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What Is Resource Allocation? 12 Resource Allocation Tips for Projects


Resources are varied. Everything from the people you’re working with and the equipment they’re using, to the materials and other supplies you need, to even the site where you’re working: it all falls under the umbrella of resources. That’s a lot to allocate! Let’s define resource allocation and then run through some allocation tips.

What Is Resource Allocation?

Resource allocation is an important part of and resource scheduling, which is the scheduling of tasks and the associated resources that those tasks require to be completed. Part of resource allocation is knowing the availability of your resources and scheduling them to coincide with your project timeline.

When allocating resources, it can be for the project or non-project activities, such as administration, support, operations, etc. These resources can be either fully or partially available, which has to be taken into account when scheduling resources. When the project scope changes or project requirements change, resource allocation must also pivot to accommodate these changes.

As difficult as it might be to allocate resources correctly over the life cycle of a project, it’s an essential part of any thorough project management plan and should be done in the planning stage of a project. This helps keep costs down, maximizes productivity and helps with team morale, as well as facilitates client satisfaction by achieving the best outcome and successfully delivering the project.

Once you’ve identified your resources and you’re ready to allocate them to tasks, add them to your project management software. That way you can coordinate them with your project schedule and distribute them across your team. In ProjectManager for instance, you can manage your project schedule, your team and your non-human resources in one place. Build your schedule on a Gantt and track your resource distribution, progress and labor costs in one software. Try it free today!

Allocate resources on the ProjectManager Gantt chart

How to Allocate Resources on a Project

Resource allocation is a plan that you develop with the aim of making the most of the available resources at your disposal in a project, which makes it a critical resource planning activity. This is mostly a short-term plan set in place to achieve goals in the future.

This sounds challenging, but don’t worry we’ve got your back. The following are some general tips to help you with your resource allocation when managing a project.

1. Know Your Scope

Before you can allocate your resources or manage them , you have to determine the scope of the project you’re working on. Is it a big or small project, long or short?

Once you have those questions answered, then you can make the right decision on what resources you’ll need and how many of them are necessary to complete the project.

The clearer the project scope is, the better you’ll be able to figure out how to allocate your resources. Therefore, take the time to get the full picture of the project prior to doing any resource allocation.

2. Identify Resources

You know the scope, objective and tasks for your project needed to be on time and within the budget approved, now you have to get your resources together.

But that doesn’t mean you have an unlimited pool from which to pull. So, you have to see who’s currently available, what equipment you’re going to need or purchase and where are you going to perform the tasks for this project, and is that space available.

Before you can allocate resources, you have to have them. So, make a list using the criteria above and then make sure it fits within the budget allotted for the project.

3. Don’t Procrastinate

You’re a project manager. You live and die by your planning. Resource allocation is no different. Waiting until something has gone awry means you have to scramble to get it back on track if that’s even possible.

It’s inevitable that resources will need reallocation. What plan have you ever created that was set in stone? Therefore, in the planning process, you should take some time to research where and when you might have a blocked team member or task dependencies.

By setting up a resource plan and noting these red-flag warnings, and more importantly figuring out how you’ll respond to them, beforehand, you’re prepared to handle them when they arise. And they’ll always arise.

allocate resources best

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Resource Plan Template

Use this free Resource Plan Template for Excel to manage your projects better.

4. Think Holistically

It’s a problem when you’re so focused on the process that you neglect to lift your head up from the project plan to note what is actually happening. This isn’t merely checking your estimates against actual progress in the project, though that is important, too.

What you must always be aware of is the state of your resources. For example, what is the schedule for your team, are any taking vacation time, are they sick, etc.? Also, what is the duration of the lease for the site or equipment? These are important questions to ask when scheduling resources.

Don’t let any of these details get past you because of tunnel vision. Look at the whole project, not just the various pieces, as captivating as it can be to lose oneself in project metrics.

5. Know Your Resource Dependencies

One way to allocate resources is by not having to allocate them at all. This isn’t as mystical as it might sound. It involves something far less magical and more practical, planning.

By planning beforehand, you can avoid bottlenecks that trap your resources when you need them most in the course of the project execution . Planning also helps you keep your resources from falling short. This doesn’t mean you won’t have a bottleneck or resource shortage, but it’s less likely if you know your resource dependencies.

Part of planning for dependencies is having a contingency plan in place in case team members are blocked or you run low on needed resources. Keep your plans from being over-dependent on one resource to avoid trouble down the line.

6. Track Time

You always want to keep a close eye on the time, how your team is working and if they’re being efficient. It’s your job to make sure that a task that can be completed in a day doesn’t take a week. There are ways to improve time tracking .

To do this you must keep track of your team’s workload. That requires the right tools to give you real-time data collected on one page where you can both see and schedule ahead when needed.

7. Use Tools

Project management software, like ProjectManager , is a great asset to managing your resources more productively. With an online tool, you get project data instantly updated.

You can see where your resources are allocated across a calendar that is color-coded to note whether they’re on- or off-task, on vacation or sick. Rescheduling to help a team member who is overtasked is a simple click of the keyboard.

reallocate workload

8. Don’t Over-allocate

Many managers over-allocate, whether because of poor planning or an inability to say no, which doesn’t help. Instead of bringing in the project on time and within budget, over-allocation threatens team burnout.

Be honest. Do you suffer from this bad habit? If so, stay vigilant and avoid it. If you don’t, there’s a good chance you’ll tarnish team morale and the quality of their project work.

It’s unfair to expect so much from your resources that they break. Re-examine your resource plan and make use of it to allocate the resources you have for the project evenly.

9. Be Realistic

While it’s good practice to be prepared for issues that might arise in your project, you don’t want to hog resources by adding too many people or days to your schedule.

When you do this, you’re skewing the project estimate and messing with the effectiveness of long-term planning. It’s going to take from your bottom line.

Remember when we mentioned comparing your estimated to actual utilization? This is where that process helps keep you properly allocated. Using a tool, as we noted above, is also key to getting an accurate sense of how the project is going.

10. Have a Routine

As a manager, you plan and then you execute and monitor . It’s all very structured. But sometimes things like resource allocation falls through the cracks, which is only going to come back and haunt you.

Therefore, you want to set up regular check-ins, say a specific day and time every week, to go through your resources, check your PM tools and make sure no one is over-tasked for the week’s work ahead.

Another thing you can do is speak with your team members, get a sense of what’s going on with them on the front lines of the project, and ask if they have any issues. By setting up a routine check-in and keeping updated with your PM software, you get a clear sense of your resources.

Related:   Best Resource Management Software

11. Know Your Resources

You can’t manage what you don’t know. You should know the experience and skills and personality of very resources that you’ve tasked or allocated to support the project.

For example, you should create a profile for each of the members of your project team. What are their skills and experience? The more you know about them, the better you’ll be able to place them in the project and assign tasks that they can best perform.

You probably have something like this already from when you were assembling your team and had written a job description for each of them. Keep those files up to date as their skills and experiences broaden. This is essential for meeting project requirements .

12. Use Resource Reports

You can reallocate if you don’t know where you’re resources are allocated. You might have planned them out well, but change happens in projects. How can you tell what is happening on the ground as compared to your plans? Reports.

You can generate all sorts of reports to give you a full picture of the project and how it’s progressing, which helps you balance your resources. For example, there are resource reports that give you an overview of your team’s workload and whether they’re over-tasked or idle.

Task reports keep you updated and variance reports help you determine whether the project is proceeding as planned. The latter gives you vital information, such as if you’re behind schedule and need to redistribute the work to get back on track.

ProjectManager's status report filter

Free Resource Allocation Templates

Resources allocation requires accurate and timely data to avoid bottlenecks that can slow down your project. Project management software is the most efficient way to manage your resources, but if you don’t have an online resource management tool there are templates that can help. ProjectManager has free templates for every phase of your project, including ones to help with resource allocation. Here are a few.

Requirement Gathering Template

Before you can allocate your resources, you need to understand what’s required. The free requirement gathering template for Word acts as a means of communication between the stakeholders and the project team. This ensures quality deliverables that meet specifications.

RACI Matrix Template

You’ll also need to organize your resources before you can properly allocate them. Our free RACI matrix template for Excel is a place where you can define the roles and responsibilities of the team members. RACI stands for responsible, accountable, consulted and informed, and the free template helps you place everyone involved in the project within one of those quadrants.

