If Resource Capacity Planning represents the long-range staff planning that ensures you have the appropriate skills and workforce to meet expected demand, Strategic Resource Allocation goes a level deeper, and represents the medium and short-range assignment of people, teams, and skills to specific projects and programs.

In other words, while Resource Capacity Planning helps you plan the supply, Strategic Resource Allocation is how you tackle the demand.

Since capacity (AKA “supply”) is finite once planned, this becomes a matter of determining which initiatives (AKA “demand”) are the most important to accomplish within the limited resource pool—and ensures that your project portfolio is feasible to deliver. This is where Strategic Resource Allocation shines.

In essence, Strategic Resource Allocation is about three things:


    1. Assigning the right people to the most important work when they’re needed

    1. Addressing Demand Shortfall

    1. Managing Resource Workload


What is Strategic Resource Allocation?

Strategic Resource Allocation is the targeted management of demand by assigning people and skills to projects, considering three primary levers:


    • Supply

    • Demand

    • Priority

The question to consider is: Given your available resource supply and the current and future demand on those resources, how do you make the necessary strategic tradeoffs when deciding which projects you can afford to staff (whether a new project or an existing one with a new or modified resource requirement)? For example, if two or more projects are vying for the same resources, which project gets funded and staffed? In most cases, it will be the project with the highest priority.


Project Scoring and Ranking Can Assist with Prioritization

Assuming the competing initiatives are equal or close in priority, then stakeholder conversations may be necessary to rank the projects that are in competition. A project scoring and ranking model can assist with this, whereby each project is given a composite score based on a variety of benefit and risk factors and their alignment with the organization’s strategic objectives. In some industries, projects are staffed on a FIFO (First In, First Out) basis—but even this is a form of priority.


Want to find out how ResourceFirst can help make Strategic Resource Allocation a breeze? Visit the PDWare Product page to learn more!



Strategic Resource Allocation is Tough to Do Via Spreadsheets

The only thing constant about schedules, priorities, and resource workload is that they’re constantly changing. People are often pulled from one project to meet a pressing need for another. Business priorities shift based on external or internal influences. It is challenging at best to track all this information in spreadsheets, especially when so many people with different areas of responsibility are providing the data. This is why Resource Management software is so important when it comes to executing Strategic Resource Allocation effectively.

Strategic Resource Allocation is Not a One-Person Job

Having the various stakeholders regularly provide input into a shared system for Strategic Resource Allocation serves three purposes:

  • It drives transparency, since everyone is on the same page and had visibility of supply, demand, and current priorities.
  • It fosters accuracy, as the people closest to the action are providing the data.

    For example, functional managers understand their staff’s capabilities and upcoming workload better than anyone else. Project managers are aware of any project changes in terms of needs or schedule. Financial staff can provide the latest cost center or budget information. And resources can input actual time spent as well as report status.

  • It assures portfolio feasibility (i.e., that it is possible to achieve portfolio targets), as it will be based on an accurate assessment of the skills and people available to do the work.


ResourceFirst Enables Strategic Resource Allocation in Traditional, Agile, and Hybrid Environments

Some people believe iterative processes such as Agile means no resource planning. This simply isn’t true.  Agile projects are still performed by people, and unless all the people on the team are fully dedicated to one project only (which isn’t the case in most environments), it’s still important to know who’s on which team(s), and which teams are working on which projects.

How the work is executed may differ for Agile projects, in that the team works on user stories from the backlog, but at a high level, the organization’s resources are being consumed, and executives still want to know if the dollars are being used wisely, whether in teams or individually. Typically, such planning will be done by team, functional area, or operational unit, depending on the organization’s budgetary unit.

Fortunately, top Resource Management software such as ResourceFirst allows for both team-based and hybrid planning to accommodate Agile teams and individual resource assignments in a single planning and reporting tool.

The Bottom Line:

Strategic Resource Allocation will help your organization address demand while considering supply and organizational priorities. This is true whether you run Agile projects, traditional projects, or both. Ultimately, this enables shared visibility, greater planning accuracy, and more feasible project portfolios with a greater likelihood of meeting delivery schedules.

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