5 resource planning myths debunked

resource planning myths

Resource planning—it’s a tough nut to crack, and some folks might think, “Why bother? We’re all about agile projects, and hey, we’ve got a trusty spreadsheet for that.” Over the years, we’ve heard these objections time and again.

But here’s the thing – resource planning is a non-negotiable step in any organization that is reliant on resources. And let’s face it, there’s a fair share of misunderstandings floating around about resource planning.

So today, we’re taking the bull by the horns and debunking five of these prevailing myths. No more room for excuses. Let’s get real about resource planning.

Table of contents

Reasons organizations don't do resource planning

Resource planning is hard to do

Oh, you are so right there – resource planning is hard to do. It is hard if you are trying to build resource plans in spreadsheets or Excel.

It’s a scenario we encounter time and again. 9 out of 10 organizations reaching out to us are caught in this all-too-common dilemma. They’re stuck with a spreadsheet that’s more of a head-scratcher than a solution. It eats up hours just to stay somewhat current, and worst of all, it falls short in delivering the key insights needed for informed decision-making.

So what is the answer? A small investment in resource planning software can go a long way.

Let’s use Kelloo as an example to help you understand why an investment in resource planning software may be one of the best decisions you make. With Kelloo you get an easy-to-use solution for building your resource forecasts, can use capacity planning to figure out what projects you can take on and resource plan your people to work out how best to allocate them to your various projects.

Doesn’t that sound like a better way to work?

Fact: Resource planning can be done quickly and deliver real results if you use the right tools. Read our review of the best resource management software.


Kelloo's resource management tools

Resource planning, forecasting and reporting in one place. We help you get the most from your projects and people.

Resource planning is only for big teams

Here’s a widespread misconception: that resource planning tools are only a game-changer for big teams swimming in resources. The truth? We regularly find smaller organizations, armed with just a handful of resources struggling to stay on top of who’s handling what and when.

With only a handful of resources, it should be easy for them to keep a handle on their resource plans.

But the truth is, if you have plans that change often, lots of smaller pieces of work or share and plan resources across multiple projects you will quickly drown in planning hell. 

Fact: The size of the team is not the only factor that drives the need for resource planning. Complexity grows as the number of resources and projects grows.

We do agile development - we don't need resource plans

Agile resource planning in theory should be a breeze.

However, in an agile environment, there is an assumption that resources are dedicated 100% of their time to a single project.

And that simple statement leads us to two big problems…

(1) In many organizations, time available for project work can drop to as low as 50% – 60% of a resource’s initial capacity once things like support, meetings, administration etc. are taken into account.

(2) With the need to keep many projects moving forward at the same time, there is pressure to have resources working on more than one project at the same time.

But here is the thing. In an agile environment, short-term scheduling is no longer a consideration – agile removes the need for this.

But looking further out, resource plans are still needed so the organization can answer questions such as:

(1) How much time can our resources dedicate to projects?

(2) How many projects can we take on?

(3) Do we have the right mix of people going forward?

(4) Can we better distribute our resources across our projects?

In an agile environment the focus for resource planning shifts. The focus becomes planning capacity and forecasts so the organization can ensure it has the right levels and mix of skills to deliver its projects. Different questions but answers are still needed.

Fact: Agile environments still need to do resource planning but the focus is different.

Project planning is the same as resource planning

I can hear you thinking, “Our project managers already build project plans, why add another layer of planning?” Fair point. But here’s the kicker – project plans and resource plans play different roles. Yet, there’s a crucial connection tying them together. Let’s delve into that link.

A key objective of resource planning is to allocate resources across projects in a multi-project environment. Allocation of resources should take into account the relative priorities of the projects and the skills of the resources involved.

The output of which is a resource plan which records who is working on which project and when.

Project planning then steps this down a level of detail.

Whereas the resource plan merely records that a resource is working on a project for the next 6 months, the project plan details what they are doing on the project and when.

  • Resource plans are resource focused and multi project.
  • Project plans are task focused and for a single project.

In the same way that project management and resource management are different but are interlinked.

Fact: The resource plan is used to coordinate, organize and allocate which resources are working on what projects. The project planner then plans within these resource allocations.

Team Planner

Resource planning adds no value

In the average IT shop, software or consulting organization, the fully loaded cost (i.e. salary plus benefits, accommodation contribution, hardware and software etc.) of an employee can easily run between $80,000 – $150,000 a year.

People are the biggest cost and it is critically important to ensure that people are utilized in a way that ensures maximum efficiency and profitability for the organization.

And yet in many organizations, resource planning is at best haphazard, often ignored and more often than not so difficult to get a handle on that people just guess.

Fact: A key metric in resource planning is utilization. Organizations that implement Kelloo typically see improvements in resource utilization in the range of 5%-10% per resource.

That may not sound a lot but think of each of your resources, each costing you say $100,000 a year and that improvement adds up to a lot of extra resource hours, costs saved or hires postponed.

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