Now you’re ready to build a resource plan to help you manage your resource allocation. Our free resource plan template for Excel lists all the resources you’ll need for the project, how much each will cost and a monthly, weekly or daily chart of when you’ll need them. This helps you organize and schedule your resources: each tab on the template can be customized to match your production schedule .

If you’re looking for a project management tool that can help you implement those tips and manage your resources properly, then look no further. ProjectManager has all the features mentioned above to help you manage your resources, and it’s cloud-based software, which means the information you’re working with is in real-time. See how it can help you by taking this free 30-day trial today!  

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What is Resource Allocation: A Complete Guide for Agencies

Senior Content Marketing Manager

November 29, 2022

Max 14min read

Picture this: You’re throwing a party. Your house is full of celebrating guests. Someone says, “I’m getting hungry… Let’s order some pizzas!” 

You’re trying to figure out how many pizzas to order. Too many pizzas, and you’ll be stuck eating leftover pepperoni for days. Too few and some of your guests won’t get a slice.

But you’re also limited by counter space and the money in your wallet.

How do you feed everyone while also getting the most value out of your money?

Like party organizers, every project manager should know how to allocate resources wisely. No project has an unlimited budget or amount of team members, but you can use resource allocation to maximize productivity and project success. 

It’s all about thorough preparation and strategic planning around making the most out of what you have.

Learn how to allocate enough resources to all your projects so that you get the job done—and everyone gets a slice of pizza. Let’s party!

ClickUp Flexible Time and Workload Tracking CTA

What is Resource Allocation?

The benefits of effective resource allocation, how to manage resources and set client expectations, resource allocation examples and templates, resource allocation is a constant work-in-progress.

Resource allocation is the process of identifying all your available resources—whether it’s labor or monetary—for a project and then strategically assigning them to tasks that enable them to do their best work.

For agencies juggling multiple projects for different clients, resource allocation is key to making sense of creative chaos. Matching the right person, or resource, with the right project makes everyone happier in the end. Your staff gets to work on the projects they’re best suited for, so clients are likely to receive high-quality project deliverables and results. 

As projects evolve and client expectations change, resources are reallocated to keep progress on track with project timelines.

What counts as resources?

Your resources are all the company assets necessary to complete tasks or projects. These may include:

Who’s responsible for resource allocation?

Usually, project managers are responsible for resource allocation because they have the most visibility and control over project budgets, scope of work, and task management. However, large organizations might separate these responsibilities across several roles or have dedicated resource management departments.

Related: Resource Leveling

Not allocating your resources well is like sending just one person to pick up ten pizzas on their own while the other 15 people chat at home. It’ll take one person much more effort and time to get those pizzas, which runs the risk that everyone might be stuck eating cold pepperoni. 

Why not send three people to help out, so everyone can enjoy a warm slice ASAP? 

Resource allocation enables you to use your labor, money, and assets to their full potential , so clients are likely to receive high-quality work. At the same time, your agency minimizes team burnout by distributing work evenly. 

Other benefits of resource allocation include:

Since resource allocation takes stock of the available resources for a project at a given time, it is a short-term plan—but it has long-reaching effects. It’s a critical tool for capacity planning and managing client expectations. With effective resource allocation, your project has everything and everyone it needs to be successful, including the right resources and a realistic time frame. 

Bonus: Capacity Planning Tools & Capacity Planning Templates

Define your project scope

No chef starts cooking without picturing what they’re going to cook, right? 

Similarly, the first step in project management is to define the scope of your project. Without understanding your project scope , making resource allocation decisions is impossible!

As part of your project scope, you need to define the following:

Your project scope helps you plan out and understand a new project at a high level. Use this information to:

Take stock of your resources

Before picking toppings for your pizza, you have to know what toppings are available—and what everyone’s preferences are. Similarly, to pick the best resources for a job, you must first understand what each person does best and what kind of work they prefer to do. 

When project planning, you should understand the capability of your team and the quality of resources you have at your disposal. That way you can allocate those resources where they’ll be most effective. 

What are their strengths and core areas of expertise ? Match your project requirements to the resources that can execute those needs. 

Agency resource planning example

Say your project involves running a pay-per-click ad campaign for a B2B SaaS client in the business intelligence sector. You have two PPC managers at your agency: Jason, who has worked with other B2B tech clients before, and Sara, who has mainly worked with B2C direct sales clients. 

Sara says she’s less comfortable managing PPC for this client because she doesn’t know much about B2B software, much less a highly technical industry like BI. Meanwhile, Jason is confident he’s the right person for the job due to his past B2B experience.

For this project, you’d definitely want to place Jason on the account!

What is the availability and bandwidth of your resources? Team members rarely work on just one thing at once, but everyone is limited by the number of hours per week or day they can work. You want to ensure that your team has enough work hours to assign to this specific project.

Remember that absences, whether planned or unplanned, affect availability, so assign employees to tasks with contingency periods in mind. Employees can (and should) take paid time off or sick leave, which means they’re unavailable on those days. 

Meetings can take employees away from project tasks even during regular work days. Plus, everyone needs at least 15 minutes in their day to walk the pup or get a pumpkin spice latte! 

Never over-allocate resources . Overallocation can lead to burnout and lower productivity. The success of your project is never worth sacrificing the happiness and usefulness of your team. 

Refer to calendars and schedules when allocating your resources, and adjust timelines accordingly to accommodate resource availability. Optimize resource utilization so that your projects always have just what you need. 

Directly assign tasks to team members for full visibility

Once you know what your project team can achieve, the next step is to delegate the right tasks to each person based on their skill sets and availability. 

Set your team up for success ! Provide as much information as possible to ensure everyone understands what’s expected of them. Clarify all the need-to-know details for each task—the responsibilities, expected results, and due dates. 

In ClickUp, it’s easy to cut your pizza of a project into smaller slices with tasks, subtasks, and checklists. You can then quickly assign each action item to your team members in just a few clicks!

Here’s a closer look:

For some tasks, a single person is just not enough—especially when you have tight deadlines.

Luckily, with multiple assignees in ClickUp , you can quickly assign more people to a task if needed. So the next time a task needs that extra pair of hands, you’ll be able to assign them in a jiffy.

Plan around dependencies to avoid overuse of limited resources

The pizza delivery person won’t reach your doorstep unless they can park first. If your driveway is full, the pizza party is off – and that’s simply not an option. 

Similarly, projects inherently have dependencies —relationships between tasks and resources that affect those resources’ availability. 

Consider resource dependencies , where multiple tasks require the same limited resource. Let’s say you need 10 new graphics designed by Friday, but only have one designer on the team who’s already allocated to other projects until Wednesday. 

In this case, you would need to adjust your project schedule to realistically accommodate your team’s limited availability . Or look to hire another graphic designer, whether full-time or freelance, to provide the support needed to meet your deadlines. 

Reschedule dependencies to visualize the impact

Task dependencies also occur when one task’s progress depends on the progress of a separate task. For example, you have to wait for clients’ feedback before completing project revisions in line with their requests. Like rolling out a lump of pizza dough into a perfect pie before adding tasty toppings!

Stagger and schedule tasks based on these dependencies. Keep an eye on any potential bottlenecks and make sure that no one is left waiting on others for too long. Maintain constant communication around outstanding tasks and action items, and adjust expectations accordingly around project delays.

Consider adopting an Agile or Scrum project management methodology to eliminate or circumvent dependencies. 

ClickUp’s Dependencies help you map out the links between tasks and resources . This way, you’re able to keep tabs on all your project dependencies before they ever have a chance to become blockers. 

Here are more ways that Dependencies keep your team focused:

You can add Dependencies to individual tasks manually, or visually by drawing links between tasks on a Gantt chart . 

Track progress and reassign resources accordingly

Ideally, you set resources for a project, and it goes according to plan. But if there are any delays or changes, you may need to reallocate resources. 

Don’t panic! Reallocation is a normal part of resource management. 

The first step is to keep a close eye on team capacity as it relates to fulfilling your project requirements. Ask these questions when looking at your current capacity: 

If so, the next step is communicating changes with your client or project stakeholders . Keep them in the loop about your project’s progress as early and often as possible, including any potential shifts in scope or delays. 

