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When you’re working on several projects at a time, it’s normal for things to get a little chaotic, right?
Still, you have plenty of solutions on the market to keep your projects on track and make sure your team’s work is planned well. Project managers often use project management tools, but what about resource management apps? Is it necessary to invest in both types of solutions?
In this blog post, we’ll share some indicators that your company should seriously consider implementing resource management software to better plan and manage your team’s work.
For each of the signs we discuss below, you’ll also show you how a robust resource management app could help you.
Before we discuss the particular issues companies face, let’s briefly recap what resource management tools are.
What is a resource management tool?
Resource management software helps you to better plan your team’s work and measure the results. As the name suggests, the focus here is on your team: their availability, capacity, workload, utilization, timesheets. Most resource management apps include features for resource planning and allocation. You can also find more comprehensive tools like Teamdeck, which combines resource scheduling, time tracking, and leave management. If you want to check it out, you can sign up for a free trial.
Now, let’s talk about the challenges you might be facing:
Your team members struggle to complete projects on time and within budget.
There are multiple reasons for projects’ failure, but resource management can considerably help you deliver your projects successfully.
First of all, you need to look at resource allocation and make sure that the right people are working on the right projects. It’s not easy to do when you have a large team and a big project portfolio. In order to ensure that you pick the best possible employees for a given project, it’s handy to have a company-wide resource calendar.
Such a calendar makes it easy to see which employees are available to join your project. On top of that, a good resource planning tool will help you to filter team members by skills, seniority, or location. Based on that, you should be able to allocate the right people to the project.
Yet another reason for failed projects is an inability to monitor their progress. Project management software often allows you to create Gantt charts to illustrate the project’s schedule. However, you should also track your team’s work via timesheets. Why? For instance, when you see that people spend much longer on a given assignment than planned, it could be a sign that the whole project might be delayed.
You’re not sure about your employee’s productivity and utilization levels.
Why is resource utilization so important to your team’s well-being and the condition of your projects? On the one hand, as an employer, you don’t want your teams to be overworked. Resource planning software like Teamdeck allows you to instantly spot overtime in your employees’ timesheets and monitor their workload in real-time.
Balanced resource utilization is also crucial from the business perspective. You simply can’t afford to have people on your team that don’t have enough to do. These team members themselves are also likely to get frustrated about their lack of assignments. Unfortunately, you may easily miss some people when you don’t have a centralized resource scheduling tool. Regularly measuring resource utilization in your team is essential for keeping your employees satisfied and your business profitable.
You struggle with assessing the health of your projects before they’re finished.
How do you know if your projects are doing fine? Checking the “done” section in your team’s task manager is one option, but we suggest you also pay attention to the time your team spends on a given project.
It’s a good idea to compare the estimated project hours with the actual time your team tracks. Ideally, you would look at the values changing over time. Take a look at this chart created in Teamdeck’s project reporting suite:
The dark green bars represent your team bookings—the estimated hours. The light green bars are the actual hours recorded via a time tracking app. You can see that from the beginning of the project people have been tracking slightly more hours than initially estimated. The difference between estimates and actuals was visible but not that big. On January 17th, however, the team tracked twice as many hours as estimated. For managers, that’s an indicator that something is off in the project. Perhaps there was an unexpected change request from the client? Or perhaps one of the tasks proved to be much more difficult than expected? Granted, a couple of extra hours shouldn’t be a big deal in the great scheme of things but imagine this situation lasting for weeks or months. Without utilizing time tracking and monitoring your resource management software, you might not notice that the project is not on the right track.
Your project management tool doesn’t allow for resource planning.
Most companies use some sort of a project management app. It might be a simple Kanban board or a comprehensive solution with resource planning capabilities. However, if your PM tool is only focused on tasks and project milestones, you will need another app to manage your project and team equally well.
Fortunately, resource management tools usually have built-in integrations with project management apps, a public API, or Zapier apps.
Planning new projects is a guessing game.
This could be the case for several reasons. We’ve already mentioned resource allocation as a considerable challenge for project managers. Yet another issue is that many companies work on multiple projects at once. Without a resource planning tool, you might easily double-book people or cause project scheduling conflicts. Finally, project planning is extremely difficult when you don’t have visibility into employees’ availability and planned absences. Imagine booking a programmer for a fast-paced project only to find out that they have a two-week vacation right in the middle of the project.
As you can imagine, resource management apps can spare you all these troubles, as long as they offer leave management features on top of resource planning capabilities.
Using Teamdeck, you can display everyone’s schedules, availability, and vacations. This way, you can plan your projects with more confidence. What if you have to make changes? Teamdeck has a drag-and-drop resource calendar, so you can easily edit the schedule and get back to managing your team.
Your HR teams use spreadsheets and paper forms to track people’s availability and absences.
You already know that some resource planning tools combine scheduling with time off management. That’s a great opportunity to take your company’s HR processes to the next level.
Unfortunately, many teams still rely on spreadsheets and unstructured communication to manage time off. It’s not efficient for anyone involved in the process: employees find it time-consuming to send a vacation request, managers may easily get lost in the chaos.
As a result, project managers may have very little visibility into resource availability and planned absences. Of course, this could lead to costly scheduling mistakes. Effective resource and capacity planning is only possible when you know who on your team is available and when.
With Teamdeck, employees can request time off with just a couple of clicks. Every accepted absence is visible in the resource calendar, so project managers can take it into account when planning new projects.
You have no idea how many billable and non-billable hours your employees put in each week.
Understanding how many billable and non-billable hours your teams track is essential to monitoring project profitability. Once you see the breakdown of hours, you can try to look for optimizations and, for instance, reduce non-billable hours by increasing the effectiveness of your team’s meetings.
How to calculate billable hours? In Teamdeck, employees can assign tags like “unbillable” to their time entries when tracking time. All you have to do as a manager is create a simple report to analyze selected teams or projects. What’s more, you can use the same report to calculate employee payroll or the amount of money you should charge your client.
How to find the best resource management software for your team?
Hopefully, you see that resource management software can be a great addition to your team’s toolbox. Now, you have to find the right tool for your team. We suggest starting by reading an overview of popular resource planning tools. Use it to compare the features and prices of different cloud-based tools available on the market.
Perhaps you like what you saw in this blog post and want to learn more about Teamdeck in particular? Schedule a call with Aniela, our Customer Success Expert. She will show you the most important features of Teamdeck and explain how you can optimize your company’s processes by embracing resource management.