Resource Allocation System (RAS)
A Resource Allocation System (RAS) is any set of rules that allows fair allocations to be made to people who need extra support.
Author: Simon Duffy
A Resource Allocation System (RAS) is any set of rules that allows fair allocations to be made to people who need extra support. The development of Individual Budgets depended upon the use of a RAS that enabled such an allocation to be made before the person had to decide how to spend their allocation.
The idea of a Resource Allocation System (RAS) is essentially simply, although it has been subject to a great deal of variation in implementation. A RAS works by connecting a particular level of need with a particular level of money. The idea that rules can be used to make fair allocations of resources is not new. It is how the tax and benefit systems work, it is how the courts define entitlements according to principles of natural justice and many international systems use formal rules to distribute funding to people who need support. The development of a Resource Allocation System (RAS) in the UK was only innovative because this approach had never been used to set social care entitlements nor to make these entitlements explicit, that is, to underpin Individual Budgets.
The idea of an Individual Budget was first developed and tested in Scotland by Simon Duffy in 1996. However it was the In Control programme that first persuaded local authorities to try using a formal Resource Allocation System for all social care budgets. The early success of this approach led to increasing levels of support from disabled people, local government and finally from central government. The initial model, developed by Simon Duffy was then amended by John Waters, proposed the application of a points based system for calculating need. This enabled a whole range of further approaches which have enabled progressively more sophisticated and elaborate accounts of need and how such needs are related to funding.
However this system is meant to be framed by professional judgement and an overview of the effectiveness of the budget. An allocation that won't enable people to meet their needs is inadequate - whether or not the RAS specifies that it 'should' be adequate. There has been a worrying tendency for the RAS to supplant professional judgement and to undermine legal entitlements.
A RAS not only allocates limited funds but also enables the community to define what is reasonable and to change the level of funding available if needs are or are not being met. However the more inhuman, complex or opaque the RAS the more difficult it becomes for people to trust the outputs of the system.
It has been noted by Luke Clements that the development of the RAS has been within a legal and policy vacuum. And of course identifying the right level of money for a need depends upon the principles that you use to make the allocation. In other words it depends upon what we mean by ‘right’.
Simon Duffy has proposed that the central principle should be one of sufficiency:
People should be entitled to enough help to ensure that they can be full citizens.
However there is no clear entitlement to such support in English law on this or any other basis. In addition there are some other important principles that will need to be established if the current systems are to be made fair.
We can further note that our account of what enough means then depends on being able to identify a need. On this account need involves an account of what is involved in citizenship and the degree to which people will need help to achieve those outcomes. However others accounts of need may focus on ideas like well-being, reasonable levels of risk, independence or whatever. However, although this debate is important if we want to try and set constitutional rules for social systems, it may be less important if we simply want to see more competent and empowering social systems. In which case we simply want any reasonable account that can obtain a degree of sustainable public support.
People should be entitled to support if that support is necessary to help them avoid a higher level of need in the future. This suggests that it is a mistake to base entitlements upon their ‘urgency’ or ‘critical’ status. This is to build inflationary incompetence into the system - delaying entitlements until they are unnecessarily high, damaging and costly. In England the current system of Fair Access to Care Services seems perversely unfair and incompetent in exactly this way.
One of the obvious advantages of any explicit rules is that it can enable improved equity - treating the same need in the same way. But this also raises some complex questions. In particular it is important that people have the same understanding of need . In the UK one of the most peculiar features of the welfare state is that for many important needs we assume that needs should be defined without reference to our income or other important factors, like how supportive our family is. However, for some services - especially support for disabled people - we do carry out extreme means-testing and we radically reduce support available to people with family support. This is targeted taxation.
In adult social care for example the current system has two forms of additional targeted taxation:
- Tax on income - people who have even quite modest incomes, pensions or savings find that they face charges (taxes) in order to receive services or lose all entitlement. In other words someone who has spend their whole life contributing to the welfare state can find they are entitled to nothing just when they really need help.
- Tax on family - people also find that they are quietly taxed on the level of family support they receive. People who have strong families who stick together through thick and thin find that this counts against them so that even someone with very high support needs - if they have a loving family - can be entitled to nothing (because they are not in crisis).
It is interesting to note that this whole approach is contrary to the principles of natural justice as they have been realised in the English legal system for years. If you acquire a disability and can make a claim then the court recognises that what is fair is determined by the cost of the impact of the disability - there is no reduction for people with higher incomes or stronger families. Although we expect universal services where they directly benefit middle-earners and swing voters we do not expect a universal approach for small minority groups - even if their needs are greater and the demands of social justice more stringent.
The publisher is the Centre for Welfare Reform.
Resource Allocation System (RAS) © Simon Duffy 2012.
All Rights Reserved. No part of this paper may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher except for the quotation of brief passages in reviews.
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What Is Resource Allocation? How to Allocate Resources for Projects
Projects require many resources. Everything from the people you’re working with and the equipment they’re using, to the materials and other supplies you need to even the site where you’re working falls under the umbrella of project resource allocation. Let’s explore what resource allocation is, why it’s so important for project management and what tools you can use to better allocate your project resources.
What Is Resource Allocation In Project Management?
Resource allocation is the process of scheduling resources such as labor, materials or equipment for the completion of project tasks. Resource allocation is a step of project resource management that involves estimating resources, procuring resources, allocating resources and tracking resources until the project is completed.
Why Is Resource Allocation Important?
As difficult as it might be to allocate resources correctly over the life cycle of a project, it’s an essential part of any thorough project management plan and should be done in the planning stage of a project. This keeps costs down, maximizes productivity and helps with team morale. It also facilitates client satisfaction by achieving the best outcome and successfully delivering the project.
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Resource Plan Template
Use this free Resource Plan Template for Excel to manage your projects better.
Resource Allocation Process: How to Allocate Project Resources
Resource allocation is a plan that you develop with the aim of making the most of the available resources at your disposal in a project, which makes it a critical resource planning activity. This is mostly a short-term plan set in place to achieve goals in the future.
This sounds challenging, but don’t worry, we’re here to help. The following are some general tips to help you with your resource allocation when managing a project.
1. Define Your Project Scope
Before you can allocate your resources or manage them, you have to determine the scope of the project you’re working on. To do so, you need to break down the project into every individual task and deliverable that will be completed. Once you’ve done so, you can make the right decision on what resources you’ll need and how many of them are necessary to complete the project.
The clearer the project scope is, the better you’ll be able to figure out how to allocate your resources. Take the time to get the full picture of the project using a work breakdown structure or other project planning tools to visualize all your project tasks before estimating your resources.
2. Estimate What Project Resources Will Be Needed
Once you have defined your project scope, you can move to the resource planning phase which is when you’ll have to estimate what resources will be needed including people, equipment, materials and anything else you’re going to need to complete your project tasks. Your organization will have some of these resources already, while others will need to be purchased or rented.
Before you can allocate resources, you have to have them. So, make a list using the criteria above and then make sure it fits within the project budget .
Once you’ve acquired your project resources you should use project management software to plan how they’ll be allocated. That way you can coordinate them with your project schedule and distribute them across your team. In ProjectManager for instance, you can manage your project schedule, your team and your non-human resources in one place. Build your schedule on a Gantt and track your resource distribution, progress and labor costs in one software. Try it free today!
3. Assess Your Current Resource Utilization & Resource Availability
Now that you’ve determined what resources are required for your project, you should also identify which of those resources are available within your organization. However, some existing resources might be being used for other projects, so it’s important that you not only identify which resources your organization has but also which of those are being utilized.
4. Create a Resource Allocation Plan
Take the information that you’ve gained from the above steps to put together a resource allocation plan. Outline the list of resources you’ll need for your project as well as the cost and quantity of each. When you’re finished, circle back to your project scope to make sure your plan aligns with it.
5. Keep Track of Your Project Resources
It’s a problem when you’re so focused on the process that you neglect to lift your head up from the resource allocation plan to note what’s actually happening. This isn’t merely tracking your estimates against actual progress in the project, though that’s important, too.
You should always be aware of the state of your resources. For example, what’s the schedule for your team, are any taking vacation time, are they sick, etc.? Also, what’s the duration of the lease for the site or equipment? These are important questions to ask when scheduling resources.
Don’t let any of these details get past you because of tunnel vision. Look at the whole project, not just the various pieces.
6. Use Resource Allocation Reports
You can reallocate if you don’t know where your resources are allocated. You might have planned them out well, but change happens in projects. How can you tell what’s happening on the ground compared to your plans? Project reports .
You can generate all sorts of reports to give you a full picture of the project and how it’s progressing, which helps you balance your resources. For example, resource reports give you an overview of your team’s workload and whether they’re over-tasked or idle.
Task reports keep you updated and variance reports help you determine whether the project is proceeding as planned. The latter gives you vital information, such as if you’re behind schedule and need to redistribute the work to get back on track.
Resource Planning Template
Now you’re ready to build a resource plan to help you manage your resource allocation. Our free resource planning template for Excel lists all the resources you’ll need for the project, how much each will cost and a monthly, weekly or daily chart of when you’ll need them.
Resource Allocation Methods
The specific resource allocation method that your organization implements depends on your industry and the nature of how resources are managed. For example, manufacturing companies might focus on raw materials and equipment while a professional services company might focus on team utilization and financial resources.
Regardless, it’s important to balance resource allocation with involved stakeholders . This could include teams, departments, customers, shareholders and other stakeholders. We’ve outlined some commonly utilized resource allocation methods for you to consider.
- Critical Path Method: In project management, the longest chain of dependent tasks is referred to as the critical path . By outlining a straightforward priority for task completion before the project starts, the CPM helps use resources as efficiently as possible. However, one criticism is that this method doesn’t allow for multitasking.
- Resource Leveling: To implement resource leveling , start by looking at the capacity of your team to determine how much work they can handle. Compare this with demand. If resources aren’t aligned with demand, reschedule tasks accordingly.
- Resource Smoothing: Resource smoothing aims to reduce demand while executing the project within the ideal timeframe. During this method, the project manager makes adjustments to resource scheduling and allocation. For example, if you’re under a time crunch, you might bring on a more seasoned person who can complete the work faster.
Resource Allocation Tools
Now that we’ve explained some popular resource allocation methods, let’s examine some of the tools that project managers can use along the way.
- Gantt Charts: Gantt charts provide an easy way to map the required project tasks and note dependencies. You’ll be able to see and allocate your resources across a project timeline, so you know exactly when you’ll need each resource. Once you’ve identified your tasks, you can assign them on the Gantt chart and see how long each team member has spent working on each task.
- Resource Allocation Matrix: A resource allocation matrix is an overview of the needed project resources. It helps to identify any potential bottlenecks or imbalances ahead of time. Typically, the matrix includes the names and roles of each team member, their availability, and their skills and tasks on the project. It acts as a visual representation of your resources mapped against project tasks and activities.
- Resource Breakdown Structure: This resource allocation tool is a hierarchical chart of the resources needed to execute your project and it includes everything from the people needed for the project to what you’ll be spending your money on. An RBS can include materials, equipment, people, project management tools and more.
- Workload Charts: These charts visually represent your resource allocation for your project team, department or entire company. You can see how many hours each person has been assigned and make adjustments to ensure your team is working at capacity. Use it to quickly determine how your human resource management is aligning with your planned resource allocation.
Resource Allocation Example
Let’s say you’re a manager for an IT organization and you’re tasked with hiring an architect for an upcoming project. You know the importance of an architect position to the overall success of the project but you know that they’re usually an expensive hire.