This helps manage expectations so stakeholders are less likely to be caught off guard, disappointed, or surprised by changes or setbacks. 

The resource allocation process may involve rescoping your project and finding additional team members to help with the extra work. Some companies create a backup resource allocation plan by identifying employees with relevant skills that can fill in as needed or maintaining a pool of freelancers who can provide support on the fly.

You also may need to adjust timelines and deadlines for all tasks in your project to reflect your team’s capacity and account for unanticipated delays. 

Allocating your resources by itself, plus reallocating tasks down the line, can be a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be hard work!

Consider using resource management tools that keep your team on track with centralized visibility. No need to dig up all your various spreadsheets, docs, and post-its, or constantly switch between all your team members’ calendars. 

We might be biased, but we believe ClickUp is a great (dare we say the best?) resource allocation tool. It brings all that information into one place so you can keep track of your progress and team capacity in real-time. You can create customizable Dashboards to see how your team is doing and where you might fall behind. 

That’s one way Diggs uses ClickUp to stay on top of its projects. The results? Greater transparency into workload management , less time spent on back-and-forth communication, and more productive use of everyone’s time.

We’d call that a win!

Minimize scope creep

You can order what you think is enough pizza for everyone at your party, but you can’t always anticipate how much they’ll eat. What happens if you unexpectedly run out of pizza? 

Aside from shedding some tears (understandably), you now need to shift gears to meet your goal of feeding all your guests. 

This is a case of scope creep —a project expanding beyond its original scope and requiring additional resources, including extra time, money, and people. Scope creep threatens your project’s success by adding extra work without extending the project timeline, creating extra pressure on your team members to do more in less time. 

You can try your best to prevent scope creep by setting firm boundaries in your project scope statement, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. In those cases, good change management puts structures and processes in place to mitigate scope creep. 

It establishes expectations that decision-makers will inform you about scope changes ASAP and give you the space and time to reallocate or add resources accordingly. 

Going with the flow is important, but so is preventing overwork by overloading your team! They have a pizza party to get to, after all.

Let’s say you’re a project manager in charge of launching an influencer marketing campaign for Marinara , a mobile Pomodoro timer productivity app. Here’s an example of what your resource allocation plan might look like:

Ready to identify and allocate your resources? ClickUp is here to help! It’s completely free to sign up and start using in seconds . Get started with these resource allocation templates , designed to kickstart your project management into hyperdrive today!

The ClickUp Resource Allocation Template

ClickUp resource allocation template

ClickUp’s Resource Allocation Template helps you keep track of the capacity and availability of all your organization’s resources in one place. It comes with these convenient Views:

This template is fully customizable to fit your resource management workflows. Leverage this template to get a comprehensive overview of your team’s capacity and progress toward project completion and deliverables.

The ClickUp Resource Planning Template

ClickUp Resource Planning Template

ClickUp’s Resource Planning Template offers a variety of ways to visualize and allocate your resources throughout your team. 

In addition to the views included in the first template, this template provides two more Views: 

This template helps you proactively plan around your available resources, including budgets and team members’ schedules. Like all of our templates, it’s customizable, so you can tailor it to your needs and make it your own. 

You don’t just allocate resources before your project starts and call it a day. You have to keep a finger on the pulse of your projects, balancing your team’s capacity carefully against your project requirements. Since factors that can impact your project success are constantly changing, you also need to be flexible enough to adjust your resource allocation strategy as needed.

ClickUp is the best project management software for teams, with a robust set of features to help you manage your resources, keep your projects on track, and get things done quickly.  We help project managers and key decision-makers allocate resources and oversee the complete project lifecycle like pros.

See how ClickUp can help you and your team by signing up for free today! 

And keep your favorite pizza spot on speed dial — because you’ll never run out of cheesy goodness with our help!

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Resource Allocation: 6 Steps Every Project Manager Should Know

Here's everything you need to assign the best available resources to tasks and projects..

Stella Inabo

Stella Inabo

Resource allocation helps project managers schedule the best team for the job, and optimize how work is assigned.

Project managers have to match team members to the right tasks to deliver projects on time and within budget. 

Effective resource allocation—the process of assigning tasks to the right team members—is at the heart of every successful project.

But there is a fine line between assigning tasks to the right people and overworking some team members while underutilizing others. According to Float's Global Agency Productivity Report, 74% of workers say they are overbooked once a month. And 26% say having too much on their plate is a regular occurrence. Burdened with too much work, team members might feel exhausted. 

While resource management isn't always easy, it is essential. In fact, 83% percent of executives said the allocation of resources was the most critical management lever for growth. In 2021, it was the third biggest project management challenge for businesses.

We created this guide to show how you can develop a resource allocation process that empowers your team, prevents burnout, and saves money.

What is resource allocation in project management?

To better understand better, let's start with a resource allocation definition.

Resource allocation is the process of assigning the best available resources to tasks and projects. 

Resource allocation manages workloads to ensure under or overutilization doesn't happen. Then, if needed, people are reassigned based on current resource availability and project timelines. It goes hand in hand with capacity planning .

The benefits of resource allocation

There’s a reason resource allocation is a top priority among enterprises, small businesses, and everything in between. Without it, things can get out of hand and lead to employee burnout, poor performance, and missed deadlines.

Let’s look at the advantages of efficient resource allocation.

Helps you plan  

Resource allocation can prevent overspending on resources you don’t need or stop you from running short of them halfway through a project. When you have the right tools, you can quickly see the availability of resources and timelines for projects in the pipeline and plan accordingly. 

Resource allocation software also gives a better view of your talent pool. It simplifies selecting the best people for each project and task, which improves the likelihood of success.

The bottom line? More profit for your business.

Improves team well-being and morale

Poor resource management can lead to burnout among your workforce. When that happens, productivity and performance decrease and happiness disappears. Consider that:

When you allocate resources effectively, you can avoid all these negative effects. This requires taking into account actual availability—not just what’s written on paper. For example, rather than calculating 40 hours per week per full-time employee, you consider potential sick days, vacation time, and other work tasks on their to-do list. 

Taking this approach minimizes the chances of overloading employees and maintains their well-being and morale. 

Keeps everybody in the loop

When collaborating on a project, it is essential to track progress. That usually means regular updates on the status of tasks, issues, and milestones. If you’re using manual tools, this will eat up your time and increase the odds of making mistakes. 

However, with resource allocation software, you can reduce errors and promote transparency. Every member of the team can track the progress of tasks, and you can quickly send reports back to stakeholders. 

It may even help you cut back on daily meetings (and make the ones you do have more productive 🤗).

How to build a resource allocation process

Here's a 6-step resource allocation process that will get your team working smarter—not harder.

1. Map out your upcoming project

If you don't have a clear picture of what tasks are needed to complete a project, it becomes challenging to allocate resources effectively. This is why we recommend mapping out new projects in advance. 

With the project spec in mind, try to come up with answers to the following questions:  

Visually seeing what (and who) you need makes decision-making easier. Maybe you have limited resources and need to hire new employees or temporary contractors to fill in gaps. Perhaps you need to assign more than one person to a task to prevent bottlenecks. 

Using a resource management tool like Float, you can create tentative projects and plan ahead of time. This helps you estimate timelines and identify available resources before starting a project. 

2. Get to know the availability of your resources

Once you've mapped out any upcoming projects, knowing your team's availability top to bottom before kick-off is crucial to success.

Your business is likely juggling multiple projects at once—not to mention you are managing your team's overall availability. Sick leave, time off, and public holidays all affect your team's availability. If you use a spreadsheet, it makes it more difficult to spot these gaps and you could end up booking someone on a project only to discover they are not available. 

Your best bet is to use a resource management tool. Float gives you a bird's-eye view of your team's schedule (including meetings) and their capacity. You can even filter team members by customizable tags to find out who is available to take on work.

allocate resources best

3. Assign tasks and get feedback from team members 

After determining your team's availability, the next step is to delegate tasks to each person. 

For your project to succeed, team members have to know their responsibilities, dependencies, and due dates for each task. Float's integrations with project management tools make it easy to drag and drop imported tasks directly onto your team's schedule. The resource allocator has a full view of availability and can easily detect an overloaded workload and prevent double booking.

