A good project manager understands this well. Assigning too many tasks would overwhelm and overwork team members while assigning too little is a waste of time and resources. Ensuring a good balance is key to good team member morale and project success.
Ideally, a project manager analyzes workload in the planning process to minimize risks and changes during the execution process. “Workload” itself refers to the required activities and resources to deliver the agreed final outputs or “deliverables.” A good project manager should ideally assign “just enough” work to each team member, so it is manageable, and the output quality would remain high.
This being said, optimizing people performance should be the project manager’s priority. In optimized performance, activities and resources are properly allocated, distributed, and managed to allow a project to be completed economically. Moreover, a well-run project makes the management, stakeholders, project manager and the entire team happy.
Below are four activities for workload management that a project manager can apply to a project. Start from the beginning to the last and repeat whenever necessary.
The best management practice always involves effective delegation. Understand each team member’s skills, expertise, and experiences on both the hard and soft side. Check their availability, such as their schedules, shifts, involvement in other projects, and vacation dates. Delegate an activity that matches their traits and conditions. Remember an adage, “The right person for the right job.”
Prioritizing involves assessing the value of a task, delegating to the appropriate person, and estimating effort and resources (including time) required. When a task is of high priority, consider delegating to a team member who owns the highest level of required skills, is more experienced, and has proven to be responsible for past projects. This way, the risk of poor performance can be reduced signification.
Use the right software
Using the right project management software would greatly help in obtaining a current snapshot of the project advancement. The real-time updates of team members’ work activities allow project manager and stakeholders to see how far along the project has been completed and which team members or tasks require further assistance. This way, resource allocation can be done more efficiently for current and future assignments.
Review ongoing tasks from time to time. Refer to the pre-planned review schedule for routine evaluation. However, since every project is different, you may perform reviews as needed. Using the right project management software would allow a project manager to discern the areas requiring individual evaluation outside the scheduled evaluation. This way, the problem areas can be revisited, changed, corrected, and redone as necessary.
Handling workload is, indeed, an art and science. Fortunately, today’s technology provides project managers with an important tool to better assist with project planning, execution, and evaluation. With the right software, objective evaluation, and delegation and prioritizing skills, the workload can be managed efficiently.