Key Steps to Achieve Accurate Resource Utilization Reporting in Your Project Management Software Tool: Part 2
In part 1, we discussed the key of capturing all of the work to be performed by your resources (people for the purposes of this series). This includes project and non-project work.
The second key step is to predict as accurately as possible when that work will be done. In other words, you need to schedule it. How you schedule it is another matter. It could be a typical Gantt chart schedule (aka waterfall). It could be an agile iteration or a sprint. But you cannot get away from the fact that if you want to know how your resources are going to be utilized in a given time period, then in your project management software tool, whatever that is, you have to have accurate predictions of when work will be done. How else could you look at the month of July and have any idea what and how much your resources will be working on?
Does this mean that you need to schedule down to the nitty-gritty detail level? Not necessarily. Again, it depends on the level of utilization reporting you want to get out on the back end. That is the level of detail that you need to put in on the front end.
In other words, you can draw a fine line so that you do not get too carried away with 100% accurate schedules. What are the time frames for which you want to look at resource utilization? By week? By month? Let's take by month as an example. If you are mostly interested in the figures for the month as a whole, then what do you need to make sure of in your schedules? You need to make absolutely sure that the work that will be done in July is properly scheduled for the month of July. It does not mean that you need to be as concerned with the day it will be done.
Similarly, if you want to look at things by week, then you need to be sure the work scheduled for each week is accurate. Again, it may not be necessary to have the exact days 100% accurate.
There is not a magic button or tool. If you want truly accurate resource reporting you need to continually do the work to capture the necessary up front data.