Let's say you think a design brief should take roughly two hours to complete, and you assign the task as a block into their resource calendar . You check in with the designer, and you find out that your estimate is off and they need an extra hour to finish their task. All you have to do is adjust the team member's schedule, so they immediately get more time to get the task done right. 🙌

Use Float to save time on manual follow up with @mentions in the notes of any task, time off, or project. Simply type "@" followed by their name. Depending on their settings, notifications are sent via email, Slack, or mobile push. For example, you might alert your manager when you schedule new tentative time off or to check in on a teammate's progress on a task.

4. Choose a resource allocation tool

Keeping track of everything your team is working on isn't easy, so it makes sense to use resource allocation tools to shoulder some of the load. Software creates a level of transparency that meetings and whiteboards simply can't.

Project managers can put things like budget tracking on autopilot while keeping a close eye on their team's calendars in real time. Erin Ward is a studio manager at web design agency Mixd . She manages an ever-expanding team and ensures on-time delivery for all studio projects. One of her strategies is providing the team with an endless supply of homemade cakes (jealous! 🍰). But she also says keeping projects on track comes down to their agency operations. This is possible by using a dedicated planning tool (in their case, Float) to allocate project resources.

"Team visibility is important for us at Mixd. We can see at a glance where our resources are tied up, both in the immediate and near future, which is invaluable when planning future work. We need a simple tool that doesn't get in the way of this important part of running a busy studio. For us, Float is exactly that."

Float is software designed specifically for resource allocation. It works hand-in-hand with your favorite project management tools like Jira, Asana, Trello, Teamwork, and WorkflowMax via direct integrations . 

Project managers can plan tasks in their project management tool and then use Float's visual calendar to allocate them based on their team's workload. The calendar makes it easy to see who's maxed out and who can take on more work. And in cases when you need to schedule a new task, the cost (e.g., the hourly rate x billable hours) is subtracted from the project budget . The budget summary will display red when a project is over budget.

allocate resources best

5. Monitor the progress of the project

After assigning tasks, you will likely need to make changes as the project progresses. You might discover that you have too many resources at your disposal—or worse—you might have overloaded your team and are in danger of missing a deadline.

Knowing how many people are available to work on a project can make the difference in getting it delivered on time and within budget. In cases where that's not possible, it's essential to remain flexible and ready to make changes when necessary.  According to McKinsey , a fundamental goal of resource reallocation is to make moves as opportunities shift. To overcome internal problems with your most important resource (your people), it's important to:

Look out for team members who are overcapacity—especially those working on multiple projects at once. One way to spot overloaded team members is by looking at their time logged. If you notice someone is working more than 40 hours a week, it might make sense to take some work off their plate and allocate it elsewhere. 

Let's say your agency has a new project to work on, but your senior designer has a full calendar for the month. Instead of overloading them, a project manager can look at the availability of all the team's designers and find someone with free time. Or you can adjust the timeline for the project to a time when the designer will be available.

6. Run a post-project evaluation

At the end of any project, host a post-project evaluation to see what worked (and, more importantly) what didn't. Some basic post-project questions to consider are:

Don't hold back in these meetings—it's crucial everyone involved is open and honest about the triumphs and mistakes of the project. Doing so will help your project managers (and the rest of your team) plan and predict the needs of future projects more effectively.

Using resource allocation software, it's easy to pull data. You'll be able to spot which roadblocks you hit and if the estimated hours allocated matched up with the actual project lifecycle.

allocate resources best

How to handle resource allocation problems

Even if you adopt all the right tools and follow resource allocation best practices, you will probably still run into problems. Hiccups are going to happen, so it's best to be prepared! 

Let's take a look at some of the top challenges project managers face and how to overcome them. 

The project scope changes

You did your best to plan resource allocation for your upcoming projects, but there's still the chance of scope creep. Maybe the tasks were more extensive than expected or required skills you didn't account for. 

You need to be nimble and adjust your resources accordingly when this happens. To prevent scope creep , you should:

Sometimes it's impossible to avoid scope creep. In such cases, having a scope change process helps you adapt fast and get back on course. It may look something like this:

Resources become unavailable 

Uncontrollable outside forces prevent scarce resources from showing up as expected. A worker's car breaks down, and they can't get to the office. Or maybe they have other priorities in the organization that trumps working on a task you assigned them. What matters is what you do next.

Work quickly to find a replacement within your talent pool. If there's no one available with the skills you need, hiring a freelancer or contractor may be the best option. You can prevent this in the future by looking at task dependencies. Investigate other responsibilities team members have that may pull them away from the project.

Have a backup resource allocation plan if they are unavailable for whatever reason. One option is to have a pool of freelancers you can count on to fill in gaps on a whim. Temporary staff could be the backup if freelancers aren't an option. 

Resources need to be shared

It's common for projects to share the same resources. This is especially true in smaller organizations that can't afford to hire an extensive staff roster. As you can imagine, shared resources can lead to issues that bog down the pipeline. Project bottlenecks may occur if resources are spread too thin. 

Use your resource allocation software to spot gaps in advance. Closely monitor workloads of team members who move between several departments. It's the best way to prevent over-allocating resources and burnout. 

Unexpected delays 

A delay can hit when you least expect it. People get sick, labor shortages arise, and miscommunication happens. That's when scope creep may rear its ugly head. Some issues are within your control, and others, not so much.

The most straightforward way to deal with issues is to try your best to prevent them in the first place. You can:

The more organized and transparent your resource allocation, the easier it is for everyone to take accountability for their role.

Manage your team’s availability on autopilot with resource allocation software

Integrate directly with Google or Outlook calendar. Set custom work days and hours, schedule time off, import public holidays, and set a status to let everyone know where you’re working from. With Float you get a live view to plan your team’s capacity and workload, to allocate resources with confidence.

A smarter resource allocation strategy empowers your team

Managing resources effectively can make or break any project. More importantly, it can keep your team (again, your most important resource) from burning out.

Resource allocation may not be rocket science. But it's often overlooked by project managers in terms of its importance. Whether you’re a team of two or 200, allocating your resources successfully depends on your ability to identify and utilize their individual skill sets and manage their availability.

With the right tools and resource management in place, it's easier than ever to keep your team happy and deliver successful projects.

Looking for a tool to help your team allocate resources? Join the thousands of creative teams that manage their remote teams using Float. Start your free trial here . 

Plan your resources with the #1 rated resource management software

Allocate resources with the #1 rated resource management software

With Float, you can plan your projects and allocate resources with confidence. Try it free for 30 days, no credit card required.

Related reads

Resource allocation and capacity planning: what's the difference, the ultimate guide to resource planning for project managers, project planning: a 7-step guide to creating effective plans.

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How Markets Allocate Resources

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Do you know how did Adam Smith's famous idea of the ‘invisible hand’ for resource allocation transform into a modern market theory? Did you know that prices are crucial for determining how resources are allocated within a market? Let’s talk about how markets allocate resources.

How markets allocate scarce resources

Resource allocation is assigning available resources, or factors of production, to specific uses chosen among many possible alternatives It answers questions such as what to produce and how.

Due to the fact that resources are finite, it is necessary to decide which goods and services should be produced to ensure productivity and efficiency.

Different economic systems use different mechanisms to determine the allocation of resources in the market:

In a market economy, the price mechanism dictates the allocation of resources evidenced in consumer spending and producer investing.

In a mixed economy, a mixture between state planning and the market mechanism determines resource allocation.

The role of the market in resource allocation

As we mentioned before, resource allocation answers several questions. Let’s explore them in detail.

What to produce and how much to produce?

Resources in the economy are limited. So it is necessary to choose what goods and services should be produced. Producers and consumers decide which goods and services are in the market through the signaling role of price and self-interest.

A demand curve demonstrates how much of a product consumers are willing and able to buy (demand), whilst the supply curve shows how much of a product producers are willing and able to produce (supply).

How to produce?

The prices of resources are used to address the question of how various goods and services should be produced. This would require the economy to carefully consider the various factors of production such as labour and capital, as firms would usually try to reduce the cost incurred in production. Therefore, price is an important factor in deciding how to allocate resources against competing uses.

For whom to produce?

The price mechanism also helps in deciding who to produce for. The demand curve demonstrates this by showing what consumers are willing and able to buy. In a way, this represents the consumers’ vote on what they want producers to produce more of by indicating to them where to allocate their resources.

