This is How It Always Goes
It’s 3:00 pm on a Friday when your most important client calls with an urgent request that your firm must absolutely complete by morning. It won’t be easy. You spend over an hour figuring out who is available to work, since your system is disorganized and out of date, but you still can’t guarantee that everything will go smoothly. There’s just too much you cannot see.
And you can’t be expected to predict the future, right? You can’t expect to know exactly how much extra to bill the client for last-minute work, or precisely how many extra hours to request from your client to complete a project, or whether your best worker is available for the next six months.
In fact, you can easily know all of those things, and it’s easy to do. That’s where resource allocation helps you.
What Resource Allocation Does
Resource allocation is when you look at the resources, staff and time, you have, and you plan your project based on when your resources are available. It’s simple. If you know exactly what you have today, you can make reliable plans for tomorrow, or for weeks to come.
That’s why so many people use resource allocation tools to make their jobs easier. No matter the size of the firm, a lot of project managers depend on resource allocation software to quickly and easily answer questions like:
- Who is available, right now, to take on some work for a project?
- Does a project need additional staffers to meet your client’s deadline?
- Have you exceeded the budget?
- Does it look like you’ll exceed the budget before the deadline arrives?
- How many staff hours must you allocate in order to complete a project on time?
How You Benefit from Resource Allocation Software
When you relieve the stress of doing every detail of project planning, and you let the software do the resource allocation for you, then your entire firm can instead focus on hard work. No more over-complicated spreadsheets, no more educated guesses and no more doubting yourself. Know your business.
When your firm starts using resource allocation software to manage its projects, you’ll start to notice changes around the office:
- Project Managers will be more organized and better prepared to respond to unexpected changes because they’ll be able to see every detail of each project. No more scrambling to find out who’s available. No more living in the dark. No more simple mistakes.
- Consultants will be more engaged with their work when they know you can easily see who is available to work, as well as how much time and money is being spent on a project, and what each worker is contributing.
- Clients will see an indirect payoff in all the work you’re doing behind the scenes by a higher chance of deadlines being met, and the power to answer their status questions in real-time with accuracy.
When You Should Do Resource Allocation
It’s not enough to know what resource allocation is. To be successful, a project manager must also know when to use a resource allocation tool, and when to depend on a different management strategy. Here are some situations when using resource allocation software for project management makes a lot of sense:
- Communicating with Your Client: A client calls you to make major changes to an existing project. However, your client might not fully understand the consequences of making those changes. When you check in with your resource allocation software, you notice the client will exceed her budget by 50 billable hours. Working together, the two of you are able to find a more reasonable resolution that won’t exceed his/her company’s budget.
- Avoid Invoice Surprises: Your high-profile client’s project is going smooth until you notice that you’ve budgeted 300 hours for a six-month project, and after the first month, your staff has already worked 200 hours. Be proactive and inform your client of your status and ask for more hours, instead of submitting an invoice for 600 hours at the end of the project.
- Organizing Your Staff: Your star designer has an emergency two days before a huge project is due. To make it up to your client, and to bring the project to completion, you need to find out what other designers are available to take on 12 hours of work. Not only does a resource allocation tool show you who’s available at a moment’s notice, but it also lets you rearrange all of your firm’s project schedules, even if they run concurrently. That way, while you’re busy saving the day, you can be as cost-efficient as possible.
Those are all great times to depend on your resource allocation software, which helps you do the best project management you can, no matter the challenge.
If you think that a resource allocation tool could help you and your firm, please contact us to request a demo of BigTime, our top-rated project management software.
About the Author
More Content by Matthew Corey