Planning optimization

How skill-based planning helps define team roles and responsibilities

Skill-based planning is all about using your teams strength to understand how each one brings value to your team. Making it a great management strategy

What are skills?


A skill is defined as “an ability to do an activity or job well, especially because you have practised it”. Skills are developed naturally through life experiences. However, you can also purposefully practice a new skill to master it after a period of time. 

There are different types of skills and some may come easier to some people than others. This is based on things like dexterity, physical abilities and intelligence. 

Whatever you do in life, you’ve most likely created a skillset for it. For example, a graphic designer would have skills like creativity, photo editing, animation, flexibility and so forth. While a cook, who would also have high levels of creativity, would also be good at multi-tasking, memorizing recipes, and maybe even sharpening knives!

Skills can be defined into two categories: 


Hard Skills: These are abilities that are acquired and enhanced through, practice, consistency and education. 

For example, learning how to use a new tool would be a hard skill. Only through tutorials, practising and frequently using the tool would you master it. 

Soft skills: Abilities that are based on relationships and interpersonal characteristics that complement the workplace.

A soft skill would be, for example, having good communication. You can’t learn to communicate properly solely from studying it. You have to interact and engage with others. 


What is skill-based planning?


Skill-based planning is the process of using your teams' abilities when planning how to move forward with work. It's not only about taking into consideration peoples' availability when assigning tasks but also their skill set. 

What this means is that a manager should have an in-depth understanding of what each team member brings of value. Then, with this knowledge assign specific tasks to those who have the best skillset for it. By planning your teams' work with a focus on their abilities, you can ensure that tasks are always being done by the right people. 

This in turn would boost your productivity, performance and most importantly your teams' wellbeing.  As tasks and team members are perfectly matched, it means that everyone knows what they should be doing and why they were picked for it. This will then boost your team's feelings of belongingness, importance and accountability. 



The importance of defining roles and responsibilities 

It’s pretty clear that each person who belongs to a company was hired for a reason. This could be from a janitor to a CEO, regardless of your level within a business, you’re there to fulfil a purpose. 

The basics of running a successful business rely greatly on everyone understanding their roles and responsibilities. This is important because it influences how each person performs their assigned tasks. Not only, but it helps improve productivity, accountability and overall well-being within the workplace. 

However, there’re many other benefits you could take advantage of for defining roles and responsibilities efficiently. 

  • It improves your hiring process by clearly showing what is lacking within a team.
  • Get projects and tasks completed faster and more efficiently 
  • Reduces conflict between team members due to lack of alignment
  • Less time wasted on pointless meetings and updates 


How it can help in defining project team roles and responsibilities

You’ll have a clear understanding of your team's abilities 


More frequently than you think managers struggle to successfully handle their tasks and those of their team members. This is because if you don’t truly understand your team’s abilities you’ll not be fully optimizing the way you plan work. Leaders focus on individual strengths, 73% of employees are likely to be engaged, compared to only 9% when l focused elsewhere.

By adopting a strength-based leadership style, you build the ability to identify and appreciate your own and your teams' strengths. For example, you may not be the best at web development, but you know that someone in your team is. So, you assign the task to them and make better use of your time for a task related to your best skills. (69)


By focusing on your team’s strengths and weaknesses you’ll be able to manage workload in the most efficient way possible. If you can’t complete a task with top performance, make sure that someone in your team can. This way, you can balance work depending on what each person brings of value. By doing so, not only will you be increasing your teams' accountability but yours as a manager as well

By using a skill-based planning tool, all you need to do is add each team member with their skill base and the assigning will be done for you. For example, after having your team set up, every time you add a new task, Planless will provide the most suitable team member to complete it correctly and in time. 


Will clarify who your next higher should be 

It should be no surprise that recruiting new team members is significantly easier if you know exactly what you’re looking for. Especially when the way you choose to plan work is done with a skill-based strategy.

By using skill-based planning you’ll already have detailed insights about your team. Questions like “what does each member bring of value?”, “what areas could they work on?” and “are they working on the right tasks?”, should be easy to answer. So, it shouldn’t be too hard to analyse what type of roles are missing to further improve your team. (70)


For example, you might notice that your tech team is under a lot of pressure due to an overload of work. Then, the most rational decision would be to higher someone to ease the pressure. But, there is a lot of other information you need to consider, like what type of experience should the new higher have? Could it be a beginner to relieve the rest of the team from simple, repetitive tasks? Or does it have to be someone with years of experience? 

This type of information is not easy to store in your memory, by using a skill-based planning tool like Planless, it will do it for you. With Planless, you can keep track of and analyse the performance of your team based on skills. This means that you’ll have real data to make the right hiring decisions, and ensure that your team is never lacking. 

Help develop employee long-term goals


Providing the possibility for your employees to develop and learn new skills has proven to be a current necessity. Over 85% of millennials believe learning and development in the workplace as important. More than half of them stated that it would be a significant influence when applying for a new job. 

Don’t worry, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to move your team up in the organization. Although this might be a long term goal of theirs, a change in responsibilities or roles can already go a long way.

Almost 60% of employees have reported that they had no workplace training and that most of their skills were self-taught. Helping your team develop new skills will reduce the chances of them feeling bored, unmotivated or without direction. By keeping on top of what each member is good at and what they want to work on, you can discuss new tasks and ideas for them to start practising. (71)


With a skill-based planning tool like Planless, not only can you evaluate each person's skill set, but you can ensure that members have the availability to learn something new. You may notice that someone wants to develop their coding skills but is overworked with other tasks. 

Planless will find the next best suitor for those tasks so that the persons' schedules can be cleared to have space for building new abilities. You can also use Planless to find the best mentor for the person. Maybe you as a leader, aren’t too great at coding but maybe there is someone on your team who’s an expert and has some free time to provide guidance. 

Allow the right people to deal with urgent changes

One thing we know for sure, during a project's lifetime, there are several moments where its course needs to be reevaluated and defined. This is normally because of some necessary changes to the project itself, to priorities, functionalities, or the team. 

Knowing how to tackle unexpected changes is an important ability to keep exceeding expectations. Studies by Prosci have shown that over 70% of companies with a good change management process would meet project objectives, stay on budget and meet deadlines.

By having a successful change management process, these sudden altercations wouldn't impact the performance of your team so drastically. Most times, leaders are so focused on deadlines that they fail to manage the people affected by the sudden changes. (72)

Of course, hitting deadlines is a significant part of any company's success but you can only achieve this if tasks and responsibilities are assigned to the right people. For example, if a client requested some changes to a project, who would you assign it to? The team member with the most availability or the team member who has the right skillset?

Regardless of which option you choose, you’ll be compromising the other. If you choose someone with availability, they might not complete the task correctly due to a lack of expertise. However, if you choose the person with the optimal skillset, they might not get to the task on time. 

Planless will analyse any changes being inputted and recalculate the best path to project success. You will be able to automatically assign new tasks to team members ensuring that they have enough knowledge and time to keep the plan on track.  


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