Market resource allocation and the price mechanism

The markets use prices as signals to allocate resources to their highest-valued uses. This is evidenced in various market scenarios:

Consumers will pay higher prices for goods and services that they value highly (influenced by personal taste and trends).

Advantages and disadvantages of the price mechanism in market resource allocation

Let’s explore some advantages and disadvantages of the price mechanism as a tool for market resource allocation.

Advantages of the price mechanism

Resources are allocated efficiently to satisfy consumers’ wants and needs.

Disadvantages of the price mechanism

Inequality in wealth and income is likely.

There will be under-provision of merit goods and overproduction of demerit goods, as the supply and demand for these goods won't be at the socially optimal level.

Public goods will not be produced.

Resource misallocation and market failure

Resource misallocation happens when resources are allocated in a way that doesn’t maximise economic welfare.

The price serves a number of useful functions in resource allocation: signaling information, creating incentives to influence people’s behaviour, and rationing the demand for goods and services. However, it’s still possible that these functions would not ensure the maximisation of resources for the social and economic welfare of agents in the economy.

This is the case of pure public goods and the production of goods with negative externalities , which the price mechanism allows. Therefore, there is a risk of market failure when we rely on the price to allocate the resources in an economy. Furthermore, due to unequal income and wealth distribution in society, relying on price to effectively balance demand and consumer preference may be deemed as unfair.

Another case of market failure is a monopoly, which leads to resource misallocation. Resource misallocation occurs in a monopoly as compared to a competitive market as it restricts output and increases the price. This can lead to underconsumption whilst in a perfectly competitive market goods are sold in accordance to the ruling market price.

Prices play a fundamental role in resource allocation in the markets. The price mechanism has advantages and disadvantages. The disadvantages sometimes lead to resource misallocation and market failure, which can be corrected by government intervention.

How Markets Allocate Resources - Key takeaways

Frequently Asked Questions about How Markets Allocate Resources

--> how do prices allocate resources between markets.

By signaling to producers where they need to allocate their resources, based on incentives to produce particular goods. 

--> How do prices help us allocate goods and services?

The decision about the different types of goods and services in the market is determined by producers and consumers through the signaling role of price and self-interests. 

--> What is market resource allocation?

Resource allocation refers to assigning available resources, or factors of production, to specific uses chosen among many possible alternatives.  

--> What is the advantage of prices to allocate scarce resources?

--> How do markets allocate scarce resources?

This depends on the economic system.

Final How Markets Allocate Resources Quiz

What is resource allocation?

Show answer

Resource allocation is assigning available resources, or factors of production, to specific uses chosen among many possible alternatives. Resource allocation involves answering questions as ‘what to produce and how?’.  

Show question

How are resources allocated in a planned economy?

The mechanism for resource allocation in the planned economy is dictated by the state. 

How are resources allocated in the free market economy?

In the free market economy, the price mechanism dictates the allocation of resources, evidenced in consumer spending and producer investing. 

How are resources allocated in a mixed economy?

The mixed economy uses a mixture of state planning and the market mechanism to determine resource allocation.  

What is the role of the market in resource allocation?

The market decides what to produce as well as the required quality. How to produce and for whom to produce.  

How does price affect consumers’ behaviour in resource allocation? 

How does price affect producers in allocation of resources?

Producers will devote more resources to the production of goods and services with higher selling prices (as there is an incentive for profit) if the other things are equal. 

What is the relationship between price and the ‘invisible hand’?

Price plays a very fundamental role in the allocation of resources in the economy as it guides the 'invisible hand' in the correction of market failures caused by inefficient allocation of resources. 

What are the roles of price in resource allocation?

Price can be used to signal, ration, provide incentive and ultimately allocate resources (as an invisible hand).

What are the advantages of the price mechanism? 

What are the disadvantages of the price mechanism?

What is resource misallocation?

When resources are allocated in a way which doesn’t maximise economic welfare. 

Why is resource allocation important?

Resource allocation is important due to the fact that there are finite resources. It is necessary that decisions are made on which goods and services are to be produced, in order to ensure productivity efficiency. 

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6 Resource Allocation Best Practices You Can't Afford to Ignore

allocate resources best

Written by: Iryna Viter

[email protected] December 20, 2021

resource allocation best practices

83% of executives name resource allocation as the most critical management lever for spurring growth, according to McKinsey.

Sadly, not all companies get the hang of how to do it right. Project and operation managers still fail to use resource allocation to their advantage. Poor resource management has seen the largest increase since 2018 and is now ranked as the 2nd top challenge, remarks Vince Hines, a Managing Director at Wellingtone.

Despite being the most important part of managing any project, the challenge remains how to distribute talent, time, and money in a way that will bring the most value to the organization.

Whether you’re a project manager, looking to improve your project schedules, or a director of operations searching for ways to make the company more profitable through process optimization and resource management , we’ve made this guide to share best practices, methods, and tools to streamline the resource allocation process, based on our own data.

This guide will also show you how to minimize risks in the resource allocation process and save a huge portion of manual work spent connecting pieces of work with the right talent. While it is meant for service-based firms specifically, the concepts here are pretty much applicable to any industry. So, let’s dive in.

The definition of resource allocation

In this article, by resource allocation , we particularly mean the diligent and optimal appointment of resources to do work on the project. People often make the mistake of assuming that resource allocation only involves matching people to tasks. The reality is much different. Effective resource allocation involves much more than just matching a person to a task. Resource allocation definitions we often see are too superficial and a far cry from what happens in reality. De facto, there’s much more significance to what resource allocation involves.

For a minute, try to think of it as an iceberg. What you see above the surface in your projects is a simple picture of delegating assignments, what’s beneath the surface are other factors that affect the process, like resource availability, estimations, dependencies, priorities, change requests, and skills! Seeing only the tip of the iceberg, managers often make a mistake allocating resources by virtue of situations. Strategic decisions that should take into account resource utilization and billability rates are often ignored.

Why resource allocation is important

Allocating resources, project managers should go beyond thinking of just delegating assignments. Here’s why. When you look at the resource allocation process, you will realize that it carries a lot of weight in project management. This is because the manner in which project resources are allocated is what determines if the project will be successful or not.

Eventually, resource allocation affects business performance. Optimal resource distribution is key to the functioning of any organization. When a company allocates its resources, it’s actually determining the resources that will be dedicated to the company’s strategic plans. This means that resource allocation helps organizations put their efforts into the priorities of their operations.

So it’s no secret that the way resources are distributed further affects the company’s operating margin and profit. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that done efficiently, resource allocation makes half of your project done.

improving operational efficiency

Challenges in the resource allocation process

Despite being one of the most important parts of project management, resource allocation remains one of the most difficult processes to automate and optimize. If you’ve worked in any capacity, as part of a project team, then you know that things do not always fall in place as easily when it comes to resource allocation.

In view of the current multiteaming trend, when people are assigned to multiple teams and projects simultaneously, resource allocation becomes even more complicated. When 500 managers in global companies were asked if their team members work on multiple projects in parallel, the majority of 81% said it was true. Other research taking place in knowledge-intensive industries, has shown a higher number of 95%.

Having a shared pool of resources, project managers expand the list of the most common resource allocation questions. It includes but never ends at estimations (often unrealistic), task dependencies (lacking transparency), resource availability (not knowing who’s available and when), priorities (in which sequence that tasks should appear), skills (finding the right role to perform the task). Another factor that commonly prohibits resource allocation is a lack of knowledge and communication between a project manager and the team. A spreadsheet for resource allocation, as experience of many shows, would just be another log in the fire.

Obviously, as a combination of scheduling and staffing decision-making, the process of resource allocation involves just too many things for one human brain to process and handle. To take the guesswork out of resource allocation in 2021 and reduce the number of the administrative challenges, businesses have started to use intelligent project automation software. Today the news is filled with AI, automation and machine learning - we bet you’ve already read a lot about it, but you probably haven’t found the perfect solution to use in your company yet.

In your choice of the perfect solution, think how far you can go with your data. Is filling it in worth your time? Did the information you’d entered became part of the bigger picture or got lost, as if you filled it in a spreadsheet? In other words, have you just put your data to good use? Only platforms that were built with connectivity in mind can translate your data into actionable insights. Forecast is one such platform.

