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Resource Planning for Projects

resource planning for projects
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Resource Planning for Projects

Purchasing new software for your business is an exciting and challenging endeavour. The technological development and automation possibilities promise to streamline operations, increase revenue and take companies to new heights.  

Unfortunately, without careful research and planning, the full potential of the new software is likely never to be realised. Many projects experience timeline blowout, resource constraints and fail to meet expectations.  

Where does it all go wrong? 

Many businesses fail to evaluate and carefully plan how they will use their most significant asset, their team. This article provides a comprehensive guide to resource planning to ensure your projects are a success.  

What is resource planning for projects?  

In general, successful end-to-end project delivery requires careful planning across three resource types; people, capital, and materials/supplies. Resource planning is the process of reviewing what is needed from each of these essential components; 

  • People: Who are the work resources who will form part of the project delivery team? 
  • Capital: What is the cost of implementation with the vendor, are there subscription fees or pay per licence fees, and the cost of resource allocation to the project? 
  • Material/Supplies: Do computers need software upgrades, additional plugins and licences to support the software and project delivery? 

Overlooking and incorrect planning across the three components can result in reduced engagement, budget and timeframe blowouts that ultimately lead to the project’s failure.  

What are the benefits of resource planning for projects? 

Sometimes the time and effort required to meticulously plan a project implementation and delivery can seem daunting. It’s a giant boulder blocking you from the end goal and often motivates team leaders to cut corners.  

Although these minor cuts can be tempting, most projects fail due to inadequate planning and clear expectations.  

Knowing who will be allocated to work on what, how long each milestone will take and how each element fits into the overall project pipeline has numerous benefits. A good project plan ensures that: 

  1. Teams are working effectively and efficiently to maximise productivity.  
  2. Teams are not unhappy, burned out and leave the business.   
  3. Teams can use the opportunity to develop skills and share knowledge, creating growth in the business.   

How to manage project resources effectively. 

Effective management of resources requires identification and planning of both tasks, skills, and assignments.  

To get the most out of your team, clearly distinguish each team member’s role in getting the system up and running.  

Depending on the size of the project, the number of staff in each category can vary; however, the responsibility of the roles remain the same. 

In a broad sense, across a project lifecycle, there will be:  

  • Technical staff that assist in ensuring the software infrastructure is set up and running correctly. This can include creating access levels across users, security, and running the system checks. 
  • Administration staff will provide the relevant reference data that forms part of the software, such as existing/legacy jobs, vendors, customer details, and account codes. 
  • Management staff will plan and coordinate the implementation and deployment across the various users.  
  • Operational staff will learn how to use the new software.  

Utilising the types of resources listed above, you can create a resource plan that details which skilled team members will carry out specified tasks.  

In these initial planning stages, use an agile project management tool to enable visibility across resources, tasks, time allocations and dependencies. For projects to be successful, managers need to monitor the performance of their resources against the key performance indicators (KPIs).  

Tracking resources is made simpler with the support of an agile project management tool. Managers can see day-to-day progress against key milestones and determine if the daily activities impact the project’s performance.  

How to anticipate risks and manage the unexpected. 

Being prepared for the unexpected will ensure you have a mitigation plan for possible project hiccups.  

Trying to plan for all eventualities can seem impossible; however, there are common risks that hinder the completion of the project. These risks include:  

  1. Staff leave: Worklife balance promotes healthy workforces; many project managers forget the basics when working through intricate project plans. Regularly checking in with project team members regarding planned leave and ensuring vital activities such as training can prevent project timeline blowout.  
  2. Permanent departure: Identifying your critical stakeholders and potential skill gaps are essential to safeguard your project from failure. Knowing who can resume this position and has access to the relevant project knowledge base can bridge the capacity gap allowing the project to continue.  
  3. Prevent scope creep: Not allowing sufficient time to scope out and clearly define the output of your project commonly derails projects. A lack of formality, vague requirements, and minimal change controls not only increases the size, accountabilities and duration, but team members can lose engagement in the project as there is no clear end goal.  

When planning to implement a new system, you’ve got to take time at the very start and consider all these things. To quote one of my favourite movies, Mystery Men, ‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail’. 

So, what’s next? 

Schedule a call with the team at Thrive. Our team takes the time to understand your business and pain points and make a plan to ensure the implementation is successful.  

We’ve worked with hundreds of businesses and know how to deliver a project plan to maximise your resources and business goals.  

Thrive Technologies.
We Listen.
We Understand.
We Find Solutions.