You’ll need to consider if it makes more sense to hire an architect for a specific project or if you want to assign him or her to multiple projects . You can utilize resource allocation tools to determine what makes the most financial sense for your organization.
Resource Allocation Tips
Even though there may be blind spots when managing resources, there are some tips to keep in mind to help you allocate resources as effectively as possible.
1. Know Your Resource Dependencies
By planning beforehand, you can avoid bottlenecks that trap your resources when you need them most in the course of the project execution . Planning also helps you keep your resources from falling short. This doesn’t mean you won’t have a bottleneck or resource shortage, but it’s less likely if you know your resource dependencies.
Part of planning for dependencies is having a contingency plan in place in case team members are blocked or you run low on needed resources. Keep your plans from being over-dependent on one resource to avoid trouble down the line.
2. Track Time
You always want to keep a close eye on the time, how your team is working and if they’re being efficient. It’s your job to make sure that a task that can be completed in a day doesn’t take a week. There are ways to improve time tracking .
To do this, you must keep track of your team’s workload. That requires the right tools to give you real-time data collected on one page where you can both see and schedule ahead when needed.
3. Use Resource Allocation Tools
Project management software, like ProjectManager , is a great asset for managing your resources more productively. With an online tool, you get project data instantly updated.
You can see where your resources are allocated across a calendar that’s color-coded to note whether they’re on- or off-task, on vacation or sick. Rescheduling to help a team member who is overtasked is a simple click of the keyboard.
Free Resource Allocation Templates
Resources allocation requires accurate and timely data to avoid bottlenecks that can slow down your project. Project management software is the most efficient way to manage your resources, but if you don’t have an online resource management tool there are templates that can help. ProjectManager has free project management templates for every phase of your project, including ones to help with resource allocation. Here are a few.
Requirement Gathering Template
Before you can allocate your resources, you need to understand what’s required. The free requirement gathering template for Word acts as a means of communication between the stakeholders and the project team. This ensures quality deliverables that meet specifications.
RACI Matrix Template
You’ll also need to organize your resources before you can properly allocate them. Our free RACI matrix template for Excel is a place where you can define the roles and responsibilities of the team members. RACI stands for responsible, accountable, consulted and informed, and the free template helps you place everyone involved in the project within one of those quadrants.
How to Allocate Resources With ProjectManager
ProjectManager is robust project management software with multiple tools that allow project managers to allocate project resources, track utilization and availability, control costs and deliver project success. Regardless of how you prefer to manage and schedule your resources, ProjectManager has the tools to help you every step of the way. Here are some of our most popular resource management features.
Schedule Resources With Multiple Planning Tools
Tools such as Gantt charts, kanban boards, task lists and project calendars allow you to allocate resources in multiple ways. Use online Gantt charts to create interactive project timelines that let you easily assign the needed resources for each project task or create task lists that make it easy to stay on track. In addition, ProjectManager’s workload charts help you plan and oversee each team member’s workload at a glance so you can keep your team working at capacity.
Track Costs With Project Dashboards & Timesheets
Once you’ve allocated your project resources, you’ll need to track their costs to ensure that you’re sticking to your budget. ProjectManager’s real-time dashboards make it easy to monitor costs, timelines and progress so nothing is overlooked. Use the dashboard to make timely updates and catch problems before they snowball. In addition, you can use our project timesheets to help you keep track of labor costs.
If you’re looking for a project management tool that can help you implement those tips and manage your resources properly, then look no further. ProjectManager has all the features mentioned above to help you manage your resources, and it’s online software, which means the information you’re working with is in real time. See how it can help you by taking this free 30-day trial today!
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What is Resource Allocation, and Why is it Important?
Resources are a significant investment for most businesses. Therefore, organizations strive to utilize them optimally for profitability and sustainability. However, managers often focus on keeping resources occupied with work and assigning tasks without considering employee skills or interests.
This improper resource planning and allocation blows up costs, delays delivery, and ultimately derails projects off their tracks.
According to PMI’s 2017 pulse survey , “43% of projects spike the budget, and 49% cannot adhere to deadlines.” The study also reveals that only 26% of organizations use resource management for successful allocation of resources .”
Resource allocation is an essential step in the resource planning process, and an efficient resource management system helps achieve the same. This article will cover the concept, challenges, importance, and successful resource allocation methods.
Before that, let’s understand the definition of resource allocation.
1. Resource allocation definition
Resource allocation, also known as resource scheduling , is the process of identifying and assigning resources for a specific period to various activities. These activities can be project or non-project work, such as BAU, admin, support, operation, etc. Efficient allocation of organizational resources ensures projects are delivered within time and budget.
Assigning 100% of their capacity ensures maximum utilization of resources.
Resources can be either fully or partially available . Therefore, resource managers must ensure the availability of allocated resources for optimal utilization.
Now let’s look at some of the challenges managers face when allocating resources to projects.
2. What are the challenges of resource allocation?
Effective resource allocation is often easier said than done. Without the right tools or techniques in place, identifying and allocating the right resource can be a daunting task. Let’s have a look at some of the resource allocation challenges:
A. Changes in project scope
Despite taking necessary control measures, the project scope can still change anytime during the project lifecycle. In addition, changes in project requirements in an agile world can lead to fluctuating resource demands. So, without an up-to-date resource schedule, frequent allocations to meet the changing needs become incredibly challenging.
B. Use of outdated legacy tools
Spreadsheets and homegrown tools are inadequate for the allocation of resources. They fail to provide real-time updates in project/resource schedules, causing discrepancies and redundancies. It can lead to double- booking chaos that dampens the project’s success.
C. Miscommunication between sales and delivery team
While focusing on achieving sales targets, sometimes the sales team doesn’t involve the delivery team before signing the deal. As a result, the delivery team ends up scrambling for resource allocations at the eleventh hour to meet the delivery deadline.
D. Lack of resources visibility within a matrix organization
Not having a centralized resource scheduling system means there is no visibility of allocations of resources across matrix boundaries. Hence, resource managers find it extremely challenging to allocate the best-suited and cost-effective workforce to the project.
E. Mismatch in the skillset between capacity and demand
The inability to forecast future pipeline project requirements prohibits identifying skill shortages in advance. This incorrect estimation of capacity vs. demand hinders the project resource allocation process.
Next, let’s learn about the benefits of effective resource allocation in project management.
3. What are the benefits of resource allocation in project management?
Resource allocation is essential in project management as it allows you to plan and prepare for project implementation or achieving goals. In addition, it helps schedule resources in advance and provides insight into the project team’s progress.
Allocation of resources is much more than just delegating assignments. It plays a vital role in project and operations management and eventually improves business performance. It also helps achieve optimum utilization and enhances ROI.
Here are some key benefits of resource allocation in project management:
i) Reduce project resource costs significantly
ii) Maximize the productivity of resources on projects
iii) Enhance employee engagement and satisfaction
iv) Facilitate client satisfaction with successful project delivery
v) Achieve the best outcome within existing resource constraints
Following this, let’s learn about the external and internal factors affecting resource allocation.
4. Factors that influence the resource allocation process
Factors influencing resource allocation are critical considerations in project management. By understanding and evaluating these factors, managers can make informed decisions to optimize resource allocation and enhance project success.
A. Resource availability
The availability of resources, including personnel, budget, equipment, and technology, directly impacts resource allocation decisions. The manager must assess the quantity and quality of available resources and allocate them effectively to ensure the successful execution of project tasks. Resource availability constraints may require prioritization or reallocation to optimize resource utilization.
B. Project requirements
The specific requirements of a project, such as scope, complexity, timeline, and quality standards, heavily influence resource allocation. Projects with tight deadlines may require a larger allocation of resources or even resource intensification (increased resources for a shorter duration) to ensure timely completion. Similarly, projects with complex technical requirements may necessitate specialized resources or additional training/upskilling.
C. Project cost considerations
Another key factor in resource allocation decisions is cost considerations. It’s essential to balance the resource cost rate with the available budget. Allocating resources within budgetary constraints ensures financial feasibility and efficient resource utilization. Cost-benefit analysis and return on investment assessments can guide resource allocation decisions by weighing the potential benefits against the associated costs.
D. Resource interdependencies
Resource allocation decisions should also consider interdependencies between different tasks, activities, and resources within a project. Some tasks may require specific resources to be completed, and changes in resource allocation for one task can have ripple effects on other tasks. Evaluating these interdependencies helps in optimizing resource allocation to maintain project flow and minimize bottlenecks.
E. Environmental factors
Environmental factors beyond the control of the organization or project team can also impact resource allocation. Market conditions, economic factors, industry trends, regulatory requirements, and competition are examples of external factors that may influence resource allocation. For instance, if there is intense competition in the market, organizations may allocate additional resources to R&D (research and development) or marketing to gain a competitive edge.
By considering these factors, project managers can make informed decisions about resource allocation, ensuring that the right resources are assigned to the right tasks at the right time.
With that in mind, we look at some of the commonly used resource allocation strategies and methods.
5. Best resource allocation techniques and strategies
There are numerous methods to allocate resources in an organization. Let’s take a tour of some of these strategies in detail:
A. Bottom-up resource allocation
Bottom-up resource allocation is a strategy that involves identifying and allocating resources based on specific tasks or activities within a project. In this approach, individual team members or departments estimate their resource needs and submit them to the project manager or decision-making authority.
The project manager then aggregates these estimates to determine the overall resource requirements for the project and starts the resource-requesting process. Bottom-up resource allocation allows for a more detailed and accurate assessment of resource needs, as it considers the specific requirements at a granular level.
B. Top-down resource allocation
Top-down resource allocation, as the name suggests, involves allocating resources from a higher-level perspective, typically driven by high-level project objectives and constraints. In this approach, the project manager or decision-making authority determines the overall resource allocation for the project and then assigns resources accordingly.
This method provides a broad overview of resource requirements but lacks the granularity of bottom-up allocation. It is often used when there are time or budget constraints and when a quick estimation of resource needs is required.
C. Critical path method (CPM)
The Critical Path Method (CPM) is a project management technique used to identify the critical activities and sequence of tasks that determine the shortest possible duration for a project. CPM involves creating a work breakdown structure (WBS) that represents all project activities and their dependencies.
By analyzing the dependencies and durations of these activities, the critical path is determined—the sequence of activities that must be completed in order to minimize the project’s overall duration. Resource allocation in CPM involves identifying critical activities and allocating resources to ensure their timely completion, thus minimizing project delays.
D. Program evaluation and review technique (PERT)
The Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) is a project management technique that focuses on estimating the duration of a project by considering three time estimates for each activity: optimistic, pessimistic, and most likely. PERT calculates the expected duration by using a weighted average of these estimates.
Resource allocation in PERT involves considering the estimated durations of activities and the availability of resources to create an optimized schedule. By allocating resources efficiently, project managers can ensure that activities are completed within the estimated time frames.
E. Agile resource allocation
An agile resource allocation is a dynamic approach to resource management that is commonly used in agile project management methodologies such as Scrum or Kanban. It emphasizes flexibility and adaptability in allocating resources based on changing project scope and organizational priorities.
In an agile framework, resources are often organized into self-managing teams that collectively decide how to allocate resources to specific tasks. This approach allows for quick adjustments in resource allocation based on real-time feedback and enables teams to optimize their performance and productivity.
