According to a recent PMI (Project Management Institute) report, 71% of organizations use agile approaches for their projects.
Due to the fast-paced nature of business, evolving customer demands, and increasing competition, agile project management methodologies have gained immense popularity. They help companies adapt to emerging priorities, accelerate the development process, and enhance the final deliverable quality.
In agile methodologies, resources are crucial in meeting changing client requirements. However, resource-related bottlenecks such as skill shortages, sub-optimal utilization, high labor costs, etc., can make managing these resources a huge challenge.
This blog discusses the challenges and fundamental strategies to manage resources in agile projects and how SAVIOM can help organizations.
1. Challenges of resource management in agile projects
Agile project management is a method that utilizes short development cycles called sprints. This framework follows the principle of flexibility, collaboration, and continuous improvement to deliver high-quality products/services within the stipulated time and budget.
In agile projects, priorities can change due to varying stakeholder requirements, internal organizational changes, or volatile market conditions. Due to this, managers frequently struggle to adapt resource allocations that lead to overloading, employee burnout, and lowered productivity, hampering the project’s progress.
Moreover, evolving requirements make it challenging for managers to find competent resources at short notice, leading to last-minute firefighting and project delays. Furthermore, factors like poor visibility, distributed teams, and lack of proper communication platforms can lead to improper collaboration between teams, managers, and stakeholders. This results in inefficiencies, schedule overruns, etc.
Lastly, inadequate training and development opportunities can lead to skill obsolescence. Resultantly, agile teams fail to complete the sprint backlog in the stipulated timeframe and end up overlooking certain critical aspects, leading to subpar quality and client dissatisfaction.
These resource management challenges in agile projects can be effectively addressed by implementing the strategies enlisted below.
2. 5 Strategies to manage resources in agile project management
Agile projects require a versatile team equipped with diverse skills and competencies to ensure successful sprint execution. Given below are some of the best ways to manage these resources effectively across all sprint tasks:
2.1 Categorize project tasks based on their priorities
Agile projects consist of a sprint backlog, which includes a list of work items that must be completed during each iteration. For this, project managers identify and prioritize the tasks based on their criticality to maximize the overall project value. Additionally, they understand task dependencies and determine the sequence to execute them.
For instance, in a website development project, the manager assesses the sprint backlog and determines tasks such as creating the product category page and payment gateway page as high priority. Meanwhile, designing filters, buttons, and icons is designated as a medium-priority task. This categorization allows managers to plan and schedule resources, ensuring competent allocation and timely execution of sprint tasks.
2.2 Leverage cross-functional teams for project execution
Agile projects require multi-skilled resources for successful sprint delivery. Therefore, leveraging a cross-functional team that possesses diverse skills is essential to meet the client requirements and ensure timely completion.
Moreover, when cross-functional teams are deployed to tasks based on their skills, it guarantees higher productivity and better deliverable quality. Additionally, it eliminates the need to assign multiple employees to manage distinct tasks, preventing budget overruns and ensuring seamless project execution.
2.3 Track and optimize resource utilization frequently
Continuous monitoring of resource utilization is pivotal for successful agile project management. During the sprint, project managers must track the utilization levels of each resource to identify under/over allocation. Accordingly, they can implement optimization techniques like resource leveling/smoothing to balance the workload and prevent burnout.
For a flexible backlog, managers can adjust slack tasks to reduce the current workload. Contrarily, for a time-boxed backlog, managers can consider deploying additional resources to complete the work without overburdening the project team. This way, by frequently monitoring and optimizing resource utilization, managers can prevent workload imbalances and maximize productivity.
2.4 Encourage transparent communication across teams
In an agile environment, transparent communication is critical to ensure that the team has a proper understanding of the sprint goals to work cohesively. This can be achieved by establishing communication protocols and utilizing appropriate tools like video conferencing, collaboration platforms, etc.
In addition, these tools can be utilized to conduct regular scrum meetings, sprint reviews/retrospectives, etc. It helps project teams to gather stakeholders’ feedback, share project updates, and address constraints proactively, fostering effective collaboration.
2.5 Promote continuous learning and skill development
In agile project management, continuous learning and development are essential for successful project execution. Organizations can facilitate training and upskilling programs such as workshops, on-the-job training, shadowing opportunities, etc., to foster learning and growth. Furthermore, it enables teams to develop secondary and tertiary skill sets, allowing them to add more value to the project.
Moreover, team members must be encouraged to reflect on their work regularly and seek opportunities to enhance their portfolios. Moreover, it is essential for firms to adjust the training strategy as per the employees’ feedback and the outcomes achieved. In conclusion, skill development will help organizations optimize workforce utilization and deliver high-quality results to clients.
These are some of the strategies to manage resources in an agile environment. Let’s see how an ideal resource management software can help organizations.
3. How can robust resource management software help?
In agile projects, the resource demands fluctuate constantly. Therefore, organizations must implement modern resource management software like Saviom to ensure the right resources with the right skills are assigned to the right opportunities every time.
Here’s how the tool can help:
- The tool’s 360-degree visibility and advanced filters allow managers to identify and allocate resources based on their skills, competencies, experience, role, etc.
- Forecasting and capacity planning help foresee the shortage/excess of resources and take appropriate measures, like training and hiring, to bridge the gaps.
- The skills matrix enables managers to identify and consider the resources for training and development programs.
- Real-time reports like forecast vs. actual and color-coded heatmaps enable managers to track resource utilization. Based on these insights, they can take corrective measures to optimize utilization.
- The collaboration feature enables efficient communication between team members, project stakeholders, and clients.
- The what-if analysis helps managers arrive at the best possible outcomes based on changing conditions to deliver projects successfully.
Thus, a futuristic resource management solution helps improve workforce efficiency in agile project management.
Managing resources efficiently is a critical aspect of agile project management. It enables organizations to quickly adapt to changing priorities and client requirements. Therefore, implementing the above-mentioned techniques and next-gen software allows firms to maximize profitable utilization, deliver projects successfully and enhance client satisfaction.