Improving resource allocation

On its mission to reduce human error and automate great parts of administrative work , Forecast has blazed a trail for new, time-saving ways to manage projects, operations, and finances in service industries. To improve resource allocation, a good portion of work relies on how far you can go to connect insights and facts together to make a decision. The platform has a level of connectivity you won’t find elsewhere, so the data you put there becomes part of the bigger picture and never goes unnoticed.  

1. Resource availability heat map

First off, your resource allocation strategy always depends on resource availability. In the perfect world, before starting the new project, you’d probably like to see resources available at your company you could assign to the project, or vice versa, people who are over-assigned. The big picture could help you resolve resource conflicts with your fellow project managers and plan with the right utilization insights at hand.

resource allocation heatmap

Forecast has a decent overview of resources that updates on the fly, every time a team member is assigned to a task. To give you a better understanding of the subject, we’ve included a few snapshots from our platform, so you can trace how the insights from the article apply to the problem you’re searching to solve. Say, to pick team members for the new project, you can use the above and the following view options instead of an outdated resource allocation spreadsheet:

View Options

When you uncover the pulse of your resources, you get a better understanding of how much work they can do (or can’t) over the course of a week—or month.

2. Project and task allocations

So how are resources allocated? A successful resource allocation plan starts with picking one type of resource allocation company-wide. In general, there are two ways you can allocate resources, to projects and to tasks . Forecast caters for both. Selecting one of those will accommodate a better overview of allocations (as on the image above) in the future and allow you to spot who's available easily. 

Project allocation

If you don't know upfront what tasks your team will be working on, but you do want to book a team member for let's say 100 hours over the next 3 weeks, you will want to allocate your team members to a project.

Task allocation

Task allocation is essentially a slot of tasks you assign to your team. It works best when you have a list of requirements from your client that can be translated into tasks in advance.

We've noticed a trend that companies on the agile side prefer to allocate their staff to projects, while waterfall method requires more precision, so task allocation seems like a better fit. 

3. Auto Schedule with a timeline view

There are a huge number of software options that provide resource maps, but there’s only one that fully automates project planning and scheduling - Forecast. With a click of just one button, its powerhouse of resource allocation algorithms turns your list of tasks into a solid project schedule with the suggested estimates, assigned resources, and realistic deadlines.

But how, you might wonder? It gets to know your resources through their past activities and patterns of behavior and determines the proper timing to allocate resources within the project schedule. Because it resists the urge to over- and underallocate employees, nobody is stressed out or bored at the end of the day.

Auto Schedule can be compared to having more than 40,000 project managers assisting your team in day-to-day work. But they aren't actually there - they are just feeding their information in and making work processes go smoothly for everyone. But more than that, they are also making sure you reduce the human errors. Simply by making small suggestions here and there to optimize and make the decisions stronger.

Now, why timeline view? Some projects are turn-based, following a peculiar game logic, which means waiting until a specific action is completed to begin working on the next task. A built-in order is peculiar for IT companies. If some tasks can only be done on condition that other tasks were completed, it’s best to show them in a timeline view, where the order of tasks is clear.

4. AI-powered estimations

As a rule of thumb, to complete the project plan and allocate resources to tasks, project managers indicate how much effort it is expected for a person to do the task, measured in hours or story points. The point of accurateness to which project managers estimate tasks directly influences the plan and predictions. However, as practice shows, estimates are usually off-the-mark when you switch to the execution phase. To make project planning and scheduling more efficient, you can trust Auto Schedule or benefit from doing estimates manually. Indicate high and low estimate for each task, and Forecast’s AI will suggest a realistic one.

5. Financial overview of role distribution

Resource allocation is the day-to-day problem of both project and operation departments, but it also ties with the financial aspect of the project. How do you track if you’ve allocated resources in the most optimal way from the perspective of profitability? How do you make sure that your resource allocation plan is not just a shot in the dark, but an informed strategic decision? Well, there are ways to see this using Forecast’s Financial Portfolio Report. Both give you actionable financial data without losing reference to roles allocated to the project, from where you can see if the role distribution you’ve chosen contributes to the profitability of each project.

HubSpot Video

A software development company, for instance, could analyze how many Junior, Middle, and Senior developers are working on the project and based on this information do role-based cost optimization. Another example could be learning resource allocation trends from your past most profitable projects and apply them to similar projects. 

6. Resource utilization rates

Another way to spot resource allocation problems is by tracking employee's utilization rate. Utilization, by definition, is the time that's used for productive, billable work, measured in percents.  To calculate utilization, the following formula is used:

M any professional services companies consider it a critical metric, and there's a good reason for it. But what does resource allocation has to do with utilization? By quantifying utilization rates, you get a bunch of valuable insights to interpret and feed into the decision-making process when allocating resources. For instance, looking at employee utilization rates and their roles in the company, you can notice where demand is highest. Employees that have record-breaking utilization rates are profit-making and very much in demand. A good overview of utilization rates could help you either identify opportunities to scale the company, or find the most appropriate room to add staff.

Forecast's Utilization Report

Forecast's Utilization Report

Additionally, utilization rates can reveal of few important resource allocation trends across the company. A utilization rate that continually gets closer to 100% is not necessarily a good news worth celebrating. On the contrary, it may serve as a wake-up call that you’re overworking your staff, and it's time to hire new employees. In turn, if a utilization rate is consistently low, it could be a signal that your project is overstaffed and there isn’t enough work to fill the pipeline, or too many hours have been spent on non-billable administrative tasks (such as meetings or training). In any case, utilization rates on either of these two extremes - too high or too low, indicate that your resource allocation processes needs to be revisited.

Person Utilization

What’s an optimal utilization rate, then? According to SPI's 2020 Professional Services Maturity Benchmark , billable utilization targets of the best firms average 85% or higher compared to 70% for average firms. "This means top performing consultants bill 300 more hours per year than those at average firms," researchers point out. Let's not forget that higher billable utilization only occurs because the right people with the right skills are available to do the work, which is a direct result of your resource allocation plan. 

To wrap it up, good resource allocation should maximize the output of the project at an acceptable cost and with timely delivery. Optimal resource allocation can be hassle-free if you take advantage of automation. The power of intelligent project automation tools like Forecast is in giving you the right insights when you need them and cutting time you spend on administrative work. Imagine the future with this level of transparency. You can start building it today. Sign up for a free trial and benefit from using the platform that connects all the dots together for you.

Iryna Viter

allocate resources best

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9 five-star project scheduling software to try, the ultimate guide to scope creep [updated for 2022], you might like to read these articles on our blog...

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resource allocation

What is resource allocation?

Resource allocation is the process of assigning and managing assets in a manner that supports an organization's strategic planning goals.

Resource allocation includes managing tangible assets such as hardware to make the best use of softer assets such as human capital . Resource allocation involves balancing competing needs and priorities, and determining the best course of action to maximize the use of limited resources and get the best return on investment .

In practicing resource allocation, organizations must first establish their desired goal, such as increased revenue, improved productivity or better brand recognition . They then must assess what resources will be needed to reach that goal.

While resource allocation often refers to activities related to project management, the term is also used in other contexts, including the following:

How to allocate resources on a project

The following five steps are important when allocating available resources as part of project management:

list of project management skills

Benefits of resource allocation

Effective resource allocation offers the following benefits:

Challenges of resource allocation

There also are challenges associated with the resource allocation process, including the following:

Business intelligence is an important component of resource allocation, especially for tracking project performance. Learn about some common business intelligence challenges organizations face and how to handle them.

Continue Reading About resource allocation

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If you like maximizing team impact, you’ll love resource allocation

Julia Martins contributor headshot

When you think of the most important elements of project planning, what comes to mind? You probably think of the project’s main objectives, the timeline for achieving those objectives, and the scope of what you can accomplish within the project. 

But achieving any of these elements hinges on one thing: the resources available for your project. 

If you’ve never created a resource allocation plan before, this article is for you. We’ll walk you through five steps to allocate resources effectively. Then, get a preview of common resource allocation challenges—and what you can do to get ahead of them.

What is resource allocation? 

Resource allocation is the process of identifying and assigning available resources to an initiative. Effective allocation of resources helps maximize the impact of project resources while still supporting your team’s goals. To create a resource allocation plan, identify the right resources—including team members, tools, budget, and more—you need to accomplish your project deliverables .

