Picture yourself as a project manager in an organization who’s got the right people with the right skill sets. Despite that, your team is witnessing a continuous dip in its productivity. Wondering why? An often-understated reason behind it may be poor workload management.
Inappropriate workload management can also lead employees to high stress at work, employee dissatisfaction, fatigue, burnout, lower engagement, sub-par performance, and reduced business efficiency.
Therefore, an efficient workload management strategy is crucial for every company. This article highlights the concept and importance of workload management and explains its best strategies.
So, let’s begin.
What is workload management and why is it important?
Workload management is the process of distributing the assigned tasks among team members fairly and uniformly. It also involves monitoring utilization and performance, tracking individual KPIs, and assigning the right tasks to the right employees without overburdening any of them.
Further, allocating tasks to the resources matching their skill sets and interests also helps keep them engaged. It, in turn, helps increase job satisfaction levels, prevents burnout and attrition, and enhances overall efficiency and productivity.
Now that it is clear what workload management is and how valuable it is, let’s learn some proven strategies to streamline it.
Best practices for effective workload management
Streamlining workload management is indispensable for every company as it provides various benefits, as discussed above.
Here are a few suitable ways you can achieve it-
2.1 Define and prioritize tasks to establish realistic deadlines
The first step to workload management is creating a work breakdown structure (WBS). A work breakdown structure enables the project manager to break down the entire project into various small components (or tasks) and sub-components (or sub-tasks).
It helps assess task interdependencies, prioritize critical tasks, and identify buffer tasks. Following that, the manager estimates the time based on effort and complexity for each task and establishes a deadline for it accordingly.
2.2 Analyze your resource capacity and allocate tasks uniformly
Maintaining a centralized repository of resource-related information, including skills, competencies, current and future allocations, etc., is critical. It helps get actionable insights into key resource shortages, skill mismatches, unavailability, and other resource-related constraints.
This information will help managers delegate tasks to different team members based on their availability, skill sets, and other parameters. Besides achieving competent allocation, they should also ensure that the tasks are distributed evenly among all the teammates, thereby avoiding resource over/under allocation.
2.3 Track the work progress and utilization rates of resources
No matter how efficient your workload management plan is, tracking the work progress in real-time still holds importance. It helps managers identify the roadblocks hampering the work and find remedial measures to eliminate them.
Also, they should keep a tab on utilization rates of team members and make sure that no single resource is over/underutilized. Tracking utilization rates also helps determine the effectiveness and productivity of the entire team.
2.4 Take appropriate optimization measures to manage workload
The manager should be watchful for under or overutilization of resources and intervene to implement suitable optimization techniques to fix it. For projects with adjustable timelines, the manager can leverage resource-leveling methods. They can re-evaluate and modify individual tasks’ start and end dates so that no resource is overloaded.
On the contrary, for time-constrained projects, resource smoothing can be implemented to deploy additional resources. This will help accomplish all the tasks in a given timeframe without overloading any resource.
2.5 Implement an effective change management strategy to avoid ad-hoc work
Irrational and last-minute change requests by clients can affect a project’s progress despite having a meticulous project plan and workload management strategy. Therefore, the Change Control Board must formulate a proper change management framework to manage such requests effectively.
The onus lies with the CCB to examine the nature of ad-hoc change requests and their overall impact on the project progress. This way only the most feasible change requests or modifications will be approved. It prevents undue workload on one or more resources to accommodate infeasible changes and ensure project’s timely delivery.
2.6 Outsource or leverage an on-demand workforce to tackle work overload
No matter how efficient and hard-working a resource is, over allocation of work impacts their productivity over time. Therefore, one should understand that the permanent workforce has a certain capacity, and allocating work beyond it can cause ramifications like increased stress, fatigue, burnout, and missed deadlines.
However, some unprecedented events like prolonged absences or unplanned attrition, etc., can result in an increased workload on the other team members. In such cases, the manager should outsource some amount of work or hire a contingent workforce to manage the workload. It is more important for complex projects where outsourcing non-critical tasks allows resources to focus on the critical ones.
How Resource Management Software Helps Manage Workload Effectively
Saviom’s advanced resource management software is the key to managing workload efficiently in a number of ways. Firstly, it provides enterprise-wide visibility into resource-related attributes, including skills, experience, etc., that help managers find the best-fit resources for each job. The tool also helps managers gain foresight into resource utilization and schedules to distribute the workload evenly without over or under-allocating them.
Further, the capacity-vs-demand reports provide insights into skill gaps or shortages of resources. This enables managers to implement planned hiring and avoid overburdening the existing resource pool. Moreover, the manager can also focus on conducting multi-skill building programs to diversify the portfolios of resources. This will help them handle varied skill demands more efficiently, thereby contributing to workload management.
In the words of Earl Nightingale, an American radio speaker and author, “Do each day all that can be done that day. You don’t need to overwork to do the greatest possible things in the shortest possible time.”
This quote holds true for organizations where project team members often end up facing work overload and burnout due to improper task allocation. Therefore, streamlining workload management is crucial for the success of every project. It helps in maintaining the overall efficiency of the organization.
However, it can be an arduous job for even seasoned managers. Nevertheless, adopting the appropriate practices as discussed above in combination with an advanced resource management tool can help in managing the workload efficiently.