What is resource planning?
In Resource Planning, tasks are assigned to members of a team. This is based on the capacities and skills for the specific task. The goal is to maximize efficiency. With resource planning, teams could better plan the management of resource usage and capacities and thus not exceed the budget. With resource planning, the team always knows when to work on what. Time can thus be managed efficiently so that no one is overloaded. After all, the most important resource for any company is its employees. In addition, the strategic management of resources allows the company to continue to grow, as costs can be saved.
Contents of a resource plan
To create a resource plan, you can ask yourself the following questions:
- What are the tasks for the project team?
- What are the procurement needs?
- Which contracts are needed?
- Which contractors and vendors are needed?
- What is the budget?
- How will performance be measured?
- What is the strategy?
Why is it important?
Resource planning and management is an important part of project management. No matter if it is a large or small company, this is an important part of every company. After all, managing projects also means managing resources. If resources are not properly planned, either time may be wasted, important milestones may be missed, or expectations may not be met due to incorrect resources. Project managers need to know which resources are available in the first place and when which resources are needed.
There are several approaches to resource planning:
- Enterprise Resource Planning: this approach refers to the combination of business processes and information that link different functions of companies with the services or product developments.
- Material Requirements Planning: This refers to a control system for production, inventory, and scheduling. The production plan is broken down in detail into real estate and manufacturing
- Utility Resource Planning: This estimates the demand that must be met with utility resources
- Natural resource planning: this refers to the management of natural resources, such as water, land, soil, or plants
Resource planning for teams
We have clarified what resource planning is in theory: the allocation of tasks to human and non-human resources.
But how does it work in practice?
Resource planning helps the team to
- be more efficient
- deliver better quality
- increase employee satisfaction
- improve the relationship with customers
To achieve this, every part of the project must be customizable and trackable. This includes costs such as workdays, hourly rates, job roles, skills, or availability. These can be planned with the right tools.
Resource planning techniques
Important for resource planning are not only the tools but also the methods and techniques. These techniques exist:
- Often used are Gantt charts. Because transparency is the key to success, many project managers work with these charts. The bar charts provide a quick way to see how resources and tasks interact.
- Kanban boards are another popular method. Sometimes a mix of Gantt chart and Kanban is also a good way to provide more information to the resource manager.
- To measure exactly how long a project will take and what resources will be needed, you can use bottom-up estimation. This involves looking at the project down to the smallest detail
- Two related techniques are resource leveling and smoothing. Resource leveling adjusts start and finish dates, and resource smoothing adjusts tasks.
Steps in resource planning
This first phase is about deciding how to approach the project. The resources needed are also clarified and requested here.
The individual tasks should also be listed alongside the resources. Here, the time that the tasks will take must be considered and priorities set. Maybe some tasks need to be done before? This must be considered in this phase.
Hold a meeting
This is a necessary part because, to plan optimally, everyone from the team needs to know about all the relevant information. With this meeting, you can ensure that everyone is pulling in the same direction and that everyone has the same goals.
At this point, resources are then also allocated to the respective teams. After all, if multiple teams overlap, a compromise will occasionally need to be made.
Set budget and track time
Time and budget are closely related project management. Tools can be used to plan the most important project data, as well as the budget and the recorded hours. To set a budget, data from previous projects can be analyzed to better estimate how much budget is needed.
Plan for the future
It is important for project teams to plan ahead. Project teams need to plan. To estimate what tasks will need to be done in the future or which ones need to be done immediately, it is a good idea to plan into the future. You should then inform your team about this as well.
Update Resource Plan
It is important to constantly update the resource plan. Because often things don’t go as planned and some changes need to be responded to. These could be obstacles such as slow approvals, unexpected departures of team members, or unforeseen change requests.
Once the project has been completed, it helps to analyze the project again and generate knowledge on how to use the resources even better next time. This is where the resources you used are compared to those that were planned. It then becomes clear whether more or fewer hours were needed or whether external employees were needed for certain tasks.
3 best resource planning tools
The goal of Ganttic is effective resource and time planning. It is suitable for managing teams and the equipment. With Ganttic you can easily identify problems with capacities. And it is also suitable for all industries. Therefore, you can use it to facilitate planning and scheduling in everyday life.
It is worth mentioning that this tool allows to changeing the planning perspective. You can decide for yourself whether to focus on resources or use the project perspective.
Functions of Ganttic:
- Seeing who is currently busy with which task and whether there have been important changes
- Monitoring of resources that have been scheduled
- Creation of individual views on resources, tasks, or projects, making projects more manageable
- Drag and drop function, for easy moving of tasks
- Monitor workload
- Possibility for integrations with Google Calendar, Outlook Calendar, or many others
Price: the software is free for the first 10 resources, up to 20 resources, the cost is 25$ per month.
2. team deck
This tool allows to plan and measure the work of the team. This includes resource scheduling, time tracking, vacation scheduling, and creating reports on the initial phase to review.
- View team performance
- Compare planned and actual times
- Find the right person for the right task quickly and easily and check availability
- Virtual teams can collaborate optimally
- you can share eeports on team workload, budget, payroll, and attendance with others
Price: from $3.99 per user and an additional $1 per resource. There is also a free trial version.
3. toggl plan
This is a simple tool for planning and managing schedules. It is ideal for small teams.
Features of Toggl Plan:
- Visualization of team schedules and a possibility to add team members from the company or guest users.
- Changes to the schedule are automatically reflected in other places
- Division of work in the timeline
- Possibility to integrate tools like Google Calendar or Slack
Price: Team Plan costs $9 per user per month. The Business Plan is $15 per user/month. You can test the tool for free for 14 days.
- Gantt Charts
- Workload Management
- Alerts and Real-Time Data
- Portfolio Management
A tool is a lot more practical than using spreadsheets. It gives the team a central place to schedule time and budgets and make various tweaks. It also allows you to identify resources and find the right person for the right task. So, it offers many advantages to make project planning as easy as possible.