Five Ways to Handle Project Overload Using Project Management Software

High performing resources are always in demand. Project managers, team leaders and Workgroups compete for productive resources and, oftentimes, this results in their being over allocated. Over resourcing can also occur when the number of resources is low in comparison to the number of active projects. The efficient use of project management software can mitigate these resource issues.

  1. Create resource pools: When project managers schedule shared or matrix resources independently, problems often follow. This occurs simply because the information is not being shared. In contrast, if the resources being scheduled are deployed from a common resource pool schedule conflicts and overloads can be easily avoided. Additionally the duplication of resource information, such as rates of pay can be avoided.
  2. Set up a portfolio: Another technique, supplementing resource pools, is setting up a master project or program schedule and inserting within it individual projects. This will add another element of coordination. It will allow the project manager coordinating multiple projects to see potential staff over allocations or conflicts. At the same time it will show what specific activities within the individual projects are at risk. It can also indicate if the activities at risk are on the critical path thus pointing out which resource issues have a higher priority.
  3. Leverage history: Another benefit of project management software is that it can store templates. Templates allow team members to leverage prior work and, effectively, free up remaining time. The collaborative functions of the project management software allow prior work products to be stored as well. These too can be leveraged to avoid duplicate design, code or other type of work.
  4. Use the critical path: If an activity on the critical path is delayed the end date of the project will be extended. This also means that activities not on the critical path can be delayed without impacting the project end date. Project management software can clearly indicate which activities are on the critical path and which are not. If there are resource overloads the project manager can quickly view if the resources are assigned to critical or non-critical activities. This information is valuable because it enables the project manager to address project overloads by allocating resources in an intelligent manner. Resources from non-critical path activities can be re deployed because if, for whatever reason, they get delayed the end date of the project will not be at risk. In contrast great caution will be exercised before taking resources away from activities on the critical path as this may well cause a delay to the anticipated project end date.
  5. Take advantage of testing: A good way to prevent overloads and, at the same time, institute a best practice is to use the project management software and schedule testing as the work proceeds rather than wait till the end. If, for example, the project entails writing code, test each module as its completed rather than wait until the entire application is ready for comprehensive a comprehensive quality assurance review. It sounds simple but can save enormous amounts of time in the long run by catching problems early on thus saving time, money and resources.