HR & Staffing Productivity

7 Best Strategies for Efficient Resource Optimisation

Written by Savita Gupta

Digitisation, market volatilities, ever-changing client demands, etc., have resulted in a paradigm shift in today’s business landscape. Therefore, the need of the hour is to maintain an optimised and future-ready workforce to sustain the hyper-competitive market.  

One of the crucial aspects of building an optimised workforce is tapping into their maximum potential while maintaining a healthy resource index. This is where resource optimisation plays a pivotal role. It is a management practice to match the supply with demand and make the most of an employee’s capacity. It helps enhance project performance and margins.

This article discusses the significance of resource optimisation in project management and enumerates the best practices.

So, let’s get started.

 1. Why is resource optimisation important?

Resource optimisation helps ensure that competent resources are allocated to projects based on their interests and competencies. This helps prevent the allocation of under/over-skilled employees.

In addition, resource optimisation facilitates prioritising a project’s tasks and assigning resources accordingly to complete critical tasks first, followed by others. It also ensures all the resources are utilised optimally to avoid over/underutilisation.

Moreover, it further helps build the right mix of permanent and contingent workers or senior and junior resources while leveraging a global workforce across matrix boundaries to reduce overall operational costs. Proper optimisation also involves implementing suitable training and upskilling measures to future-proof the workforce and maintain a competitive edge.

Having discussed the importance of resource optimisation, let’s understand the ways to implement resource optimisation in an organisation.

2. Best practices of resource optimisation

Resource optimisation aims to tap into the maximum potential of the workforce.  Hence, adopting the right approach for resource optimisation is indispensable.

The following are the seven best strategies for resource optimisation.

2.1 Consider resource availability and capacity prior to allocation

Resource managers often overlook resources’ current and future schedules and availability while allocating them to projects. It sometimes results in overallocation, which causes burnout. In other cases, it results in under-allocation, leading to billable losses due to increased bench time. 

Therefore, managers must consider every resource’s availability and capacity in advance before allocation. It will provide enough lead time to implement resourcing treatments like training/upskilling, hiring, etc., if there is a shortage. It ensures competent resource allocation and maintains the resource utilisation rate to an optimum level.

2.2 Implement the out rotation-backfill strategy to start a new project

At times, projects require niche skilled resources that are not readily available in the organisation. When resources are booked beyond their capacity, it leads to overutilisation resulting in employee burnout and disengagement. Therefore, managers need to implement an out-rotation backfill strategy.

This technique allows managers to track the projects where these niche skilled resources are utilised. Suppose the project reaches a stage where it can move forward without critical resources. Resource managers can coordinate with their project managers and deploy them to the new ones. The vacancies created by out-rotation can be filled with suitable backfills. 

2.3 Track employee performance in real-time and take actions

Sub-optimal resource utilisation can affect the overall project quality and delivery. Therefore, project managers should monitor and track employee performance to prevent discrepancies. If a resource is underutilised, it can be mobilised from non-billable to billable work for enhanced productivity.

With Overutilized resources, they can implement suitable resource optimisation techniques like levelling and smoothing to ease their workload and avoid burnout. Apart from this, they can also ask for the reason behind a resource’s subpar performance and ask for a suitable replacement if necessary. 

2.4 Leverage cost-effective global workforce as appropriate

Leveraging cost-effective resources can help control project resourcing costs without compromising quality. Therefore, managers should go beyond matrix boundaries, identify cost-effective resources from low-cost locations, and assign them to various projects. For instance, an IT project based out of New York requires a DBA developer.

However, the manager can deploy a similar-skilled DBA developer from another low-cost location like India to reduce project costs and enhance profitability. When resources from different countries work together as a team for a project, it also boosts diversity and inclusion in the workplace, facilitating idea exchange, innovation, and higher productivity.

2.5 Facilitate training and upskilling to future-proof the workforce

Every organisation generally has seasonal peaks and troughs throughout the year. Organisations can implement appropriate training and upskilling programs for the employees during the seasonal trough and equip them with high-demand skills. These programs will help prepare them for ever-evolving customers’ demands and cater to them more effectively.

Besides, managers can also provide shadowing and on-the-job training opportunities to enable employees to hone their skills for upcoming projects. This measure will help them gain hands-on experience and share the workload of critical resources to enhance overall organisational performance while maintaining a good resource health index.

2.6 Apply resource levelling/smoothing techniques wherever applicable

Allocating work beyond a resource’s capacity leads to overallocation and burnout. To avoid that, managers can implement the two resource optimisation techniques – levelling and smoothing, based on the project’s nature. Managers implement resource balancing for projects with flexible timelines to readjust the start and end dates per the critical resources’ schedule and availability.

On the contrary, resource smoothing, called time-constrained scheduling, is implemented for projects with fixed deadlines. In this technique, managers adjust the project’s float tasks, redistribute the workload among team members, or pull in additional resources if required to complete critical tasks first. These techniques can help ease the workload and ensure each resource’s optimum productivity.

2.7 Use What-If Analysis to address resource constraints

Every organisation faces resource constraints when multiple projects demand similar-skilled employees. Managers can use the What-if analysis to build numerous scenarios of allocating available resources to different projects, determine their viability, compare and contrast various allocation plans, and select the best-fit one.

Accordingly, they prioritise the projects and assign the resources. It helps channel the available workforce and budget in the right direction to the suitable projects without wasting them on infeasible projects. It also helps boost workforce productivity and prevent burnout.

Given the best approaches for resource optimisation, the following section explains how resource management software can help in that.

How Can Resource Management Software Help in Resource Optimization?

Saviom’s resource management solution provides 360-degree visibility into resources’ profiles, including skills, competency levels, charge-out rates, locations, etc., and other attributes. It also features advanced sort and filter functionalities that help identify and select the best-fit resource for each job. This tool also facilitates location-based filtering of resources which enables managers to go beyond matrix boundaries and deploy cost-effective global resources to control overall project resourcing costs.

In addition, the capacity vs. demand reports helps managers foresee skill demands, identify gaps, and adopt suitable resourcing measures to fill the workforce proactively and future-ready against market uncertainties.

The utilisation reports help managers track employees’ real-time utilisation levels and implement optimisation techniques like levelling or smoothing if they are over-utilised to ease their workload. If a resource is under-allocated or working on non-billable/BAU tasks for most of their capacity, mobilising them to billable work can help enhance their billability.

Additionally, the tool provides a sandbox environment for scenario modelling where managers can build and compare multiple scenarios, assess their outcomes, and determine the best-fit resource plan to prioritise projects accordingly. As a result, it helps prevent potential bottlenecks while fulfilling resource requests and retaining healthy profit margins.


Resource optimisation is integral to maximising an organisation’s workforce potential. So, it is high time every firm adopted the proper optimisation strategies discussed above and ensured project success. One can leverage the right resource management software to help enhance resource optimisation.

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About the author

Savita Gupta

Savita Gupta is a Senior Manager at Saviom Software, a doting mom, and a proud wife who hustled alongside her husband and watched his startup bloom into a successful business. She has started penning her thoughts amid the lockdown. A Resource Management expert by the day, she is also a yoga enthusiast and an avid baker by the weekend