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Creating an accurate and effective plan for your next project may seem like a daunting task — and, in many cases, it is. But, if you include resource scheduling in the process, planning the timetable and allocating the resources won’t be so intimidating.
In this article, we discuss why resource scheduling is so important, how you can incorporate it into your project workflow, and how you can control your biggest resource of all.
At its most basic, resource scheduling (sometimes shortened to RS) is a methodology used to allocate resources efficiently throughout the life of a project.
Depending on the project itself, such resources might include:
The actions you take as part of the RS methodology are intimately tied to the types of project management tools your business has available, including:
The Inch suite of tools, for example, combines workforce scheduling, task management, communication, and time tracking into one project management solution that makes coordinating the activities of your team easier than ever before.
With this in mind, we can refine our definition of resource scheduling to be more complete:
Resource scheduling is the tools, actions, and methodology used to allocate resources efficiently throughout the life of a project.
For the remainder of this article, we’ll be using that definition as the basis for our discussion.
Now that you understand what resource scheduling is, we’ll examine why it’s important for the success of your team, your project, and your business.
Planning an effective project is all about getting more done with less to maximize time, labor, and profits.
RS methodologies and tools help control all the assets your business can bring to bear — from inventory and technology to skills and work capacity.
With more command of those variables, when to roll them out, and in what quantity, your business and your team will be better equipped to see any project, large or small, through to its successful completion.
Sure, you can tear through a project with little regard for the caliber of work being done. But this means that the final deliverable may be well below expectations.
Resource scheduling not only maintains control of all the assets available during the project but also improves the quality of both the process and the final product.
More specifically, RS methodologies help identify the employee or employees with the skills to get the job done right the first time while maintaining the quality work your business needs to satisfy its customers.
When your team can get more done with less while still maintaining the high-quality standards that you and your clients demand, you’ll save money over the entire life of the project.
With a good planning process in place, you’ll begin to identify areas where you can, perhaps, cut back on certain resources without lowering the caliber of the work being done.
Even if those cut-backs are small, few, and far between at first, they can eventually add up to big savings and decreased costs for your business.
Additionally, you can apply what you learned from the previous project, take those cuts to the next project, and find even more ways to save money.
Modern RS tools, such as Inch, also help reduce delays and ensure the timely completion of the project.
When your team has the necessary tools right from the get-go, they’ll be better able to work through the beginning phases of the project when many of the speedbumps first present themselves.
Giving your team a good head start by allocating assets effectively before the work begins is one of the best ways to set your project on the path to success.
Along with quality, productivity is one of the cornerstones of every successful project.
But how can you ensure that your team maintains its productivity during the weeks and months they’re focusing on the smaller tasks that make up the larger undertaking?
By using RS methodology and software to be as accurate as possible scheduling time-on-task.
When you give your team enough time to complete tasks without making them feel rushed, they’ll be able to maintain their productivity over the entire life of the project.
And, when their productivity remains high, they’ll be better equipped to deal with the other variables on this list — getting more done with less, finding ways to improve quality, decreasing project costs, and overcoming delays.
Harness the power of cloud computing and software availability to create a centralized resource for your team.
For most project planning and RS activities, this manifests as a single workforce schedule where all team members, managers, and clients involved can find details on the individual tasks and the project as a whole.
In many cases, legacy RS software relied on hard copy to keep everyone up to date on what was going on.
Without these reports or frequent face-to-face meetings, clients couldn’t monitor the progress of the project because they didn’t have access to the in-house network where all the data was stored.
Similarly, team members had to physically be on site, in the office, to see what was going on and what needed to be done.
But with modern RS software, such as Inch, both clients and employees can access the workforce schedules from anywhere and at any time.
The final workforce schedule and overall project plan are often based on a work breakdown structure (or WBS for short).
A work breakdown structure is one of the first things you’ll do in the planning stages of any project.
It involves creating a branching diagram with all paths leading to the final deliverable. Each branch (and there can be many) represents a sub-task that contributes to the overall goal of the project.
Once you’ve identified all the sub-tasks and their dependencies, you’ll have a more accurate picture of the resources you’ll need — and how to schedule them — in order to get things done smoothly and efficiently with as little delay as possible.
A big part of resource scheduling is analyzing what assets you have (or will have) available at the start of the project.
Remember that project resources are more than just tangibles such as tools, supplies, technology, and inventory. Project resources also include intangibles such as time, skills, and availability.
Before you finalize any schedules or quote a time frame, analyze your available resources — both tangible and intangible — and establish your team’s strengths and weaknesses.
With that information in hand, you can then provide everything your employees need to be successful going forward.
We’ve discussed it in various places throughout this article, but it bears repeating: Employee skills are a resource just like technology and time.
As such, a big part of your RS activities and project planning will be assigning employees with the right skills to the tasks for which they’re best suited.
For some less-important tasks, you can assign employees with less experience as a way to strengthen their skills. But, for the most part, it’s best to give experienced employees the responsibility to complete the more crucial tasks.
When you assign jobs according to skill set, you position your team for success.
The more data you have about how your team works, the better you’ll be able to fulfill the best practice mentioned above (assigning the right people to the job).
You can get that data by tracking both the total time at work and the actual time on task.
With the help of your time clock software, employees can clock in at the beginning of the day, track time on task A, task B, and task C, and then clock out at the end of the day.
Armed with that information, you’ll have a more detailed picture of how your employees work. That can be invaluable when it comes time to schedule resources for another project.
Your team is the biggest and most important resource you’ve got. Exercise full control over that asset — and plan your projects more efficiently and effectively — with the Inch suite of tools.
Our app streamlines the resource scheduling process and makes it easier to allocate labor, time, and funds whether your business is in the midst of planning a new project or managing regular day-to-day activities.
Inch allows managers and employees to:
All of this and more is available anytime, anywhere on whatever device you have handy (iOS, Windows, Android, smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop).
For more free resources to help you manage your business better, organize and schedule your team, and track and calculate labor costs, visit TryInch.com today.
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