How to Take Control of Double Booking and Resource Over-Allocation

Mark Ballanceby Mark Ballance "Time Saving Addict"
Last updated on Dec 13, 2014

In business scheduling double booking is a concept that can be widely misunderstood. The definition from the Oxford Dictionaries is, \'inadvertently reserve (something) for two different customers or parties at the same time.\'

Consider a situation where you need an employee with specific skills, or a conference room, and some equipment. All of these things are your resources, and as you analyze the situation, you come to a realization that some resources, like equipment, can be double booked effectively to several projects at once, while other resources, like a conference room, cannot. What do you do? How do you prevent employees from being involved in meetings where they are only needed for a portion of the time, and how do you keep equipment from sitting idly, when it could be used in other projects?

Organizing Your Resources

The biggest problem of effective resource deployment arises from the fact that humans have a difficult time keeping many variables in their mind at the same time. For example, you know those large tables that Navy ship commanders use to understand where all the vessels in their fleet are at any given time? They even use actual models of ships and physically move them around the map to create their strategy. Why? Because it visually shows the decision maker what resources she has, which makes it easier to understand how decisions will play out in real life.

As a manager, you are the commander of your own fleet of resources; your employees, staff, equipment, and the available conference room space. If you just have lists of things, or a paper calendar, trying to manage these resources to full efficiency is virtually impossible, because there are so many variables to keep in mind. But a good scheduling software can give you an unprecedented visual insight into what your true capabilities are. For example, with the click of a mouse, you can view equipment, rooms, and employees that are all free on a given day to plan more than one event and ensure that you have enough to cover all your bases. Why is this important? Because seeing all your available options will help you come up with smarter, more creative solutions.

You may quickly find that a particular employee or machine is only necessary for part of a client meeting. So you may ask that they perform their duties at the start of the meeting, and then leave half way through to go where they are needed more. The same goes for equipment. By seeing this visually, you become a better planner and maximize value to your company. A good scheduling solution that truly focuses on showing you resources, and not just a simple calendar, is absolutely indispensable for the manager who wants to maximize value.

Matching Skills to the Job for Improved Efficiency

Some software scheduling programs include an option to add employee skills to the database, which allows you to quickly understand how to deploy this person’s talents in the most efficient manner. You no longer need to remember who is good at what, but can simply browse the list of skills for an employee. Even better, by having a clear understanding of strengths and weaknesses, you can assign projects to employees who have complementary strengths, and can produce higher quality by working together.

If you think about it, such functionality again goes back to understanding your resources. Yes, it’s great to have a list of employees and equipment to choose from, but if you truly understand the dynamics of each employee’s abilities, you are no longer assigning people or equipment, but assigning abilities.

Double Booking can Raise Profitability

While carefully planning resources around each other can be daunting to handle, having greater control over employee scheduling and viewing their skills at a glance will ensure that you’re maximizing your organization’s potential. Having the ability to also guide scheduling software so that it shows you exactly what you need without having to filter out extra information gives you the ability to combine your most talented employees with the equipment and business space needed for a result that is sure to be profitable and successful. With granular visibility, you’re the general, and your resources are your army – now go conquer some milestones.
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