Use Case: Getting the Most from your Resources
Allocating personnel in a project from start to finish can be one of the hardest challenges of managing a project. From multi-million dollar projects to organizing a party, having tasks assigned evenly and quickly to the entire team is no easy feat. Many professionals use such project tools as Microsoft Project, Primavera, etc. What many people don’t realize is that MindManager is a great way to help start projects by brainstorming tasks and assigning team members to those tasks.
Here are a few tips to help manage team members (also known as resources) to a project and have the capability of transferring tasks from overbooked workers to those less busy.
Let’s start out by brainstorming some key requirements. It is recommended to use the brainstorming mode located in the “Extras” tab of MindManager. Grouping these requirements could assist in determining which department or team these tasks will be allocated. Once you have developed a working plan you will next want to outline the tasks that are required. With this in place you can now begin assigning team members (resources) to the project map.
To do this simply open the “Task Info” section and select a task. In the Task Info pane, you can set task start/end dates, durations, dependencies, and of course, resources. To add a resource, start by adding in the person responsible for completing this task. You can add multiple resources by inserting a comma between resources. If you would like to use the same resource again, simply click & hold on the resource in the map view and drag it to the desired task. You continue doing this till you have fully assigned all tasks in the projects to a resource, which eventually becomes your project plan. When the resources have already been made, another way to quickly add resources is go into the “Markers” pane on the right side and expand the “Resources” group. All the resources you have created will populate and you can click to add resources as well.
Suppose you forgot about a task after the plan is fully mapped out. No problem. It’s simple to add tasks to your project but what if this task has to be completed by a resource that is already booked up. This team member does not have enough hours in the day to finish all their tasks on time. In the map it’s called an “overutilized” resource. You can check for overutilzed resources three different ways: in the “Task Info” under the task, in the embedded “Gantt Chart”, or in the “Resources” tab on the right side.
MindManager is great for mitigating overutilized resources with the click of a button. The embedded Gantt chart, which is found under the View tab, outlines the progression of task in relation to a timeline. First, look for dependencies in your timeline indicated by the blue arrows from one task to another. Dependent tasks tend to be much more difficult to manipulate purely based on the fact that changing the task will ultimately change anything dependent upon that task. If you find a task that has flexibility you can click and drag the task to another point in the timeline.
Moving the task will automatically change the task in the map view and correlate it with the number of hours each resource is expected to work. If the task hours are less than the total hours for that duration, the tasks will go back to their normal state (which is green). MindManager, by default, will not allow you to assign tasks on weekends. If you are crazy enough to work on the weekends, you can add weekend dates to the plan at the bottom of the “Task Info” tab, under the “Task Info Options” link.
In the real world, sometimes tasks cannot be pushed back and you will need to reassign this task to someone else.
Another useful technique is to re-allocate resources to team members that have too much on their plate. To do this first find the task in the map view that is overbooked. Under the “Resources” tab, uncheck the box that says “Find Overutilized Resources” and check the box “Find Underutilized Resources”. When you search this time, it will bring up resources with weeks in which that resource is free, based on the total hours of that week. When you see a resource that corresponds to the “Overutilized Task”, simply enter that new resource in the place of the overbooked resource and you have successfully re-allocated “Overutilized Resources”.
Using MindManager can be a great tool to manage your project during the planning stages. Mindjet customers rave at the fact that it does not take much to build a project plan. However, few recognize that MindManager is also incredibly useful to manage and execute plans. Setting resources is easy and can be controlled visually for more clarity. As unforeseen tasks arise, it is essential to remain flexible in order for the project to run smoothly. Re-allocating resources in MindManager will ensure that tasks will never become overbooked. This ultimately makes your project more efficient.