Data plays a pivotal role in efficient project resource management. Whether you are a resource manager responsible for fulfilling open positions or a project manager striving to complete the deliverables on time and within budget using the selected team members, you need actionable insights.
For example, let’s assume you are the resource manager, and the project manager has requested you allocate five resources to a specific project. Now how will you do so?
Indeed, you will need information about the project requirements such as skills, experience, availability, etc. Accordingly, you have to see if competent resources matching the criteria are available in the existing pool before allocation. If there is an excess or shortage, you need to take appropriate measures to bridge the demand capacity gap. Similarly, every resource-related decision you make during the entire project lifecycle needs to be backed by some sort of data.
This article will provide a detailed overview of the importance of data-driven decision-making in project resource management.
But first, let’s understand what it means.
What is data-driven decision-making?
As the name suggests, data-driven decision-making is the process of making decisions based on facts and metrics, rather than depending on intuitions or guesstimations.
As a manager, when you rely on data, it assists you in formulating an action plan that can guarantee organizational efficiency. Moreover, these data-driven insights make you understand what is working well for the business and what is not. Based on this, you can develop your plans.
The following section will describe why data-driven decisions play an important role in project resource management.
Why is it significant in project resource management?
These are the reasons why data-driven decision-making is important in project resource management:
1. Improve future resource planning
Using data, managers can proactively foresee future project resource requirements and forward plan. You can compare the demand against the available capacity to identify excesses or shortages. Based on that, you can take appropriate resourcing treatments to bridge this gap. As a result, you can improve your future resource plans and deliver projects successfully.
Saviom’s resource management software can help achieve that. It maintains a single version of truth for enterprise-wide resources and projects. Moreover, it provides actionable insights such as forecast vs. actual utilization to analyze if the project resource plan progresses as expected.
If you find any discrepancies, you can act proactively and align future resource plans more accurately. Besides, you can run simulation and modeling techniques and even create different scenarios to visualize which resource plan would be the best.
2. Forward plan pipeline projects
Future projects can get derailed if not planned for in advance. And to do that, you need to rely on past facts and data. For instance, with the lessons learned register, you can visualize which plans worked and which did not, what budgets estimations were proper, the resources who worked on those projects, etc. Based on that, managers can make the exact estimations and forecast if the existing resources will match the future project demand or not.
You can do it more accurately by using a resource management solution. The solution can give insights into all past and present project-related data on a single platform. Thus, in case of any excess or shortage of resources, managers can take necessary actions. For example, suppose you will be heading a software development project in the future. In that case, you can take help from the tool and gather every data related to past software development projects. Following that, you can create your plans in advance.
3. Ensure competent resource allocation
Before allocating competent resources to various projects, managers need access to find the right fit. For instance, a software development project requires 10 Java developers. Therefore, you will need information about their profiles, certifications, capacity, utilization rates, etc. With the appropriate information in place, you can select the right resources and ensure competent allocation.
A resource management software can store every resource-related metric, such as skills, qualification, experience, location, cost, etc. Then, using appropriate filters, one can find appropriate resources. Besides, it keeps track of the leaves, vacations, and other data. All these data and features will assist you in making the right allocation decisions.
4. Prevent over/underutilization of resources
Resource management software helps optimally utilize resources without under or overloading them. 360-degree visibility of the resources along with their bookings provides real-time information of resource engagements. This information allows managers to quickly identify areas that demand immediate attention. Accordingly, they can reassign some work of overloaded resources to underutilized counterparts.
Besides, color-coded utilization heatmaps provide insights into the present and future resource utilization. This allows you to visualize if there are any over/underutilization chances. Following that, you can take course-corrective actions. Moreover, you can also monitor the Forecast vs. Actual data to see if the resources are putting in the planned effort or not. Lastly, the tool also provides data about the tasks the resources are being utilized for. You can monitor if they are working on non-profitable or profitable tasks. Accordingly, you may mobilize them to high-priority tasks and improve their billability.
5. Mitigate resource-related risks in advance
There may be many resource-related risks that will derail the project and cause time or budget overruns. And to tackle those, you will need information. For instance, let’s say that a critical resource has left the organization during the middle of the project.
As a result, other dependent tasks cannot start on time, delaying the project deadline. Therefore, to mitigate the challenge, you will have to find another similar-skilled resource who can take up the task immediately. Thus, you will need resource-related information about the one who will fill the position. Only then can you mitigate the risk.
A resource management solution can help you overcome every resource-related risk. As mentioned before, it provides data related to resource metrics, leaves, vacations, certifications, etc. With that data, you can easily tackle if any resource takes an unplanned leave or resigns from the company. Besides, you can also monitor ramp-up/down activities in advance and see which resources will hit the bench. And with project vacancy data, you can fill the vacant positions, improve the resources’ billability, and save them from hitting the bench.
Data-driven decision-making forms the backbone of effective project resource management. Without a proper and actionable set of information, you cannot expect the managers to make the right decisions that can make the project successful.
From an organizational perspective, data-driven decision-making promotes transparency and accountability. Besides, it assists the management in implementing policies and strategies that are useful to improve operational efficiency.