What is Resource Scheduling?
Resource scheduling is the process of strategically planning which resources you’ll utilise to achieve a given task or goal. Resources can be people, facilities, equipment or really anything else that is required for the completion of a project. Resource scheduling software (like FoxOMS) is commonly used to keep track when of resources are scheduled to be utilised.
How does Resource Scheduling tie to Project Management?
To successfully deliver a project you’ll almost always need to utilise resources to reach your goal. Resources will usually have cost, time and availability constraints associated with them, so it is up to the project manager to utilise resource scheduling techniques to find the best utilisation of resources that balances costs and time to delivery.
What is the Project Planning Process?
Before you start getting into the nitty-gritty of project planning and scheduling, it’s good to be sure of two things:
- When is the project due?
- How much should the project cost to produce?
Defining your absolute due date is important because it gives you a date to work your resource scheduling back from. Sometimes the due date can be unclear and undefined because of unknowns and dependencies outside the scope of your project. In the creative and media industries though, the due date is usually very clear.
For example, if you’re working on the next incredible and rather expensive $5 million Super Bowl commercial, the deadline is the day before the Super Bowl.
Once you have your absolute deadline, it’s always a good idea to build in a contingency to make sure you can comfortably achieve your deadline and reach your ideal delivery date. How much contingency you build in will depend on your industry and the nature of the project, but for many of our creative agency clients, the contingency is usually a couple of weeks.
Drafting your first Project Plan
Now you’ve got some numbers to work with, it’s time to start your project plan. This once involved getting out grid paper and pencil to map out your project timeframe as well as breaking down all the components of the project into definable tasks. Then you could map out the resources you’d need to complete those tasks and finally draw them out on a horizontal plan to see the scale of the project.
Things got easier with the release of Microsoft Excel as project tasks and milestones could be moved and shifted around as the project progressed. However planning your project in Excel does have its downsides, a major one being that all changes to the project plan need to be communicated to the team via the project manager.
What are project planning tools?
In 2020 there are some great cloud based project planning tools, and most offer good collaboration options that mean your whole team can stay up to date with changes.
JIRA (by Atlassian)
It has comprehensive task and milestone tracking as well as great collaboration features.
FoxOMS's strengths are its resource scheduling features, however it does also include a project management module that allows bookings, quotes and invoices to be linked back to a project.
One advantage that FoxOMS has, is that you're able to quickly generate quotes and invoices for all bookings related to a project, and send it to the client directly from within FoxOMS.