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Libby Marks

What is a Resource Request Workflow & How to Improve It

What is a resource request workflow? Who’s involved? How does it support faster, better project delivery? And what can you do to make yours better? We’ve got the answers you need.

A resource request workflow helps professional service firms work faster, smarter, and better. It’s a big claim, we know. So let us prove it to you. 

Read on to discover how a resource requests process can help you achieve higher ROI from your resources, deliver better client outcomes, and grow your business with the right skills for your future strategy. 

You’ll get answers to your burning questions:

We’ve included the step-by-step resource request workflow we use at Runn. And peppered it with pro tips to help you create an approval process based on the very best industry practices. Let’s go! 🏃

What is a resource request workflow?

A resource request workflow provides a standardized - and centralized - process for requesting, approving, and allocating resources to projects. It is a key element of effective resource planning.  

It is an approval workflow that ensures people are assigned to projects strategically - according to project priority, skill fit, and potential to deliver value - to ensure the best possible outcomes for your business and its clients. 

A formal resource requests process also provides early visibility into resource gaps, so that your talent acquisition team can recruit any staff or skills you need to deliver the project. 

Why do I need a resource request workflow?

Professional service firms rely on their talented team who make the magic happen. Securing the right knowledge workers can make or break a project. But in a busy business, competition for top talent is high. Especially your people with in-demand specialist skills.

With a portfolio of projects to consider, organizations need a process to allocate resources in a way that creates the most value for the business and its clients. 

That means assigning your best resources to high-value, strategically aligned projects, rather than on an ad hoc, first-come-first-served basis. This is what a resource requests workflow is for. 

What are the benefits of a resource request workflow?

A resource request workflow benefits businesses by strategically placing the right resources into the right projects at the right time. This results in a number of operational, financial, and reputational advantages. 

  • Better project outcomes - by allocating the best combination of resources available to each individual project, ensuring you have the right team to deliver successfully.
  • Better organizational outcomes - by balancing the needs of your full portfolio, delivering the best outcomes for multiple projects, not just the projects that shout the loudest.
  • Improved resource utilization and ROI - by considering availability and capacity alongside skills-fit - maximizing resource utilization by surfacing and allocating unused hours.
  • Reduced burnout and associated costs - by supporting more equitable resource allocation, which keeps workloads manageable, and people working happily and healthily.
  • Timely recruitment and capacity planning - by flagging resource gaps that might otherwise go unnoticed and result in project delays or even failure.

All of this adds up to higher productivity, profitability, and positive project outcomes that boost your reputation (and encourage repeat custom 🤞)

Who is involved in a resource request workflow?

A resource requests workflow involves several key players in your organization, collaborating to place resources in the right projects. 

  • Project managers plan their individual projects, identify the resource requirement, and request resources.
  • Resource managers assess the request, and resource availability, and take appropriate action
  • Talent acquisition recruits new resources, if required.
who is involved in a resource request workflow

What does a resource request workflow include?

Now you know what the resource approval process is for and who’s involved, let’s walk through the process, step-by-step. This is the actual resource requests process we use here at Runn, so we know it works 🥳 And it all starts with your project manager. 

Phase 1: Project manager 

Create project

Your project manager creates their project. Based on the client brief, they map out a project timeline - planning project phases, milestones, and tasks - and working out what type of resources they’ll need at each stage. 

💡 PRO TIP: Using appropriate project management or resource management software makes the process much quicker, easier, and more efficient. Because resource planning in Excel really isn’t efficient or sustainable. 😉

Add placeholder

At this point, your PM might not have a specific resource in mind. In a smaller business, your project manager might have an overview of all your resources and skills.

They’ll be able to think ‘Sam would be perfect for this’ or ‘I hope Preeti is available’. But in larger businesses, that’s impossible. 

For now, they can add a placeholder to their project plan to show the type of resource required, when, and how long for. 

Expanded and collapsed placeholder views

💡 PRO TIP: As your business grows, you should create a centralized resource calendar. This is where you record all the resources available in your organization - with key information to aid their allocation, such as skills and cost to the business. 

This increases people’s visibility beyond just their own team or department - helping improve resource utilization and ROI. It is especially helpful now more of us are working remotely and new hires might slip under the radar.

