We at ActiveCollab believe that every project is a little work of art. When you finish a project on time, within budget, make clients happy, and see your team hasn’t burned out in the process, you may feel just like Michelangelo when he finished painting the Sistine Chapel ceiling.
Project management can be considered an art form as both project managers and artists often share similar challenges. One of those common challenges is, of course, resource management.
The first lesson in business is resources are scarce, and we need to make the most of them. Painters and managers have a limited amount of tools at their disposal, and they could sure use some help in using them in a most efficient way.
The Artist Within
We’ll try and paint a picture for you here. Imagine being an artist, who’s worked hard for a while now. Finally, your talent is spotted, and you’ve been commissioned to paint a masterpiece. The first thought that comes to mind is the beautiful images you’ll be creating and the mixture of nuances you’ll be using.
Then you snap back to reality: all that paint! You need supplies! A canvas, brushes, tubes of paint are necessary. However, the budget is limited, so instead of buying the entire palette, you have to choose only the necessary colors. Sometimes, a lot more blue than yellow is required, so more than one tube of the same color will end up in the basket.
You Need the Right People for the Job
Quality is crucial, so you do your due diligence and research every brand. Eventually, you choose a brand that takes a while to produce these colors, and no two are the same. You look for the best ones that’ll suit your needs, just like you would when selecting who to work with. Good team members are hard to find, and it will take a while for the new ones to learn what they need to do. Also, you’ll never find two people who are just the same.
When you pick out your colors, it’s time to get to work and transform an idea into a piece of art. The canvas is stretched out and you draw an outline of what is to become, the same way a project manager lays out a project plan.
With the outline in front of you, the next step is to decide where to put each color, just as a manager decides who will be assigned to which task. Pick up the appropriate brushes and paint away.
Don’t Cry over Spilled Paint
Oh no! Both the sea and the sky are waiting for the blue color, but you’ve only bought two tubes of it. They’re completely squeezed out, while the red one stays intact. This means you haven’t made the right selection at the beginning or maybe you liked that color so much you’ve decided to use it up. Unfortunately, your budget is spent and you can’t get your hands on another one. You’re all out!
The colors at your disposal need to be used efficiently and carefully. If the tube is still full, it’s a waste. If it’s empty, it won’t be available when you need it the most.
The project manager faces the same problems with his team members and workload allocation. If they assign too many tasks to one person, even if they’re the team powerhouse, they’ll eventually see them burn out. A burned out employee will not be able to perform as well after a while. Even worse, they’ll be frustrated because of the poor work distribution. On the other hand, those who have too little to do will idle throughout the day, which is also not a good sign.
Now imagine having a smart palette where you can predefine how much of which color you want to use each day and that lets you know how to use them efficiently on a daily basis. You won’t run the risk of emptying one tube and leaving the other ones intact. Your resources will be employed to their full capacity, without any waste.
Workload management is the equivalent of this imaginary palette in the business world, and thankfully, it’s not imaginary. It’s very important to have team members use their full capacity, but not in a way that will tire them so much they can’t keep up with the work anymore. It’s not good for their personal life, nor the company. Setting up the daily hours for all employees and comparing them to the amount of time their tasks take out of each day would be so neat.
That’s why we’re happy to announce that we’ll be rolling out a big update in early September, introducing resource management. You’ll be able to get a bird’s eye view of all your projects, tasks and people which will enable you to optimize resource allocation and improve the efficiency of your teams. No spilled efforts, no more important tasks slipping through your fingers, no drained employees.
Another tool at your disposal to finish your projects on time, within budget.
Keep up the Real Work!