A Complete Guide to Creating a Resource Plan and Availability Reports
What is the most essential thing needed to successfully complete any project? You need resources, such as people, machinery, finances, and space or facility. However, just having all this can’t assure you success. A project manager needs to first determine which resources he needs, when, and in what quantities. This process is termed resource management and helps to forecast the costs and timeline of the project. With the goal of using people in an optimum manner to complete the projects, the organization can drive profitability. Hence, having a realistic view of your workforce, the material required to complete projects, and how much time is needed to do so is very important. The first step to attaining this is drafting an accurate resource plan. Manual processes are prone to error and are time-consuming. But creating a resource plan and resource availability reports using a resource management tool is a game-changer.
What is a Resource Plan?
A comprehensive plan where you identify, list, and organize the resources needed to complete a project successfully is called a resource plan. By resources, we mean all kinds of assets required to execute a project. A resource is a broad term that includes employees, equipment, supplies, materials, tools, finances, and time. A detailed organizational resource management plan enables us to map out the precise quantities of the resources that can be stored, like cash and other resources such as machinery or people.
How to Create a Comprehensive Resource Plan?
- Create a List of Required Resources
You should begin by making a list of the resources required to complete the project. How many people do you need to complete a certain task? Then, determine which roles are needed for your project like full-time employees, contractors, part-time employees, etc. Next, determine what all equipment or machinery you may need to perform the project. For example, computers, office equipment, telecommunications equipment, any machinery, etc. You may also need to decide what all non-consumable material you need to complete your project or things like any hardware or software.
- Map the Best Fit Resources to the Right Tasks
Form your team as per the competencies required for the project. If you are not getting enough full-time employees with the skills you need, consider taking some freelancers or contractors on board. Here, you need to do detailed resource planning like determining team roles, finalizing budgets, contracts, put policies and procedures in place, etc. An effective resource plan means aligning your project requirements with the most suitable resources who can complete the given tasks well. You also need to ensure that the resource you choose has the availability as per the required timelines. Consider implementing a resource planning tool as it helps to create an accurate resource availability report.
- Create a Detailed Resource Schedule
After collating all the information, the next step is to build a detailed resource schedule. Now, you need to decide if you have enough resources to deliver the project milestones on time. Think of all the what-if scenarios to forecast any challenges or probable roadblocks. Make a list of all tasks and subtasks in a project and ensure they are assigned to the right resources. Then, create a resource schedule detailing all the different types of resources needed, how much time you need those resources, and the exact month or week you need them. This schedule will also mention the total quantity of each resource used per week/month. Lastly, list the assumptions and limitations that you have identified in your resource plan and schedule.
- Manage your Resources
Now is the stage where you should define each team member’s role and responsibilities and who is supposed to be doing what. In case you’re renting some machinery or tools, then you should ensure that it is returned in good condition. This includes maintaining the facilities too. This doesn’t mean that no challenges will appear, but you need to try to identify, explore, analyze, find solutions, and then review the situation.
- Keep a Track of the Progress or Status of the Project
Being preventive is always better than trying to resolve or repair the loss later. Thus, if you can foresee some loophole or issue in your resource management, then it will be easier to find a solution ahead of it. Also, it’s important to track your project at every stage by checking in to your resource planning tool and analyze the actual versus the planned allocation, performance, and status. At every milestone, assess if there are any bottlenecks or any specific areas where the project can get stuck. Determine if any resources are under-or over-utilized or any have additional capacity.
- Control Resources
Lastly, you also need to control your resources or monitor them during the development phase. See if they’re delivering the expected output and how is the resource utilization percentage or rate. Resource utilization measures if you are using the resources efficiently or not. If a team’s utilization rate is very low, then create a cost-benefit analysis and see what can be done to correct it. Always evaluate the results to ensure that your project stays on track.
Defining Resource Availability
Resource availability means if renewable resources are available like human resources, equipment, machinery, or facility. By renewable resources, we mean those assets which need to be renewed regularly. So, in terms of employees, you have to check team members’ availability weekly or monthly. This is contrary to consumable resources, which can be renewed over a time period of a whole project.
Resource Availability and How is it Vital in Project Planning
Why are resource availability reports so important? Why do you need them? Resource availability provides you a snapshot of your resource schedule and who is available for which tasks. An employee can be partially or fully available but the goal should be to utilize each resource to their optimal capacity. This information is important to plan and allocate people to various tasks and avoid any upcoming loopholes. If a project manager doesn’t have insights into resource availability, they may end up over- or under-booking some team members. In addition, many key parameters such as demand, resource capacity, competency gaps, and utilization rate are all affected by resource availability. You can create detailed resource availability reports with a resource management tool.
How can eResource Scheduler Help with Accurate Resource Plan and Resource Availability Reports?
If you want to optimize the usage of your employees, ensure sufficient staffing for your projects, and find and schedule the best resources for the right job, choose eResource Scheduler. This resource management software provides you real-time visibility of resource assignments and helps to increase resource utilization by 18 to 30%. With this tool, you can share resources across different teams and enhance coordination. Besides that, this software enables load levelling across resources and provides accurate scheduling estimations based on historical actuals. Formulating an efficient hiring plan is not easy. But eResource Scheduler creates hiring plans based on predicted shortages and excess. That’s not all! Reduce your resource bench-time and increase your revenue while you get real-time updates of any scheduling changes. So, if you are thinking of how to draft perfect resource plans, get a free trial of eResource Scheduler and make the best resourcing decisions.