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Steven Male

Quick Resource Tracking Tutorial

Without resource tracking, it would be almost impossible to tell if everyone in the company is spending time wisely and bringing profit. Here's all you need to know about resource tracking and how to start in no time.

Do you feel like you finally have enough resources to cover all of your project needs but still end up with gaps and project delays? Perhaps it’s time to take a look into where your resources are going. 

The underlying theory of resource tracking is that you are more likely to finish a project when you have a good grip on your project resources and their productivity time. 

Without proper resource allocation and resource tracking, it's easy for teams to lose their focus and get sidetracked from what they're supposed to be doing by other tasks that might seem more enticing at the moment. Resource tracking keeps everyone focused and helps prevent this from happening.

So what is resource tracking and how do you crack it?

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What is resource tracking?

When a project is laid out on a timeline, it can be difficult to see how all the resources—people, money, materials, etc. — are flowing throughout the project, especially over time. And this is why so many resources get wasted in project management. 

In fact, the PMI found that for every $1 billion spent on projects, $122 million gets wasted for a multitude of reasons. But resource tracking can help avoid this unnecessary waste.

What is it all about?

Resource tracking is a project management technique that can both boost productivity and make for a more enjoyable experience overall. 

The basic premise is to keep track of how resources' time is utilized, whether it be in the actual process of doing work or just in the resource planning stages. 

This alone can help you avoid running into any hiccups later on if a task or a milestone suddenly requires more of something than originally expected, because you'll know to adjust accordingly — this is especially helpful if you're running multiple projects at the same time and need to juggle your resources to get maximum value without doing overhiring. 

In other words, resource tracking is a method of collecting information about the resources that are being used for a project. It's an effective means of monitoring progress, but it can be adopted for other reasons as well. 

By looking at the time and money it takes to complete different tasks, you can improve your team’s productivity by better understanding how your resources spend their time. 

Why is resource tracking important?

Resource tracking is the lifeline for keeping your projects profitable and on schedule. Here are some of the benefits tracking your human resources comes with. 

Resource tracking brings visibility and transparency

Visibility is critical for project success. You need to be able to see where your resources are standing, what your project progress is like, and easily compare it to the project baseline. But the truth is, Wellingtone found that over 1 in 3 projects have no baseline at all. 

Resource tracking can also bring visibility and transparency to the process of your project management by showing which areas need improvement or optimization

For example, by tracking time spent on each task, you can identify if there is a lack of balance in the workload between team members. This is important because it can often be tricky to tell which tasks are taking up more time than others. By using resource tracking, you will be able to pinpoint the issues surrounding poor productivity and make the appropriate adjustments to achieve maximum efficiency and profitability for your projects.

Resource tracking shows you where your time goes

Another great benefit of resource tracking is that you can see where productivity time (or lack thereof) goes throughout the day. For example, if you find out that your team members spend a lot of their time responding to emails and attending meetings every day, you can use this information to optimize their daily routine so that no one ends up wasting precious time on tasks that bring no direct value to project success.

Resource tracking shows you which projects are more profitable

The final reason why resource tracking is important is all about the fact that it will help you keep an eye on profit margins for specific projects as well as tasks and clients on those projects. You will easily pinpoint projects that require moderate efforts yet bring maximum wins to your team and the company in general. 

How to track your project resources (+ what are the gains)?

Tracking your human resources is a win-win for everyone involved. 

It’s not just about saving the project budget or making sure the initiative reaches the finish line — it’s also about making sure you secure a balanced workload for all team members and help them be as productive as possible. 

Here are some of the resource tracking hacks you could start with. 

Balance workloads

One of the cornerstones of employee well-being and retention lies in a balanced workload where people are neither underutilized nor overutilized. 

After all, overutilized resources have been proved to have reduced productivity rates and higher chances of ending up with a burnout.

This is why every project manager needs to have real-time data on their team’s workloads — to see who’s been booked at their full capacity and who still has some free time to join a new project. 

With Runn’s capacity planning and color-coded workload charts, you can track your resource availability and allocate resources based on the number of hours they can still realistically work on extra projects without getting overbooked.

Never-ending workloads always feel overwhelming, and they can easily stop your resources from delivering their best work. 

Measure utilization rates

An average executive spends 23 hours of their business week in meetings, Harvard Business Review found. At the same time, 41.8% of employees spend 30 min - 1h of their productivity time per single meeting. But do those meetings really pay off? 

In a recent survey, respondents said that 70% of their meetings keep them from getting operational and completing their tasks. 

And this is the point when it’s time to talk about your team’s utilization rates. Is your business making money or burning it?

Utilization rates point at the number of hours your resources spend doing tasks that are directly related to successful project outcomes. Attending most meetings and responding to countless emails, unfortunately, often bears little value.

This is why measuring the utilization rates can help you see where you can do some optimization to increase project output. 

Use Timesheets to track resources in real time

If there’s one solid way to do realistic project planning and track how your resources spend their time — it’s about using Timesheets.

Timesheets are these dashboards where your resources can log their time every time they start and finish working on a task, switch to non-billable work, or just need to see how productive they are during the day. 

Timesheets are not only beneficial for real-time resource tracking, but they will also prove to be of great value when you’re planning a new project. 

To get all timelines right, you usually need to know how much time each task is going to take — and what better way to make an accurate estimate than look at similar data from your previous projects. 

Record billable and non-billable time

When your resources are working on a project, they will inevitably do some things you cannot bill your client for — but those things are essential for their performance.

In fact, non-billable time can even be a lunch break your team members take to socialize — it’s important for the company vibe and overall performance levels but it does not qualify as billable work. 

But for your customers to be happy and get the best value for the money, they need to see that their project budget is being spent exactly on the outcome they are looking to get. And to give them that evidence, you need to draw a coal-black line between billable and non-billable time. 

With Runn, you can unlock those insights, pinpoint potential losses, and take measures to increase billable time for bigger project gains. 

Cut admin work

Admin work is boring, outdated, and, most importantly, avoidable. 

It can eat away at productivity hours both from team members and their project managers. After all, admin work can span from doing manual time tracking to collating reports, which can take hours out of your productivity time every week.  

Luckily, you can easily fix that by automating some of the tasks that would be better off without the risk of human error. Reporting is, actually, one of those tasks. 

Regular reports can help you keep track of project progress and make sure that all the stakeholders are informed about the state of the projects. They can also, however, take hours out of your weekly availability. 

But with Runn’s help you can get your reports in a few clicks and slash that admin work in half in a matter of seconds. 

Resource tracking is the foundation of a successful project. If you're not using it, chances are high that you’re failing in some way. But analyzing your resources is not as hard as it might seem, especially if you have reliable resource management software to guide the way. 

Try Runn for free now to see how resource tracking can help your teams work smart!

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