What is a resource? 

A resource is anything that helps you complete a project. This can include:

Team members

Project timelines

Ideas, intellectual property, or specific skill sets

Tools or software

Automated processes that reduce work about work

Who is responsible for allocating resources? 

The person responsible for resource allocation varies based on the size of your organization, but it’s usually the individual in charge of the project’s decision-making. For smaller companies, the project manager or team leader typically manages the budget, resource scheduling, and project work. 

Alternatively, at larger companies, the project manager and project budget owner are often different people. As a result, you may need approval from important project stakeholders or your project sponsor before allocating resources. 

If you aren’t sure who should be allocating resources, ask yourself these two questions and identify who is best equipped to answer them:

What is the budget, and who is approving it? You’ll need a budget for tools, technology, freelancers, and equipment. 

What are the team’s priorities, and who has time to work on this initiative? Before you allocate human resources, think through each team member’s capacity and priorities. How can you help team members do their best work and have the highest impact?

If you aren’t sure what’s on everyone’s plate, use a workload management tool to view team member capacity, get ahead of upcoming projects, and spot burnout before it happens. 

How to allocate resources effectively

An effective allocation strategy identifies the project’s goals and priorities and collects resources to fit your needs throughout a project lifecycle. Resource allocation should be an early project consideration—ideally, aim to allocate resources during the project planning phase. 

1. Start with the end in mind

In order to understand your project’s priorities, how important it is, and how it should be resourced, you first need to outline the project’s objectives. This is the first step to any project. Project objectives are attainable, time-bound, specific goals you plan to achieve by the end of your project.

If you haven’t already, align on:

The project’s main goals and objectives

The project’s key deliverables

Relevant milestones

A high-level timeline or project roadmap

2. Identify available resources

In resource allocation, a resource is anything that helps you achieve your project objectives. Depending on your project’s needs, this includes the project team and any tools, budget, equipment, or skills you need to hit your project deliverables. 

Before you actually allocate resources, understand what’s available. There are a few dependencies to look out for, including:

What is the project’s priority level? This influences how it should be resourced. Is this an all-hands-on-deck project that’s contributing to a company OKR , or is it a lower priority initiative? Come up with an internal tier system for project priority to guide how you’ll staff each project. 

Who is available to work on this project? Take a look at your team’s capacity to understand what they’re working on. If this project is more important than their current work try resource leveling . See if there’s anything you can deprioritize or reschedule to accommodate this new work. 

What budget or tools are available? Does this project have a budget? Are there additional tools you need to invest in or develop in order to complete this work? 

What additional resources do we need? Do you need any cross-functional team members to work on this project? Alternatively, are there unconventional resources—like very unique skill sets or new equipment—you need for this project to succeed?

Who needs to approve the resource allocation plan? If someone other than you is in charge of budget, tooling, or team workload, check in with them to make sure this resource allocation plan looks good. Are there any additional project stakeholders who need to be looped in during the resource allocation process? 

3. Align on project scope

To scope a new project, you first need to understand the project’s goals, deadlines, and project deliverables. This helps you get a sense of your project needs so you can hit your goals on time and on budget. 

A clear project scope also helps you avoid scope creep , which is what happens when the asks and deliverables exceed the pre-set project scope. 

4. Create and share a project plan

Now that you have a sense of your available resources, surface that information to the larger team. Invite your project team to a project kickoff meeting , and share:

Your project plan

Relevant project milestones

The project schedule

Any task dependencies to keep an eye on

Track all of this work with work management software . It’s important for your project team to know which resources are available for this project—and also to have a central source of truth for this information in case it changes. With a centralized work management system, you can clarify project priorities so everyone understands the context of the work. That way, if something does change, you can reprioritize based on the highest-impact work. 

5. Monitor project progress

Once your project is underway, monitor project progress in case of any unexpected resource allocation developments. No matter how well planned your project is—things can change. Team members go on vacation, a client might be delayed in getting back to you, or your business goals might change. Track project progress in real time so you can adjust if necessary.

Common challenges of resource allocation

Done correctly, resource allocation can help you hit your goals, increase your impact, and maximize your resource utilization. You’ll get better at allocating resources as you go, but if you’re just getting started, here are some common challenges—and how to avoid them. 

Problem: Burnout and over-allocation

The biggest issue to avoid during resource allocation is overwork and burnout. Team members get overworked when they work too hard, too much, or too long. Prolonged overwork can lead to burnout, which the World Health Organization defines as an occupational phenomenon resulting from chronic workplace stress.

Without visibility into what everyone is working on—especially if you’re managing work across multiple projects —it’s easy to assume team members have the time and bandwidth to work on your specific project. This lack of clarity can lead to accidental over-allocation and, eventually, burnout.

To prevent overwork and burnout, proactively evaluate team member workload. With capacity planning , you can get ahead of burnout and make sure team members aren’t overwhelmed or underworked. This is critical because, according to the Anatomy of Work , 71% of knowledge workers reported experiencing burnout at least once in 2020. With proactive resource management software , you can promote balance—instead of burnout.

Problem: Resource dependencies

Sometimes, things change after you identify and allocate available resources. You might be waiting on a team member to finish a project before getting started on your initiative—but what happens if that project gets extended? 

Even the most effective resource allocation can’t predict every business contingency . To avoid unpleasant surprises, use resource management tools, such as project management software , to automate resource tracking in real-time. That way, you can immediately see resource shortages and project delays and pivot your own work accordingly. 

Problem: Low resource utilization

The average knowledge worker spends 60% of their time on “work about work”—things like searching for documents, chasing approvals, switching between apps, and following up on the status of work. That leaves only 40% of each day for skilled work and strategic planning . More often than not we take this time consuming “stuff” for granted as part of work, but it doesn’t have to be. That’s where resource utilization comes in. Resource utilization describes the percentage of a team member’s time that is spent on billable work, or tasks that contribute to overall profitability.

High resource utilization isn’t about squeezing out the maximum amount of productivity from any given team member. Rather, the key to maximizing utilization is impact. When team members understand the relatively priority between different work, they can spend their time where it’s most effective —and have the highest impact as a result. 

Effective resource allocation leads to better projects

Resource allocation can help you set your project up for success from day one. Manage resource availability early during the resource planning process, to know exactly what you can support and how you’ll hit your project goals. 

Resource allocation is crucial to reducing miscommunications and getting more work done, faster—especially when you can automate it. In Asana, you can identify resources, track and update them, and assign related tasks—all from one central platform.

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Resource Allocation: How to Strategically Drive Company Growth

Jan 10, 2022 | Financial Management

allocate resources best

When it comes to operating your company as a whole, the focus is on achieving realistic, actionable goals. Regardless of company size- these goals typically focus on growth and company maturation.

But as a business leader, your primary focus must be on having the right resources to support these goals. Whether you've just decided to start your business or you've been up and running for some time, you know that your budget and allocating that budget properly is integral to everything you do.

The best way to support your company's goals, growth, or otherwise- is to utilize the concept of strategic resource allocation to your advantage.

What is Resource Allocation?

Resource allocation is the process of managing and allocating assets to support a company or organization's strategic goals. These resources can be anything from money to talent to management focus and attention.

In this article, we explore the importance of strategic resource allocation and how to adjust your resource allocation needs to evolve over the lifespan of your business.

The Importance of Strategic Resource Allocation

Resource allocation is a crucial aspect of your business with a significant impact. Your business requires the right tools and resources to succeed, and your employees need the right tools and resources to perform their jobs effectively.

A study by McKinsey found that "companies that reallocated more resources earned, on average, 30 percent higher total returns to shareholders annually."

Running your business with precision and efficiency will depend on your understanding of your "significant levers." Specific KPIs, like leads, bookings, billings, and other growth factors, will impact your assumptions and guide you in your business planning.

Benefits of effective resource allocation include:

However, properly allocating resources is often easier said than done. Every day, CEOs are faced with the same dilemma: how should resources be used within the company?

Ongoing Resource Allocation as a Best Practice

When you take the time to understand your company and its resource needs, you become well-positioned to support growth.

However, don’t get too comfortable. While you may have the right resources in place presently, you most likely will need to reassess them later as you move towards your business goals (and set new ones).

