In the first of our “Project Management Problems and How To Solve Them” blog series, we’re going to explore probably one of the most frustrating challenges that a project manager can face: how to effectively allocate tasks to the appropriate resources.
Typically, a project requires team members with varying skills and experience, and the goal is to match those with the required skills to the appropriate task. Of course, in an ideal world, this logic would be put into practise all the time. But issues such as lack of resources, a tight deadline, or hurried decisions can mean that the wrong team members are assigned to a task that doesn’t fall within their remit of expertise.
Asking which team members are free to work on a job that very same day is probably the worst way of allocating tasks – but actually it happens a lot. Assigning tasks in this way makes project management a little pointless, as consideration of the project’s requirements and who best to fulfil those are completely disregarded. In the same way that you wouldn’t hire a plumber to decorate your living room, you wouldn’t assign a resource to an unsuitable task. If you did, then the project would become a volatile entity full of frustration, mistakes, and missed deadlines, things which should be avoided at all costs for successful project delivery.
Assigning the wrong team member to a task is a bit like hiring a plumber to decorate your living room… 👀
Allocating tasks requires careful planning and thought, where team members can play to their strengths and experience to get their work done. But knowing who would be best to work on any given task can itself be difficult, especially if there are new recruits or teams are scattered across offices around the world.
So how can project managers allocate tasks efficiently to ensure a successful project?
Project management software to the rescue
The best place to start is to ask yourself which skills are required for a particular task, and research all available team members who hold those skills. Have team members carried out a similar task before? If so, they are likely to be a good match for the task at hand. If not, do they have the skills and ability to carry out the task successfully with a bit of support? This may be a good option if resources are low.
Using project management software is a great way of facilitating this part of the project process. Most intranet software platforms come with some form of task or project management app, which makes it even easier to adopt into your existing project processes. Even better, team members’ skills and expertise are recorded within their intranet user profiles, providing you with a one-stop-shop for researching the essential skills needed to effectively allocate tasks to the right people.
For example, if programming knowledge is required for a project task, you can search for all team members who hold this experience using the intranet searching functionality. Once this information is gathered, collated, and assessed, you’re in a much better position to assign the appropriate staff to tasks that fit their skillset.
Search for skills to find the right person for the job
With project management software, you can assign dedicated “Responsibilities” to individual team members, so that everyone involved can view at-a-glance who is doing what in the project (just make sure that you assign “Responsibilities” based on the research you did earlier!) New “Responsibilities” can be added at any time within a project, providing a great level of flexibility for agile projects that need to adapt and change throughout its lifecycle.
Assign “Responsibilities” to team members so they understand their role within the project
By using project management software to assist with task allocation, you can make life so much easier as you won’t be assigning tasks blindly. Instead, you can rely on accurate information about team members’ skills, experience, and expertise which will help you match the right people to the right job, rather than selecting those based purely on availability. Task allocation can be streamlined and more productive once you know you have the best people on board.
Check back next week for our second blog – How to Solve Project Management Issues: Communication