Your remote IT team is ready to roll up their sleeves and get started on a big project: transitioning everybody in your company from your outdated chat platform to Microsoft Teams.
Now that so many of your team members are working from home, that communication tool has become more important than ever, and everybody within your organization is eager to get up and running with it.
You want as little downtime as possible, and mapping out the flow of this project feels like a complex puzzle — and that’s likely why a large amount of IT projects flop. In fact, according to McKinsey, 17% of IT projects go so poorly that they threaten the very existence of the company.
Yikes. You obviously don’t want to be part of that statistic. So, you’re committed to flexing your project management muscles and doing everything you can to make this remote IT project a success. In order to do so, you’ll need to ensure adequate resource scheduling.
What is resource scheduling?
Resource scheduling falls under the broader umbrella of resource management, which involves overseeing and coordinating all of the resources required to complete a project.
The more specific step of resource scheduling deals with — yes, you guessed it — scheduling those resources. You’ll start by figuring out what resources (from specific team members to technical tools) are necessary for each step of that project and then assign them accordingly to avoid overlaps or resource deficiencies.
By proactively allocating your resources, you can rest assured that your remote IT team has everything they need to get that project across the finish line, with as few delays and headaches as possible.
Do you need resource scheduling methods?
Could you deploy a remote IT project without using any resource scheduling methods? Sure. You could cross your fingers and hope for the best. But, that project likely won’t run as smoothly as you hope.
Neglecting to schedule your resources not only means that you’re bound to hit some snags, but it can also lead to total project failure. One survey found that a whopping 55% of IT projects fail because they run out of time, funds, and resources.
Beyond the major benefit of bumping up your project success rate, here are a few more advantages of resource scheduling.
1. Resource scheduling reduces bottlenecks and delays
Let’s return to our example of transitioning your entire company from your outdated chat solution to Microsoft Teams. You need a lot of hands on deck to remotely install that platform for every team member and create training materials so that everybody knows how to use it.
So, you map out a project plan and timeline that involves the majority of your IT team members. But, as you start getting into the project, you realize that Sasha doesn’t have much availability to install the app because she’s in the thick of updating the company’s CRM. And Thomas can’t help out as much as you hoped either, because he’s strapped with that big data project.
All of a sudden, you’re down two entire team members, and you’re watching as your milestone dates and target deadline are pushed further and further out. You aren’t alone. A reported 49% of IT projects are completed behind schedule. Additionally, an unrealistic timeline and reactive planning are some of the major contributors to IT project failure.
Resource scheduling allows you to get a more realistic grasp of what you need for a project and what’s actually available to you. With that information, you can set a far more reasonable project plan and timeline based on your resource limitations.
2. Resource scheduling improves communication about project requirements
Even in a typical office environment, it’s tough to have visibility into what everybody is working on. But, this feels even more challenging when everybody is working remotely.
When people aren’t working side-by-side, naturally, there isn’t as much instant communication or transparency. That means people operate with assumptions and miscommunications can run rampant. One survey found that 88% of remote workers struggle with inconsistent working practices and miscommunication.
This is another benefit of resource scheduling. It forces you to be upfront and communicative about what’s needed for a project, and understand which resources are available to you and which are not.
Sticking with our example of moving to Microsoft Teams, efficient resource scheduling would’ve required you to connect with Sasha and Thomas about your intentions for managing that transition. At that point, they could’ve told you about their bandwidth and limitations — and you could’ve proactively made adjustments to your resources or your timeline.
3. Resource scheduling reduces team burnout
When you take guesses about what resources you have available to you, it can lead to another major pitfall: team burnout. Unfortunately, Gallup states that a staggering two-thirds of workers experience feelings of burnout on the job.
Without a solid understanding of what your IT team members can provide, you run the risk of piling their plates too full. Sasha and Thomas suddenly have overwhelming to-do lists, and not enough time to complete them. Unreasonable workloads are one of three top-cited factors for workplace burnout, along with unfair compensation and too much overtime work.
You can’t effectively schedule your resources if you don’t dig into the nitty-gritty details of what kind of bandwidth your team members have. That proactive understanding of their workload and how much time they can realistically commit to new projects means you’ll avoid spreading them way too thin. They’ll appreciate it, and your project will run much smoother too.
What resource scheduling tools should you use?
What does your current resource scheduling process look like? Does it involve outdated spreadsheets, sticky notes, and random emails from your team members updating you on their current priorities?
Having all of that information scattered makes it tough to get a bird’s-eye view of your available resources and how they could be properly allocated to your new project.
Rather than using numerous tools and applications that only increase confusion and result in missed messages, it’s better to use a single project scheduling tool like Wrike that allows you to effectively manage your entire project and your resources.
Balancing workloads can feel murky and unknown when your team is working remotely. Wrike Resource gives you helpful insights to know exactly how much effort a project requires and how you can satisfy those team requirements efficiently and effectively.
Suddenly, planning your project will feel a lot less like throwing a dart at a board and way more like it should: an informed, strategic, and beneficial process.