No matter the stage of your business, you’re likely to be faced with requests from department leaders for new software, improved equipment, or additional staff members.

The question then becomes more complex: “How do you determine where resources (whether capital or people) should be used to maximize efficiency and maintain employee “happiness”?”

Budgeting to Support Resource Allocation

Knowing how much of your budget has been allocated to each business function will allow you to reallocate resources on an as-needed basis.

If you need to hire more people or increase your production to accommodate that huge contract, you know you have the money to re-allocate from another area, such as sales and marketing, to meet these new demands.

There are always areas where you can make cuts and save your business money when budgeting. Strategic resources, however, should not be up for discussion.

To put it simply, investing in the right resources is good for business. When it comes to budgeting for support resource allocation, there are five steps to take to align your budget and resource needs.

1. Understand your cash flow.

2. outline your current staff and resource needs., 3. assess your current budget., 4. develop goals for company growth., by setting goals on how you want your business to grow and what resources you’ll need to achieve them, you’ll have a clearer idea about where your resources should be allocated in the future. for more on setting goals, visit the article “ does your resource allocation represent your business’ priorities ”., 5. align your budget with your goals..

Allocating resources is a strategic exercise. While you don’t always have control over the number of resources you have to distribute, you do have control over how to utilize them best. When you work to understand your company’s needs, you can pinpoint where your resources will have the most significant impact.

G-Squared provides strategic financial, accounting, and operational expertise to CEOs and entrepreneurs in Philadelphia, New York City, and Washington D.C. 

Read More:  Sales Growth vs. Profitability: What Entrepreneurs Need to Know : What's better? A sales-growth mindset or a profitability-focused approach?  Why It Pays to Utilize a Part-Time CFO : Keep your business flexible in an ever-changing environment with the skillset of an outsourced, or part-time CFO. Everything You Need to Know About Financial Statement Audits : Financial statements serve as a benchmark of progress in your business and help provide the information you need to pivot as needed. 

Do you have any thoughts or comments on this article? Let us know!

Simply post a comment below to add to the conversation.

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Resource Allocation: The Tricky Art of It and How to Do More with Less

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Nowadays, businesses have to become more efficient and effective in order to survive. It seems like there are always so many things to do and not enough resources to get the job done.

Resources are valuable in any business. Whether it’s time, money, or employees, they all need to be managed effectively.

But there is no one-size-fits-all solution to resource allocation and capacity planning, as every business is different. However, there are practical ways that can help you make the most of your resources.

We’ll give you a simple resource allocation definition, the factors to consider when allocating resources, and 6 of the best practices small and large businesses alike can do to allocate resources more effectively.

What is resource allocation?

Resource allocation is one of the important skills of a leader , as it allows you to accomplish more work with fewer resources. It’s a classic strategy that nearly every company or organization uses, regardless of the industry they’re in.

It’s important to remember that resources are limited; they need to be used in a way that will get the most value for your money and your time.

In simple terms, resource allocation is the process of deciding how to best use your limited resources. Without proper allocation of resources, businesses can quickly become overwhelmed and most likely fail during the first few months.

Resource allocation in project management

In project management, resource allocation is the process of assigning and scheduling specific tasks and resources to team members. This is usually done at the beginning of a project when you have a good understanding of what needs to be done and who will be doing it.

As the project progresses, you may need to adjust your resource allocation strategies to account for changes in the scope or timeline. Resource allocation is a key part of project management because it can have a major impact on the cost, schedule, and quality of your project.

If you allocate too many resources to one task, you may end up wasting time and money. On the other hand, if you don’t allocate enough resources, you may not be able to complete the task on time or to the quality standards that you’ve set.

It’s important to strike a balance between these two extremes to ensure that your project stays on point.

Factors to consider when allocating resources

Before anything else, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what the project is and what its goals are. Once you know these, you can start to look at other factors that will play a role in how resources should be used.

There are various factors to consider when allocating resources, such as:

meeting about resource allocation

How to allocate resources to do more with less

When you’re assigned to lead a project, how do you know how many resources to allocate in each task or stage? It’s a question that isn’t always easy to answer, especially for small and growing businesses.

There are various ways to allocate resources, but it all comes down to how you want to achieve your goals.

Here are 6 practical ways you can optimize the allocation of resources for your next (or current) project:

Set objectives and priorities

Not all tasks are created equal. You should start by defining your objectives and setting priorities to help you determine which tasks are the most important and need the most resources.

Make sure you know what the most important tasks are and what the end goal is. This will help you avoid spending time and resources on things that aren’t essential.

For example, if you’re working on a project to launch a new product, your objective might be to get the product to market as quickly as possible. In this case, you would prioritize tasks that are related to creating and launching the product.

Create a resource plan

Once you know your project objectives and priorities, you can create a resource plan. This plan will detail what and how many resources are needed for each task and how much time is required.

When creating a resource plan, you should allocate your limited resources based on the priorities you set. Outlining this in a resource plan can help to ensure that resources are used in the most effective way possible. It’s best to include contingency plans for every stage in case something goes wrong.

If you are planning a marketing campaign, you will need to consider what resources are required for each stage. This might include research, content creation, designing the campaign materials, and distribution. You will also need to think about how long each task will take since you’re working against the clock.

Simplify tasks

A good way to reduce the number of resources required for a task is to simplify it. This can be done by breaking down complex tasks into smaller, more manageable parts.

As you go through the tasks, try to streamline your processes to eliminate waste and inefficiencies. This will help you save time, money, and resources while still getting the job done right.

If you are tasked with writing a report, don’t try to do everything at once. Break down the task of writing a report into smaller steps, such as researching, writing the first draft, editing, and proofreading. By simplifying the steps needed to finish a task, you can save time and reduce the number of resources required.

female using gadgets for resource allocation

Monitor progress and adjust as needed

As you start working on a project, it’s important to monitor your progress and make sure that you are on track. If you find that you are falling behind or not meeting your goals, don’t be afraid to adjust your plans.

You may need to allocate more resources to the project or change the way you are doing things. By monitoring your progress and making changes as needed, you can ensure that you are using your resources efficiently and achieving your goals.

If you’re managing multiple projects for several clients with tens of people on your team, you can use an online project tracking tool like Day.io to track time, schedule activities, and oversee costs to have a good overview of your team’s progress and performance.

Having the most advanced security technology, Day.io offers real-time project tracking so you can keep a close eye on all ongoing projects for all of your clients with its user-friendly mobile and web applications.

Day.io makes it easy for businesses to check project deliverables , communicate updates with your team, track project status, link reports to clients, and generate invoices all from one place.

Automate where possible

Automation is one of the principles of business process management . In some cases, the use of technology to automate tasks that would otherwise be done manually is a good way to save time and resources.

Aside from reducing the need for human labor, automation can also improve accuracy and consistency while minimizing errors.

When deciding whether or not to automate a task, consider the cost of automation versus the cost of manual labor. If the upfront cost of automation is too high, it may not be worth it in the long run. However, if the task is repetitive and time-consuming, automation may be an option.

For example, if you have a team of customer service representatives who are constantly answering the same questions, it may be worth your while to invest in an automated chatbot. The chatbot can take care of the basic inquiries, leaving your customer service reps free to handle more complicated issues.

Outsource when necessary

There will be times when it makes more sense to outsource a task because of time or resource constraints. When this happens, it’s important to carefully consider who you are going to outsource the task to.

You will want to make sure that you choose a reputable and reliable company or freelancer who can deliver the results you need. Don’t be afraid to ask for samples of their work or for references from previous clients.

Once you have found someone qualified to do the job, be clear about your expectations, budget, and deadlines.

For example, if you’re working on a project that requires expertise that you don’t have, it may be more efficient to outsource the work to someone who does. This can save you time and money in the long run, as you won’t need to spend time and resources training yourself or your team.

Maximize your productivity with Day.io

Managing multiple projects at once can be a difficult and time-consuming task without proper allocation of resources.

With a project tracking tool that essentially does all the hard work for you, you can easily track time, manage activities, and monitor your budget without opening hundreds of emails, spreadsheets, and messaging apps.

Day.io is a time tracking and scheduling software that helps thousands of businesses be more efficient and effective in their resource allocation.

Take advantage of this free trial today to start doing more with less!

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