This series of articles deals with the management of resources in software project management including planning activities, allocation and de-allocation activities and release activities. Planning activities include resource estimation, request for resources, and allocating resources.
Resource Utilization Activities - Allocation of Resources to Various Activities
The following activities are performed during project execution:
As noted in previous articles of this series, the skill sets of the resources vary and some of the resources like DBA and Functional Experts are not dedicated to the project. During project execution, it is possible that some of the activities either overshoot or undershoot the expected completion date, making it necessary to change the originally planned allocation. Therefore, resource allocation during project execution should be dynamic and respond to the needs of the project. Also, human beings expect fairness – fairness in distribution of a workload. They expect that all team members are offered a similar quantity of work and are given adequate time to complete it; as well as expecting a fair appraisal for the work performed. So, it is necessary to allocate the work while distributing the workload fairly. The following guidelines would be helpful in allocating resources:
Allocate work so that it occupies the person for at least one full day. Human beings do not like to ask for work multiple times in a day. A week of workload would be much more desirable unit of allocation.
- Ensure that the workload is distributed fairly among all team members.
Ensure that the allocation is transparent – a work-allocation software or a publicly (among team members) available Excel sheet would be a proper vehicle for allocation of work. These mechanisms also assist in progress tracking and the allocation to closure.
- Communicate the allocation to the team members explicitly.
- Ensure clarity in instructions about the work to be carried out.
Ensure that all the necessary tools and techniques are available to the team members and that those team members are trained appropriately.
- Provide expert assistance when the team members need such assistance.
- Facilitate a smooth working environment, free from interference, breathing-down-the-neck, and other distractions.
It is also important to track the component to closure, including not only its construction, but also its quality assurance activities such as verification and validation, bug fixing, and integration with the rest of the product. Work Registers can be used for this purpose (click on image to enlarge). The following columns are suggested for the work register:
- Serial Number
- Component Name
- Attribute – such as document, table script, Java, HTML, etc. that specify the nature of the component
- Size of the component
- Allocated to – name of the person to whom it is allocated to for construction
- Allocated Date for Construction
- Expected Completion Date for Construction
- Actual Start Date for Construction
- Actual Completion Date for Construction
- Allocated Date for Review
- Allocated to - name of the person to whom it is allocated to for review
- Expected Completion Date for Review
- Actual Start Date for Review
- Actual Completion Date for Review
- Allocated Date for Testing
- Allocated to – name of the person to whom it is allocated to for testing
- Expected Completion Date for Testing
- Actual Start Date for Testing
- Actual Completion Date for Testing
Additional columns may be added as required. We included two Work Register templates for you to download. One in Excel 2003 and one in Excel 2007 to assist you in your resource management in software project management needs.