F. Just-in-time resource allocation
Just-in-time (JIT) resource allocation is a strategy that aims to allocate resources precisely when they are needed, thereby minimizing waste and reducing idle time. This approach aligns resource availability with the project’s immediate needs, ensuring that resources are not tied up unnecessarily.
JIT resource allocation requires careful planning and coordination to ensure that resources are readily available at the right time for the right project. It is particularly useful in projects with tight timelines or where resources are limited, as it maximizes efficiency and reduces unnecessary resource allocation.
By employing these resource allocation strategies and techniques, resource managers can effectively allocate resources, optimize utilization, and improve overall project outcomes. It is important to tailor the chosen strategies and techniques to the specific needs and characteristics of each project, considering factors such as project size, complexity, timelines, and stakeholder requirements.
Let’s dive into the steps of efficiently allocating organizational resources to various tasks and projects.
6. Steps for efficient resource allocation
Effective resource allocation is crucial for successful project management. While there are various strategies and techniques that one can follow, given below are the best ways to assign resources efficiently across the organization:
A. Identify and allocate the best-visible-best-fit resources
A resource management system consolidates resource data from various systems into a centralized platform. Complete visibility enables the effective allocation of resources to the project based on skills, qualifications, experience, availability, costs, and other selection criteria. Scheduling cost-effective global resources from low-cost locations maintains profitability without compromising quality.
One of the methods of project resource allocation is assigning best-visible-best-fit instead of first-available-first-fit resources. Visibility also allows the uniform distribution of skilled resources across multiple projects instead of only deploying them to a high-priority project.
B. Avoid under or overallocation of resources
Uniform distribution of resources across all projects ensures that there are no over-allocated resources across the enterprise. Under allocation of resources results in productivity and revenue loss. Conversely, over-allocating resources can cause burnout, affect the quality of output, or, worst, result in unplanned attrition.
Forecasting billable /strategic utilization helps project managers to move resources periodically from non-billable to billable/strategic work. Thus, it facilitates optimum resource utilization and improves business efficiency.
C. Subscribe to an automated resource request process
While allocating resources, manually sifting through the resource pool or taking phone/email requests from individual project managers can be cumbersome. An automated resource requesting that is independent of cumbersome spreadsheets streamlines the process.
It allows project managers to specify the required skill sets, qualifications, experience, cost, and project timelines. This request directly reaches the inbox of the resource manager in charge, who starts planning for the same. As the entire process is documented and auditable, tracking allocation records eliminates any process-related confusion.
D. Empower employees to work on projects of interest
Studies have shown that when employees work on tasks of their choice, it has a positive effect on their engagement and productivity. Therefore, managers must also consider their interests instead of allocating resources only based on their skills and availability. To achieve this, resource managers can create open positions and publish the same, which becomes visible to all the relevant personnel across the enterprise.
Accordingly, interested resources can show their interest in joining the project, and the concerned resource manager can select the appropriate project team. It also saves the resource manager’s time from looking across the enterprise to find the right fit and negotiating with their line/ project managers. Therefore, this method is a win-win for both resources and the managers responsible for their allocation.
E. Diversify employee skill sets and responsibilities
Encourage employees to have at least two or more skills. To allocate resources efficiently on projects that need various skills allows them to sharpen their primary skill sets and an opportunity to build new ones. They can also be given further training on acquired skills, and on-the-job experience helps them improve their capabilities.
Sometimes, when employees get roll-off from a project, there isn’t any task to assign them based on their primary skills. Here, their secondary skill sets will come in handy, and they can be made billable by allocating them to other projects.
Sometimes, the demand for a niche skillset to start a new project may arise. As these resources are hard to find, out-rotating a niche resource from an ongoing project helps kickstart the new project. Simultaneously, another resource having minimum qualifications can backfill to continue the current project. This dynamic resource allocation ensures that none of the projects suffer.
F. What-if analysis to fulfill dynamic project demands
Juggling resources within multiple projects is common when resources are limited. However, in this ever-evolving business environment, any error from poor judgment can prove to be very costly. So it is when the simulation of business scenarios comes in handy.
Applying different sets of rules on the same resource pool and comparing situations can help visualize various impacts. For example, it can involve stalling or extending the low-priority project’s timeline and allocating its available resources to a high-priority one.
What-if analysis, a powerful feature of resource modeling and simulation, helps arrive at potential outcomes using constraint-based assessment. Like weighing the pros and cons of options in our everyday situation, this principle applies to resource planning and allocation. Once the ideal and feasible scenario is derived, implementing the same on an actual project schedule facilitates successful resource allocation.
G. Use real-time Business intelligence to monitor and improve resource allocation
Even after the resource allocation process is complete, there can be changes in the project requirement that requires immediate attention. Modern resource management solutions equipped with real-time business intelligence dashboards and reports help improve the enterprise’s health index.
Role-based customizable dashboards enable decision-makers to make informed decisions and make adjustments to resource allocations accordingly. Thus, real-time business intelligence help in tracking and controlling resource allocations ahead of time.
Proper resource planning and allocation play a crucial role in the success of any business. It ensures that organizational resources (human & non-human) are allocated appropriately to achieve the desired outcome. It also helps to identify potential resourcing risks and allows for contingency planning.
Ultimately, effective resource allocation can lead to increased productivity, better cost savings, and improved business performance. By implementing the aforementioned strategies, combined with robust resource management software, can help companies reap the numerous benefits of resource allocation.
8. The Glossary
9. The SAVIOM Solution
SAVIOM is the market leader in offering the most powerful and configurable solutions for deploying appropriate resources to suitable projects. With over 20 years of experience, this Australia-based MNC has helped more than 100 clients across over 50 countries address specific business challenges. SAVIOM also provides tools for project portfolio management, professional service automation, and workforce planning software .
The Ultimate Guide to an Efficient Resource Management
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6 Resource Allocation Best Practices You Can't Afford to Ignore
83% of executives name resource allocation as the most critical management lever for spurring growth, according to McKinsey.
Sadly, not all companies get the hang of how to do it right. Project and operation managers still fail to use resource allocation to their advantage. Poor resource management has seen the largest increase since 2018 and is now ranked as the 2nd top challenge, remarks Vince Hines, a Managing Director at Wellingtone.
Despite being the most important part of managing any project, the challenge remains how to distribute talent, time, and money in a way that will bring the most value to the organization.
Whether you’re a project manager, looking to improve your project schedules, or a director of operations searching for ways to make the company more profitable through process optimization and resource management , we’ve made this guide to share best practices, methods, and tools to streamline the resource allocation process, based on our own data.
This guide will also show you how to minimize risks in the resource allocation process and save a huge portion of manual work spent connecting pieces of work with the right talent. While it is meant for service-based firms specifically, the concepts here are pretty much applicable to any industry. So, let’s dive in.
The definition of resource allocation
In this article, by resource allocation , we particularly mean the diligent and optimal appointment of resources to do work on the project. People often make the mistake of assuming that resource allocation only involves matching people to tasks. The reality is much different. Effective resource allocation involves much more than just matching a person to a task. Resource allocation definitions we often see are too superficial and a far cry from what happens in reality. De facto, there’s much more significance to what resource allocation involves.
For a minute, try to think of it as an iceberg. What you see above the surface in your projects is a simple picture of delegating assignments, what’s beneath the surface are other factors that affect the process, like resource availability, estimations, dependencies, priorities, change requests, and skills! Seeing only the tip of the iceberg, managers often make a mistake allocating resources by virtue of situations. Strategic decisions that should take into account resource utilization and billability rates are often ignored.
Why resource allocation is important
Allocating resources, project managers should go beyond thinking of just delegating assignments. Here’s why. When you look at the resource allocation process, you will realize that it carries a lot of weight in project management. This is because the manner in which project resources are allocated is what determines if the project will be successful or not.
Eventually, resource allocation affects business performance. Optimal resource distribution is key to the functioning of any organization. When a company allocates its resources, it’s actually determining the resources that will be dedicated to the company’s strategic plans. This means that resource allocation helps organizations put their efforts into the priorities of their operations.
So it’s no secret that the way resources are distributed further affects the company’s operating margin and profit. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that done efficiently, resource allocation makes half of your project done.
Challenges in the resource allocation process
Despite being one of the most important parts of project management, resource allocation remains one of the most difficult processes to automate and optimize. If you’ve worked in any capacity, as part of a project team, then you know that things do not always fall in place as easily when it comes to resource allocation.
In view of the current multiteaming trend, when people are assigned to multiple teams and projects simultaneously, resource allocation becomes even more complicated. When 500 managers in global companies were asked if their team members work on multiple projects in parallel, the majority of 81% said it was true. Other research taking place in knowledge-intensive industries, has shown a higher number of 95%.
Having a shared pool of resources, project managers expand the list of the most common resource allocation questions. It includes but never ends at estimations (often unrealistic), task dependencies (lacking transparency), resource availability (not knowing who’s available and when), priorities (in which sequence that tasks should appear), skills (finding the right role to perform the task). Another factor that commonly prohibits resource allocation is a lack of knowledge and communication between a project manager and the team. A spreadsheet for resource allocation, as experience of many shows, would just be another log in the fire.
Obviously, as a combination of scheduling and staffing decision-making, the process of resource allocation involves just too many things for one human brain to process and handle. To take the guesswork out of resource allocation in 2021 and reduce the number of the administrative challenges, businesses have started to use intelligent project automation software. Today the news is filled with AI, automation and machine learning - we bet you’ve already read a lot about it, but you probably haven’t found the perfect solution to use in your company yet.
In your choice of the perfect solution, think how far you can go with your data. Is filling it in worth your time? Did the information you’d entered became part of the bigger picture or got lost, as if you filled it in a spreadsheet? In other words, have you just put your data to good use? Only platforms that were built with connectivity in mind can translate your data into actionable insights. Forecast is one such platform.
Improving resource allocation
On its mission to reduce human error and automate great parts of administrative work, Forecast has blazed a trail for new, time-saving ways to manage projects, operations, and finances in service industries. To improve resource allocation, a good portion of work relies on how far you can go to connect insights and facts together to make a decision. The platform has a level of connectivity you won’t find elsewhere, so the data you put there becomes part of the bigger picture and never goes unnoticed.
1. Resource availability heat map
First off, your resource allocation strategy always depends on resource availability. In the perfect world, before starting the new project, you’d probably like to see resources available at your company you could assign to the project, or vice versa, people who are over-assigned. The big picture could help you resolve resource conflicts with your fellow project managers and plan with the right utilization insights at hand.
Forecast has a decent overview of resources that updates on the fly, every time a team member is assigned to a task. To give you a better understanding of the subject, we’ve included a few snapshots from our platform, so you can trace how the insights from the article apply to the problem you’re searching to solve. Say, to pick team members for the new project, you can use the above and the following view options instead of an outdated resource allocation spreadsheet:
When you uncover the pulse of your resources, you get a better understanding of how much work they can do (or can’t) over the course of a week—or month.
2. Project and task allocations
So how are resources allocated? A successful resource allocation plan starts with picking one type of resource allocation company-wide. In general, there are two ways you can allocate resources, to projects and to tasks . Forecast caters for both. Selecting one of those will accommodate a better overview of allocations (as on the image above) in the future and allow you to spot who's available easily.
If you don't know upfront what tasks your team will be working on, but you do want to book a team member for let's say 100 hours over the next 3 weeks, you will want to allocate your team members to a project.
Task allocation is essentially a slot of tasks you assign to your team. It works best when you have a list of requirements from your client that can be translated into tasks in advance.
