When you’re about to launch a new project, you need to assess whether your company has the capacity to get it done in a timely way. You have to ask yourself:
- Are your people available?
- If not, how much of a gap in availability is there?
- Will different departments need to work together to complete the project?
Some of these questions can be surprisingly difficult to answer, especially in large companies. Lack of visibility is a common pain point for resource managers, particularly when resources work across department lines. When all your staff are spread thin across multiple teams and initiatives, it’s a challenge to know the most realistic timeline for a new project.
Oftentimes, the agreed-upon estimates for a cross-departmental project are not even certain. When plans change on short notice, as they so often do, the timeline of a project is affected. In fact, just 51 percent of projects are completed within their initial schedules, according to PMI’s Pulse of the Profession® report.
Scheduling isn’t the only challenge. Cross-departmental projects come with their own unique set of risks. In many companies, silos are common and communication can be difficult. Cross-departmental projects may exhaust employees who struggle to manage their commitment to multiple assignments. Faltering on one project can bring delays and problems into a completely different project.
Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Behnam Tabrizi examines the pitfalls of what he calls cross-functional teams. He writes:
“ Cross-functional teams often fail because the organization lacks a systemic approach. Teams are hurt by unclear governance, by a lack of accountability, by goals that lack specificity, and by organizations’ failure to prioritize the success of cross-functional projects. ”
In a study of 95 teams in 25 corporations, Tabrizi found that close to 75% of cross-functional teams are dysfunctional. They fail on criteria including:
- meeting a planned budget
- staying on schedule
- adhering to specifications
- meeting customer expectations
- maintaining alignment with the company’s corporate goals.
All of this means that resource managers need to plan ahead for their teams, adapt to changing circumstances, and get a handle on their short-term and long-term priorities. They need a big-picture view of the company to properly staff projects.
This is where Tempo Planner comes in. Tempo Planner is a resource planning software for Jira that has many helpful features to support cross-departmental collaboration. These include:
Resource Planning view
- The Resource Planning view is the main view in Tempo Planner for work across departments. With it, you can see all the resources assigned to a project and their allocation. The Weeks view (as opposed to the Days view) provides the big picture of what’s planned and who’s available or overbooked. It displays 5 weeks from the start of the current week. With the Resource Planning view, it’s easy to see plans for different departments on the same project.
- You can easily customize the Resource Planning view by using filters. Filter by Role or Team to narrow down your view and see who has the skills you need to share work across teams. If you only want to see a given department, you can filter for it. Save filters to make it quick and easy to jump between them. On Tempo Planner for Server, you can assign a Location to resources and then filter for location in the Capacity Report or Planned Time report.
- On Tempo Planner for Server, you can use the Capacity Report to find available resources. With this feature, you can assess the feasibility of a project based on how resources are booked and easily claim them for your project if they’re available. You can also see the effective size of your team, which is helpful if some team members don’t work full-time on the team.
Resource planning for projects can be difficult in the best of times. The challenge of managing competing projects, teams and timelines can easily overwhelm a well-meaning resource manager. The right tools can support cross-departmental collaboration and increase the likelihood that projects are finished on time.