Sometimes resource allocation may seem an unbearable and hard task (especially when you manage multiple projects and several teams) for the tired Team Leads and Project Managers pulling the burden of effective project management and successful deliveries on their shoulders. Everything must be on track, deadlines not missed, and the team members' working hours should be balanced and properly allocated. How to manage all of that?
No worries, here we are to reveal some tips for efficient resource management and Jira resource allocation! Let's dive deeper into our secrets.
Resource Allocation in Project Management
Resource allocation is a vital element in project management, requiring the thoughtful distribution and effective utilization of available assets to attain project objectives. These assets encompass human resources, financial capital, equipment, time, and technology.
It is imperative to allocate available resources efficiently to optimize productivity, reduce delays, and successfully conclude projects within budget constraints.
In project management, human resources are among the most valuable assets. Allocating the project resources to the right tasks is essential to leverage their skill sets and expertise effectively. Project managers need to consider team members' strengths, weaknesses, and experience when delegating tasks that align with their capabilities. This approach not only improves individual performance but also plays a pivotal role in the project's overall success.
Project Managers' Allocation Pains
Let's take a look at what challenges a Project Manager faces most while dealing with the project resources. Understanding these common pitfalls is crucial for maintaining a smooth and efficient Jira resource management process:
- Lack of Real-Time Visibility
The lack of real-time visibility in resource management poses significant challenges for organizations. Real-time visibility refers to the ability to instantly access and monitor the status, resource utilization, and resource availability.
To address these challenges, organizations should invest in technologies and systems that provide real-time visibility into their resource management processes. This may involve implementing integrated software solutions like Jira and its resource planning tools leveraging data analytics and adopting automation to ensure accurate, up-to-date information is readily available for decision-makers and teams.
- Inadequate Resource Planning Process
It's the situation where an organization or project lacks the necessary means—such as personnel, funding, equipment, or time—to effectively meet its goals or requirements. This limitation can lead to project delays, increased workload and stress, inefficiency, and reduced quality of output.
- Imbalanced Workloads
"Imbalanced workloads" refer to a situation where the distribution of tasks and responsibilities among individuals or teams within an organization is uneven. This imbalance can lead to a variety of challenges and negative consequences like overburdened or under-allocated teams, reduced collaboration, and a negative impact on the overall team dynamic.
- Poor Communication
Poor team communication is insufficient exchange of information and ideas among members of a team. This issue can manifest in various ways and can have significant negative impacts on team performance, the process of allocating resources, and overall organizational success. It's very important to maintain communication between the project managers, teams, and stakeholders as it can help to improve overall project planning and proper resource planning.
Jira Resource Allocation with ActivityTimeline
Jira provides a variety of useful resource-planning tools via Atlassian Marketplace which can supplement your Jira resource allocation facilities and improve resource management. For instance, ActivityTimeline is a time tracking and resource planning tool for Jira that helps to visualize your projects and existing resources, track time, and monitor progress.
With this add-on, Project Managers can simply deal with resource allocation challenges, clearly understand the resource availability, assign resources, and track and report on project activities and capacity.
Let's take a look at some tips on Jira resource allocation and resource planning with the help of ActivityTimeline.
Tips for Resource Planning Optimization
1. Get a Clear Visualization of Everything
This app provides a Planning Dashboard with a clear visual overview of Jira tasks, projects, and teams. It looks like a calendar with timelines for individuals and teams, where you can plan work, assign tasks, track issue progress, and manage resource capacity. It also has different planning scopes:
This dashboard shows who is doing what and when it will be done. The app is fully synchronized with Jira and vice versa, so when you schedule an existing Jira task on the dashboard with a simple drag-and-drop feature or create a new one directly from the same place, everything is reflected in Jira.
You can set task estimates, log work, and change tasks' deadlines as well.
2. Manage Skills, Roles, and Workload Schemes
When it comes to resource allocation Managers always need to assign the task to the right person with corresponding skills to complete this assignment. In Jira, it's not clear who is responsible for what, especially if you work remotely with your teams and don't know the job title or skills of each person perfectly.
