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Nicole Tiefensee

What is Resource Booking? A 5-Minute Explainer

Resource booking is a recommended, but often overlooked aspect of resource planning. The ability to ensure resource access up front before starting a project increases the likelihood of your project being completed successfully.

Imagine getting to a critical stage of a project and realizing that the equipment you need to complete a task is unavailable. Or, a team member with crucial skills is booked for the next two weeks.

Fortunately, resource booking sets out to eliminate this problem. Resources are critical in the completion of any project. Without them, work never winds up.

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What is resource booking?

Resource booking refers to assigning and scheduling all the resources that are needed to complete a project in advance. It includes equipment, staff, technology, software, teams...even things like meeting rooms that are required. In other words, it means putting in place everything needed to complete a project on time and within budget, so everything is ready to go on the day.

It's important to actively manage each resource that goes into a project too. Resources should be fully utilized without being over-allocated, which means bookings should be for the optimal duration. A resource shouldn't be booked for so long that it's under-utilized and wasted, but neither should it be booked for too short a time that it's overloaded.

When booking resources, it helps to have a shared resource calendar that gives all business stakeholders visibility over the resource pool. This helps to support productive utilization of all  resources. Here's an example of a resource calendar in Runn:

The importance of resource booking in project management

When managing multiple projects and a shared pool of resources, it's easy to lose the overview. However, a resource schedule includes both high level detail for how projects are to be completed and in depth detail about how individual resources are being used.

Resource booking allows project managers to stick to schedules. Knowing resource availability in advance means managers can make a project plan they know they can rely on.

For example, if you see that a piece of equipment is reserved for a certain time, you can make a project schedule that involves completing that piece of work at a time when the equipment is free.

Resource booking also allows you to:

  • Save time by identifying bottlenecks and critical tasks in advance
  • Track project progress against time and budgets
  • Monitor resource utilization
  • Assess time delays or hold ups to find the best solution
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Conversely, not having a formal resource booking process can lead to problems:

  • Resource clashes
  • Resources being overloaded or under-utilized
  • Cost over-runs
  • Booking errors
  • Difficulty acquiring the required resources

Businesses typically invest a lot of money into their resources. Money itself is a resource too. This makes it doubly important to fully utilize resources in order to get the best possible return on the investment that goes into them. Resource booking perhaps the most influential technique to achieve this.

Common resource booking challenges

There is a lot of detail that is needed to create an accurate resource booking calendar. Fortunately, there are a range of tools that automate parts of the process, updating projects and tasks as they're delivered so that resources can be automatically reallocated when they become available.

Despite there being a range of resource booking software options, many businesses still use manual spreadsheets to manage their resources. That can create a range of challenges.

  • Manual spreadsheets are error prone. Errors can be hard to identify, going on to impact reports and critical decisions.
  • Spreadsheets are a snapshot in time, which means they don't provide real-time data. They also require a lot of time and effort to update, only to then become dated again.
  • It's difficult to share spreadsheets throughout a company. There are often many different versions of a spreadsheet, making it hard to know which one is the most current.

However, having a dedicated software to manage and book resources saves time, ensures accuracy, and gives a greater level of visibility over both projects and individual resources. Resource booking software is designed to provide engaging, real-time insights that lead to full resource utilization and a better return on investment.

Getting started with resource booking using Runn

Runn resource booking software is designed to enable first time users to get the most out of it quickly. That means it's easy to set up and start getting the benefits.

To start:

  • Know team capacity and availability. Having access to staff calendars helps to understand when they can be booked and how productive they are. Runn is the ultimate shared calendar; visual, user-friendly and engaging.
  • Schedule  projects. Having details of what each project requires, such as the different stages and tasks that go into it, helps to request, schedule and allocate the right resources.    
  • Understand business priorities. This helps to solve clashes where competing projects require the same resource at the same time.

As work is completed, Runn will automatically update the availability of each resource and the progress of individual projects. Utilization reports give users across all levels and departments access to engaging, visual and useful data around resource productivity and availability.

New users can try Runn for free, or even book a free, 45 minute demo to see all the benefits and features of Runn's industry-leading software. It's never been easier to manage the complex task of resource booking.

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