We've noticed a trend that companies on the agile side prefer to allocate their staff to projects, while waterfall method requires more precision, so task allocation seems like a better fit.
3. Auto Schedule with a timeline view
There are a huge number of software options that provide resource maps, but there’s only one that fully automates project planning and scheduling - Forecast. With a click of just one button, its powerhouse of resource allocation algorithms turns your list of tasks into a solid project schedule with the suggested estimates, assigned resources, and realistic deadlines.
But how, you might wonder? It gets to know your resources through their past activities and patterns of behavior and determines the proper timing to allocate resources within the project schedule. Because it resists the urge to over- and underallocate employees, nobody is stressed out or bored at the end of the day.
Auto Schedule can be compared to having more than 40,000 project managers assisting your team in day-to-day work. But they aren't actually there - they are just feeding their information in and making work processes go smoothly for everyone. But more than that, they are also making sure you reduce the human errors. Simply by making small suggestions here and there to optimize and make the decisions stronger.
Now, why timeline view? Some projects are turn-based, following a peculiar game logic, which means waiting until a specific action is completed to begin working on the next task. A built-in order is peculiar for IT companies. If some tasks can only be done on condition that other tasks were completed, it’s best to show them in a timeline view, where the order of tasks is clear.
4. AI-powered estimations
As a rule of thumb, to complete the project plan and allocate resources to tasks, project managers indicate how much effort it is expected for a person to do the task, measured in hours or story points. The point of accurateness to which project managers estimate tasks directly influences the plan and predictions. However, as practice shows, estimates are usually off-the-mark when you switch to the execution phase. To make project planning and scheduling more efficient, you can trust Auto Schedule or benefit from doing estimates manually. Indicate high and low estimate for each task, and Forecast’s AI will suggest a realistic one.
5. Financial overview of role distribution
Resource allocation is the day-to-day problem of both project and operation departments, but it also ties with the financial aspect of the project. How do you track if you’ve allocated resources in the most optimal way from the perspective of profitability? How do you make sure that your resource allocation plan is not just a shot in the dark, but an informed strategic decision? Well, there are ways to see this using Forecast’s Financial Portfolio Report. Both give you actionable financial data without losing reference to roles allocated to the project, from where you can see if the role distribution you’ve chosen contributes to the profitability of each project.
A software development company, for instance, could analyze how many Junior, Middle, and Senior developers are working on the project and based on this information do role-based cost optimization. Another example could be learning resource allocation trends from your past most profitable projects and apply them to similar projects.
6. Resource utilization rates
Another way to spot resource allocation problems is by tracking employee's utilization rate. Utilization, by definition, is the time that's used for productive, billable work, measured in percents. To calculate utilization, the following formula is used:
- Total Billable Hours / Total Hours Available
M any professional services companies consider it a critical metric, and there's a good reason for it. But what does resource allocation has to do with utilization? By quantifying utilization rates, you get a bunch of valuable insights to interpret and feed into the decision-making process when allocating resources. For instance, looking at employee utilization rates and their roles in the company, you can notice where demand is highest. Employees that have record-breaking utilization rates are profit-making and very much in demand. A good overview of utilization rates could help you either identify opportunities to scale the company, or find the most appropriate room to add staff.
Forecast's Utilization Report
Additionally, utilization rates can reveal of few important resource allocation trends across the company. A utilization rate that continually gets closer to 100% is not necessarily a good news worth celebrating. On the contrary, it may serve as a wake-up call that you’re overworking your staff, and it's time to hire new employees. In turn, if a utilization rate is consistently low, it could be a signal that your project is overstaffed and there isn’t enough work to fill the pipeline, or too many hours have been spent on non-billable administrative tasks (such as meetings or training). In any case, utilization rates on either of these two extremes - too high or too low, indicate that your resource allocation processes needs to be revisited.
What’s an optimal utilization rate, then? According to SPI's 2020 Professional Services Maturity Benchmark , billable utilization targets of the best firms average 85% or higher compared to 70% for average firms. "This means top performing consultants bill 300 more hours per year than those at average firms," researchers point out. Let's not forget that higher billable utilization only occurs because the right people with the right skills are available to do the work, which is a direct result of your resource allocation plan.
To wrap it up, good resource allocation should maximize the output of the project at an acceptable cost and with timely delivery. Optimal resource allocation can be hassle-free if you take advantage of automation. The power of intelligent project automation tools like Forecast is in giving you the right insights when you need them and cutting time you spend on administrative work. Imagine the future with this level of transparency. You can start building it today. Sign up for a free trial and benefit from using the platform that connects all the dots together for you.
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A Complete Guide to Resource Allocation in Projects
Here's everything you need to assign the best available resources to tasks and projects.
Stella Inabo, Content Writer
- resource management
Resource allocation helps resource managers schedule the best team for the job and optimize how work is assigned.
Are some of your team members always overbooked while some stay on the bench for weeks? Are projects constantly delayed because there’s no one to work on them? Are you constantly putting out fires and missing deadlines?
All of these symptoms might point to a need for proper allocation of resources. And that’s not just assigning someone to a task to get it done.
To address these challenges, a strategic approach to resource allocation is essential. It involves not only assigning tasks but also considering the expertise, availability, and interests of your team members while directing them to high-value projects.
What is resource allocation in project management?
Resource allocation is the process of identifying and assigning resources – humans, money, materials, and time – to activities necessary to complete projects while considering availability, skills, and interests. However, since resources are often scarce, it becomes crucial to ensure that the activities undertaken align with the goals of your project or organization.
At any point, your people could be working on different projects. Thus, dynamic resource allocation , a term coined by McKinsey, emphasizes directing resources to areas that deliver the greatest value to your company.
Keep in mind that special consideration must be given to human resources, taking into account how resource allocations can impact their performance and well-being.
Why is resource allocation important?
There’s a reason resource allocation is a top priority among enterprises, small businesses, and everything in between. This is because resource allocation, when done correctly, is an efficient way to avoid employee burnout, poor performance, and missed deadlines.
Let’s look at the advantages of efficient resource allocation.
It improves the accuracy of project plans
Resource allocation can prevent overspending on resources you don’t need. It also stops you from running short of them halfway through a project.
You can quickly see the availability of resources and timelines for projects in the pipeline and plan accordingly with the right tools .
Resource allocation also gives a better understanding of your talent pool. You’d be more equipped to select the best people for each project and task, which improves resource management and the likelihood of project success.
It improves team well-being and morale
Poor resource allocation can lead to burnout among your workforce. When that happens, productivity and performance decrease. Consider that:
- Employees who are burned out are 26% more likely to call in sick.
- 76% of employees agree that workplace stress affects their mental health.
- Workplace stress is estimated to cost businesses anywhere from $330 billion .
When you allocate resources effectively, you can avoid all these negative effects. Your people are less likely to be burnout or stressed when they are allocated work based on their capacity. And by extension, your organization saves money by avoiding worker turnover, absenteeism, and medical costs.
This approach minimizes the chances of overloading employees and maintains their well-being and morale.
It improves worker satisfaction
Research shows that job satisfaction increases when individuals' job roles align closely with their assigned tasks.
When individuals are assigned projects that align with their capabilities, they not only bring their expertise to the table but also feel confident in their ability to deliver quality work. This boosts their motivation and engagement, as they are working on tasks that are well-suited to their skill set.
Moreover, when people are challenged and given opportunities to learn and grow through their assignments, they become more invested in their work and are more likely to go the extra mile to succeed.
4 signs you need to improve your resource allocation
Poor resource allocation can be glaring–bottlenecks that stall a project– or very subtle– multi-tasking team members.
1. Context switching
“One of the signals of poor resource allocation is a lot of context switching where a team member is regularly jumping between different projects and trying to juggle a lot of work at the same time,” says Colin Ross who leads the engineering team at Float.
It might seem like the multi-tasker is doing a good job, but the work might be subpar. “While this can look efficient, in terms of output it’s never a good idea - there is little chance for the kind of deep focus generally needed to create high-quality work.”
Frequent bottlenecks indicate that your people need to be allocated properly. Ross suggests looking out for “projects that are stalled because some critical resource is unavailable and thereby blocking the next stage.”
Suppose you have got too many projects on pause because team members don’t have the capacity to finish their work. In that case, he suggests identifying the jobs necessary to complete a project and focusing on completing them first.
3. Too many active projects
It is tempting and quite common to pursue new ideas or take on new projects without considering if we can handle it.
Ross points out that this is a sign of poor resource allocation. “Having too many projects taking place simultaneously is also a sign of inefficiency if the teams working on those projects are not partitioned.” And more often than not, taking on too many projects can lead to the first two problems of bottlenecks and context switching.
4. No single view of team capacity
A sign of poor resource allocation is a lack of a shared source of truth for who is working on what, and when according to Alice Winthrop, Senior Product Manager at Float. “If you don’t know what people are working on, what kind of utilization rate or capacity you have, then you have no way of knowing how well or poorly your people are being managed.”
You are not alone if you have seen any of these signs in your projects. In 2021, it was the third biggest project management challenge for businesses. Luckily, you can improve your resource allocation with the right strategy.
How to allocate resources to a project
Resource allocation involves several important steps: figuring out project needs and resource demand, identifying the required resources, assessing their capacity, skills, and interests, assigning them to valuable projects, and making adjustments when needed.
Here, we provide you with steps to create a resource allocation plan that works effectively, giving top priority to your people.
1. Determine the resource requirements of your project
Refer to your project brief to identify the activities needed to meet your project objectives and produce deliverables.
For instance, if your project involves the development of an e-commerce website, you will require a team comprising back-end engineers to handle the server-side functionality, front-end engineers to work on the user interface, copywriters to create compelling content, and QA testers to ensure the website's quality.
➡️ Learn more: IT resource management best practices + expert tips
2. Confirm the availability of resources
It's essential to identify the best-suited team members for the project.
This involves considering various key factors. Firstly, assess their capacity to handle the workload – do they have the time available?
Equally important is evaluating their skill set to ensure they have the necessary abilities for the assigned tasks.
Also, take into account their interests and strengths in relation to the project's needs; this means checking if the roles resonate with their passions and contribute to their personal growth.
You can easily find information on your team members' skill sets and availability in Float.
Navigate to Schedule and then use tags to filter your team. For example, you can type “java”.
Let’s assume that the project is to last for 5 months, and you want to find out if any engineer has their annual leave coming up.
Add a filter and choose “Time off” and choose the leave type.
To make well-informed decisions, collaborate with team leads, department heads, and the resources themselves, who can offer valuable insights on growth opportunities and individual interests.
Director of Engineering
In the case where a team member is frequently requested for tasks, what strategies do you employ to avoid overutilization and bottlenecks?
Firstly, strive as far as possible to allow a single focus at any given moment to avoid the cost of context switching. This leads to some hard decision-making about the critical path through the project list since this team member is the key to completing anything.
Secondly, looking to hire or cross-train other team members to help out in this area to ease the bottleneck, so that in the future this should be less of a problem. It is important to note that there will always be a bottleneck somewhere - the trick is to understand what level of ‘throttling’ you ultimately find acceptable at any given moment.
3. Allocate time to the project
Once you’ve found the people with the right skillset and availability, the next step is allocating time to the project.
Because resource allocation is focused on finding the right people for project work, you want to keep it high level and avoid getting into details about tasks.
Also, tasks and subtasks belong in your project management tool while your resource planner is meant for optimizing and tracking how your team spends their time.
That’s why we have recently renamed tasks to allocations.
