Resource Forecasting

Modified on Fri, 24 Nov 2023 at 04:49 PM

Understanding Resource Forecasting

Resource forecasting refers to the process of predicting or estimating the resources that will be required to complete a project or a set of tasks over a certain period. This process is crucial for effective project planning and management. 

Here's a closer look at what it involves: 

  • Predicting Personnel Needs: Estimating how many team members and what kind of expertise (such as developers, designers, project managers) you'll need over the project's life cycle. 
  • Budget Estimation: Forecasting the financial resources required, including direct costs like salaries, equipment, and indirect costs like overheads. 
  • Time Allocation: Determining the time required to complete various tasks and phases of the project. 
  • Capacity Planning: Evaluating your organisation's ability to take on a project based on current and forecasted resource availability. 

Resource forecasting is a dynamic process and often involves revising estimates as projects progress and more information becomes available. It's an integral part of project portfolio management, ensuring that the right resources are allocated to the right projects at the right time to optimise efficiency and effectiveness. 

Exploring Various Methods for Resource Forecasting

Role-based Allocation

The standard practice in resource allocation is role-based allocation, a method that involves assigning resources to a project based on specific roles. This method is especially suitable for roles with monthly commitments to a project, such as Project Managers, where the allocation generally remains stable, regardless of the different phases of the project schedule.

This approach presents several advantages. First, it enhances resource planning by establishing a clear method for assigning team members based on their roles and the duration of their involvement. Setting allocations on a monthly basis allows project managers to align workforce availability with the project's timeline effectively. Second, role-based allocation makes it easier to track and adjust resource use. As project requirements change, this method enables quick adaptation, ensuring the right roles are allocated where needed. Additionally, it is beneficial for strategic decision-making as it provides insights into how resources are used, helping to improve resource distribution across multiple projects.

For more information about role-based allocation, please refer to this article here.

Schedule-based Allocation

An alternative approach to role-based allocation is schedule-based allocation. This strategy shifts the focus from roles to individual tasks within a project's schedule. Resources are allocated directly to these tasks, with the allocation detailed down to the number of hours expected for completion. This approach provides a clear and detailed understanding of which resources are engaged in specific tasks and when their involvement is needed.

Schedule-Based Allocation offers a distinctive solution for projects where aligning resources with specific tasks is essential. It enables project managers to precisely match resource allocation accurately with the task-driven demands of the project. This method significantly enhances the visibility of resource utilisation throughout the project schedule, leading to a more targeted planning and effective tracking.

For more information about schedule-based allocation, please refer to this article here.

Ad Hoc Allocation

A third approach is to use the role-based allocation in conjunction with board task allocation. With this approach, you allocate resources to a project based on specific roles but you use a process board to track the work that resources are allocated to and the time spent completing these tasks.

This approach is useful when you do not know upfront what resources will be working on but you want to have transparency into the amount of work that is coming in and how the time is used. An example is a Business as Usual (BAU) project in a software company, where the tasks can vary from day to day. As customer support tickets, new feature requests, and maintenance issues come in, the task board allows for the real-time assignment of these resources. A developer might shift from working on a new feature to fixing a high-priority bug based on the task board's updates, ensuring that the most urgent and relevant tasks are addressed promptly while maintaining clear visibility of the workload and resource allocation. 

Ad Hoc Allocation therefore combines the strengths of role-based allocation with the dynamic tracking capabilities of a process board. In this model, resources are first allocated to a project according to their roles but it diverges from the traditional role-based approach by incorporating a task board to monitor and manage the actual work undertaken by these resources. This task board tracks both the nature of the tasks being handled and the time spent on them. 

This approach is particularly advantageous in projects where the exact nature of tasks cannot be predetermined. It allows for a flexible adaptation to incoming workloads while maintaining clear visibility into how resources are being utilised and how time is spent. By integrating the predictability of role-based allocation with the adaptability of task-based tracking, Ad Hoc Allocation offers a balanced solution for managing projects with varying demands and changing requirements.

For more information about ad hoc allocation, please refer to this article here.

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