Conveniently planning your resources saves a lot of time. Not only for you as a planner, but for the entire organization you free up time with good planning. But how do you schedule your resources more easily and effectively than you do now?
In this blog article we give 10 hacks to take your resource planning to the next level.
1. Choose one person that is responsible
As your organization grows, it becomes increasingly important to schedule centrally with a planner or resource manager.
Make sure that this person is focused on stability and security and likes to create order and hold everyone to it. In addition, the planner must be communicative and able to deal with stress and setbacks, because there are always unforeseen circumstances that can throw the planning out of whack.
2. Optimize your planning process
Planning is a process, not a product. And you have to constantly sharpen a process with KPIs and targets in order to improve it. A good way to improve your planning process is with Deming’s quality circle: Plan, Do, Check, act
- Plan : Determine your points for improvement and define the KPIs and the target for this.
- Act : Execute the plan in the time you want to achieve the target.
- Check : Compare your results with the situation before.
- Act : Update your plan from step 1 based on the results achieved.
3. Track project progress
Reliable planning stands or falls with who and how often the project progress is reported. For small projects you let the project manager do this and for large projects by the employees themselves. Have this done at least every week and more often for short projects and projects that need to be completed quickly.
And do you want to get the most out of your planning forecast? Then use the KPI “forecast planning variance” in which you look at the total hours required for all projects and whether all those future hours are already planned.
4. Plan your big projects first
Just like Steven Covey’s “First things first” habit, it is important to plan your big projects first. This way you can always make the schedule fit with the smaller assignments.
#Pro tip : don’t agree on hard deadlines for the small projects – this way your schedule remains flexible.
5. Avoid multitasking
Multitasking is one of the biggest time wasters. An employee working on 3 different tasks at the same time always causes all 3 tasks to slow down. It’s simple logic: by completing the tasks one by one, tasks 1 and 2 are always finished sooner.
6. Eliminate waste
Take a critical look at which wastes you can eliminate. Think of travel times, waiting for a task, delivering too much to customers, unnecessary errors, unnecessary administration and overloading your employees. All in all, you save a lot of time within the organization.
7. Don’t schedule too detailed
Scheduling is not an exact science. The goal is to reserve capacity, so avoid scheduling too detailed and consider grouping small tasks and scheduling them in ‘blocks’ of X number of hours.
8. Remove safety margins
Research shows that people often overestimate activities, with margins of safety of up to 50%! This way you unnecessarily blow up the schedule and everyone wastes a lot of time. So, remove these margins and replace them with a single buffer of 25% for the entire schedule.
9. Work with skills
From a certain size you can no longer know by heart what everyone is good at. However, scheduling the right people on the right projects is crucial. Therefore, work with a skill matrix and keep it up to date.
10. Secure your schedule
A schedule often contains highly confidential customer and personal information, so remember to keep it safe. Provide secure login methods such as Single Sign On or Multi Factor Authentication, limit access to planning data to “need to know only” and consider using pseudonyms if you work with strategically sensitive projects.