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Shannon Toe

How to Do a Resource Gap Analysis: A 5-Step Guide

If you're looking for a way to evaluate your organization's ability to handle upcoming projects, a resource gap analysis is a great way to do it.

When you're planning a project, it's important to consider the resources you'll need to complete it. Whether it's people, money, time, or something else, you'll have a clearer sense of where you stand if you do a resource gap analysis.

In this easy guide, we're going to cover everything you need to know about analyzing your resources and working with the gaps.

What is a resource gap analysis?

A resource gap analysis helps you identify the gaps between the resources you will need to cover upcoming projects and the resources you currently have.

It is a simple but effective tool that helps you make sure your projects are adequately planned and can be executed to completion without any hitches.

It's easy to forget about things or let something slip through the cracks when you're planning a project — but resource gaps are one of the main reasons why projects over-run, go over budget or fail altogether. So having that preventative mindset is the way to ensure success from day one.

Why a resource gap analysis is important

As many other techniques in resource planning, this one bears a lot of benefits.

Resource gap analysis helps you plan ahead by identifying shortfalls and allowing you to create a plan for how to fill those gaps. The better prepared you are, the more successful your projects are likely to be.

But a resource gap analysis goes beyond just filling in the gaps. It also gives you an idea of where the most critical areas are so you can make sure those areas of your project get the attention they need.

You'll be able to see if there are deficiencies in particular kinds of resources that could become bottlenecks later on.

You might even find that your planned development schedule is unrealistic, which will help you make adjustments so you can hit your deadlines and stay on schedule.

Challenges of doing a resource gap analysis

If you're going to do your resource gap analysis the old-school way in Excel, chances are high that you will run into a lot of issues when looking into your resources.

Here are only a few of them:

  • No scalability. You might grow, but Excel won't grow with you. Larger datasets here do not mean more visibility — they mean errors, slow processes, and a lot of jumping between tabs.
  • Wasted time on manual processes. Excel might look like it's good for your pocket, but it's actually not, if you critically look at the number of hours you waste doing manual calculations and planning that could be otherwise automated.
  • Frequent breaks. If you're planning resources for multiple projects, be prepared that your Excel sheets will break. One wrong formula or typo and your estimations might do more harm than good in your resource planning.

If this makes a convincing case, here's what you actually need to do for your resource gap analysis to pay off.

How to do a resource gap analysis (no template needed)

Let's start with the first good news: you don't really need a gap analysis template.

Most gap analysis examples boil down to five easy steps and with a fair amount of strategic planning and a solid gap analysis tool on the table, you can get it done within a matter of minutes.

1) Create a resource heatmap

A resource heatmap, in simple terms, is easy resource data visualization that will help you see who's available to work on your project.

It will show you the workload each team member has, all color-coded and easy to read. You will know who's underbooked, who has zero capacity left, and who is available to join your new or ongoing project.

To create this visualization, you need to add your people (resources) to Runn, plan out your projects, and book people's time on those projects.

Keeping all of this data in one easy dashboard will simplify business processes and save you a lot of headaches.

2) Sort by everyone's availability

With a chart showing your resource availability, you can click a single button and group all of your existing resources by their availability, putting people with the most availability on the top of your list.

You can also sort your resources by Date, Team, and even Role, if you know you're missing a specific expert for the new project, like a developer, and need to perform a gap analysis to be sure you don't have anyone in your current resource pool.

3) Add tentative projects to the pipeline

Tentative project scheduling usually goes hand in hand with resource gap analysis because it is also, in a way, all about thinking ahead.

By adding tentative projects to the pipeline you can figure out what resources you will need if this project A gets launched next to this project B.

It will be easy for you to see whether you will be facing some resource shortages, whether you will need to hire new people, and whether the projects you are considering are feasible in the first place.

4) Create what-if scenarios for new projects

Projects usually don't go exactly as planned.

Some scope creep here, some resource change there — and you might find yourself with resource gaps that can derail your projects when they are already running.

In order to avoid that, you can run what-if scenarios to try and predict how likely situations of the kind are before you start your projects (or sometimes even when you're halfway through).

Better safe than sorry, so to speak.

5) Add placeholders to make up for the resources missing

Expanded and collapsed placeholder views

Most likely, you'll be missing resources to complete the new projects, as they're always limited. In that case, if you're unsure to whom to allocate work in the first place, placeholders become helpful.

Placeholders will be the gaps for Roles in Runn you want to hire in the future. They will help you see how you can make your projects feasible and what resources you will need to add later down the line.

To simplify your resource planning and see how Runn can help you succeed at gap analysis, book a demo now!

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