Why is overallocation of resources bad for you?

Last updated on March 20, 2019


The resource pool can be considered as either a vital organizational asset or the company’s single biggest overhead. It depends; if you’re making use of the best skills optimally, chances are your financial returns will far outweigh the costs set aside to procure labor.

But if you’re overloading your staff and involving them in multiple tasks at once without confirming if their bandwidth can stretch, then you’re already risking running the project to failure. Want to know why?

It comes down to understanding what overallocation of resources in project management entails. Besides time, costs and scope, one of the constraints within projects are its resources, and the decision to release existing resources, add more or remove some from a project rests on your internal visibility into both project and resource schedules. Only then can you correct imbalances centering around efforts invested. Let’s address resource allocation concerns with a deep dive into the subject.

Overallocation of Resources

Poor resource allocation in project management

Resource allocation is an important project management aspect. Quite simply, it refers to handing your teams work after sizing up available hours and capabilities for the activity in question. But poor resource allocation leads to true potential either being underutilized (which leads to increased bench-time) or overloading the existing team by injecting more items into the workload.

It’s time to face facts; doing nothing about poor resource allocation is bad for your firm in the long run. For one, you hit fewer goals than you originally drew up despite having the right people, solely due to an inadequacy in workforce strength. And for another, when your project is understaffed, the existing capacity gets thinly stretched. And we all know how quickly productivity comes to a halt when teams are expected to do more than what is realistically possible.

The biggest pitfalls of over-allocating resources include –

a. Poor project estimation and planning

A project is as good as the project management plan behind it. Planning a project without accounting for the quality and supply of relevant competencies leads to hasty hiring and firing measures. Worse still, failing to set realistic goals and timelines within which milestones are to be reached presents the real risk of the project misfiring post-commencement.

When multiple projects take flight at the same time, resource crunches are inevitable, especially if two or more projects require the same set of resources, in terms of their know-how and skills fluency. Moreover, depending on the priority and deadline stipulated, interlinked dependencies may require employees to be distributed across different activities. This would mean that your resource pool would have to squeeze in more hours to complete the work given on time.

b. Lowered Employee Morale

The notion still exists that only those employees who come into work early and stay back late are being truly and wholly productive. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Normalizing overwork is actually a productivity killer because the stress would get to your employees at some point in time. Besides which, extra workloads, deadlines nearing and impossible timelines, failing to prevent schedule conflicts causes three problems;

a. Task priorities overlapping one another.
b. An unhealthy work-life balance.
c. Lowered employee morale

There is the option to do nothing and leave your employees stressed long enough to experience a quick burnout. But a better decision would be to decrease the scope of the project in order to introduce a breather between preceding and succeeding tasks.

c. Compromised work quality

The rule of thumb when staffing projects is to make use of a skills matrix. Only then can you mobilize resources with the right and ready competencies.

When primary resources are overallocated, the sudden overload displaces existing priorities. As a result, your staff’s ability to focus on the big picture is impacted, not to mention the memory lapse when too many activities are penciled in at once.

Overallocation of resources in project management arises when you overlook skill-matches by availability, which shows up in the quality of work. After all, with time running, it’s worth remembering that some tasks may take more time than originally expected, forcing your staff to cut corners despite being knowledgeable on the subject.

Ways to avoid resource overallocation

The first step to preventing resource overallocation is to forecast shifts in future work. Profiling projects by complexity, duration, benefits, costs, and resources needed lets you anticipate the workload ahead of the curve.
You can then assess the total number of resource hours and ensure no one is overbooked beforehand itself.

Don’t resign yourself to losing out on both projects and true potential, avoid resource overallocation using the ways mentioned below instead ;

1. Resource Leveling

Leveling refers to matching work against your staff’s available hours. Besides classifying tasks by their priority, time-sensitivity, and type of skills needed, getting resource leveling right not only optimizes schedules but also prevents project delays and cost overruns.

2. Recheck priorities

While every activity can seem critical at the start, it helps to recheck priorities before and during the project’s execution. It pushes back tasks such that high priority ones get more visibility, guaranteeing concerned staff don’t miss it and can get it off the ground at the earliest.

3. Assign additional staff

Use an intuitive resource management tool to profile resources by their core strengths, availability, previous and current utilization rates, and location. Not only does it generate insights on staff at the ready but also prevents you from overbooking or benching staff.

4. Find a replacement

The easiest route to avoiding project resource overallocation is to substitute overbooked staff with standby resources who have more time on their hands and a better understanding of the requirements. This restores balance back to your staff’s schedules.

5. Diversify contractual assignees

Based on different resourcing contracts from full-time workers to part-time, contractual and freelancing gigs, work can be shared optimally on all project hours. What’s more, each resource’s contributions can be quantified using the Full-time equivalent metric. It assigns a numeric weighting to the efforts and hours recorded, thus ensuring healthy utilization rates.

Now that you’ve seen how poor resource allocation can cause project teams to disintegrate as quickly as they were assembled, it’s time to put any and all of these preventive measures to practice.

What’s behind the scenes of scientific resource allocation? Register for a free trial of Saviom Enterprise Resource Management!

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Jack Leslie

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