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3 Tips for Effective Resource Allocation and Time Management in Agile Projects

We presented the benefits of agile project management for your business as a whole in our last blog post with the help of seven striking statistics. However, the many benefits can only be realized if your resource and time management works and if you avoid long-term double burdens and energy-consuming multitasking.

From a single employee to many teams: Alongside the tasks in day-to-day business, everyone is these days involved in projects consisting of a wide range of topics and varying complexity levels. We’ve compiled three tips for better resource and time management that will allow you and your teams to complete tasks meticulously.

1. Communicate Expectations and Demand Commitment

Agile business projects usually consist of cross-functional teams. If you launch an initiative to increase sales performance, your core team will surely come from the sales department. However, your financial team will also certainly be involved in quantifying the financial impact. Or your legal team will be there to advise you on possible changes to contract documents. Avoid the typical project mistake of focusing solely on the core team when planning your resources. Communicate the estimated weekly time to everyone involved, including advisory colleagues, and secure their support.

You do not need to devise sophisticated plans to do this. A simple commitment during the sprint planning announcing your expectations for the upcoming sprint is sufficient to signal to your colleagues when and to what extent they are needed. If you work with Atlassian Jira and use swarmOS Cockpit, your team capacity is available to you with just a few clicks.

2. Goodbye Multitasking, Hello Singletasking

Multitasking does not work and is a real productivity killer. And to go against all the rumors, women are not good at multitasking either! Regardless of gender, we humans are simply not designed for multitasking. Our brain is constructed in such a way that we can only concentrate on one task at a time.

The MIT neurologist Earl Miller completely denies the existence of multitasking. The supposed notion in the workplace that we can do several things simultaneously is deceptive. In fact, we just switch quickly between tasks and end up not focusing on any of them properly. For this reason, there is only one solution for your project work: singletasking. Set aside all other tasks and concentrate on your role in the project. Your productivity increases and, as a nice side effect, your stress level drops – a win-win situation where both project quality and your nerves reap the benefits.

3. Make Project Peak Times Predictable With Timeboxing

Multitasking advocates like to argue with the plethora of tasks they are faced with. Since project work runs parallel to the daily business job, they imagine they have to juggle all the tasks at the same time like a circus clown. You can counter this with a simple method: timeboxing. Timeboxing sets a clearly defined timeframe for a definable project task. The project team achieves the best possible result within this timeframe. This way, you are not working on a project goal, but rather towards a time period.

Perfectionists in particular often get carried away with non-prioritized project chaos and get bogged down – with the result that even after a long project duration, the outcome is only ever disappointing. With timeboxing, you agree on a given timeframe during which your team works on a task and you can even consider the working preferences of your colleagues and teams. For example, you could set timeboxes for project work in the afternoon while your colleagues do their usual day-to-day work in the morning. This creates focus and efficiency, and ultimately leads to better project results.

For more details on how to use Agile for business projects, see the swarmOS White Paper Using Agile Principles to Transform your Business Projects. You can download it for free here!