Resource planning is the process of identifying, allocating, and managing resources to deliver specific goals or objectives with optimised efficiency, quality, and productivity for a specified budget and timeframe.
Top Tip 1 – Understand your objectives
Before you start resource planning, you should have a clear understanding of your objectives to allow you to determine the resources you need to successfully achieve those objectives.
For example, if your objective is to deliver a piece of work by a deadline that can’t be moved, then you need to ensure that the resources required to do this are available to meet that deadline and don’t have any planned absences or other planned activity that would make this unachievable.
Top Tip 2 – Capture all your resource demand
When you’re creating your resource plan make sure you capture not only the projects and programmes you’re working on, but also the business as usual (BAU) and ‘other’ work that your resources are required to deliver. This should include activities such as training, company events, people management activities, admin, and meetings.
Top Tip 3 – Set an appropriate duration for your planning
Depending on the volume of resources and the complexity of the plan you’re creating you will likely have 3 elements to your plan that will determine the frequency at which you undertake a resource planning exercise.
Long term (up to 12 months) – this is the plan that you’ll use to agree your budget for your resourcing requirements and to gain a high-level view of the volume of work that can be delivered based on that budget. This will comprise of resource types (skill sets / grades etc.) rather than named individual resources.
Medium term (3 months+) – this is your forecast which should be used to trigger the allocation of resources so that they’re available as planned, for example instigating the process to recruit for new skills or expanding the team size to deliver an increasing workload.
Near term (1-2 months) – this should be used to monitor progress in obtaining resources as per the current plan, for example escalating a request if you don’t have people in process scheduled to be available by the required dates or revising either start dates or planned tasks when you have delayed requirements.
Planning should be an ongoing exercise that’s done at a regular frequency, for example monthly and you should aim to feed back any learnings from previous months to ensure continuous improvement in this process.
Top Tip 4 – Create a demand management process
You should establish a demand management process to enable your organisation to feed new requests into your plan or to provide updates on changes to previous submitted requests. The cadence at which these requests are submitted and the requirements for updates should be aligned to your planning cycle.
For example, if your plan contains a requirement to deliver Project A in 6 months’ time, if the timescale for Project A is accelerated or delayed you need this information in order to adjust your resource plan.
Top Tip 5 – Identify the resources
Identify the resources you need to achieve your objectives, such as personnel, equipment, and third-party suppliers. Once you’ve identified the resources, consider the constraints that you need to deliver these resources within, for example cost, timeframe, location, availability, and lead times. This will determine how you source the resources to deliver your objectives, for example allocating a team member you already manage to deliver work, employing a temporary worker or subcontracting the work to a supplier.
Top Tip 6 – Allocate resources
When you’ve identified the resources, allocate them against the activities in your plan.
When you undertake the allocation consider how to plan work to optimise this, for example ensuring that you plan work so individuals are sufficiently utilised through the timeframe you are managing them and not over or under allocated activities at any point in the plan.
Consider training and knowledge transfer requirements so that you do not lose key skills from the BAU team once a project has been delivered.
Create a contingency plan that allows for adjustments in the allocation of resources if required.
Ensure that key activities are prioritised so that the critical path for these isn’t impacted by resource constraints.
Top Tip 7 – Monitor and track progress
Establish a process that ensures you regularly monitor and track progress to deliver effective utilisation of resources. This process should include a way to identify any issues or potential risks and allow you to make appropriate adjustments.
Include approval states so that everyone can see the status of all requests and highlight where any activity isn’t being delivered as planned, for example assigning a RAG status.
Create reports from your plan that provide you and your stakeholders with key information to enable you to take action in a timely manner and to continuously improve resource delivery.
Top Tip 8 – Communicate
Communication is key to effective resource planning. Ensure that all stakeholders are aware of the demand management process and have suitable access to the resource plan and any changes made to it. Consider how technology can assist you in keeping stakeholders informed, and also how to automate elements of the process to minimise the administration requirements. Keeping everyone informed will help to ensure that work being delivered by your resources is optimised for success.
If you’d like more information on resource planning and how it can benefit your project team, please fill out the form below to request a call back.