side-by-side, giving you full visibility of what everyone is working on, however often the priorities change. Smart resource planning balances workloads and maximizes productivity.
Here’s how it works
Automatic resource leveling for workload insights
One of the challenges of managing a multi-project portfolio with a common pool of team members and resources is that it’s too easy to accidentally book someone to work on too many tasks at the same time. That’s the fast route to burnout: today, 58% of employees report burnout, which is up from 45% in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Adding more people won’t make the situation better – Brook’s law says it’s likely to make things worse. The answer is doing more with the people you already have, and that means using their time efficiently.
Software powered by planning intelligence gives you the ability to manage resources across projects and continuously resource-level to eliminate overload. And it works the other way too: tasks are automatically brought forward to address underload. It helps you understand where the real bottlenecks are so you can take action to minimize delays to keep projects moving forward.
Build a balanced workload and improve utilization so every initiative gets the staffing it needs to complete on time, every time. When there’s more work to do, continuous resource leveling across all projects at the same time protects your team’s mental and physical health by making sure no one has to work extra hours to finish their work by an unrealistic deadline.
Integrated time-tracking for progress in real-time
Visibility, visibility, visibility: managers want it, project teams try to provide it, and everyone ends up overwhelmed with communication that they don’t have time to read or act on. The answer isn’t to communicate more, or in a different way (who has the time to put the same data together in multiple report formats?). Instead, the answer is to make sure everyone has a clear view of priorities and a way of working together efficiently – even when those priorities are constantly changing.
Software that is powered by planning intelligence makes the progress tracking process simple. Timesheet entries automatically update estimates and schedules, and links into cost forecasting for accurate financial predictions too. But planning intelligence is more than just timesheets. Integrated time-tracking provides controls and analytics, so you can spot project performance issues early and take steps to bring the work back on track.
Planning intelligence also provides a centralized place to show in real-time not only what people are working on, but also the status of their work. Instead of relying on countless update emails, project status meetings or one-on-ones, it efficiently helps to know what is in progress, what is complete or what is at risk. As your team logs time, you’ll also be able to see how the project is truly progressing and have a living-and-breathing schedule. A streamlined work environment for everyone makes it easy to collaborate with colleagues around the business, manage progress and make the most of your time and resources.
All this adds up to an environment where people are empowered to achieve their best results. That’s not some abstract goal – a study by Gallup reports that engaged employees help drive 21% greater profitability and a 17% increase in productivity. There are tangible business benefits from fixing the resource management problems in your organization.
Manage your time, and your team’s time, efficiently. Individuals get a simple view of their current priorities while project managers and team leaders have visibility into what their colleagues are working on.
Smart resource management for uncertain times
These days companies need to be more flexible than ever. When priorities and work are constantly changing – whether that’s an addition to scope or a brand new strategic business objective to meet – your project plans need to keep up.
With software powered by planning intelligence, like LiquidPlanner, you set your priorities, add your projects and team members and let the smart resource management features do the rest. The result is that your teams come together on the right things at the right time, and no one burns out. When you rely on planning intelligence, your business – and all the ups, downs and changing priorities that happen in real life – is at the center of how work is organized.
Those challenges we mentioned at the start of this article? One common thread spun through our research: businesses using LiquidPlanner don’t have those challenges. Planning intelligence is their competitive advantage. Could it be yours too?
LiquidPlanner is a transformative project management solution that uses predictive scheduling to dynamically adapt to change and manage uncertainty. It helps teams prioritize, predict and perform with confidence. Rated the best software for complex projects by PC Magazine, smarter planning – and smarter resource management – is a click away. START A FREE TRIAL