Jira, one of Atlassian’s successful software products, provides users with a suite of tools for overcoming project & resource planning obstacles. The software is built primarily for teams, and it supports the Agile framework, encouraging a flexible approach to problem-solving.
With Jira, you can plan out projects, large and small, and then track them to completion. You can also use the software to plan and allocate resources, and this will be the focus of this article. Resource management is crucial for financial success, as it allows you to drive your business forward while also trimming excess expenditure for optimal margins.
The consequences of ill-thought out resource management can be expensive. 11.4% of investment is squandered as a result of poor resource allocation according to the Project Management Institute’s 2020 report.
While Jira offers a comprehensive range of features, to best utilize your resources it’s worth looking at third-party apps and add-ons compatible with the software. That way, you’ll be able to manage your resources efficiently, and directly feed the information into the project management tool so you have everything in a single place.
What is resource planning?
If you want to get on top of your resources and manage them effectively, you need to understand what exactly that means.
In simple terms, resource planning refers to the process of handling and delegating everything the company has at its disposal from human to financial capital. It would be easy to take resources to mean money, but money isn’t the only type of resource you have available.
Broadening your definition of resources to encompass a wider range of assets allows you to complete your tasks and projects more effectively. For project managers, a firm grasp of source planning methods is key for inspiring productivity and hitting milestones.
Fail to manage your resources accordingly, and it’s more likely that you’ll hit stumbling blocks along the way, perhaps failing to meet deadlines or exceeding your initial budget.
What makes a good resource-planning app?
Now that you’re clear on resource planning and why it’s instrumental to project management, you need to find the resource-planning app that has everything your business needs. When looking for a resource-planning app to use with Jira, here are some key features to look out for:
Timesheets - A timesheet is a simple way of tracking one of the most important resources out there: time. With a timesheet, you can assess how employees have spent their time, which will provide useful insights into productivity levels. It could be that some individuals could use their time more effectively, in which case, you can use this data to drive change and make the most of this resource.
Process automation - One of the most useful aspects of any software tool is process automation. By replacing manual tasks with automation, you can streamline your workflows and save time, which is one of your most valuable resources.
A dashboard overview - For project managers, viewing how resources are being spent in real-time is hugely important. As such, a dashboard overview with all the relevant information pertaining to time and money spent on projects can inform future decisions concerning resource allocation.
Project-based resource reports - Detailed reports according to individual projects can provide the leadership with a clear idea of how resources are being used. The results don’t lie, so if a lot of money went into a particular project and the outcome wasn’t as expected, then it’s an important lesson learned.
Forecasting - Forecasting is one of the most important skills in resource planning. Some software tools will allow you to predict future resource needs for various projects so you can plan accordingly.
With some, or all, of these features you’ll have a much better grasp of how well your team is managing its resources.
How to manage resources more efficiently
Knowing about resource-planning apps and how they can support your business is one thing, but leveraging them to successfully hit your goals is another. The app may provide the tools, but if you want to see results it’s down to you to apply them to your business.
So how can you manage resources more efficiently with Jira and its associated apps?
One of the most popular resource management strategies is resource allocation. It sounds straightforward, and it is for the most part, but it’s still something that’s easy to get wrong.
With resource allocation, the idea is that you don’t spread yourself too thin. The ideal scenario for a project is that you allocate just the right amount of resources that you don’t detract from other projects but still have enough to get the project done comfortably and to a high standard.
For example, if project X is a pitch deck for seeking investment in your company, here’s a sensible approach to allocating resources effectively:
- First, designate several team members to work on the project
- Next, set a budget for the employees to work to
- Now, with Jira, delegate tasks related to the projects to each team member leaving them enough time to finish them without feeling overworked
- Have your team leader check in regularly with the team, and keep an eye on metrics such as time spent working using Jira and the associated resource planning app to avoid going over budget.
One strategy you can use to make the most of your resource planning apps is resource leveling. Simply put, resource leveling is an approach in which you alter your project start and end dates to accommodate your resources.
Resource leveling is a common strategy in the entertainment industry. The release dates of movies, video games, and TV series are often pushed back to cater to fluctuating budgets and expectations.
But how can you use this strategy in your business?
- Allocate the tasks to team members
- Adjust the expected due date by factoring in how many hours each employee can work on the project each day
- Figure out the optimal arrangement to ensure the highest productivity levels without placing undue stress on each team member
Examples of resource-planning apps
To give you an idea of what’s out there, here are some of the best apps that work with Jira for resource management:
ActivityTimeline is a resource planning and management tool that allows users to schedule Jira tasks, map them out on a visual timeline, and generate data-backed reports. The app provides transparency for team leaders as you can see exactly what each individual is working on, so you can shift resources around as necessary.
The Structure plugin works with Jira to provide users with a range of features to help manage resources effectively. It allows you to visualize your progress on various projects, filter according to several factors, and get a general grasp on how resources are being used.
BigPicture is another add-on for bringing insights to your resource management process through visuals. The most notable feature is the Gantt charts, which can give you a comprehensive overview of where your resources are going and how projects are progressing.