Resource planning

The pitfalls of resource planning

Jonna Vähänen
Jonna Vähänen

In many companies, resource planning might seem a bit dull and compulsory. But if the tools are up to date, resourcing might even become quite easy and fun to do. One feels motivated to do it when the basics are right. Next, I will go through the most common pitfalls of resource planning – and tell you how you can avoid them with the help of Silverbucket.

The biggest pitfall: there is no resource planning

Are we doing anything? What are we doing? How do we react? Are we reacting at all? What kind of information is available? The most significant pitfalls of resourcing are related to these questions.

The biggest pitfall, of course, is that resourcing is not done at all. In this case, project planning is not based on anything. With some good luck, the projects can be carried through, but they are unlikely to be effective or productive.

If there has been no resourcing, and project expectations have not been documented, it will never be known whether the project has turned out as planned. The worst-case scenario is that if a conflict situation arises, it is impossible to react to it. Since proper resource planning has not been done, it is not known how the situation can be fixed.

Resource planning may also be inadequate. Companies may do it with Excel, for example. In that case, plans are at least documented. However, information may not be up to date, so it will be difficult to utilize it. And when information is out of date, it is also difficult to maintain it. In this case, proper resource planning may not be done, which brings us to the original problem. Resourcing provides an overview of the overall situation in a company or project. When a clear overview is missing, it is difficult to act. Employees do not know where they need to be and what to do. Furthermore, management does not know how to guide them because there is no resourcing information available.

When the company's overall situation is not clear

Some companies might do resourcing, but they may not be aware of the overall situation of resource planning. With Silverbucket’s main graph, however, they see immediately where they are going. What is the total capacity of the company? How much of the resources are reserved? Are they already completely overbooked? Is there enough work for everyone? What kind of information is available about the resources? What information is available on the projects that are resourced?

“That’s how we would like to see it,” new customers often say when they see the main graph in Silverbucket. Excel and other tools just simply do not tell the same thing.

When the right resource is not available

One pitfall might be that the right resources are not available at the right time. In resource planning one should always look ahead and know the big picture. In this case, it is possible to get exactly the right employees for the projects. Employees also know where they need to be at any given time, and everyone has something to do.

If the right resources are not available at the right time, the company has basically two options. The first option is to reorganize the projects. Another option is that if the required resource does not even exist, one can be recruited. Therefore, it is important to see into the future. The company can recruit the necessary know-how needed in the future. In any case, it is not advisable to recruit exactly the same type of expert to replace an outgoing employee. It may be that a new kind of expertise is needed – and good resource planning will show this far into the future.

However, it is important to remember that no tool is an automatic solution for resource planning. Information needs to flow, and people need to communicate with each other. Silverbucket is a great tool in making the information available to everyone and staying up to date. However, people still must talk to each other to get the best resources for the right projects and make sure everyone is in the right place at the right time. If one falls into a pitfall, a good resourcing tool will always help.

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