Without much mapping of resources on the ship, it would pretty soon run out of supplies for the rest of the voyage. The captain would then have to make a quick pit stop at the nearest port to restock. Likewise, every resource available for a project must be planned, rationed, and tracked for optimum utilization.
Historically, project managers have always swooned towards spreadsheets to provide them with a better view of their resource utilization. However, the time has come to face the hard truth: these finicky, color-coded sheets tend to turn into your worst nightmare. To top it, they are time-consuming, high maintenance, and almost impossible to comprehend, as they lack accurate insight into the availability of resources or how long it takes to complete tasks. In such instances, a resource tracking tool such as a timesheet would come in handy to accurately assess your team's time, responsibilities, and workload.
Key resources are everything that it takes to put together your product or service. Even so, fundamentally, good project management is all about working out the most efficient way to utilize your time, resources, and tasks.
Overlooking the importance of balancing resources lands you in a soup. Without proper resource management, all you have is a fuzzy idea about what resources are available, and you end up in a vicious cycle of resource rigidity, unable to discern where and how processes can be optimized. Poor resource management often results in understaffed or overstaffed projects with no direction, eventually making deals fall through.
The inability to properly allocate, plan, and track resources is often triggered by the lack of tools. Project managers missing the necessary overview of resources can create a negative domino effect for all processes in the company, let alone their projects.
So, what is it that you need to keep workloads under control and prevent over-allocation of resources?
Resource forecasting is much like a crystal ball. It can save you a lot of stress by estimating the project workload, the resources you may need, and the best way to use them. Forecasting before a project kicks off is a way to ensure that you are prepared to step into your project appropriately staffed and are ready to respond when you hit an unexpected block. Essential parameters like resource demand, capacity, skill gaps, and utilization scales are all directly impacted by resource availability. And when project managers have insights into who is available for work, they can plan precisely and reduce resource overload.
Deployment of appropriate, qualified resources will help you maintain the quality of the project. Resource planning is the process that ensures the availability of the right resources at the right time. Without a resource plan in place, projects get delayed, or worse, fail. An upfront resource plan organizes, identifies, and lists the resources required to complete a task efficiently. While planning helps avoid conflicts with teams, it is visibility that is key. It is paramount that the techniques and methodologies used by resource managers enable in-depth visibility into all resources, tasks, and projects.
Next up is the process of assigning and scheduling available resources most effectively and economically, or rather, resource allocation. It is the careful management and delegation of resources throughout a project. The task lies with managers to ensure that each project wheel is well-oiled to run smoothly without any hiccups. Beginning with identifying the scope of your project and dividing it into smaller deliverables, managers compare all that is available to what skillset is required. This stage ends with the allocation of the best resources to maintain quality performance.
Resource tracking helps understand how much time teams spend in carrying out the tasks allocated. Resource tracking tools can help businesses save hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
When you are not tracking your time, responsibilities, and workload, it makes resource allocation impossible. Not only will tracking keep the project going, but it will also aid in gaining clear visibility into progress.
Optimization is achieving desired results within a set timeframe and budget with the minimum usage of the resources. The need to optimize is particularly evident when demands tend to saturate or exceed the resources currently available. Resource optimization is the set of processes and methods involved in matching the available resources (of human, machinery, financial, and others) with the needs to achieve established goals. The situation becomes more complex when multiple projects have to be managed by different people. The finest way to handle such multi-projects will be to have a shared pool of resources with a certain degree of interchangeability and a common means for communication. In this way, even while rescheduling or doing a partial reallocation of the tasks, you will be able to unlock the maximum potential of all resources available.
And how better to handle resource management than with simple and understandable resource tracking?
Resource trackers monitor how well team members are utilizing available resources over the course of a project. A majorly brushed aside phase of resource management, resource tracking involves monitoring the work that individual resources complete over the course of a project. And with a tool such as a resource tracker, you get to view the total workload for each project personnel resource assigned, thus verifying that all work is evenly distributed and the balance is just right. Simply put, a resource tracker helps you keep track of all the resources being used within a project. With umpteen resources going into each phase of the project, it becomes all the more essential to keep them within eyes' range.
Whether you are looking for a specific use case scenario, as in a product team or a software house, the benefits of resource tracking are numerous.
And the list goes on.
In short, well-rounded resource tracking is second to none when it comes to improving the processes and productivity in the company. Accompanied by an exceptionally perfect fit of tools, it can make a world of difference to the efficiency of project operations from the standpoint of resource and workload management.
So, how do you go about making the perfect resource tracker?
Well, there are no rights and wrongs. There is only what suits you best. And finding your best fit allows you to get your perfect version of the resource tracker. To help keep your wits about you even when managing a huge resource pool, we have a Resource Tracker template with us. The template is simple, understandable, and easy to customize. It caters to your need for Project Resource Planning, Individual Resource Tracking, and Team Availability Tracking.