By scheduling allocations and optionally assigning them to related tasks, you can quickly understand your team's planned time and track total hours faster in your reporting. Find out more about this change here .
To allocate time to a project, simply click and drag over a date on the Schedule. This will bring up the scheduling menu.
Next, specify the allocation hours and choose the client and project to add the allocation to the team member's schedule.
4. Get feedback from your team on allocations
Never assume that allocations are perfect without getting your team’s input.
Without your team’s feedback, you might assign tasks to individuals that do not align with their expertise or interests and impose unrealistic deadlines. This could lead to missed deadlines and subpar work.
One solution is to consult with team leads/department heads or even the resources about who is best suited for tasks.
Let's say you think a design brief should take roughly two hours to complete, and you block out time for the project. You check in with the designer and find out that your estimate is off and they need an extra hour to finish their task.
“Once allocations have been made, make it a habit in 1:1s and other discussions to ask your team how they feel about capacity allocations. Too much? Too little? Just right? And then adjust.” says Michael Luchen, Director of Product at Float.
To maintain flexibility, you can initially keep allocations as tentative until you've gathered feedback from your team.
When setting up an allocation, choose "Tentative" status. This will indicate that the time allocation isn't confirmed and will be displayed as a color outline on the Schedule.
4. Monitor the progress of the project and make adjustments when necessary
After assigning tasks, you will need to keep an eye on the project so you can make bottlenecks or over-allocation and under-allocation. Luchen suggests using software tools to track the state of allocations.
“For software development projects, I rely on tools like Linear to automatically project velocity for individual tasks. Paired with a tool like Float, our team can make informed decisions on progress and resourcing–do we need to reduce the scope? Extend the timeline? If so what else has to move”
You might discover that you have too many resources at your disposal—or worse—you might have overloaded your team and are in danger of missing a deadline. In such cases, it's essential to remain flexible and ready to make changes when necessary.
Let's say a team member is allocated more than 40 hours a week.
In Float, you can filter by availability and skills to find someone who can take on more work.
Then you drag and drop tasks into the team member’s schedule.
5. Make plans for the unexpected
Resource allocation for human resources can be a challenging task, due to the unpredictable nature of projects.
A crucial resource to be reassigned to a project of higher priority. A team member might take a sick day. These can disrupt the planned allocation.
It is best to be prepared for such situations before they happen. One effective approach is maintaining a roster of freelancers or contractors who can be readily assigned tasks when needed.
By having a pool of qualified individuals readily available, the time and effort that would otherwise be spent searching for someone to fill a role can be significantly reduced.
Use Float to save time on manual follow up with @mentions in the notes of any task, time off, or project. Simply type "@" followed by their name. Depending on their settings, notifications are sent via email, Slack, or mobile push. For example, you might alert your manager when you schedule new tentative time off or to check in on a teammate's progress on a task.
6. Run a post-project evaluation
At the end of any project, host a post-project evaluation to see what worked (and, more importantly) what didn't.
Some basic post-project questions to consider are:
- Were there delays or setbacks during the project? If so, what were they?
- Did your team handle their tasks efficiently, or were they overloaded?
- Were the project details, such as the scope and deadlines, clear?
- What areas could be improved for future projects?
Don't hold back in these meetings—everyone involved must be open and honest about the triumphs and mistakes of the project. Doing so will help your project managers (and the rest of your team) plan and predict the needs of future projects more effectively.
Using resource management software , it's easy to pull data. You'll be able to spot which roadblocks you hit and if the estimated hours allocated matched the actual project hours.
Here's a detailed video on how to analyze your project data in Float.
Float Masterclass on real time analytics in schedule and project plan
Why resource allocation requires dedicated software
Resource management software provides the information and context you need to make the right resourcing decisions.
Let’s take determining capacity, for example.
Projects can only be completed when there are available resources to perform the required tasks.
But without insight into your team’s capacity, you can’t tell who is overbooked or on the bench.
You also can’t tell what they are scheduled to do now and what they’ll be working on in the future.
Resource management software shows you how your team spends their time. You can easily determine availability in a single glance. For example, Float supports tracking everyone’s availability, including time off, public holidays, and workload. You can also see utilization rates for both teams and individuals.
Also, consider that capacity is always changing. It shrinks and expands, impacting who gets assigned to what projects or tasks and when. Your resource management software can keep you up to speed by providing live information on your team's capacity. Float integrates with various tools, including calendar apps and project management software, to create a comprehensive and up-to-date schedule.
An important factor in resource allocation is the skills necessary to get the job done. It's possible to miss a skill gap until it's too late. Tags in Float make it possible to search for particular skills. For example, if you need a developer who is proficient in C++, all you need to do is to search for it in Float. If it doesn’t turn up, you’ll know you need to hire or find a freelancer to complete the project.
Double booking and overbooking are rampant in projects. One reason could be that individual project managers are creating plans in silos. As a result, they book the same people to complete different tasks. Resource management software provides a single view of scheduled projects. Everyone from the project sponsor to the team members knows who is working on what project and when.
Finally, resource management software is essential because it lets you forecast availability with tentative planning . This feature enables you to plan projects in advance. You can schedule a project with phases, milestones, and resources set out and see what you’d need and if they are available when needed, enabling you to make informed decisions.
How to handle resource allocation problems
Even if you adopt all the right tools and follow resource allocation best practices, you will probably still run into problems. Hiccups are going to happen, so it's best to be prepared!
Let's take a look at some of the top challenges project managers face and how to overcome them.
The project scope changes
You did your best to plan resources for your upcoming projects, but there's still the chance of scope creep. Maybe the tasks were more extensive than expected or required skills you didn't account for.
You need to be nimble and adjust your resources accordingly when this happens. To prevent scope creep , you should:
- Ensure project scopes are always transparent and defined.
- Set clear and defined project goals.
- Strive to do your best work, but don't be a perfectionist if it will cause delays.
- Build a work plan that guides your course of action
- Create a system that allows workers to greenlight change requests and revisions .
- Monitor team performance to ensure everything is on track.
- Use all the tools at your disposal to speed up progress.
Sometimes it's impossible to avoid scope creep. In such cases, having a scope change process helps you adapt fast and get back on course. It may look something like this:
- Submit a specific form to document change requests (in writing).
- Analyze the revision request to understand the scope creep thoroughly.
- Get approval from the main stakeholders.
- Document the approved scope changes in writing.
Resources become unavailable
Uncontrollable outside forces prevent scarce resources from showing up as expected. A worker's car breaks down, and they can't get to the office. Or maybe they have other priorities in the organization that trumps working on a task you assigned them. What matters is what you do next.
Work quickly to find a replacement within your talent pool. If there's no one available with the skills you need, hiring a freelancer or contractor may be the best option. You can prevent this in the future by looking at task dependencies. Investigate other responsibilities team members have that may pull them away from the project.
Have a backup resource allocation plan if they are unavailable for whatever reason. One option is to have a pool of freelancers you can count on to fill in gaps on a whim.
Resources need to be shared
It's common for projects to share the same resources. This is especially true in smaller organizations that can't afford to hire an extensive staff roster. As you can imagine, shared resources can lead to issues that bog down the pipeline. Project bottlenecks may occur if resources are spread too thin.
Use your resource allocation software to spot gaps in advance. Closely monitor workloads of team members who move between several departments. It's the best way to prevent over-allocating resources and burnout.
A delay can hit when you least expect it. People get sick, labor shortages arise, and miscommunication happens. That's when scope creep may rear its ugly head. Some issues are within your control, and others, not so much.
The most straightforward way to deal with issues is to try your best to prevent them in the first place. You can:
- Schedule tasks based on skill, not just time. An expert or specialist works faster. Using Float, you can create custom skill tags for team members so you can find the right person for the job in seconds.
- Avoid overloading team members with too many other priorities—especially if the task depends on them to move through the pipeline.
- Offer flexible hours. Some employees work more productively outside of traditional working hours.
- Map out project timelines, break them into phases, and track progress. Software helps to pinpoint potential delays before they become bottlenecks.
The more organized and transparent your resource allocation, the easier it is for everyone to take accountability for their role.
Manage your team’s availability on autopilot with resource allocation software
Integrate directly with Google or Outlook calendar. Set custom work days and hours, schedule time off, import public holidays, and set a status to let everyone know where you’re working from. With Float you get a live view to plan your team’s capacity and workload, to allocate resources with confidence.
A smarter resource allocation strategy empowers your team
Whether you’re a team of two or 200, allocating your resources successfully depends on your ability to identify and utilize their individual skill sets and manage their availability.
With the right tools and resource management in place, it's easier than ever to keep your team happy and deliver successful projects. Ready to find the right people for every project? Try Float for free .
Allocate resources with the #1 rated resource management software
With Float, you can plan your projects and allocate resources with confidence. Try it free for 30 days, no credit card required.
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What is a Resource Management System?
Updated jun 27, 2023.
The best way to streamline workflows and maximize profits is to implement a resource management system – software specifically designed to support planning, scheduling, and assigning workers, funds, and technology to projects to ensure that you’re maximizing the resources available to you. When you implement the right type of resource management system, you can help your employees work more efficiently. As a result, your professional services business benefits.
Different Types of Resource Management Systems
Resource management happens at all kinds of levels. If you’re a small mom-and-pop business, a wall calendar with dates that show which employees have requested time off may be the main way you manage your employees as resources. You keep track of all your financial resources in a hand-written ledger for different accounts or projects and don’t have time to learn a new online system. Sticky notes help remind you of tasks that have to be completed this week, rather than a Google calendar alert.
Or maybe you are a person who lives and breathes spreadsheets. You use them to input data from your employees, but then you have to manually go in and input everything. Even if you use Excel formulas, it’s easy to forget to make changes or calculate errors.
And then there are the resource management systems of the future. Software marketplace G2 defines a resource management system as software that “tracks, schedules, and optimizes human and material resources required for project management. This type of software helps users compare resource availability with demand, and allocate said resources to deliver projects on time and on budget.”
Modern resource management solutions, like professional services automation (PSA) tools which are specifically designed for the resource and project management needs of professional services businesses, take capabilities and automated workflows that used to only be found separately and combine all of them in one place so you can easily manage your business. With PSA, you can use purpose-built team collaboration, business intelligence and project accounting tools to keep all decisions about resource management aligned with the larger context – the long-term success of your business and your clients’ businesses.i.
How Resource Management Systems Help Employees Work More Efficiently
Any business can benefit from a resource management system like PSA, no matter how small. In their 2022 PSA End-user Survey , Service Performance Insight said of their research into the effectiveness of PSA solutions: “PSA has become mandatory for project- and services-driven organizations to improve operational performance, better forecast, grow revenue, reduce cost, enhance quality and drive client and employee satisfaction – all while increasing profit. Every project and services-oriented organization with over 20 employees should seriously consider Professional Services Automation.”
When you implement a resource management system, it helps your employees work more efficiently. Instead of project managers needing to email resource managers and salespeople to wait for status updates on their upcoming projects, they can go in and check a shared solution for a project’s current status and any new updates. This helps team members stay on the front foot and keep forward momentum as client-facing engagements move from sales to resourcing to delivery to accounting.
Plus, resource management systems can help you assign certain people to tasks based on their strengths , ensuring employees are working on projects that are best-suited to their skillsWhen you’re looking to fill certain roles, your resource management system can suggest the right people based on data that highlights the skills you are looking for. When employees are working on tasks suited to their skillsets, they will be happier and you’ll have better retention rates. Plus, they will be able to work faster because they are completing tasks they excel at, so they’ll be more productive than those who are less experienced in the related type of work.
