Project Resource Management – Allocation and Optimization

Shubhangi Pandey
By | Updated March 9, 2022 | 10 min read
Project Resource Management

In a perfect world, businesses would have unlimited time, money, and manpower to run smoothly. This would also be a world without time delays, cost issues – a utopia devoid of the classic troubles Project Managers (PMs) face. 

In reality, however, businesses don’t have unlimited resources at their disposal. Resources like labor, money, tools, materials are limited and have to be allocated and managed well for smooth project execution.  


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In this article, you will find:

What is resource allocation?
5 reasons why resource allocation is essential to organizations 
5 tips to effectively optimize your resources as the project proceeds 
How Power BI can improve resource allocation
4 examples of how PMs make decisions using Brightwork 365 


What is resource allocation?

Keeping the project goals in mind, project managers identify and assign tasks to employees with stipulated timelines according to their skill level and availability, among other factors. 

Depending on how workload is distributed across the business during the entire project cycle, resources are assigned or reassigned as the situation calls for it. With the help of accurate resource allocation, PMs know first-hand whether the milestones can be completed in a given timeframe. As the tasks get completed and regular updates stack up, the future roadmap of the specific project portfolio becomes crystal clear. 


5 reasons why resource allocation is essential to organizations

According to PMI’s report, Pulse of the Profession, erroneous requirements gathering is one of the primary causes of project failure. Without the right idea of the resources required for a project, project managers are likely to fail at drawing accurate assumptions and conducting predictive analysis for the project at every stage. By simply improving your resource allocation, you can avoid bottlenecks such as project delays and reduce task dependencies.  

Here are 5 ways how effective resource allocation helps your organization: 

1. Reduce employee churn

Simply put, employee churn is the overall turnover in the staff of an organization as current employees leave and new employees get hired.   

When done right, resource allocation ensures employees are allocated tasks/problems they like to do and are good at solving. This encourages them to stay in the company as they do fulfilling work and become more engaged. What’s better is that you improve employee billability too! 


2. Ensure timely delivery of projects within budget

Timely delivery within budget is a win-win for both your business and clients that cements the reputation of your business – a result of resource allocation success.   

When under-skilled and over-skilled resources are improperly assigned to projects, you face time issues and budget issues. Overqualified employees drive up the project resource costs, whereas your project gets delayed by under-skilled resources. 


3. Reduce project cost

In the absence of resource allocation, resources are allocated according to immediate visibility, whether they are the best fit or not. Crucial factors such as skill level and job-fitness take the back seat.   

Resource allocation fixes this by distributing your resources across processes according to predefined job-matching criteria, making you more profitable. 


4. Help maintain a time log for employees

For each employee, the time to complete a project varies by a margin. As a PM, you want to prevent employees from both overworking as well as underworking, as both can have a negative impact on productivity and efficiency. This also has a direct impact on employee engagement.  

A well-maintained time log can help PMs accurately assess the time taken by employees to do their job and then allocate resources accordingly. 


5. Accounts for change in project scope  

PMs have to account for change of plans on the way of a project. A client can change the project requirements midway project, new assumptions and learnings in the middle of a project can drive you to redefine the scope of your project, and so on.  

To ensure it doesn’t disturb the employee morale and non-human resources, it’s essential to account for the change in project scope in resource allocation so the project is executed without severe bumps. 


5 tips to effectively optimize your resources as the project proceeds

It’s paramount for PMs to ensure projects run smoothly on their watch. As discussed before, adequate resources at disposal are key to successfully executing any project. Ace project managers take resource management a notch up with effective resource optimization. While resource allocation can help you assess and assign resources in a project, resource optimization will help you achieve more with less.  

Here are some ways to achieve resource optimization: 

1. Encourage your employees to learn multiple skills

Employees may need to work on projects where their primary skillset don’t match. Here’s where their secondary skills help. With management support and adequate training, employees can learn secondary skills. It makes them more billable, and you can allocate your talents wisely on multiple projects. 


