When you get it right, you are a champion but when you get it wrong it can spell disastrous results for your team and your company. No matter what the industry, resource planning is a crucial part to any management agenda. Much too often managers are left stumbling over cluttered spreadsheets and over-complicated task management software trying to get a birds-eye-view of their team. Giving a definitive answer of what your people are working on is what the expectations should be, so let’s get to our top tips to achieve this..
1) Take a Moment to Plan
If you are going to be running a team of resources then you need to first take the time to actually gather all the information at hand. This means everything from listing your teams current status, projects, workload, locations, skill-set and even planned vacations. All of this goes into your plan and it’s from there you can start making decisions.
A stress of resource planning is often not knowing what answers to give your superior or client when they need fast accurate answers. If you are responsible for your team then you are accountable for being able to answer these resource questions. By embracing the fact you are the one in charge of your people planning, you can then focus and take control of your department.
3) Don’t plan too far ahead
Planning really far ahead for all your people is fine if you have long term projects, but try and be agile about your resource planning. Be able to offer your boss quick solutions without having to churn the entire plan around each time. Let’s swap John with Pete for the design of this project. Mary needs to attend a Wedding, so let’s sub in Jane instead…Short-term planning depends on the type of business you are in, and as mentioned if you can book people long-term, fantastic!…I personally always try and work in an agile way both in planning and task management.
4) Identify the “White Space”
This type of thinking will show your proactive business sense of resource planning. Hub Planner gives you foresight into your planning. We call sections where your people are not booked on any project “White Space”. Let’s say you are a producer in a web agency. A priority for you as a Producer will be to inform your management team of this white-space as early as possible. The business folks and project managers will work on negotiating some new work from their existing or new clients and fill the white space with paid work. You are a champion for identifying this space!
5) Plan Events, Expect Anything
Stay nimble and always expect the unexpected. People moving on, sick, on vacation or caught up in meetings unable for production are part of the day-to-day for some businesses. You should always be prepared to react to these circumstances within your planning. What can help is if you can plan ahead any known events. Asking employees in plenty of time what vacations they plan on taking around the popular times such as summer, Christmas etc. When you know, you mark them into your plan. What about company holidays? Maybe you have different offices with different vacation days! All of this should be entered into your plan so you see it coming well in advance.
That is a brief Top 5 for now, I am sure this list will grow as people give insight into their industry specifics when it comes to resource planning. If you have any more tips, feel free to suggest them below in the comment area.
Hub Planner Founder