Organizational processes and functions have transformed and evolved with the advent of modern technology. One of the most significant changes the business industry has experienced is replacing legacy tools with advanced and intuitive solutions. It has not only streamlined the resource and project management processes but has also brought the siloed departments and teams into one place.
Taking project resource management into account, it is a systematic flow of several steps, starting from planning and scheduling to executing and ensuring successful project delivery. Every step is well-documented, using a sophisticated tool to keep every decision-maker and stakeholder informed of the project’s progress.
A critical step amongst these is the request for resources. While the resource schedules and project plans are well-formulated and recorded, resource requesting is often unstructured at firms.
Now that organizations are matrixed and foster a shared-services model, forming a resource requisition workflow is imperative to avoid internal conflicts and discrepancies.
This article emphasizes the basic concepts and significance of process-driven resource requisition and some tips for implementing it efficiently.
Beginning with the definition,
1. Definition of resource request
Resource request is a formal procedure that a project manager follows to request and procure resources for an open position. This process typically involves defining the quantity, type, and quality of resources needed for the project.
Before drawing out a project plan, the project manager assesses the resource requirement to execute every project task. To fulfill this project resource demand, the project manager will request resource managers to allocate the right resource to the open position.
This process of placing a formal request to fill the project vacancies before the initiation date is known as resource requesting.
If managers follow the traditional method, they will get stuck in the endless loop of emails and phone calls. The project manager sends an email to the resource manager, who will then go to various departmental heads, team leaders, and so on. By the time they find the right resource, the opportunity is lost.
To ensure that your project demands are fulfilled on time, it is essential that you invest in a reliable resource management tool. It will provide you with a bird’s eye view of the enterprise-wide workforce and their schedules and help you reap the benefits of a systematic project-staffing process. And that’s how to request company resources for a project.
Let us now see how resource requisition benefits the firm,
2. Benefits of efficient resource request process
Integrating an automated resource requisition and approval workflow in your management system can provide a myriad of benefits. This process covers everything from helping you maintain an audit trail to enhancing transparency and avoiding double booking.
Here is a brief description of each one of these:
A. Facilitates better resource planning
If a resource request is made well in advance and is rejected due to resources’ unavailability, managers have enough leeway to take appropriate resourcing measures. They can either hire a new employee or upskill a benched resource to take up the job. This enhances the overall efficiency of project resource planning.
B. Avoids internal conflicts
Often is the case when multiple projects require the same competencies and skills at the same time. When a project manager requests the workforce, the resource manager will assign them based on the project priority and availability. This methodical approach eliminates disapproval and conflicts between the project managers.
C. Eliminates double-booking
When resource managers equip a multi-dimensional resource scheduler against their siloed spreadsheets, they get real-time updates on every resource’s allocation and utilization. In accordance with this, they go ahead and assign project tasks to available resources or those who have the capacity and approve the request. It eliminates double booking, thereby preventing over-utilization.
D. Maintains an audit trail
One of the most important advantages of following a resource requesting workflow is that it keeps a log of every detail. All the stakeholders stay informed about when the request was made, if the request is approved, the resource scheduled against the task, and so on.
An audit trail accessible to the concerned authority promotes a culture of transparency in the firm and helps in conflict resolution.
3. Step-by-step guide to request resources efficiently
The resource requisition workflow encompasses the following steps:
A. Placing the request
The first step is placing a resource request. The project manager specifies the skillset, primary role, resource cost, and other important attributes to get the right person for the job.
B. Look for the core competencies
Once the resource manager receives the request, he/she will look for the core competencies across the enterprise. In other words, the manager will analyze the capacity against the resource demand.
C. Assess the resource schedules
If resources with niche skills are present in the organization, the following step includes studying their schedules and allocation. Resource managers will now forecast their utilization and gauge if they are available for the stipulated time.
D. Manage the request
The next step is to accept the request and assign the resource if the findings align with the criteria. In case the position remains vacant, the resource manager will take the right resourcing measure to fulfill the request.
E. Final decision
Finally, after evaluating all the critical metrics, managers will decide to accept or reject the resource request.
This is what a typical resource request workflow looks like. Both project and resource managers are equally responsible for the continuous improvement of resource planning and requisition process.
Here are some steps you can follow to enhance its efficiency and effectiveness:
4. What are the best methods of resource-requesting?
If the traditional approach of relying on office directories is followed to request resources, project managers get stuck in endless trails of emails. However, with an advanced resource management software solution, resource managers gain enterprise-wide visibility of the workforce and activities pinned to their schedules. Using these tools, you can simplify and fast-track the cumbersome process of resource requests. Here are the ways to do it in a breeze
A. Forecast the project resource demand
Organizations that still rely on legacy tools to manage their workforce and projects fail to predict future projects’ resource demand. Project managers then place the request at the eleventh hour, which becomes a challenge for the resource manager.
As mentioned above, using an advanced resource scheduling tool gives unmatched visibility into pipeline projects and future resource requirements. This provides foresight into the resource demand and project timeline well ahead of the curve. When project managers are forewarned about the requirements and place a request in time, resource managers get enough lead time to fulfill it.
Even if a resource with niche skills is not present, managers can do planned hiring or retrain the available workforce to execute the work efficiently.
