Information Technology or IT Resource Management has its own challenges and problems. With a lot of companies focusing on optimizing resources the resource management function has become a core activity. In this article I have listed a few practices than can help a resource manager manage the resources effectively.
|IT Resource Management|
#1 : Maintain a resource plan
- Always maintain a resource plan.
- It does not mater which resource management tool you use it is important that a resource manager always has access to latest resource allocations.
- You may use a Simple Resource Plan, Resource Matrix or Advanced Resource Plan.
- The resource plan is like a contract between everyone so the plan should be up to date.
- Use a resource plan which supports multiple projects. You may also consider using Capacity Planner.
#2 : Have dedicated resource manager
- This is very effective if you have a large team of resources or software developers.
- The resource manager will be responsible for updating the resourcing plans and will be the single point of contact for resource allocations.
- The resource manager should track only the resource loading. How the resources utilized in a project is a project manager's responsibility.
#3: Regularly update. review and publish resource plans
- It is important to update the resource plan regularly.
- I will recommend that you update the plan at least once a week.
- Review the plan with team managers and project managers at least once in two weeks.
- Publish the resource plan to everyone including the team on regular basis.
#4 : Leave enough room for other day to day activities
- Anyone working in a software or IT company has to spend time on other tasks like meetings, performance reviews, training and other such day to day routine tasks.
- It is important that a resource manager leaves room for such activities and so does the project manager.
- This can be achieved by reducing the resource availability for everyone by certain %.
- The % of time spent on such tasks will very from organisation to organisation.
- By looking at the time sheet data for resources you will be able to get an approximate idea about the time resources spend on other activities.
#5: Maintain a resource leave and public holiday register
- It is vital for a resource manager to know who is on leave and for how much time.
- Without knowing the leave plan allocating resources is very dangerous as the project managers will assume the resources are available and plan the project.
#6 : Enforce additional leave approval policies
- Implement policies outside normal HR Policies.
- For example 1 day leave needs to approved one week in advance, one week should be notified one month in advance and anything more than that a quarter in advance.
- This will allow the resource manager to plan accordingly.
- Always insist on a backup being identified for the resource going on leave.
#7 : Automate and track resource time sheets
- It is important to know here your resources are spending time.
- There are quite a few systems which allow you track time. One of them is JIRA.
- Having the ability to track time allows a resource manager to compare actual vs planned.
#8 : Demand to see project plans and track project progress
- After a resource manager assigns resources to a project it is the project managers responsibility to make sure the software resources are utilized.
- But it is important that a resource manger knows when the project will start and complete so that he can plan next assignments for the resources.
- Also, knowing the project plan helps in understanding how much work load each resource has.
- The resource manager may also be able to identify opportunities where resources can be shared across projects.
- Check how your project managers can plan project resources effectively.
# 9 : Actively track resource cost
- Depending on the resource pool different resources will have different costs.
- It is up to the resource manager to actively track resource costs and inform the project managers of any cost changes to the resources.
- Also, track that the resource are billable on the right project. It is very easy for a resource to get distracted on non-billable tasks.
- You may consider using Excel Budget Template for resource cost tracking.
#10 : Automate resource requests
- It is helpful in tracking and maintaining audit log when resources are requested.
- It also allows the resource manager to ask for any additional information required as most of the system allow customization.
- It is easier to enforce standards when requests are automated.
#11 : Have a resource approval hierarchy
- Always have a approval hierarchy to make sure that you are making the right decisions.
- In some organisations the resources are jointly owned and having approval hierarchy gives an opportunity to validate the resource requests.
- Senior managers in the approval hierarchy can also validate the alignment of the resource requests with the organisations priorities.
#12 : Plan forward for long term and be conscious of upcoming projects
- Always try to plan forward and keep your resource plans updated for at least one quarter in advance.
- Also, keep a track of the new upcoming projects to find out what kind of resources will be needed.
- In the software development world is always possible to predict the projects.
- Also, a good pratice is to keep fixed number of resources as buffer.
#13 : Keep buffer for on-boarding and training
- When a new resource is on-boarded it takes a while for the resource to start getting productive.
- Make sure that the project manager leaves buffer for the boarding and training activity in the project plan,
- Some buffer is needed to be maintained when a new resource from a different project joins.
- Most of the software or IT Projects get delayed or change plans. So having this buffer is always a good idea.