Key Steps to Achieve Accurate Resource Utilization Reporting in Your Project Management Software Tool: Part 6/6
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).
In part 2, we discussed the key of accurately capturing when the work will be performed.
In part 3, we discussed the key of capturing the effort as opposed to strictly the duration of the work.
In part 4, we discussed the key of capturing the true capacity of your people.
In part 5, we discussed the importance of process, discipline, and the right tools.
Now let's pull it all together and wrap up this discussion. There are some random but key, underlying points to keep in mind as you work towards building good resource utilization statistics. Here they are.
Maintaining Resource Utilization Statistics Is Not Easy
Do not go into this blindly. This is not an easy, little additional task to do. It requires a fair amount of work and it requires really everyone to do their part. It can be well worth it in the end, but go into it with your eyes wide open.
You Must Know What You Want
What are your objectives? What do you need to see when all is said and done? If it is to feel good that you know what everyone is doing, don't bother. If it is a specific goal, such as to increase the utilization of your key resources, then go for it. Similarly, this will help you determine the level of detail you need (and thus the level of maintenance effort required). If you need to make day in and day out decisions on resource assignments, then you need to be very detailed and go all out. If you simply need to make monthly presentations to management, then you can probably relax on some of the detail and strike a good balance between getting enough detail and getting more than it's worth.
I would map out what you want to see in a report when all is said and done, and then work backwards to collect the data that will enable that report. In other words, start with the end result. Once you have that, go backwards. If your end result is to see a % figure of utilization for each week for each resource, then you can start to map out a process to collect utilization figures each week.
Implement in Phases
You do not have to bite off everything at once. Start small and work from there. Create a long-term plan for getting to your ultimate objective. You may simply start by creating better work breakdown structures (then you could even do something like assign a generic / default percent of effort for a rough estimation of everyone's utilization). Then after everyone is comfortable with that, you may start adding effort estimation to your work breakdown. This tends to work better than to do everything all at once. If you have to do everyone all at once, then be sure and run a pilot. Choose a few projects and a few people and work through the process. You will find that you will change and tweak it to work out the kinks - and better to do that with a few people than with everyone.
Resource utilization can be a powerful tool, even a differentiating tool because it is not easy for organizations to do it well. Write me at email@example.com with your own stories and insights as you implement this in your own organizations.