Benefits a Resource Management System Provides to Your Business
When you use a resource management system, you’re taking the guesswork out of allocating resources, giving resource managers the tools they need to make sure the right resources are matched with the right projects every time. For example, PSA software lets you schedule your resources in advance so you can see where you need to invest to make sure your business has the people needed for upcoming projects to go smoothly. You can use robust, real-time forecasting tools to anticipate any additional capacity needed.
Plus, reporting tools let you see how your business is doing as a whole. Business intelligence (BI) tools can analyze your operational data and create reports that help you optimize your resource usage and scale with confidence.
Of course, not all resource management software systems are the same . When shopping for a resource management system for your business, look for comprehensive tools that help you make informed resource management decisions and integrate with any existing systems, like your CRM (customer relationship management) software.
With the Kantata Professional Services Cloud, You Can Master Resource Management
The Kantata Cloud provides purpose-built solutions to address the rapidly evolving challenges professional services organizations face. With Kantata resource management, you can plan resources across any organizational structure and time period. This lets you bring together project, financial, and workforce data to deliver unprecedented clarity.
Contact us today to see why Kantata is rated as the top solution on G2’s Fall 2022 Grid for Resource Management Software .
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Resource management software for above and beyond performance
When you order a piece of furniture that requires “some” assembly, the first thing you do is open the box and check that all the parts are there.
Then, you assess which tools you’ll need to complete the job — if any — and whether you need the help of another person to assemble it.
In a nutshell, that’s resource management.
You assessed and allocated resources to the project at hand to make sure you were successful in the end.
This practice — on a much larger scale — is becoming more and more important for organizations of all kinds. And using resource management software can help the process run more smoothly.
In fact, 66% of companies using project management software completed projects within their original budget, compared to 47% of businesses operating without a project management tool.
We’ll break down the basics of resource management software in this article — what it is, how it benefits organizations of all types, and the best resource management software to get the job done.
What is resource management?
Resource management is the process of managing your organization’s resources effectively.
Resources include supplies, money, or people, and management of those things requires that the right resources get assigned to the right tasks so that projects run as efficiently as possible.
It also includes the resource scheduling portion of project management. Resource managers are responsible for pre-planning, scheduling, and allocating resources efficiently.
Let’s take a smaller project for example.
A marketing team looking to launch an email campaign would need to allocate the following resources: copywriting, design, marketing operations staff, marketing automations technology, and in most cases, a customer resource management (CRM) tool to track that campaign’s success.
A resource manager would find and allocate those necessary resources in order to make sure that the campaign launched efficiently.
Resources are often managed with software, like monday.com’s Work operating system (OS).
Here’s an example of how you could use our resource management template to keep track of how project resource is being used side-by-side with project status:
Get started with monday.com
Why is resource management software important?
Resource management software, also sometimes referred to as resource planning software, is an integral part of the resource management process.
Resource management software keeps track of all resources, while also supporting communication between team members and providing visibility to stakeholders in regards to what resources are being used (as well as when, and how).
It supports organizations in the resource planning process by helping them visualize the following in views like a Gantt chart or table:
- Opportunities to remove waste — in the form of duplicate resources — in order to be more efficient
- Chances to eliminate roles and budgets that aren’t needed, positively impacting the bottom line
- Gaps in resource demand, to enable the creation of roles and budgets where they are needed
In fact, resource management has become so important to organizations that there’s often a designated resource manager that exists apart from the project manager.
What are the benefits of resource management software?
The biggest benefit to resource management software or tools is the analysis of resource requirements.
That means you only spend what you need when it comes to resource planning related to headcount and business budget.
Plus, a resource management tool will make an impact.
47% of companies using project management software say that it’s had a positive impact on the accuracy of project cost estimates.
When your cost estimates are accurate, you don’t overspend.
A resource management tool will specifically shed light on the following:
- Resource utilization, including where you can save money in areas where you might be over-allocating resources
- Where you may be over-allocating workloads, which can reduce employee churn and avoid burnout
- Where you’re under allocating resources so you can troubleshoot gaps and problems
- Building transparency so others can see which resources are allocated where and when
What are the essential elements of resource management?
There are 3 essential elements of resource management, all of which can be managed using resource management software.
To illustrate how, let’s walk through one company’s rebranding project — exactly how they tracked the allocation, leveling, and forecasting of resources so that they had the exact amount of resources to get the project done.
Resource allocation is the process of assigning resources to specific tasks.
It should provide a clear picture of the work that needs to be done, and help project managers schedule ahead, as they’ll know how much they can allocate to their specific team in their resource plan.
For our example rebranding project, one resource manager used monday.com’s workload view as a resource management feature to assign both people and resources to a project.
The workload view allows you to split your screen between tasks and team members to get a better understanding of your current resource utilization.
The size and color of the dots in the columns on the calendar indicate the workload, or resource availability, of an employee on any given day.
The smaller and bluer the dot, the less of workload that day. A red dot indicates that the employee is already overbooked, or has low resource availability, in that timeframe.
Our rebranding resource manager can easily see that the team has low resource availability at the beginning of February, but if a task needs assigning during that time frame, Matthew Adams is the best candidate. At the end of the month, he and Ariel Roltman are the best options.
This previous workload view was built using the task owner column in monday.com’s Work OS.
You can also build a similar view for resources using a dedicated status column:
Rebranding projects often require a lot of meetings. In this case, meeting rooms are a resource that will require allocation. You can track resource utilization in our table view.
Resource leveling is understanding which resources are currently being underused or overused and then re-allocating them as necessary to balance out your team’s workload.
To illustrate, we’ll head back to the workload view that we covered during resource allocation.
In the below illustration, you can see that Shelly is quite overbooked whereas Lea is being underutilized. In this example, our resource manager moves the new website configuration from Lea’s task list to Shelly’s.
Resource forecasting — or capacity planning — is the use of predicting which resources will be needed in the future to help with resource scheduling. This is most effectively and efficiently done by evaluating the data from past projects of similar types.
Using this data collected from your resource planning software, you can support resource scheduling by forecasting things like the project scope, constraints, costs, and risks.
monday.com’s dashboard feature collects and visualizes data from our Work OS automatically so that you can easily see when you’re at resource capacity, and whether you’ll reach — or surpass — resource capacity in other projects.
Using our rebranding example, this chart shows how many tasks are currently being worked on, completed, stuck, or not started.
We can see that many tasks are stuck in the public relations (PR) department. This would be a good place to check if more resources are needed.
monday.com provides everything necessary for optimal resource management
We know that our Work OS has everything you need to build any type of project management software and act as a resource scheduler, but we also add additional value to your organization that other tools do not.
Our software is built on a foundation of features that allow resource managers to operate more efficiently and easily than any other resource management software or resource planning software option.
First off, everything is all in one place — documents, data, communications, and information are all at your fingertips within each individual task.
You can automate your resource management process — specifically notifications between steps in the workflow for a particular project.
Here’s an example of how in our previous rebranding example, one company used automations to let Lea know when her projects were one day before due, as well as when items were marked as stuck:
We integrate with tools you’re already using and that other teams are already using. You can collect and analyze data and information from multiple places under the monday.com roof.
Our integrations include some of the most used tools around, including Outlook, Gmail, Dropbox, Slack, Salesforce, Github, Zapier, Shopify, and so many more.
Finally, we have over 200 templates for you to choose from so that you never have to start your resource management process from scratch.
In fact, we have a resource management template to get you started, as well as a resource allocation template if you need to get more granular with your plans.
Stop wasting resources and overworking employees
There are significant negative effects to both under and over-allocating resources to a project.
Overallocate, and you’ve spent money and employee time that you didn’t need to spend. Underallocate, and you’ve risked burning out team members who now have to overcompensate for your mistake.
If you’re looking for a project management solution that goes way beyond what a typical resource management software solution can do, so that your resource schedule is allocated as efficiently and effectively as possible, check out monday.com.
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Resource allocation systems
Resource allocation systems are a type of information system that have the same four-layer generic structure discussed in Chapter 6. Resource allocation systems manage a fixed amount of some given resource, such as tickets for a concert or a football game, that must be allocated to users who request that resource from the supplier. Ticketing systems are an obvious example of a resource allocation system, but a large number of apparently dissimilar programs are also actually resource allocation systems. Some examples of this class of system are:
- Timetabling systems that allocate classes to timetable slots. The resource being allocated here is a time period and there are usually a large number of constraints associated with each demand for the resource.
- Library systems that manage the lending and withdrawal of books or other items. In this case, the resources being allocated are the items that may be borrowed. In this type of system, the resources are not simply allocated but must sometimes be deallocated from the user of the resource.
- Air traffic management systems where the resource that is being allocated is a segment of airspace so that separation is maintained between the planes that are being managed by the system. Again, this involves dynamic allocation and reallocation of resource, but the resource is a virtual rather than a physical resource.
Figure 1. A layered model of a resource allocation system
Resource allocation systems are a very widely used class of application. If we look at their architecture in detail, we can see how it is aligned with the information system model shown in Figure 6.X. The components of a resource allocation system (shown in Figure 1) include:
- A resource database that holds details of the resources being allocated. Resources may be added or removed from this database. For example, in a library system, the resource database includes details of all items that may be borrowed by users of the library. Normally, this is implemented using a database management system that includes a transaction processing system. The database management system also includes resource-locking facilities so that the same resource cannot be allocated to users who make simultaneous requests.
- A rule set that describes the rules of resource allocation. For example, a library system normally limits who may be allocated a resource (registered library users), the length of time that a book or other item may be borrowed, the maximum number of books that may be borrowed and so on. This is encapsulated in the resource policy control component.
- A resource management component that allows the provider of the resources to add, edit or delete resources from the system.
- A resource allocation component that updates the resource database when resources are assigned and that associates these resources with details of the resource requestor.
- A user authentication module that allows the system to check that resources are being allocated to an accredited user. In a library system this might be a machine-readable library card; in a ticket allocation system it could be a credit card that verifies the user is able to pay for the resource.
- A query management module that allows users to discover what resources are available. In a library system, this would typically be based around queries for particular items; in a ticketing system, it could involve a graphical display showing what tickets are available for particular dates.
- A resource delivery component that prepares the resources for delivery to the requestor. In a ticketing system, this might involve preparing an e-mail confirmation and sending a request to a ticket printer to print the tickets and the details of where these should be posted
- A user interface component (often a web browser) that is outside the system and allows the requester of the resource to issue queries and requests for the resource to be allocated.
This layered architecture can be realised in several ways. Information systems software can be organised so that each layer is a large-scale component running on a separate server. Each layer defines its external interfaces and all communication takes place through these interfaces. Alternatively, if the entire information system executes on a single computer, then the middle layers are usually implemented as a single program that communicates with the database through its API. A third alternative is to implement finer-grain components as separate web services (discussed in Chapter 19) and compose these dynamically according to the user’s requests.
Resource assignment process
This flowchart describes the process of assigning service resources to complete your projects and tasks in TRIRIGA® . This process includes using the resource manager, dispatch manager, or task record to assign resources. Resources include employees, equipment, responsible organizations, and preferred service providers.
- Resource assignment via resource manager This flowchart describes the process of using the resource manager to assign resources (such as employees or equipment) to tasks.
- Resource assignment via dispatch manager This flowchart describes the process of using the dispatch manager to assign resources (such as responsible organizations or preferred service providers) to tasks.