B. Evaluate the project priority and place the resource request
One of the critical areas of concern is that resource managers work on a ‘first-come, first-served basis.’ This is due to the countless resource requests they receive in a day. In such cases, they sometimes end up scheduling resources to projects that do not add substantial value, and the critical projects stay queued. It can cause further delays and even cost you the project.
Resource managers must have centralized visibility of all the ongoing and pipeline projects. This helps them categorize the projects based on their criticality and priority. When they have an intuitive solution in place that helps them identify the billable, strategic, and non-billable projects, they are better positioned to deploy resources to the right tasks.
C. Assess the resource availability well in advance
As mentioned earlier, many organizations still rely on siloed spreadsheets to schedule resources and plan projects. These spreadsheets do not provide real-time updates, and thus, resource managers cannot foresee resource availability in advance. This can cause project bottlenecks due to a lack of information on leaves, holidays, etc.
Every project requires a resource for a specific time period. When resource managers are aware of the timeline, they must be able to forecast the future availability of the required resources. Or else, last-minute absenteeism can cause potential bottlenecks and unnecessary delays.
A robust resource management software is equipped with business intelligence that provides intuitive reports on future resource utilization and availability. Using these reports, managers can stay ahead of time and plan better with accuracy.
D. Automate resource request process and minimize discrepancies
The majority of firms still rely on manual resource requests. This causes a communication gap between departments, and the cumbersome emails only lead to project delays. It makes project resource management all the more difficult in matrixed organizations.
Organizations encouraging a shared-services model must automate their resource requesting process. This is only possible when you deploy the right tool for your firm.
A modern resource scheduling tool provides 360-degree visibility across the organization and narrows down the resources using advanced filters.
Leveraging the resource metric reports and dashboards, you can allocate the right resource to the right task at the right time. Moreover, when every stakeholder has an insight into all the nitty-gritty, it automatically bridges the existing communication gap. Ultimately, it helps in the efficient management of resources across the enterprise.
All the steps mentioned above cumulatively help you enhance the efficiency of your resource requisition workflow.
5. Best practices to follow for efficient resource requesting
To ensure efficient resource requesting, it is helpful to follow some best practices. Consider the following guidelines:
A. Always plan ahead
Resource managers must anticipate the organizational resource needs and plan for them in advance to avoid last-minute firefighting that may lead to rushed decision-making or delays in resource allocation.
B. Understand the requirements
Resource managers must clearly understand the specific requirements of the resources project managers are requesting before scheduling the resources. This includes understanding the quantity, quality, specifications, and any dependencies or constraints associated with the resources.
C. Prioritize the resource requests
It’s important to prioritize the resource requests based on their importance and impact on project or task success. The focus should be on scheduling the critical or niche-skilled resources first, followed by other resources, to ensure the availability of the required staff for project initiation.
D. Consolidate requests
Whenever possible, resource managers must consolidate multiple resource requests into a single comprehensive request. This helps streamline the evaluation and allocation process, reducing administrative burden and improving efficiency.
E. Provide justification
Resource managers clearly articulate the rationale and benefits of the requested resources. They must explain how these employees will contribute to achieving project goals. Moreover, if the required resources are not available within internal channels, resource managers should inform the project managers about the same.
F. Collaborate and consult with stakeholders
To fulfil resource requests efficiently, resource managers must engage relevant stakeholders early on and involve them in the resource-requesting process. Seeking their input, expertise, and feedback ensures that the requests align with organizational objectives and are supported by key decision-makers.
G. Consider alternatives
It’s essential to explore alternative solutions or options before fulfilling a resource request. Managers must assess whether existing resources can be utilized more effectively or if there are alternative resources available that can achieve similar results. This promotes resource optimization and efficiency.
H. Leverage the right technology
Utilizing technology tools, such as resource management software, streamlines and automates the resource-requesting process. These tools can help track requests, manage allocations, and provide real-time visibility into resource availability.
I. Follow-up and track progress
Once the request is placed, managers must regularly follow up on the resource requests to ensure they are being reviewed and processed timely. They should maintain open communication with decision-makers, provide updates on the status of the requests, and address any concerns or questions promptly.
J. Evaluate and optimize whenever possible
Continuously evaluating the effectiveness of the resource-requesting process improves its efficacy. It helps identify areas for improvement and implement necessary adjustments to streamline future requests.
By following these best practices, you can streamline the resource-requesting process, improve allocation efficiency, and ensure that the right resources are available at the right time to support your organizational goals.
6. The takeaway
A standardized resource requesting process is at the crux of smart project resource management. If not done correctly, it can have a catastrophic effect on the project’s progress and a decline in profitability. Thus, managers must strive to get it right and enhance its efficiency.
Once done, it will help you deliver the project on time and escalate project resource productivity and engagement. When resources are utilizing their expertise at the right place and adding value to the firm, they will stay with the firm for the long run.
Technology has made these processes a lot more convenient for all business leaders, allowing them to efficiently manage resources and their schedules. So, one must invest in the right tool to maintain their project and resource health index.
How do you manage your resource requirements? What practices do you follow to streamline resource requisition?
7. The Glossary
8. SAVIOM Solution
SAVIOM is the market leader in providing an Enterprise Resource Capacity Planning solution. With over 20 years of experience leading the market, Saviom is actively used by over 15 highly-esteemed global companies worldwide. The tools within the suite include project portfolio management, professional service automation, and workforce planning software. Re-engineer operational efficiency with a system shaped around your business!