Scheduling Resources: Matching Tasks with Resources' SkillsAs we have discussed before, finding and assigning the right resource to the task you have is one of the crucial elements in resource planning. A right resource doesn’t mean a free resource. Right resource means that the resource actually has the right skill set for the task. Taking the time to find the perfect resource and task match will lead you to a more satisfied team. And a team that is happy, is a team that delivers.
ORGANIZE YOUR RESOURCES' SKILL SETS
Be prepared. It’s going to be deep. As it is with life in general, you have to focus on what you have. Told you. In project portfolio management, you have to focus on the resources you have and organize them. Although it might sound tedious at first, it’s going to be a huge time-saver in the future. 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? If you know the answers to all of these questions and you have more resources that 10, you are a superhuman or the Rain Man. You don’t need the help of a silly resource scheduling software. You are good. You can go. If you are too a superhuman but not the kind that can remember every single detail about your resources, add custom data fields to your resources that help you remember that kind of stuff. You can use text or list type of fields, whatever works best for you. Just add a custom data field for everything you are pondering over every time you are scheduling tasks for a new project. You can start with adding the departments they work in and end with their language skills. Go over all the resources. If you are not sure, discuss it over. Make other project managers in your organization do the same. Next time you start with your planning process, you will thank yourself. 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.
THINK, THEN PLAN
When taking on a new project, we often forgot to check the availability of the resources in the entire course of the project. While it’s totally understandable, since we are always under pressure to snatch new projects, it’s still a no-no. Even if we check if the resources are available, you can’t deny that checking the available specific skills often manages to slip our minds. 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.
DON'T ASSUME - ASK
You have mapped out the skills. You took 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. Is there even the possibility that there is anything to assume? There is. There always is. And as always. You can’t do it. Starting from resources current workload to finding them the right tasks. A task can be wrong for a person just because they don’t have the actual time to complete it. Luckily, Ganttic will show how tied up the resources are with other projects in a single project view. So there isn’t much room for assumptions there. However, if there’s even the teensiest drop of doubt in you whether or not the task will be right for the resource, make sure to take the time to discuss some more.
NEW TASKS AND PROJECTS - NEW APPROACHES
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! If it’s not, you’ll know and can make changes accordingly the next time around.
As you can understand by now, this blog post is just a really long way of saying that you should map the skills of your team and make as few assumptions as possible. Just map, discuss, and don’t assume. That’s how you’ll find the right resource for the job.