- People resource assignment via task This flowchart describes the process of using the task record to assign people resources to the task.
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Tizard Learning Disability Review
ISSN : 1359-5474
Article publication date: 5 October 2015
In discussing some of the issues arising from the paper by Sue Davies and colleagues, the purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the development of the concept of a Resource Allocation System (RAS).
Critical analysis based on review of literature and personal experience.
The role and purpose of the RAS has changed over time and is unlikely to remain stable.
Local authorities may consider whether their RAS will be fit for purpose in the future.
Social innovations are often unstable and may have unexpected consequences; especially when other factors beyond their original design intentions begin to influence their use.
The author of a social innovation reflects on the failure of that innovation to achieve its original purpose.
- Adult social care
- Individual budgets
Duffy, S. (2015), "Commentary – what is a resource allocation system?", Tizard Learning Disability Review , Vol. 20 No. 4, pp. 207-212. https://doi.org/10.1108/TLDR-07-2015-0031
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Questions & More Information
Answers to the most commonly asked questions here
What is a Resource Assignment?
It represents an association between specific tasks and the resources needed to complete them. Assigning resources to tasks will indicate who or what is needed to complete the tasks in your project. More than one resource can be assigned to a task. Both work resources (e.g. people) and material resources can be assigned to tasks.
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What Are the Types of System Resources in a Computer?
Definition of a system resource & how to fix related errors
- Emporia State University
In This Article
Jump to a Section
- How to Fix Errors
- Extra: More Information
- Frequently Asked Questions
A system resource is any usable part of a computer that can be controlled and assigned by the operating system so all the hardware and software on the computer can work together as designed.
System resources can be used by users, like you, when you open programs and apps, as well as by services which are usually started automatically by your operating system.
You can run low on system resources or even run completely out of a system resource since they're limited. Limited access to any particular resource reduces performance and usually results in an error of some kind.
A system resource is sometimes called hardware resource, computer resource, or just resource. Resources have nothing to do with a Uniform Resource Locator (URL) .
Examples of System Resources
System resources are often talked about in relation to system memory (your computer's RAM), but resources might also come from the CPU , the motherboard , or even other hardware.
While there are many individual segments of a complete computer system that could be considered system resources , there are generally four major resource types, all viewable and configurable from within Device Manager :
- Interrupt Requests (IRQ) Lines
- Direct Memory Access (DMA) Channels
- Input/Output (I/O) Port Addresses
- Memory Address Ranges
An example of system resources at work can be seen when you open any program on your computer. As the application is loading, the operating system is reserving a particular amount of memory and CPU time that the program needs to function. It does this by using system resources that are available at the present time.
System resources aren't unlimited. If you have 12 GB of RAM installed on your computer, but the operating system and various programs are using a total of 10 GB, you really only have 2 GB of system resources (in the form of system memory, in this case) that are readily available for other things.
If not enough memory is available, Windows will attempt to store some things in a swap file (or paging file), a virtual memory file stored on the hard drive , to free up memory for the program. If even this pseudo-resource fills up, which happens when the swap file reaches its maximum possible size, Windows will start alerting you that "virtual memory is full" and that you should close down programs to free up some memory.
System Resource Errors
Programs are supposed to "give back" memory once you close them. If this doesn't happen, which is more common than you might think, those resources won't be available to other processes and programs. This situation is often called a memory leak , or resource leak.
If you're lucky, this situation will lead to Windows prompting you that the computer is low on system resources, often with an error like one of these:
- Out of memory or system resources
- Out of Memory
- Insufficient system resources exist to complete the requested service
- System is dangerously low on resources
- Your computer is low on memory
If you're not so lucky, you'll just notice a slower computer or, worse, error messages that don't make much sense.
How to Fix System Resource Errors
The quickest way to fix a system resource error is to just restart your computer . Shutting the computer down will ensure that all the programs and apps you've opened, as well as those lingering in the background, stealing valuable computer resources, are wiped out entirely.
If restarting isn't an option, you can always try to track down the offending program yourself. The best way to do that is from Task Manager —open it, sort by memory usage, and force quit those tasks that are hogging your system resources.
If system resource errors are appearing frequently, especially if they involve random programs and background services, it's possible that one or more of your RAM modules need to be replaced.
A memory test will confirm this one way or another. If one of those tests is positive for an issue, the only solution is to replace your RAM . Unfortunately, they're not repairable.
Another reason for repeated system resource errors, even when you shut down your computer often, may be that background services are running automatically without you realizing it. These programs are launched when Windows is first turned on. Learn how to change startup programs in Windows to can see which ones they are, and disable them.
More Information on System Resources
Windows automatically assigns system resources to hardware devices if the devices are Plug and Play compliant. Nearly all devices and certainly all commonly available computer hardware devices available today are Plug and Play compliant.
System resources can't usually be used by more than one piece of hardware. The major exception is IRQs which can, in certain situations, be shared among multiple devices.
Windows Server operating systems can use the Windows System Resource Manager to control system resources for applications and users.
"System resources" may also refer to software installed on your computer, such as programs, updates, fonts, and more. If these things are removed, Windows may show an error explaining that the resource was not found and can't be opened.
Plug in your new device. Plug and Play will detect the new device and, if available, automatically install drivers for the device. You may have to download drivers or use the installation that came with your hardware.
Open Task Manager ( Ctrl + Alt + Delete > Task Manager ), then select the Performance tab > Open Resource Monitor . Here you'll find detailed information on resources for your CPU, Memory, Disk, and computer network .
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What Is Sales Management?
Master the skills, techniques, and tools you need to take your sales team to the next level.
- Link Copied
Think of sales management like a sports team. Have you ever heard of a top-ranked sports team without a coach? Of course not. The coach provides the guidance, inspiration, strategy and training that enable players to make big wins. The best sales managers operate the same way, inspiring, educating, and guiding their teams to maximize revenue.
The result? Consistent sales growth and a happy team, not to mention sizable commissions and happier, more loyal customers. In this article, we’ll explore sales management best practices, critical skills, and tools to help build your sales team.
What you’ll learn:
What is sales management, what is the sales management process, what are the different types of sales management roles, what are the most important sales management skills, what are the best sales management techniques, what is a sales management system, the benefits of a sales management system.
- What are the best sales management software & tools?
Reach a new level of sales efficiency
Learn how Sales Performance Management helps you divvy up resources and make reps more productive in the field.
Sales management is how sales managers organize, motivate, and lead their sales reps while tracking — and improving — team performance. This includes hiring top talent, training sales staff, coordinating operations across the sales department, creating sales management strategies, and implementing a cohesive sales strategy that drives business revenues.
An effective sales management process includes hiring and training a skilled sales team, setting team-wide goals, developing a sales strategy , managing leads , forecasting , and reporting .
As part of the sales management process, a sales manager does the following:
- Hires and trains top talent
- Sets goals for the sales team including forecasting
- Formulates a sales management strategy to achieve those goals
- Executes that strategy while managing and motivating staff
- Evaluates and reports on sales performance
- Works with the IT department to get a sales CRM to track performance and manage customer data
- Works with marketing and customer relationship management staff to improve collateral and customer outreach
To ensure the sales management process is executed well, managers need specific sales management skills and strategies. These can be gained through on-the-job experience or through training modules like those available through Salesforce Trailhead .
There are more than a dozen types of sales management roles. From business development to sales manager to account executive, each role has its unique responsibilities. These include:
- Sales managers
- Sales directors
- Inside sales managers
- Channel sales managers
- Sales operations managers
Sales managers are one of the key roles in an organization. They oversee a team or, if they have a larger role, multiple teams. Sales managers, regional sales managers, and national sales managers coordinate sales efforts, set goals and strategies, and hire and mentor sales staff. They typically report to a sales director.
Sales directors manage multiple sales managers. Directors have a wider purview, looking at a company’s overall sales goals and progress. Directors also set company-wide sales goals and establish new procedures and report back to the executive team.
Inside sales managers and channel sales managers do everything a traditional sales manager would do except their lenses are narrower. An inside sales manager focuses on a team that sells a product remotely via telephone, email, or other online channels. Channel sales managers work directly with resellers such as distributors and partners.
Sales operations managers support a company’s sales teams by optimizing and improving processes and making sure everyone on the team has the tools they need to best reach customers. They may implement software and services such as sales performance management, sales lead management, and sales management systems as well as customer relationship management (CRM) , analytics, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. They are also responsible for making sure sales managers and other staff train everyone on the technology offerings and often work closely with the information technology team.
To ensure effective sales management, sales managers should focus on mastering the following skills:
Setting targets , assigning areas of coverage, and designing lead generation tactics.
Directing and communicating
Leading day-to-day operations and offering feedback and guidance. Hold meetings with your team virtually or in person on a regular cadence. Don’t forget to check in often to see if salespeople are having difficulties or need help.
Addressing concerns and issues as they arise and finding solutions quickly. This includes interpersonal problem solving, especially as people have shifted to remote or hybrid work arrangements.
Analyzing strategy success and team performance. Tools such as artificial intelligence, analytics, CRM, and sales performance management systems can help.
Keeping staff motivated and working hard with the right incentives and realistic but ambitious targets. Offering mentorship and upskilling opportunities, and provide detailed, actionable feedback regularly — not just when yearly reviews come around.
When all these elements are in place, sales managers can help their team achieve their targets and have a positive impact on the bottom line.
Effective sales management contributes to:
- Increased sales revenue, profitability and growth
- Improved sales forecast reliability, allowing for consistent revenue
- Higher satisfaction and loyalty, both from customers and staff
- Reduced staff turnover, resulting in reduced recruitment, training, and retention costs
- Increased productivity
According to our 2022 State of Sales Report , 82% of sales reps say “they’ve had to adapt quickly to new ways of selling,” while still being held to their targets. Effective sales management needs to focus on helping their teams succeed in challenging conditions by providing training, feedback, and accurate and realistic forecasting.
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Let’s take a deeper dive on what techniques a successful manager should leverage to ensure their sales team is productive:
1. Recruit top-tier candidates and lead ongoing training
The first step to ensuring successful sales is finding, hiring, and retaining the best sales staff. Recruitment is an expensive process, but managers will save money on recruitment and training if they spend the time upfront to secure the best people for the job. The best candidates are both a good cultural addition to a business and are aligned with team goals.
Once the right people are on board, managers should invest in their growth. Successful sales organizations have regular training and professional development, both to stay on top of industry trends and to help motivate staff. Sales reps need to be updated with new product knowledge, information about the competitive landscape, and new avenues for leads. They should also receive regular training on industry best practices and regulations.
2. Provide ongoing feedback
There’s no denying it: The sales profession breeds independent, highly competitive workers and they’re not always the easiest to manage. The good news is effective sales managers can take that competition and use it to motivate everyone on a sales team.
For example, a sales manager might encourage friendly competition by highlighting a top performer on internal communication channels, like Slack . This spurs the rest of the sales staff to increase their own sales and secure shoutouts.
Sales managers should also give positive feedback to the team as a whole. This emphasizes the value of teamwork and provides an incentive for leveling up. Individual, constructive feedback is also important as is checking in with team members to see how they are feeling about their job and their co-workers. According to our 2022 State of Sales Report , sales professionals largely say they value coaching from their manager, but only 26% get 1:1 coaching at least weekly.
Providing this kind of regular feedback is easier than ever with modern sales management systems, which enable real-time sales tracking and instantaneous feedback. Employees can get updates from sales managers wherever they are, respond in the moment, and compare their performance with key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure their own progress.
