Understanding how busy your team ーand making sure they are at just the right levelー is one of the hardest balancing acts of product and professional service teams (especially agencies). This resource planning template helps you solve the problem regarding resource utilization. Every resource management software and tool tackles it a bit differently: Resource Guru, Float, Harvest, 10k ft, Mavenlink, and Accelo all have their own approach. To further muddy the solution waters, studio managers and PMs hack away at some beautifully colorful Excel and Google Sheets to solve their resourcing needs; they are all a bit different and unique.
Why do we call our people resources? Whereas non-human resources in a factory may be raw materials like metal or wood, and the things that go into production like the factory, electricity, in knowledge work (building products, designing websites, implementing technology), resources are your people and their time. Through your team's knowledge, skills, and abilities ー and over timeー they produce things clients need: websites, campaigns, digital assets, IT transformation. While "resources" comes from production and consultancies, agencies have taken on the word. I prefer the more human terms that I've heard agencies use like "team scheduling" or "workload balancing."
What is a resource planning template?
A resource planning template is a flexible tool for a project manager to log, update, and visualize their available resources for a project. A resource planning template is a specific type of project management template that focuses on the capacity restraints of your team.
Tools like Excel and spreadsheets can be used to create a resource planning template. This resource management template in Coda is a real-time collaborative template your team members can use anywhere. As the project changes and your team members' schedules change, a good resource planning template should be able to change quickly as well. This free resource should help you with any decision-making related to the selection of the best resources and managing the allocation of work across your team.
How to use this project resource planning template
Coda’s resource planning template allows you to create a thorough and flexible resource plan no matter how big or small the project is. Unlike most Excel templates, this template allows you to write detailed project plans without being constrained to small cells or text boxes. Here are the steps for using this project resource planning template for ultimate project success:
Step 1: Add your projects
page, you can enter all the individual projects you and your team are working on. For each project you can specify the status, project manager, and other relevant properties that will help you track workflow easier. On this page, you can also specify the individual tasks that make up each project.
Step 2: Include your team members
Before you can start assigning allocations to your team members, you need to invite them to use this project resource planning template and list them out on the
page. You can include details like the person's location and skills so that when other team members look at this page, they can become familiar with the rest of the team and get a clearer picture of the overall human resource capacity.
Step 3: Assign work
page, you can start doing resource allocation for the different tasks and dependancies you created on the
page. Each task is associated with a project and also has a specific start and end date. Your project resource is human capital, so you can assign a person to each task based on their unique skill sets and provide a number for the estimated effort. Effort can be hours or story points if you are using agile or scrum methodologies.
Step 4: View your project schedule
page, you can see a project timeline based on the start and end dates of your tasks. For a better view of your resource plan, the "Resource Schedule"
gives you an idea of what dates your team members will be working on their tasks, the amount of time it will take them to complete them, and if there is any overlap. You can adjust the bars on the Gantt chart, the dates for the tasks will change all through the resource planning template.
Step 5: Visualize your team's allocation
page gives you an overview of how busy your team is. You might notice that certain team members are being over-utilized so you may want to remove tasks from their workload and that way facilitate project progress. With this resource planning template, you can adjust tasks, dates, and assigned work in the previous pages and the utilization rates on this page will automatically adjust.
Get started with this resource management template
Many resource allocation templates, project management or resource planning software have basic features (timesheets, due dates, milestones, etc.) which may be ideal for startups but not that helpful for large projects where an enterprise resource planning (ERP) tool is required. In order to make the template work for a larger project, you might have to pay for additional features. This free resource can be used to align the right resources for big projects and you can add additional features like buttons, automations, and integrations to make your life as a project manager easier.
Tips for smart human resource planning that will boost project performance
Human resources are your most important asset when creating a resource management plan. As you're creating the project budget for your plan, estimating profitability, and finalizing the details of a project portfolio, it's important to keep in mind a few things:
Create good estimates for the human resources needed for each task
As changes occur, make sure you update them in your resource planning template
Assign a human resource who can complete a given task most efficiently (be it a fullt-time in-house employee or a freelancer)
Avoid over-utilizing your resources
The different types of resource planning templates
All resource planning templates should have dashboards, capacity planning, time-tracking options, schedules, and task management.
You may find many types of project resource planning templates in Excel or other project management software. Sometimes the Excel template is a free download. On dedicated project management software platforms, you may have to pay to use the template.
When the resource planning template is built on a platform like Excel, it can be very basic and doesn't allow for easy collaboration, sharing, or communication. You can add more features to the template but it may require expertise with Excel. Project management software may offer easier-to-use resource planning templates, but they may lack flexibility.
Common FAQs about a resource planning template
How do you create a resource management model?
The first step is understanding what resources you have available to you. These are the inputs to your resource management model. You may have more than human resources available to your disposal. For instance, equipment, machinery, and software can all be resources. From there, you should figure out how many units of each resource is needed for your tasks. Finally, you should create a schedule showing when and how each of your resources will be deployed during the project.
What are resource planning tools?
Resource management tools are typically different types of software that allow you to manage and execute resource planning. Your project team needs a central place to see what tasks they need to work on and for the project manager to help keep everyone on track. While Microsoft Excel is traditionally used as a tool for project resource planning and management, updating formulas and color-coding cells can be difficult as the project grows.
A good resource management tool should allow project managers and agile teams to allocate resources, plan, schedule, and monitor all your resources.
Enterprise resource management tools may have additional features that other stakeholders beyond the project team may find useful. At a high-level, resource planning tools should give you a glance at how your resources are being allocated. The tool may even show you whether you are hitting your company's OKRs and KPIs.
What are the types of resources?
Some different types of resources include human resources, natural resources, financial resources, infrastructure resources, digital asset resources, IT resources, and more. Everything from an electrical grid (infrastructure resource) to trees (natural resource) requires a different approach to resource planning and management.
Many people think that project resource planning and management just has to do with human resources. Different projects require different types of resources. The resource planning template and the planning tool you use for resource leveling and management should reflect the type of resources you have at your disposal.