Schedule work

With their project timeline locked in and their resources planned, your project manager can schedule the work. This means the project is officially in your pipeline. Now it’s time to request the required resources, so you can start to allocate tasks.

Request resource

Your project manager puts in a formal request for the resources they need. This may be by name, job role, skills needed, or another identifier. This request now moves to your resource manager for consideration…

resource request

With Runn, you can request people for projects and leave comments on each placeholder, to see where each request is in the process and stay on top of those oh-so important resourcing conversations.

Phase 2: Resource manager

View request

Your resource manager receives the resource requests, typically through a formalized process, such as an online form or dedicated email address.

💡 PRO TIP: A standardized process ensures the resource manager receives all the information they need to consider the request and doesn’t have to waste time chasing up missing info. And using a single channel for requests means there’s no risk of requests getting overlooked or lost. It also means other team members can process requests in a timely manner if someone is off sick or on holiday. 

Search resource pool

Equipped with the information about what your PM needs, your resource manager will search your resource pool for suitable people. They’ll look at skill set, seniority, cost to the business, availability, and capacity to pick the perfect person - someone suitably skilled, within budget, and available when needed.

💡 PRO TIP: Use resource scheduling software for real-time access to resource intel. Don’t waste time wading through spreadsheets, only to base your resource management decisions on out-of-date information. 🙈 Easily see capacity and availability through intuitive data visualization like heatmaps. 

Available - Transfer work to person and view outcome

If the right resources are available, the resource manager will approve the resource request and let the project manager know. The PM will view the outcome and allocate the resource to their project. 🎉

Not available - Hiring request

If the resource is not available, the resource manager may recommend an alternative resource. Or they may refer the request on to your talent acquisition team. 

This is particularly likely if the resource manager has spotted a trend in demand, whereby certain skills or roles are consistently requested but unavailable. 

They may also refer to talent acquisition if the project in question is of particularly high value to the business. 

Phase 3: Talent acquisition

View request

When your resource manager can’t fulfill a request for specific resources, they have the option to submit a recruitment request. This will come to your talent acquisition/HR team for consideration. As before, a standardized process will make this more efficient. 

Source talent

If your talent team agrees that there is a skills or resource gap, they’ll begin the recruitment process. 

They’ll bring lots of broader knowledge to bear on this decision, including the organization’s overall direction of travel, the strategic value of certain skills going forward, as well as opportunities to reskill existing staff. 

💡 PRO TIP: Using resource management software - like Runn - lets all of your stakeholders see vital information in a single, central source. 

Your project manager can plan their project and add placeholders, your resource manager can view resource skills and availability, and your talent team can look at long-term trends like utilization and capacity to inform their decision-making. 

Add resource

Once the resource/s are recruited, your talent team onboards them to the business and adds them to your resource pool so that they can be allocated to projects. Make sure your resource request workflow alerts the resource manager that this has happened, so that they can inform the project manager that their required resource is now available.

Transfer work to person and view outcome

Now the right resources are available, the resource manager will approve the resource requests and let the project manager know. The PM will view the outcome and allocate the resource to their project. 🙌

Create your ideal resource request workflow with Runn

You’re now in the know about resource request workflows. 🎓

We hope the process and pro tips here will help you create a process that boosts your resource management success - including allocation, utilization, and ROI. 

If you’re serious about perfecting your resource planning processes - including creating a seamless, standardized resource requests process - Runn can help.

Runn is affordable resource planning software trusted by hundreds of businesses worldwide. Users can plan their resourcing better - and get all the business benefits that brings - thanks to our fast, user-friendly features:

  • A centralized resource pool that shines a light on every resource available
  • Project planning tools that make it a breeze to build project plans fast
  • Resource placeholders to record what you need, even if you’re not sure who yet
  • Easy drag-and-drop resource and task allocation to pop people into your project plan
  • At-a-glance capacity and utilization charts for quick, data-informed decisions 

It’s cross-team resource management done right. And you can start using your free account today. 

Just pop in your email and get instant access to Runn. Play with our silly sandbox data (like planning a secret moon base with Shakira) or import your own data to focus specifically on your business case.

And all without a credit card, commitment, or crafty catches (we don’t need ‘em 🙂).

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