As the economy picks up from post-lockdown consumer spending, company leaders are setting big goals for business growth. It’s no secret that the key to hitting aggressive KPIs is ensuring strategic projects have enough resources to drive outcomes on time and within budget. But in a hot job market, top talent is hard to find, and even harder to keep.

To avoid employee burnout and lower attrition risk while still keeping strategic projects moving forward, team leaders need to carefully and accurately plan project resource requirements across the entire portfolio and ensure the organization has enough capacity to take on new initiatives.

However, with limited visibility into current organizational priorities and additional demand, resource planning exercises are often doomed from the start, resulting in wasted time and over-utilized employees. Fortunately, we’re excited to announce Wrike Resource Bookings, an easier way to quickly plan project resource requirements with improved insight into resource capacity and demand. Here’s how to revolutionize your project forecasting.

A quick refresher on Bookings

Wrike Resource Bookings allow you to create and store effort estimations for a project. Effort is the time you think a user or job role will need to complete a task. It can be different from duration, which indicates the time period within which an assignee should complete the task.

Why resource planning is important to business success

Accurate resource planning is vital to ensuring projects are delivered on time. If a project starts without enough resources on hand, or without the right job role resources available, it will lead to costly delays that hurt progress to business goals. For professional services companies, understaffed projects cost your business money and put valuable client relationships at risk.

To achieve successful project delivery, meet business goals, and improve employee satisfaction, you need to build resource planning into your project forecasting processes. Wrike Resource Bookings allow you to plan ahead and allocate resources based on project priority, current resource availability, and upcoming demand. 

Introducing Wrike Resource Bookings

Wrike Resource Bookings enable project managers to quickly estimate how many hours they think a certain user or job role will need to dedicate to a project without creating a detailed work plan or work breakdown structure. With this data in mind, project managers can then collaborate with team leaders on project resource requirements to allocate available resources to high-priority projects, ensuring projects are set up for successful delivery while employee workloads stay balanced. 

Wrike Resource Bookings also allow team leaders and PMOs to build better project forecasting processes, foresee portfolio resource needs for the entire quarter, and evaluate scheduling scenarios before assigning work to team members. They can prioritize projects by comparing project resource requirements against actual availability and delegate work based on skill and capacity. Wrike Resource Bookings provide an easier way to estimate, plan, and allocate resources across the entire portfolio and resource pool.

How it works

Whenever a project manager first starts to plan out a new project in Wrike, they can use Wrike’s Resources view as a “scratchpad” to quickly sketch out what tasks need to be completed and which job role resources are required to complete them. To estimate how many hours each task will take a required resource, the project manager creates a new Booking to “bookmark” that resource’s time without actually assigning any work. 

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Whenever a project manager creates a Booking for a certain resource in Wrike, it appears as “requested effort” for that resource on a team manager’s Workload chart. This allows team managers to evaluate how many hours have been requested from a team member or job role compared to how much remaining capacity each team member has. If a team member has enough time available to work on the requested project, the team manager can assign it to them. If the resource is at risk of being overbooked, the project and team manager can discuss alternative resource options.

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Wrike Resource Bookings are also a great tool for planning short- and medium-term resource needs for upcoming projects in the portfolio. By creating different Booking scenarios, the PMO or departmental team leaders can visualize different resource distribution scenarios across all projects and pick the one that most aligns with the organization’s strategic goals and project resource requirements. 

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Finally, after a project closes, project managers can compare estimated effort — Resource Bookings — with time spent to optimize future project forecasting exercises.

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5 use cases for Wrike Resource Bookings

Resource Bookings allows you to estimate how much time each job role needs to dedicate to upcoming projects. Here are the five primary use cases where it’s most beneficial. 

1. Capacity planning

Gain visibility into resource capacity to do all the work your organization needs to complete in the next three to six months. If enough resources aren’t available, the PMO will need to prioritize certain projects and reschedule others. In the Wrike app, you can see how many total hours are available for each job role versus how much work needs to be done.

2. Demand planning

Increase visibility into how much is being demanded of your team’s resources in the next quarter. If certain resources are consistently in demand, your PMO or department leadership can recommend opening a headcount to add more capacity to the team. In Wrike, the PMO creates Bookings to estimate how much time each job role or user needs to spend on upcoming projects.

Within the department’s team Workload charts, Wrike shows how many hours have been requested versus how many hours are actually available. In the case of over-demanded resources, PMOs and department leaders can work together to prioritize projects for the upcoming quarter.

3. Resource requests

With greater visibility into overall demand and workload, team leaders can approve resource requests with confidence, ensuring team members aren’t overwhelmed. Using Wrike Resource Bookings, the project manager creates a Booking to request a user’s time on a project. Then, in the team’s Workload chart, the team leader can review how many hours have been requested versus how many are available. If the resource has enough time available, the team manager can assign the work right from the Workload chart.

4. Portfolio, program, and project resource forecasting

PMOs must ensure the highest priority strategic projects have enough dedicated resources reserved or risk missing deadlines. To avoid this, the PMO can create a Booking in Wrike to estimate how much time each job role or user needs to spend on upcoming initiatives. With Resources view, the PMO can see a portfolio, program, or project-level overview of all resources and their booked effort. If certain resources look overbooked for the quarter, the PMO can rearrange resources and reschedule projects to ensure the highest priority work has ample resources available.

5. Planning optimization

Project managers can improve accuracy of resource estimations to optimize future project forecasting and planning. Here, the PMO creates Bookings to estimate how much time a user or job role will need to dedicate to a project. As the project progresses, users track time on project tasks. After a project closes, the PMO can create a report to compare the Booked Effort estimations and Time Spent actuals to see how close the estimations matched the actual time spent.

A smarter way to allocate resources

Don’t let mounting projects get in the way of accurate resource allocation. As team leader, you have enough tricky tasks to coordinate so that projects keep humming along. Don’t let resource allocation be one of them.

Current Wrike Pinnacle users already have access to Resource Bookings. For all Wrike users not on the Pinnacle plan, please contact your customer success manager to view a demo. Then, upgrade to Wrike Pinnacle and start using Resource Bookings to simplify your program resource planning, today.