3. Forecast future sales and track key metrics
The third key technique used in successful sales management is a combination of forecasting and tracking. Sales managers need to forecast revenue for deals that are “in the bag” as well as likely sales from future leads. This determines what sales goals should be set for future quarters. Also, forecasting should pinpoint holdups in the sale pipeline so the sales team knows whether to focus on lead sourcing, relationship building, or closing deals in the months ahead.
To ensure there is no confusion, the sales manager should track the same metrics each quarter and make their forecasting transparent. Everyone should know how the team is performing, preferably in real time. This allows both sales reps and sales managers to understand the team’s progress compared to quarterly goals while also allowing them to pivot when priorities change.
A sales management system (also referred to as sales management software or sales CRM ) is a program that’s designed to make the sales management process simpler and sales data more accessible. Salespeople can use the system to manage contacts , track deals, generate reports, forecast future leads and revenue, and easily complete administrative tasks so they can focus on sales calls.
Today’s sales management systems are sophisticated, often incorporating a wide range of customer and prospect information, including social profiles, online activity, connections within online networks, and other details. Artificial intelligence (AI) and predictive analytics are common features, too, allowing staff to generate sales predictions and lead recommendations within seconds.
AI, for example, can be used to analyze, automate and optimize various sales activities, such as lead scoring, customer segmentation, personalized messaging, and sales forecasting. It enables businesses to make data-driven decisions, free up time, and improve sales effectiveness.
Generative AI can use prompts to help support the creation of various forms of sales copy. For example, it can support the creation of prospecting emails that are critical to an efficient sales process. Since reps currently spend only 28% of their week actually selling, per our State of Sales Report , AI can take some of these time-consuming manual tasks off their plates to allow more time for customer conversations. Predictive AI can also help you prioritize deals based on lead potential and opportunity health. AI can also save time overall by automatically capturing and syncing relevant customer information from your email and calendar, reducing or eliminating the need for manual entry.
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1. more granular prioritization.
An effective sales management system helps managers prioritize tasks and assign them to the right rep for the job. For example, the system could help a sales manager identify a new lead and send contact details to a rep with a request to set up a product demo. Sales management systems can also filter leads to help focus on those that are most likely to generate revenue for each product. AI makes this process faster and more exact since customer segmentation, lead management, and forecasting is faster and more precise. But the true power of AI comes from its intelligence. For example, our AI prioritizes the deals most likely to convert and recommends a follow-up action to keep it moving.
2. A detailed overview of customer history
With sales management software, all communication with or about a customer can be stored in the same place, allowing team members to see their complete history. This type of overview ensures there’s no time wasted covering old ground. More importantly, sales staff can use this information to engage each customer with a personal touch. In addition, salespeople who use AI-enabled systems identify and act on key customer insights from every conversation — like objections, competitor mentions, and pricing — and recommend a next best step.
3. Automated workflows and reduced administrative tasks
A sales management system keeps reps focused on sales, not distracted by mounting admin tasks. Most systems can identify important follow-up information in calls and flag it for sales rep action. Many will also create calendar events or reminders for more accurate task tracking. Not only does this ensure active leads and loyal customers receive timely communication, but it also allows sales reps to connect with stale leads and customers who haven’t reached out in several months.
4. Improved forecasting, analytics, and reports
For decades, report generation and forecasting was a cumbersome, manual task. Fortunately, modern sales management systems can assess sales pipelines, revenue, sales cycles , and more – often with just a few clicks. AI makes this function even faster and more exact. For example, by analyzing lead-to-conversion ratios, sales management software can assess sales rep performance and identify areas that need improvement. AI powered systems also compile data to automate sales forecasting and improve future pipeline management by identifying where effective lead sources are coming from and where sales opportunities are lost.
What are the best sales management software & tools?
Steve Jobs once said that “if you give [people] tools, they’ll do wonderful things with them.” He was talking broadly about technology, of course, but the same idea holds true in the world of sales. The best sales management software allows sales reps to connect to their team, customers, and leads remotely and in real time. This includes sales management systems, videoconferencing hardware/software, social media management platforms, intelligent automation tools, and presentation tools. You may be wondering: What about in-person sales (also known as field sales or outside sales)? While there are some analog tools still used in field sales, many field reps are swapping clipboards and business cards for laptops and smartphones. Our 2022 State of Sales Report highlights this reality: Nearly six out of ten of all reps interviewed said that buyers prefer to engage with companies via digital channels. Another crucial fact: Nearly one-third of deals are closed completely virtually . It’s no surprise, then, that cloud and mobile apps make up most of their toolkit.
1. All-in-one sales management systems (desktop and mobile)
The best sales management systems combine functionality once spread across different tools or apps. Look for platforms (typically CRMs) that include the following:
- Pipeline tracking/management
- Built-in phone dialer
- Email integration
- Quote builder
- Invoicing functionality
With all of this centralized, sales staff can complete tasks like customer follow-up, team check-ins, workflow updates, and contract approvals both in and out of the office – as long as they have internet access.
Perhaps the best way to expedite all of this is to leverage intelligent automation . Ideally, this technology will be folded into your sales management system so you don’t have to fuss with call logging, voicemail drops, and follow-up email sends. Just set up a “macro” – or trigger – for the system to take a desired action and you easily eliminate manual tasks. The best software also lets you automate tasks and manage all of your sales processes and information in one place, so you have a single source of truth.
Oh, and any sales management system worth its salt should have an intuitive mobile app, too. Key mobile features include geolocation that supports navigation in the field, push notifications for in-the-moment updates on accounts, and, of course, AI-driven bots that can complete basic tasks with simple vocal or written commands.
2. Videoconferencing equipment and software
With virtual selling the name of the game, reps must be equipped with quality cameras, audio equipment, and videoconferencing software so they can conduct professional sales calls. In some cases, built-in laptop cameras, speakers, and microphones will suffice, but it’s always a good idea to test your equipment to make sure it delivers a high-quality experience for prospects. If not, consider upgrading to high-definition, high-fidelity equipment.
Also, be sure to set up reliable, intuitive videoconferencing software for your team. Ideally, pick something that doesn’t require prospects to download new software just for a sales call. If that’s not possible, pick software that’s highly rated and widely used. You can also use AI to help unblock deals and identify next steps in video calls. With Einstein Conversation Insights , conversation intelligence is built into your CRM, automatically transcribing recorded video calls and flagging key moments so you can see what customers like and dislike about competitors — without listening to the entire call.
3. Social media management tools
A 2023 study by Global Web Index found that 78% of internet users turn to social media when looking for information about brands. And where customers are, sales reps should be, too.
A variety of social sales tools help reps track customer activity on social media. These are often called “social listening tools.” Reps can simply plug in keywords or topics they want to follow and track a regularly updated feed of customer comments and questions about the topics they’ve selected.
Other apps can help sales staff generate and curate applicable content to post online, either in company feeds or in response to clients’ posts. In fact, Salesforce has its own cutting-edge tool in this space that’s part of our Marketing 360 platform.
4. Sales presentation creation tools
Sales call scheduled? Now it’s time for your team to polish their presentation. Too often, however, this ends up being tedious and cumbersome. To make life easy on your reps, roll out a drag-and-drop presentation tool so they can create decks in minutes. Be sure to pick one with a large image library and lots of easy customization options so each deck can be tailored to the prospect.
Now that you know the core skills, techniques, and tools of sales management, it’s time to put it all together. The key to managerial success is consistency and commitment — take the classes you need to skill up, test techniques to see what works best for your team, and experiment with the tools that fit your unique needs. Management isn’t a “one-and-done” project, so be sure you revisit your goals, strategies, and strengths/weaknesses every quarter to find ways to improve. Onward!
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As a business and marketing writer for 15 years, Jeffrey specializes in skill-up content at Salesforce. His work touches on everything from sales fundamentals to employee coaching, leadership best practices, and growth strategies.
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Thanksgiving week travel problems loom with thunderstorms, snow and tornadoes possible
The days before Thanksgiving, usually among the busiest for travel, are expected to see severe weather that could affect holiday plans for millions of Americans headed to see loved ones.
A powerful system will move east over the next few days, bringing several risks including heavy rain, strong winds and severe storms to the eastern half of the country that could severely affect travel.
Earlier Monday, 10 million people were at risk for severe storms across an area spanning from east Texas to the lower Mississippi Valley and into western Alabama.
Tornado watches had covered a large part of Louisiana, but by around 8 p.m. ET the watches had moved mostly to the far southeastern part of the state and Mississippi, according to the National Weather Service. Strong surface winds and wind shear raised the risk of rotation and tornadoes in Alabama on Wednesday evening, the agency said.
Of particular concern to forecasters was the risk for strong, long-track tornadoes that could occur after sunset. Nighttime tornadoes are more than twice as likely to be deadly than daytime ones.
The threat of heavy rain will also exist, but the speed of the system is likely to limit flash flooding.
Jackson, Mississippi; Alexandria, Shreveport and New Orleans in Louisiana; and Mobile, Alabama, were all metro areas in the severe storm risk Monday.
It has been a quiet autumn season when it comes to severe weather, with Monday featuring the first significant tornado threat since late August for anywhere across the country.
In addition to the severe storms across the South and Gulf Coast states, heavy rain was also expected to cause travel delays across parts of the Midwest and Great Lakes.
Major airport hubs that could experience rain or storm delays on Monday include Chicago, Kansas City, St. Louis, Dallas, Houston and New Orleans.
On Tuesday, the large storm system was projected to move east, bringing rain to the Mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes and wintry precipitation to the interior Northeast.
New York City’s Emergency Management Department issued a travel advisory starting Tuesday because of the expected wet and windy weather conditions.
One to 2 inches of rain is expected Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, and winds could gust at up to 40 mph, it said. New York Gov. Kathy Hochul warned of snow and freezing rain in parts of the state.
Strong to severe storms were also forecast to continue rolling across parts of the Gulf Coast, Southeast and into the Mid-Atlantic. The greatest threat for tornadoes on Tuesday will be for southern Alabama into the Florida Panhandle.
Major airport hubs that can anticipate weather-related delays Tuesday because of rain, wind or thunderstorms are Chicago, Atlanta, Charlotte, Washington D.C.-area airports, Philadelphia and New York City-area airports.
By Wednesday, the storm will be pulling away from the East Coast, but northern New England and Maine will still see rain and snow through the evening.
Hubs like Atlanta and Charlotte could deal with lingering showers in the early hours, as well as Washington, Philadelphia and New York. Boston is the biggest hub that could contend with strong winds and rain into the afternoon hours on Wednesday.
A large, cross-country storm Thanksgiving week wouldn't be complete without winter weather also hindering travel in spots.
On Monday, snowfall will likely affect travel across Colorado, with the major hub of Denver expecting 2 to 6 inches of snow and winds that could gust from 30 to 55 mph.
On Wednesday, much of New England will be at risk of winter weather, as well as a threat of snow and ice. Snowfall totals will likely range around 4 inches, with isolated up to 10 inches possible at the highest elevations. A light glaze of icing will also be possible.
While the travel week is setting up to be a challenging one due to numerous weather threats across the country, Thanksgiving itself is forecast to be quite pleasant for most of the country.
Relatively seasonable temperatures are expected countrywide and while the Gulf Coast could get some stray showers, and the Northern Rockies may deal with more rounds of snow showers, the majority of the country looks to remain mostly dry.
Kathryn Prociv is a senior meteorologist and producer for NBC News.
Edward Shaw is a weather intern for NBC News.