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Shannon Toe

Resource Workload 101: A Visual Guide

The challenge of getting resource workload right complicates with new hires and more work coming down the pipeline. Find the solutions in our starter's guide.

Managing resource workload across many projects can often seem overwhelming. The more resources and projects you have, the harder it can get to strike the delicate balance between limited resources and escalating demands.

But it doesn't have to be this way. Being able to build realistic expectations and develop feasible plans is achievable. In this article, we will explain what resource workload entails and walk you through the intricacies of effective resource workload management.

What is resource workload?

Resource workload is the total amount of work you assign to any given team member. It is a constituent part of the resource management umbrella, which looks into how you analyze, manage, assign, and forecast everything related to your human resources.

Proper workload management is crucial for successful project delivery. You want to assign the right people to the right projects while avoiding overutilization and leaving people on standby. To do this, it's crucial to have full visibility into your resources and run frequent resource analyses.

Here are some of the tricks of the trade you should add to your resource workload management rulebook.

How to manage resource workload

Check the current resource workload

project planning for better resource management

Once you reach the right level of granularity in your project workload and are able to identify all phases, milestones, and tasks, it is time to start connecting the dots.

Looking into your current resource workload will make it easy to tell whether you have enough resource capacity, whether your resources have the right skills to take on the new tasks, and how that new workload is going to impact their availability.

In some cases, you will see that it is counterproductive to give certain tasks to a particular resource as they will be overbooked and need to do overtime, which is the last thing you want.

To be ahead of the game, look into your workload schedule to identify the resources with enough availability to take on new initiatives. In Runn, the time they have free will be highlighted in green or light blue. This is where you can easily see who is free, when, and for how long.

resource utilization in resource workload

Pinpoint overutilization cases

workload management for project managers

Managing the workload of your resources is not only about assigning tasks at the beginning of each project. It is also about adjusting, reassigning, and maintaining workloads.

Oftentimes, resource management can feel like juggling. You need to make the most of your resources while keeping everyone happy and giving them the tasks they could nail. But there is one common roadblock resource managers often face: overutilization.

Overutilization means that you assigned too much workload to a resource or a group of resources. Workload management tools usually alert you to this problem by showing that someone has been overbooked. In many cases, overutilization leads to workload paralysis, decreased productivity, lack of motivation, and even burnout, when people don't get enough rest to be their most creative selves at work.

While overutilization might feel that you are getting more done with less, it can be detrimental in the long term. Taking overutilization out of the picture is, therefore, the best way to make sure everyone gets a fair amount of work to cover and is equally important for project success.

Identify capacity opportunities

team's workload in workload planning

Workload schedules are also great for capacity planning because they give you an accurate picture of the capacity your resources have. In the example above, for example, you can see that Kenny Rogers is free from March until September and can potentially join a project that requires a lot of productivity hours. Eric Clapton, however, already has some projects in March and April so his capacity is reduced compared to that of Kenny Rogers.

Being able to identify capacity opportunities helps you make informed decisions and accurate predictions. If your resources don't have enough capacity, for example, or if you do workload forecasting and see that capacity will become an issue two months into the project, you can plan your hires right. With all the project tasks lined up and a workload schedule on the table, you will know what people to hire, what skills they should have, at what level, etc.

Look into your skills base

resource availability for better resource management

Skills tracking is crucial for managing resource workload well.

When it comes to resource allocation, you need to know what people you have (roles), what they can do (skills), and how fast they can do it (seniority). But skills tracking is a continuous process — your resources can gain new skills and upgrade their old skills.

Besides, all people want to know what kind of expertise they can gain in their new jobs so having a well-managed skills base and a program for people to grow within their roles is the way to make your resources happy and fulfilled. And in that state, they are at their most productive!

Good resource management tools will give you that visibility for more effective resource allocation and overall resource management.

Adjust your resource workload

When you identify the underutilized and the overutilized resources, it is time to set things right and level the playing field for everyone in your projects. Distribute tasks equally among all team members, matching the right experts to the right tasks, while considering their current workload and skillset.

This is the type of exercise you might need to revisit as your project develops. It is not uncommon to face some scope creep, roadblocks, change of plan, or overall strategy — all of which have a direct impact on your resource workload.

Wrapping up

There is one secret to the successful management of resource workloads — visibility!

You need to know the capacity, workloads, schedules, and skillsets of your people. Even more, you need to have all of that data constantly updated and available in real time. But with the right resource management software managing workloads is easy and fun!

See how you can do it with Runn today!

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