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Ganttic Update: Project Management Schedule Without Assigning Resources

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For each project manager, there’s their own favorite way to create the project management schedule. There are the ones that still prefer to plan on a whiteboard. There are the ones that have found a resource planning template that works for them. There are the ones that plan create a work breakdown structure and then schedule the tasks using it. There are project managers that like to assign the resources right away and those that prefer to schedule the tasks first. There are different tools and a different way to reach the goals set.

Matrix Planning Completed

As you probably already know, we at Ganttic are huge fans of matrix planning. That’s a resource management technique where you rotate the resource management software while planning to see the project schedule from all possible angles.

Resource management techniques:

  • Project-based resource planning: That’s where projects are at the top of the project management food chain and resources are just means to an end. Project resource planning is often more about planning than optimization. It’s allocating resources to tasks not tasks to resources. It’s about staffing projects and less about optimizing resource utilization.
  • Resource-based project planning: It’s resource planning for projects, so just like project-based resource planning but the other way around. The main thing is to keep resource utilization at an optimal level. Tasks are allocated to resources and projects are left on the background.
  • Matrix planning: Matrix planning takes the best of both worlds and it’s the resource management process described earlier. It’s allocating tasks to resources while keeping an eye on the resource capacity and the project capacity. It’s making sure that the resources are allocated to maximize project efficiency but are still optimally utilized. It’s planning for one project and pivoting the resource plan to see how it all comes together.

The reason we love it so much is that it gives the best possible overview of how everything comes together. And while ‘the best possible’ might sound like something that cannot be upgraded, we thought we’d give it a try.

What we came up with is an additional column. A column for the tasks.

The update

In a single project view, you can switch between resource and task columns. It allows you to schedule unassigned tasks and then assign the tasks to resources. You can change the settings at any time.

The Updated Project Scheduling Process

First, you add a new project and fill out the custom fields like the project reference number, project manager, the status of the project, and the phase of the project. Next, you open the project in a single project view. Then, you just start scheduling tasks for the project without thinking about the resources.

Turning on the task view:

changing view settings

If you need some tips on how to estimate task duration, read our blog post on the subject. Some like to define the tasks beforehand, others do it on the go.

As you drag and drop the tasks in the calendar area or add them from the button, the task dialog pops up. That’s for you to add any additional details if needed. You can also leave the tasks as they are without even adding a title.

Adding an unassigned task:

adding a new task

Adding an unassigned task using drag and drop:

adding a new task with drag and drop scheduling

The tasks will be automatically connected to the project so you can easily differentiate them in the general resource plan using project colors.

Now, you’ll have a bunch of unassigned tasks.

Which brings you to the next step – assigning the resources. Again, there are many roads to take. For those of you that are here just for the high-level resource planning, switch the settings on the view panel to display the resources, and drag the tasks where they need to be to assign them.

Assigning a task using drag and drop:

Use the custom data you have added about your resources as a guide. Group or filter the resources as needed. Analyze the skills, levels, and competencies.

Don’t forget about the resource utilization, and start dragging the unassigned tasks to the available resources.

If you want to assign the task to multiple resources (for example to a team member and a piece of equipment), you can do it using the + that appears next to resource title once you open the task dialog.

Assigning multiple resources at once:

assigning multiple resources

If you are doing detailed project management scheduling, you might want to do things a bit differently. Since research has shown that the best and most efficient approach to resource management is the kind that involves the resources, we recommend you to take that road. See which resources are available and hold a meeting.

Have a framework in mind and discuss the tasks. Let the top performers choose the tasks that they want to take on if you have that sort of reward system in place.

Added bonus

There are two additional things that come with the update.

The first is tightly knit into the update. Namely, in any view (for example the general resource view or a view for a department or for a team), you can choose if the unassigned tasks are displayed.

making unassigned tasks visible

The second bonus is timing-related. Although you have always had the option to save your preferred time period as a default for each project, now there’s an option to choose the duration of the project as the default.

Project duration is defined using the first and the last milestone added for the project or the start and the end time of first and the last task.

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