A Realistic and Enforced Allocation of Internal Resources

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Project with Staff Allocation Template

This template provides an efficient way to organize new projects so you and your staff can meet deadline expectations.


A Realistic and Enforced Allocation of Internal Resources

Projects Don't Get Done on a Wish and a Prayer

In between emailing, conference calling, people knocking on your office door, putting out fires, and dealing with monthly reports, how much of your day is allocated to that new project the boss plopped on your lap last week? Ten percent? Two percent? Nothing at all?

If new projects are piled on top of old and added to employees' daily tasks without any thought to available time and resources, then it's no wonder that employees roll their eyes when given another assignment. They know they will never get around to it - particularly if accountability and deadlines are left open.

"To have a realistic hope of finishing a project on time, a number of steps need to be taken before that project is even assigned," says Planning Boot Camp author and business planning expert Peter Wright. "The first step is figuring out how much resources the initiative will consume by comparing its projected scope, and estimated budget and timelines to similar past initiatives. That will give you a reasonable idea of how much staff time is needed."

The second step, identifying staff members to carry out the project, must include frank discussions with the staffers and their department heads. What are their current workloads? What daily tasks or other projects can be shifted to others, contracted out, or temporarily set aside so this new project can move forward?

Ideally, staffers should devote at least 25% of their work day to a project. If they can't and there is no way of freeing up their schedules, then projects will take longer to complete and timelines must be adjusted accordingly. Whatever percentage of the work day is agreed upon, the last crucial step is putting in place an enforceable way to ensure project team members adhere to the stipulated hours - whether that involves time tracking, weekly progress meetings or cash bonuses for deadlines met is up to you.

A Realistic and Enforced Allocation of Internal Resources

Do staffers have time to complete projects?
Ask yourself these five questions:

  1. Is there an unstated assumption in your office that work on new assignments will be done on top of current workloads?
  2. Are long-term projects assigned with open-ended deadlines?
  3. Is it assumed that all employees will put in overtime?
  4. Are new assignments quickly forgotten amid the daily grind?
  5. Are new assignments met with skepticism?

If you have answered yes to any of these questions, challenge yourself and your colleagues to sit down with staffers and discuss a realistic and fair approach to workloads and timelines. Only then will your company be on track to complete new projects in a timely fashion, while avoiding staff burnout.