Project Staffing on a Budget: 14 Critical Things to Remember

14 Critical Things to Remember When Project Staffing On a Tight Budget

Think about project staffing on a tight budget. Many businesses find it a difficult task. Businesses need to be able to find the right balance. When assigning staff or budget to a project, ensure that the company makes the best use of people’s skills. And makes the best use of company resources too. Look at the scope of the project. Establish a time frame. Provide a good starting point for planning and scheduling. But think about other considerations to keep in mind too. Find out more. We asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following:

“What is an important thing to remember when figuring out how many people need to work on a project, especially when resources — including time, money, or the number of people available — are tight?”

Project Staffing on a Tight Budget

Consider what YEC community members say about project staffing on a tight budget:

1. Phase In Your Staff as Needed

“Many projects go through phases that require different skill sets at different times. For instance, if you’re launching a new product you’ll have engineers, designers, and product managers involved heavily early on, but as the product becomes finalized and goes to market, you can then phase out most of the engineers and bring in more marketers and salespeople to push the product.” ~ Andy Karuza, FenSens

2. