“If the allocation of resources is not proper, it will ultimately derail the project and hurt the business growth”- Dominic Barton
Rightly said, managing resources efficiently is crucial to ensuring a project’s success and business’s profitability. Therefore, managers should ascertain that they assign resources to various projects/tasks as per their skills, competencies, and schedules.
But it is often easier said than done.
Sometimes, managers fail to consider the availability or schedules of resources while assigning them to work. As a result, when a resource is allocated to more work than the actual capacity within a given time, it leads to overallocation. This overallocation results in disengagement, burnout, low productivity, and more such consequences.
This article enumerates the best practices to prevent overallocation using resource management software. But before that, let’s first understand.
1. Why is overallocation of resources detrimental to a business?
Overallocation of resources has a direct impact on projects as well as an organization’s efficiency. For instance, let’s suppose a shared resource has the total capacity to work for 8 hours per day. However, he/she is booked for 6 hours on one project and 4 hours on the other. In this scenario, the resource is said to be overallocated as he/she has been given the work for 2 hours more than the actual capacity. Therefore, it can lead to a number of consequences.
First, overloading resources on a frequent basis can increase their stress and burnout. If it stays unchecked, it directly affects their mental and physical health. As a result, employees fail to give their 100% and feel demotivated, thereby decreasing productivity.
These distressed employees may also start looking for a job change, which directly increases the unplanned attrition rate. Further, when employees work continuously on jobs exceeding their daily capacities, it leads to disengagement, lack of enthusiasm and accountability, decreased focus, and increased errors in work. This causes a dip in the deliverable quality, time overruns, etc.
Overallocation also adversely impacts the work-life balance causing resentment towards work, frequent inter-team conflicts, poor coordination, unplanned absenteeism, etc. These effects not only hamper an individual’s performance but also have a domino effect on the entire team’s output in the long run.
Now that you know the negative influence overallocation has on a business let’s look into some best practices to allocate resources effectively.
2. Best Practices to avoid resource overallocation
It is imperative for managers to prevent resource overallocation and distribute work uniformly among resources to ensure optimal utilization levels.
The following are a few proven practices they can follow.
Plan and prioritize projects and tasks
In a multi-project environment where niche skilled resource demands may often overlap, it becomes difficult to fulfill the requirements of every project. Therefore, managers must first prioritize projects based on various criteria, including profitability, value-addition, strategic alignment, etc.
Accordingly, they must allocate critical resources first to high-priority projects followed by low-priority projects to avoid work overload. Following the allocation of resources to projects, the project manager can also prioritize and assign high-priority tasks to critical resources without overloading them with mundane admin tasks. This also allows resources to give their undivided attention to the critical tasks first. Thereby eliminating overallocation.
Check resource availability and utilization prior to allocation
Resource managers often allocate resources to various projects without considering their availability or utilization levels. It leads to resource overallocation, causing excess workload, burnout, lowered productivity, etc.
Therefore, before booking resources on projects, the manager should check resources’ current and future schedules and distribute the workload evenly across the organization. This will help ensure that every resource is optimally utilized without assigning them the work exceeding their capacities.
Implement resource optimization techniques to ease workload
Managers must track resources’ utilization levels in real-time and determine if any resource is allocated to tasks beyond their available capacity. For overallocated resources, the manager can implement suitable resource optimization techniques based on the nature of the project.
For time-constrained projects, they can leverage the resource smoothing technique to deploy additional resources and delegate project tasks to them. For projects with flexible deadlines, they can implement resource leveling to adjust a project’s start and end dates and optimize team members’ schedules. This way, when the workload is uniformly distributed and schedules are optimized, it prevents the overallocation of resources.
Leverage outsourcing and contingent workforce as appropriate
No matter how talented a resource pool is, resource overallocation can hamper productivity and affect revenue over time. In a multi-project scenario, critical-skilled resources are often utilized beyond their capacity, eventually causing their overallocation and burnout.
Therefore, if all the resources are already booked and have no extra capacity, one can hire an on-demand workforce to cater to skill demands. In large projects, the manager can also outsource non-critical tasks. It saves the time and effort of the company’s permanent resources and enhances efficiency.
Foster multi-skill building at the workplace
Overworking on similar and mundane tasks can lead to not just burnout but also job dissatisfaction and disengagement. Also, when a company has to handle multiple projects with overlapping critical skill demands, it becomes challenging to deploy key resources across each project without overloading them. Therefore, the resource manager should identify the current and pipeline projects’ demands and determine skill gaps.
Accordingly, they can coordinate with people’s managers to initiate upskilling/reskilling programs. It will help under-allocated employees hone secondary/tertiary skills and diversify their skill sets. This multi-skill building helps share the workload of people in critical roles as more employees have requisite varied skills and can be deployed as needed.
How Can a Resource Management Solution Help Avoid Overallocation?
Using SAVIOM’s resource management solution, the resource manager can gain enterprise-wide visibility of the resource pool. Using that, they can get insights into various resource metrics such as schedules, availability, competencies, skills, etc. It helps them identify the best-fit resources, avoid instances of double booking, and prevent overallocation.
Further, real-time utilization reports, forecast vs. actual, and color-coded heat maps give insights into individuals’ utilization rates. This helps in identifying any instances of overallocation. Accordingly, managers can take course-corrective measures to optimize the resource health index.
Resource allocation forms one of the cornerstones of efficient project resource management. Therefore, streamlining and ensuring competent allocation is a must. The above-mentioned tips combined with an advanced resource management solution can help you prevent resource overallocation and enhance employee productivity. Avoiding resource overallocation will help maintain the resource health index and drive the projects and business’s success.
So, how do you keep the overallocation of resources at bay?