2. Identify the resources before you begin

As mentioned before, you must ensure you start with adequate resources before embarking on a project. Some factors to consider in your resource allocation plan are: availability of your resources according to their schedule, the skill level of resources and the project demands to match, expected time delays and cost spike of the project. 


3. Include equipment, materials, and facilities in the resource allocation plan

If your business deals in physical assets, it’s essential to include them in resource allocation along with your employees. An example would be allocating meeting rooms correctly optimized for meetings and informal sessions. 


4. Increase profitability by fully utilizing resources

We have addressed assigning resources in detail; what’s next is ensuring they are fully utilized. One cannot function well without the other. Tracking if your resources are beholden to non-billable operational tasks and immediately shifting them to strategic, billable work can help you achieve high efficiency. 

Advanced forecasting tools can be employed to ensure that the resources aren’t overallocated or under-allocated,  


5. Use Business Intelligence (BI) tools to make better, informed decisions

As discussed in the next section, BI tools track your business’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and account for their utilization, availability, and capacity. This provides real-time updates of different KPIs and keep the decision-makers well-informed.  


How Power BI can improve resource allocation

Optimizing project resources for resource allocation is easier said than done. A flood of data from multiple sources can get overwhelming for the best of PMs. Here’s where the traditional methods fail, and Power BI steps in. 

What is Power BI? Simply put, they turn unrelated data from varied sources into understandable insights. They connect Microsoft apps like Excel, Dataverse to non-Microsoft apps like Salesforce to analyze data in one place. They allow building tools that simplify project reports for PMs. 


Examples of how PMs make decisions with Brightwork 365 using visualization

Brightwork 365 is a project and portfolio management solution integrated with Microsoft Power BI. It turns incoherent data into accessible dashboards and charts – giving insights that previously hid under loads of data.  

Brightwork 365 takes it further – PMs can examine “what if” scenarios with data and make forecasts for future performance. This makes sure departments meet their key business metrics. Data visualizations using charts tell stories that were previously hard to find. 

What can you do with Brightwork 365? 

  • Allocate resources
  • Track task status 
  • View filters according to the role (PMs, Sales, etc.) 
  • Track project schedule 


BI tools that can help project managers assess their resource management during a project:

1. Portfolio dashboard – all projects activities in one place

Through the rich dashboard in ‘Portfolio’, PMs can see the status, health, issues, and late tasks across all projects at once place. It’s beneficial when many employees work parallelly on multiple projects. PMs can filter according to Employee, Template, Project, Portfolio to closely monitor the progress in individual fields. 

BrightWork 365 Power BI Portfolio Dashboard


 2. Project timelines

Using an interactive Gantt chart, senior executives and PMO leads can track the schedules for all projects in one place. It’s easy to check the current start and finish date and the status (underway, late, or overdue) of projects. This totally removes the need for any manual updates from employees. 


BrightWork 365 Power BI Projects Timeline


3. All work

PMs can view tasks, deliverables, issues, and risks due across all projects in one place – at the ‘All Work’ section. 

This view helps the entire team to understand and balance work assignments fairly among themselves. 


BrightWork 365 Power BI All Work


4. My Work

‘My Work’ displays tasks, deliverables, issues, and risks assigned to the individual logged-in user across all projects in one place. 


BrightWork 365 Power BI My Work

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Shubhangi Pandey
Shubhangi Pandey

BrightWork Content Marketer

Shubhangi is a product marketing enthusiast, who enjoys testing and sharing the BrightWork 365 project portfolio management solution capabilities with Microsoft 365 users. You can see her take on the experience of the template-driven BrightWork 365 solution, its unique project management success approach, and other personalized services across the site and social channels. Beyond BrightWork, Shubhangi loves to hunt for the newest Chai Latte-serving café, where she can read and write for hours.

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