Suboptimal resource and capacity management is one of the key reasons for business underperformance. In addition to delays, increased costs, and even project failures, poor allocation and utilization of human resources can lead to productivity and engagement issues.

Here is an overview of some of the most common missteps project and resource managers make when creating capacity plans.

Resource & Capacity Management Mistake #1: Incorrect Resource Selection and Assignment

Project leaders should select resources for a project based on their ability to demonstrate the requisite skills, knowledge, and experience. Selection and assignment should obviously consider resource roles and hard skills, but also “softer” abilities. This can include leadership skills or the capacity to work well with people from different cultures. Often, project leaders don’t consider these individual factors in the resource selection process, so they weigh on the overall efficiency of resource and capacity management.

Resource availability is another key consideration too often overlooked. For example, major system upgrades are typically completed on weekends to avoid coming in the way of development work. But not every resource is willing to work weekends. Failure to consider that fact can cause resource managers to assign the wrong person to a given task.

How to fix this mistake

The best way to optimize resource selection and assignment is to centralize all resource-related data into a powerful repository equipped with advanced analytics and smart recommendations capabilities.

Resource & Capacity Management Mistake #2: Lack of Prioritization

Even perfect planning and resource scheduling won’t achieve much with an under-dimensioned pool of resources. One of the most common mistakes in resource and capacity management is succumbing to the temptation of taking in too many projects — potentially leading to resource overloading and decreased productivity. Instead, it is crucial to make the right trade-offs to focus your resources on the projects that matter most.

How to fix this mistake

A process and system to rank projects and activities by priority will help ensure resources work on higher-priority tasks. Further, a collaborative system will encourage proper communication and regular updates to ensure nobody becomes overburdened or underutilized.

Resource & Capacity Management Mistake #3: Failure to Allow for Dependencies and Constraints

Any organization that manages multiple projects with a limited pool of resources eventually bumps into the issue of dependencies. When disregarded, project dependencies — i.e. causal or resource-based relationships between individual projects that prevent a task or activity from starting until the previous one concludes — can wreak havoc in your resource and capacity management plans.

How to fix this mistake

A professional tool can help PMOs visualize and analyze project dependencies. Additionally, adopting such methods as Critical chain project management (which advocates the creation of buffers) can help to anticipate and minimize the impact of dependencies on capacity plans.

Resource & Capacity Management Mistake #4: Planning Resources with 100% Capacity

On paper, your resources should work a fixed number of hours a day. In reality, though, they won’t be able to dedicate 100% of that time to the projects in their queue. Meetings, emails, and breaks typically eat away a large chunk of a workday. Not mentioning the occasional training workshop or seminar, the time off, sick leaves, or simply those “bad days” where one finds it hard to focus. This means that, even if workers are solely dedicated to a project, a 7-hour task won’t get done in a 7-hour workday.

How to fix this mistake

Realistic resource planning and capacity management should include appropriate buffers to allow for the slings and arrows of work and life.

Wondering how a PPM tool can help you optimize resource and capacity management? Get your demo of Sciforma PPM and see for yourself.

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