9 expert tips to help you get better at IT resource management

Learn how to optimize your team's time, handle changing scopes, and navigate complex projects.

Graphic illustrating resource article

How did your team's last IT project go? Were your team members able to manage their tasks effectively, or were they rushing to meet the deadlines? Did the project scope constantly change, resulting in additional work and challenges? Did your team find themselves spending more time in meetings rather than focusing on the actual tasks at hand?

Because of the complexity of projects and the constant demand on your team’s time from all directions, IT resource management can feel like a 1000-piece puzzle.

In this article, we have gathered valuable insights from IT leaders to assist you in effectively managing your team's time while delivering successful projects.

1. Protect your team's time

According to the 2022 Global Code Time report, developers had only 4 hours and 21 minutes of code time a week– just 10% of the 40-hour work week. Team members find themselves doing work outside their primary responsibilities. For instance, the average engineer spends nearly one-third of their time in meetings.

Your team’s time is valuable, and while there are many responsibilities outside their core function they have to fulfill, they should never take too much time away from project work. It is essential to guard your team’s time from unnecessary interruptions.

“Protecting your team's time enables them to be more focused and productive, which results in deeper understanding and better solutions. Those things lead to happier customers and a more successful company that can continue improving and growing in a virtuous cycle,” says Colin Ross, director of engineering at Float.

Here are some general tips for protecting your team’s time:

  • Cut unnecessary meetings: Ask yourself three questions before pulling everyone into a meeting. Is there an agenda for this meeting? Who needs to contribute to this meeting? Is this the best use of my team’s time?
  • Switch to async communication for updates and non-urgent issues:  Not all updates have to be in real-time. You can use a status bot like Geekbot to find out what your team is working on and their blockers in their way.
  • Implement a system for requests that demand your IT team’s time: For example, at Float, every request that would take significant time for our team has to go through our Vet & Bet system, inspired by Shape Up’s concept of The Betting Table.

Your company's culture might influence constant demands on your team's time and may be beyond your control. However, try to minimize distractions for your team in the ways you can.

2. Involve your team in the project planning process

Your team members might not be present in the room when a project proposal is approved or when a client sends in a request. Nevertheless, their opinion on timelines, workflows, and schedules is invaluable because they do the work and know what is needed to get it done.

As Joel Spolsky, founder of StackOverflow and Trello, puts it: “Any system where management writes a schedule and hands it off to programmers is doomed to fail. Only the programmer who is going to implement a feature can figure out what steps they will need to take to implement that feature.”

The best time to get your team involved is early on in the process, not when it is too late. “Collaborating on the specification at an early stage means engineers have an opportunity to not only understand the task at hand better but also contribute meaningfully to the specification and ultimate outcome,” explains Christain De Witt, Team Lead of the Services Team.

For instance, at Float, we share project plans in Slack so that everyone can give feedback and share ideas on allocating people before locking in plans.

3. Match workloads to actual capacity

This might seem like a no-brainer, but capacity is often misunderstood as the hours someone could work instead of the hours they are available.

If an engineer's expected working hours are 40 hours per week, but they have only 25 hours available due to meetings, hiring, time off, and ad-hoc project requests, they might be assigned more work than they can handle.

The result is a burnout team with heavy workloads struggling to meet unrealistic deadlines.

Your team’s capacity should inform resource planning and allocations.

To gauge your team's actual capacity, you can examine the project schedule in Float to determine the time allocated to various projects.

Consider how many hours are assigned to different projects, and assess the team's utilization rates. Check for any instances of overbooking, and identify whether any team members are on standby, waiting to be assigned new tasks.

Also, be mindful of upcoming public holidays that might impact the available working hours.


Portrait of the Expert


<sme-author>Jacquie Ford</sme-author>

<sme-position>Former VP of Solutions Delivery at Lexer</sme-position>


You lead a team of solutions analysts, architects, data engineers, and project managers in two countries. How does Float help you handle challenges you face when planning resources for projects?

Float allows us to plan our sprints in advance and not only understand how best to manage the volume but allow for more growth and development across teams by allocating work that is going to provide a learning opportunity.

We can move people between teams and the cross-functional visibility that Float enables means we don’t often need to have ‘another’ meeting about it but can collaborate directly in the tool.



4. Make time tracking as frictionless as possible

Time tracking is essential for billing and estimating future tasks, but it can become problematic when it consumes too much time or involves an arduous process.

Additionally, accuracy issues can arise with timesheets as people may struggle to remember all the granular details of their work. In some cases, they end up reporting false numbers just to fill out the sheet. According to our 2021 Agency Productivity Report, over half of the respondents admitted to making up their reported hours due to the difficulty of recalling exactly how long each task took.  

To make tracking billable hours easier for your team, try a simple approach: use pre-filled timesheets in Float. Project allocations are automatically added to the sheets. All your team needs to do is log their worked hours.

Moreover, when your team knows that timesheet data is vital for accurate project plans (and getting paid 💰), they're more likely to use them. Highlight the value of time logging so timesheets become a valuable tool, not just another task to complete.

5. Use data to improve future project plans

Data is your best friend when it comes to accurate scheduling and estimating.  