With ActivityTimeline you can always understand the resource skills and possibilities. You can assign job titles and descriptions along with the skills to each user. As you can see, everyone has a special card displaying the position, how many hours per day the person is available as well as skills and availability for the year in a month scope:
The app allows the creation of different workload schemes for the users, so you can set different work hours (capacity per day) for every team member:
And assign skills to users, which helps a lot during resource allocation, when you need to find the right person to complete tasks:
3. Monitor Resource Availability and Workload
Sometimes this task may seem challenging but with ActivityTimeline it's simple. The app provides special workload and availability indicators for the user's convenience.
For example, let's take a common workload scheme for each employee - 8 work hours per day. When the workload indicator is green it means that the workload is balanced and user utilization per day is just perfect.
If you see that the indicator is yellow you may conclude that the users are underloaded, so they have a capacity to complete more tasks.
When the indicator is red, the employee is overloaded so you need to reassign the task immediately or move it for another day to unload the person and avoid overburning.
The workload indicator can become an availability indicator as well. It is very helpful while planning new tasks for your team members:
4. Pay Attention to Leave Management
Leave Management entails the supervision and documentation of employees' leave-related details within the company. The manual management of employee leave can be a labor-intensive task, involving the manual monitoring of leave requests, approvals, and associated information. Moreover, the data might need manual input into a system for tracking and reporting.
Opting for an automated Leave Management solution can greatly simplify the process and minimize the time dedicated to it. While Jira lacks this functionality, tools such as ActivityTimeline can address this issue effectively.
The app offers different custom events including holidays, days off, sick leaves, vacations, and others. When you assign a specific custom event, for example, vacation, the workload indicators are updated automatically to show these days as non-working ones, and it is also reflected in timesheets and resource reports afterward:
You can use the app's default events or create your own:
With ActivityTimeline, you can create a public holiday calendar, seamlessly incorporating it into your team's schedule.
5. Manage Individuals and Teams Equally
Project Managers always need to have a perspective from different levels: team and individual. If you use ActivityTimeline this task becomes a breathe as it has a special Team Panel feature. All of the users have their timelines with activities. Every team also has a timeline with workload indicators and tasks assigned to the whole team.
The team panel feature allows the separation of the team tasks from the users's tasks which is very useful for long-term planning, tracking epics, or program increments assigned to a team. You can choose various visualization levels: observe the dashboard on the individual level, or team level, or use a combined view of team and users' timelines:
It's also very comfortable to assign epic subtasks from the team timeline to individual timelines:
6. Track Time with Timesheets
Resource planning and resource allocation cannot be imagined without proper tracking. Monitor and assess performance indicators regularly. This practice not only offers valuable insights into the efficiency of resource allocation but also identifies areas that could benefit from enhancement. Ongoing surveillance enables flexible adjustments, ultimately improving the overall efficiency of the project.
You can find different Timesheets in ActivityTimeline. There are three main templates: Progress, Timeline, and Detailed.
With the Progress Timesheets, you can understand the overall progress of each employee for the chosen period with the help of the progress bar, required, and logged hours. They also show the number of non-working days:
The Detailed Timesheet can be generated by user, project, epic, or show the summary data. It provides deep insights into the work done. There is also an opportunity to add Jira Filters, select the project, or choose between Worklog Categories: Billable/Non-billable hours
Timeline Team Timesheets offer the highest level of different customizations, as User, Project, and Epic Timesheets at your choice:
Generate timesheets, save them, export them like an Excel File, and evaluate the success of the resource allocation.
7. Track Progress with Reports
Continuous monitoring is key to effective resource allocation. There are dozens of useful Resources and Project Reports in the app. Let's take a closer look at some of them.
The Resource Utilization Report is among the most popular app reports. It shows to which extent the resources are utilized for the chosen period:
It clearly shows where employees are over or underutilized, so Project Managers can fix unbalanced workloads.
Or try the Team Capacity Chart to understand how much of the team's capacity is utilized, when, and where:
Another useful report is a Team Availability Report which helps to see the available capacity of the teams:
Don't forget to check out the Team Utilization Pie Chart report, which helps to see workload distribution across multiple projects for the past and future:
Effective resource allocation stands as a cornerstone for successful project outcomes. The challenges faced by Project Managers in resource allocation, such as lack of real-time visibility, inadequate resource planning processes, and imbalanced workloads are not uncommon. However, embracing efficient project management tools like Jira and its facilitative add-ons such as ActivityTimeline can transform these challenges into opportunities for streamlined resource management.