“Who is free to work on this task?”
That’s something all project managers will hear at some time or another. And it isn’t the best way to allocate work to your project team members. After all, would you have brain surgery done by a surgeon who specialises in feet just because he or she happened to be free that day? Of course not.
Would you ask a colleague to give a presentation to the board, just because they happened to have some spare time? And regardless of the fact their expertise is in requirements analysis and they’ve never presented to senior management before?
That would be a recipe for disaster – you’d both end up looking foolish.
Resource allocation is one of the trickier aspects of leading a high-performing project team. You want to make sure that everyone is fully occupied, but on tasks that play to their strengths. From time to time that might mean someone has to work on something that isn’t their core area of expertise. But provided they have the support required, that could be a good development opportunity.
However, I strongly believe that availability is not a skill set. Assuming you have the luxury of being able to access a range of resources with varying skills, how should you allocate tasks? Here are my five tips for working out who is best placed to do the work.
Top of the list is skill. Does the person have the skills required to actually carry out this project task and complete it successfully? If so, they are probably the best person for the job.
Has the person in question done this sort of task before? If so, they will have the relevant experience and the confidence to do it again. They probably won’t need much support from you.Click for more