Keeping track of how much time was planned for projects versus how much time they actually took can be very helpful, especially for similar projects like creating e-commerce websites for different customers. This data gives you valuable insights, helping you make better project plans and avoid scheduling projects that are too short or end up costing more than expected.

One way to do this is by looking at utilization reports in Float. Using the reports, you compare the scheduled hours with the actual hours worked, giving you a clear picture of utilization rates. You can also predict costs based on logged hours and the budget remaining.

6. Consider skills, interests, and growth opportunities when assigning work

When it comes to planning capacity, remember that your team members are not just resources but individuals with unique needs and preferences.

You should consider their well-being, interests, and strengths when assigning them to projects or scheduling tasks. Assign them to challenging tasks that can help them improve their skills.

“We don’t want to punish people for being super efficient at a certain task by only ever assigning them that same type of task over and over,” explains Jacquie Ford, former VP of Solutions Delivery at Lexer. “We want to reward them by exposing them to something that will help them grow and expand their skills. So finding the balance between efficiency and growth is always a consideration with any plan.”

You might not always be able to control who does what, but to the extent that you do, ensure that team members work on what they love.

7. Develop a system for prioritizing projects

At any given time, your team could be working on different tasks. All of which are deemed important, depending on who you are asking. A system for prioritizing tasks and projects can help you decide how much time you dedicate to different requests and demands on your team’s time.

For example, at Float, we refer to our Principles for Success which help us achieve our goal of happy customers. “Using these principles as a guide helps to focus our attention and energy on work that will help to deliver on these narrower goals,” explains Ross.


Portrait of the Expert


<sme-author>Christian De Witt</sme-author>

<sme-position>Team Lead (Services) at Float.com</sme-position>


What advice would you give someone managing an IT project for the first time?

Planning and communication are key.

Start by understanding the task and creating a plan you and your team can collaborate on. This also gets buy-in from the team and builds a strong bond before the project even kicks off!

Don't be afraid to ask questions and learn from others - if you have a mentor you can rely on, make sure you are prepared when asking questions.

Prepare for the worst-case scenarios and how you're going to handle them - have a clear plan to mitigate or recover. To stay on top of things, make sure there are regular audits on progress and have a communication platform to raise concerns within the team and with the relevant stakeholders.

Understand what the requirements are post-delivery, if any, and make sure they are met. This is also a good opportunity to conduct a review of how the project went and where improvements can be made.



8. Provide flexibility and encourage autonomy

Letting your team choose when and how they work can help them create a routine that supports their best work.

Imagine a team member who prefers to work early in the morning, take a break for the school run, and resume work until the kids return. Later, they pick up work again after putting the kids to bed. This flexible schedule allows them to balance work and family commitments efficiently.

De Witt advises against micro-management, emphasizing the need for autonomy. “Being too hands-on has had adverse results in the past. A happy engineer is a good engineer, so I try and foster a relationship of bilateral trust and encourage autonomy instead of trying to keep my finger on the pulse the entire time.”

9. Avoid 100% utilization rates

One thing is certain in projects – even the best-laid plans will not go as aspected. For example, fixing a bug might take hours, or an unforeseen hardware issue could arise.

Another important consideration is to avoid overloading your team's schedule or using them at full capacity (100% utilization rate). By leaving some flexibility in their schedules, team members can address unforeseen issues without feeling overwhelmed.

Plan your IT resources in the right tools

Many teams rely on project management tools for resource planning. These tools can provide information about task assignments but might lack essential context, such as team members' availability or whether they are the best fit for specific tasks.

On the other hand, when planning is scattered across various spreadsheets and tools, it can create confusion among the team.

What helps is using resource management software.

For instance, Float visually shows your team's capacity, allowing you to quickly see their availability, overbookings, and utilization rates. This helps streamline planning, making it more efficient.

Float provides a live view of your team's resource availability, seamlessly integrating meetings, planned work, time off, and custom work hours into the schedule. This enables you to assess their true capacity accurately.

You can import public holidays and include custom public holidays along with your leave policies. This empowers your team to request time off while considering their scheduled work and leave balances. You can manage time off approvals directly on the Float schedule.

Float's reports offer a comprehensive overview of your team's scheduled hours compared to their actual hours spent on assigned tasks. This valuable data-driven information empowers you to make well-informed resource decisions.


What is IT resource management?

IT resource management is the process of planning, allocating, and monitoring IT professionals needed to complete a project. Project managers can use IT resource management to accurately determine available resources, allocate them to the right tasks, identify resource gaps, and maximize performance. This allows teams to deliver quality work before the deadline while avoiding cost overruns.

What is the importance of IT resource management?

Managing IT resources is crucial for project success.

It ensures that the right tools, people, and technology are used efficiently and on time. Doing so helps avoid unnecessary costs and delays, making projects more likely to succeed.

By planning, teams can work together better and produce high-quality results. IT resource management is vital for adapting to changes and staying flexible throughout the project. Overall, it plays a significant role in achieving project goals within the set limits.

Does your IT team need a resource manager?

According to Alexia Arnold, Team Lead of Planning and Strategy at Mad Mobile, organizations need a resource manager to manage their supply (people talent) and demand (project work) effectively. A dedicated resource manager might be optional in a small team, but as your organization grows and projects get more complex, a resource manager would be needed to coordinate staffing projects.