Resource Utilization: Activities to Ensure Efficient, Quality Productivity For the Project Manager

Page content

You Can’t Do It Without the Resources

Your first step is to estimate the necessary resources for the job. They will include both human resources as well as other materials and equipment. Human resources utilization in project management can be determined by determining how long you think your project will take. Estimate the date when it must be completed. Divide the number of hours by the number of weeks until the deadline to get the number of employee hours needed for the job. For instance, if it will take you 100 hours to manage a software upgrade and you need to have it done in 3 days–24 work hours–then you need a combination of four full-time and part-time workers. Read more about estimating resources.

Then, how do we ensure that the allocated activities are performed?

  • First, provide good supervision that is more facilitating than overbearing.
  • Give clear instructions, achievable targets, and provide expert assistance, when necessary.
  • Provide the right tools and techniques that assist the team members in completing their allocated work quickly and without defects.
  • Ensure that the resources are sufficiently trained to perform the work allocated to them.
  • Provide quality assurance for the work completed on time.
  • Overall, provide an achievement-oriented environment that encourages resources to excel in whatever they do.

Once you have finished allocating the tasks to be completed, your staff will be expected to diligently perform their activities and complete them, and then report back to you. But the reality is different. Performance of allocated activities gets stuck due to many reasons, such as,

  1. Some unforeseen complication crops up and the activity gets stuck or delayed
  2. The person commits an innocent error that is not discovered until too late; rework becomes necessary.
  3. The person by oversight ignores some of the necessary functionality, which gets unearthed during QA
  4. The person is not expert in some advanced constructs of the programming language and is struggling to achieve the specified functionality

The objective is not just to see that activities are completed but also to ensure that they are completed within the allocated time, so that functionality is completely achieved and the output is defect-free. Therefore, it is necessary to follow-up the work being performed by your staff periodically. Your guidance is ensures that work is performed diligently and accurately. How frequently should you follow-up the work being performed? These guidelines generally work very well:

  1. For very short-term allocation (say less than half a day) – follow-up as soon as the work is completed.
  2. For allocation that consumes one day, follow-up twice –
    • Once in the middle of the day.
    • Once as soon as work is completed.
  3. For allocated work that consumes more than one day, follow-up daily and as soon as the work is completed.

This follow-up is often referred to as progress chasing. This not only ensures that work is completed but also bridges communication gaps, if any, besides giving the resources a feeling that their work is important and motivates them.

When the workload seems to be distributed unevenly, you may need to explore the process of resource leveling, which lets you balance work activities among your employees. As a supervisor, you must monitor all aspects of your employees’ activities, since they are your most important resources.

This post is part of the series: Resource Management in Software Project Management

This series of articles deal with management of resources in software project management including planning activities, allocation activities and de-allocation and release activities. Planning activities include resource estimation, request for resources, allocate resources, level & resources.

  1. Managing Your Resources Throughout Your Software Project - Part I
  2. Resource Management Planning For Software Projects
  3. Resource Management in Software Project Management - Part III
  4. Resource Management: Utilizing Your Resources Effectively, Part IV
  5. Resource Management in Software Project Management - Part V
  6. Performance Measurement of Resource Planning and Utilization - Part VI