Precursive often calls their software offering resource management or workforce planning but for differing industries these terms may lack meaning. Common parlance for the solution they are really seeking is resource scheduling.
But what is resource scheduling and why is it important?
Resource scheduling, put simply, is making sure your people are in the right places. To take that a step further, it is a methodology by which companies deploy their people, typically on projects but also for any task or activity undertaken. Scheduling will often involve the time-frame of the project and with distinct start and end dates, availability is important. Sometimes the resources can go beyond the human element, referring to anything which will be required to complete the work, be that equipment, spaces, consumables or contractors.
As resource scheduling is a key part of the process during project planning, more and more leaders are looking to for increased effectiveness in this area. Availability and capacity are the traditional measures of determining a timeline, but resources can become constrained by these. Increasingly it is now the responsibility of operations to ensure this doesn’t happen and every stakeholder, both client side and internally, must be kept informed; hard to do in archaic and clunky spreadsheets and especially hard to do quickly.
Review scope of work from pre-sales and compile the activities that have to be undertaken in order to complete the work.
Identify the time required for each activity, checking for any constraints likely to occur, e.g. hard-stop deadlines.
Assign resource to each project phase or task; this can be referred to as the resource demand.
Ensure the upcoming availability of the resources, their capacity, so that the business is confident the work can be completed to requirements.
Check for clashes. Often certain resources may be in high demand but have limited capacity, a common tendency that can lead to burnout of top performers.
Adjust forecasts through capacity vs. demand across all projects to prevent bottlenecks.
OLD SCHOOL RESOURCE SCHEDULING
Typically spreadsheets or a glorified calendar were the tools for this. Whilst these can work to a degree, they have limits when leaders are seeking increased effectiveness from their resource scheduling.
For example, in the above stage two, it’s hard to accurately assign time based on data across multiple spreadsheets and all you tend to know is how much time was used historically on similar tasks but not how productive, efficient or effective that resource was at the time. Inefficiencies can therefore become built-into your resource schedule and be repeated.
The problem that exists in stage three is that people are assigned based on their availability or anecdotal information (for instance, they may have worked with the client previously); this leads to stagnation of teams as skill becomes undervalued when it’s not assigned in a scientific way.
Stage four is problematic as spreadsheets tend to be for limited periods of time and are hard to compare when there’s multiple versions - true availability is therefore hard to gauge; this is also the issue for stage five.
Stage six is possible in spreadsheets but the process tends to be manual and time consuming.
Digital transformation is a company-wide issue and operations is affected as much as any department. To fix the old school problems, technology can be the aid. Essentially when everything is managed in the cloud the whole resource schedule can be accessed by anyone who needs to assign or complete the work, so even global teams can be in-sync. Importantly this is done in real-time so that sought after effectiveness is gained as you always have a true view of the workforce in a single place; information is no longer siloed.
Now data can be applied to the process to keep everyone informed. Awareness of how much can actually be taken on in a day/week/month, what the current and forecasted workload looks like, if there are any planned absences, time off, likely roadblocks. Also, knowing if certain skill is missing from the business by mapping it to the workload early so HR can be informed ahead of time and plug the gap. Now the total potential to take on work is actually maintained in a resource schedule that is automated, accurate and up-to-date.
SO CAN I RESOURCE SCHEDULE IN PRECURSIVE?
Yes. Really easily.