When you’re scheduling a resource for a new job, what’s the most important thing? Most managers will say availability. An obvious answer, but not necessarily the best one. That’s because when scheduling tasks, you not only want it done on time, but you want it done right. Meaning it’s important to take the time and figuring out who is the best person for the job. And the right resource means that the person actually has the right skill set for the task at hand.
Finding and assigning the right resource to a task is one of the main elements of resource planning and scheduling. So taking the time to find the perfect resource and task match will lead you to a more satisfied team. And a happy team, is a team that delivers.
Resource Scheduling and Skill Matching
Resource scheduling is the process of picking, planning, and allocating the human and non-human resources used in your projects and work tasks. The ultimate goal is that your resources deliver on your project objectives.
Although it’s important to remember that, the right resource doesn’t necessarily mean any random free resource. A good resource schedule is more than just ensuring project resource capacity throughout the whole project life-span. It’s about guaranteeing that the resources engaged are actually the best pick for the job at hand.
Which means at the end of the day you aren’t just putting together a team, but you’re actually putting skills on the schedule. And if you think about it that way, you’ll start to see some pretty positive changes.
Benefits of Matching Resource Skills to Tasks
There’s plenty of benefits of resource management in general. But why is it so important to match the right resource for the job? Well, for staters:
- Happier Team. If your team members are working on projects that they are good at, they are more likely to perform tasks with a smile. That carries over to everyone. Even you as a project manager who doesn’t have to deal with as much daily conflict. It’s amazing how such a simple thing can clean up a toxic work environment.
- Healthier Team. Stress and overwork are huge health risks. Matching specific tasks to the best resource means that you’re utilizing the best person for the job. That helps to reduce their stress levels and all the negative aspects that go with that: fatigue, mental health issues, diet, and even death.
- Better Project Completion Rates. Projects fail for a variety of reasons. The biggest issues are often due to poor resource planning. Ensuring that you have assigned the best resource to the task means that all your projects will run more smoothly. And the entire portfolio will be more successful.
- More Satisfied Clients. What happens when you get better work that comes in on time? You got a recipe for happier clients. Happier clients mean repeat business and more work for your company.
- Makes Project Management Easier. All of these benefits not only improve the team, but they help the manager of the team. It might seem like an extra step in the process, but resource management is one of the most important aspects of project management. And in the long run can make your job a hell of lot easier.
Mapping Resource Skills and Data
The first step to better resource scheduling starts with preparing your resource pool. This means recording all the human and non-human resources you’ve got on hand. From there, resource management software will also provide you with a way to include skills into the planning process.
These are known as custom data fields. And they are a way to flesh out the resource pool with space for data, facts, and notes about projects, tasks, and resources.
Some examples of custom data fields and the types of values you can include are:
- List Types. Skill, department, position, etc.
- Dates. Project end dates, milestones, resource contract dates.
- Links. Attach a link to a Google Map. Or an online doc.
- Numbers. Hourly rates, counts, amounts. These can also be used in report calculations.
Tip: There are 8 types of custom data fields in Ganttic. There’s no cap on the kind of data or the amount of data added. They can also be hidden, so only some users have access. And so they don’t detract from the actual plans.
4 Tips for Skill Matching in Resource Scheduling
In order to build a better schedule for your team and resources, here’s a few things to keep in mind. As always, it’s better to do this within resource management software in order to keep track of all your data, and for ease of use. Here’s 4 tips to get you started on the right path.
1. Get Specific (Like REALLY Specific)
As it is with life in general, you have to focus on what you have. So the first step with matching up the perfect resource to your tasks is organizing your custom data fields. Although it might sound tedious at first, it’s going to be a huge time-saver in the future.
But you can’t just half-ass it. Since you can add a custom data field for anything about your projects, resources, and tasks, it’s possible to get really, really specific with the info you include. And it’s only this way that you can start to make better choices about who you include in the resource schedule. Some examples include:
- Location, time zone, departments, job site. Is your team member on the same continent as the job site? Usually that info is good to know…
- Certifications, job trainings, specific qualifications. Does a certain task require specific certifications? Just check who has what you need.
- Specialized knowledge, language skills, interpersonal skills. Does a client require certain skill sets for the job?
- Part-time, freelance, full-time, outsourced. If contract types matter, add it for the client (project) and resource.
- Contract type. Salary. Maybe money is important. So use number data fields and get a better calculation of costs.
- Shoe size, blood type, phone number, ID number. Get as weird or as personal as you need. And rest assured that in Ganttic this info can be hidden from those who shouldn’t see it.
2. Check Long-Term Availability
When taking on a new project, we often forgot to check the availability of the resources over the course of the entire project. However, that’s where finding the right resource for the job should start. You should have an overview of the available resources and know which skills these resources have even before you start planning resources for the project or even taking on the project.
With online Gantt charts, it’s easy to zoom in and out of the timeline. That way you can see exactly if resources are engaged with other work and tasks later on down the line. You can also see show how tied up the resources are with other projects in a single project view.
Another option is to check in with the resource utilization. In Ganttic, this number is calculated for the given time period. This number can be reflected next to the resource name in the form of busy time. Or in the resource utilization graph above the scheduled tasks. Either way, you as the project manager has clear data whether taking on a new project is too much for a certain resource. This ensures the right capacity, while preventing future burnout. Win, win!
3. Organize Resources
You have mapped out the skills. As well as taking the time to think about it long and hard. You discussed it with other project managers, you discussed it with the team. Let’s just say there’s been a lot of mapping and discussing.
Take a look at your resource pool. It’s possible you have hundreds of resources there. Are they grouped in any way?
Do you know the skill set of each and every one of them by heart? For example, if you had to name all the front-end developers in your team. Could you do it? Would you know what sort of projects they excel at?
Unless you’re Rain Man, probably not. But that’s where resource scheduling software can step in and assist.
In Ganttic, you can group the resources by list type of custom data fields or use filtering to find the skills and the resources that you need. Or you can make an employee skills matrix to see it all laid out in front of you.
4. Scheduling Tasks and Projects
If you are dealing with a project that comes with a lot of new tasks that your team hasn’t dealt with before, schedule a meeting. Since you have gone over of the skills of your team, you probably know who are the possible matches for your tasks. Suggest the tasks to them and see how they feel about them. A meeting is a good place for that since someone you haven’t even considered might take up the task.
If that happens, take a note and make sure to revisit their skillset tab in the resource planning software. When the new task is completed, make sure to discuss it once more with the resource you assigned it to. If it’s something that worked with them – yay! And if it’s not, you’ll know and can make changes accordingly the next time around.
Find the Best Resource for Your Tasks with Ganttic
Resource planning and data fields go hand-in-hand in making it easier to find the right resource for the job. With the right tools and knowledge, anyone can become more successful at the project management process. It’s not hard to get started. So start today!
Sign up for a free demo to learn more about Ganttic resource scheduling.