The benefits of resource tracking with Smart Resource Management

The project management space is teeming with information concerning the best practices to manage people, costs, data, time and communication.

While project and resource managers share the goal of making the most out of the best resources available, they know it’s easier said than done. Time is money and making every second of the project clock count is what resource tracking does best.

It all comes down to one plain, simple truth: projects hit a snag when the right resources aren’t utilized in the right areas. Worse, you can’t commit to new work without knowing the right competencies and experience are available for the timeframe in question. As a measure best perfected with practice, tracking your resources on intray projects lets you predict schedule fluctuations for projects queued up. Once you know which resources can be deployed without the risk of over or under-working them, you’ll align your staff’s know-how optimally against the project’s promised benefits and organizational value. So,

What does resource tracking usually entail?

A feature unique to tools falling under the resource management bracket, resource tracking lets you see how your resource deployments worked out on previous as well as inflight projects. Given that constrained projects are either mutually exclusive or closely interlinked, resource tracking lets you spread your technical and human resources such that no single resource is under or over utilized.

Scope changes introduced after the project commences calls for managers to reassess where these changes apply feasibly and which skills set need to be requested. Once this is determined, work packages would have to be reset in accordance with adding more members to the team, removing and/or redistributing existing team members onto other project activities. Resource tracking checks for the availability of these competencies beforehand in order to prevent mismanaging labor costs allocated under the project fund. It highlights staff who have recently reskilled and obtained relevant certifications in order to let project managers make a judgment call on requisitioning them. From preventing guesstimates to ensuring punctuality and productivity, these are the 5 data-driven benefits you get

Benefit #1: Visually depicts resource schedules

Given that your staff won’t spend all working hours stapled to their desks, resource tracking creates project schedules that take non-BAU activities into consideration as well. That being said, it is the one feature within a project management software that ensures your project team aren’t investing more time and effort into administrative rather than core work. It does this by letting you visually size up and edit existing schedules against information recorded on timesheets and biometric systems.

A contingent workforce comprises of temporary and permanent staff whose availability differs by their working hours. Resource tracking profiles your resources by their contract type, utilization rates, available and estimated hours such that the right resources are onboard for the period in question. Resource tracking also keeps tabs on absences, leaves entered and the duration of ongoing and future upskilling programs in order to avoid over and/or double booking your staff. 

Benefit #2: Gives you more accurate project effort estimates

As Peter Drucker put it,” if you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it”. Resource tracking  provides data concerning project schedules that have/ or are being extended in line with work getting completed past the deadline. Anticipating a potential roadblock lets you assess which resources need to be released to speed things up.

Alternately, it shows you vacant blocks between projects owing to work finishing on time or ahead of schedule in order to finalize future resource deployments. Given how different resourcing contracts work different hours, productivity doesn’t take a hit if a part of your workforce opts to work remotely. This way, not only are tasks spaced evenly within individually programmed schedules but the project’s billing worth is also maximized against actual effort hours and availability combined.

Benefit #3: Creates project non-negotiables

Tasks within a project are sequenced according to priority and the level of complexity involved. Since frequent scope changes risks new priorities taking precedence overnight, it makes sense to draw a list of non-negotiables such that  the project value continues to align strategically with enterprise-wide business goals.  The focus would then remain on starting time-consuming tasks as well as on completing mission-critical tasks first.

Resource tracking produces accurate effort estimates based on the time and skills spent on previous tasks, which lets you assess which competencies are best suited to close both ongoing and future tasks quickly. It re-estimates inactive tasks and mobilizes the right people for it such that your teams work under realistic timelines. With accurate estimates, your chances of timely project delivery increase, too.

Benefit #4: Better project planning

Skilled labor drives projects forward, particularly when they’re harnessed in time and in the right places. While expense reports, cost and scope estimates let you gauge the promised value and feasibility of a potential project, resource tracking lets you see if you’re committing to the right projects or conversely, investing more time, money and people into the wrong ones. It does this by identifying existing and missing competencies in order to forecast the type and quantity of resources needed to fulfill estimated tasks. It draws from the resource capacity to bridge the skills gap in line in the project pipeline. 

Given that costs, resources, time and scope vary per project, resource tracking measures the exact quantity of these needed for each task in order to let you plan for projects that run for months or even years, at a stretch, with minimal disruptions.

Benefit #5: Mobilizes benched potential

It’s established that resource tracking has its advantages in maintaining optimal schedules for the entirety of the project. Where it really applies, however, is in minimizing the resourcing blindspot of bench-time clunks between the previous and next project. Resource tracking bridges the gap between these vacancies and benched potential by assessing open slots on future dates where their skills best fit, resulting in promising projects being assuredly staffed.

Resource tracking lets you gauge individual team members in terms of their contributions, growth and performance on previous endeavors, which lets you decide how best to mobilize them. Your clients benefit too, from not only knowing that their projects are in good hands but also from timely communication concerning the delivery of proposed project outcomes.

Did these benefits convince you to take a shot at smart resource tracking?Leave us a note detailing how they exposed your firm to all those promised benefits, and more! 

Author Bio: 
Aakash Gupta is Saviom’s resident business expert on smart resource management. He has several publications on the best  workforce planning and project management practices, to his credit. Follow him, here.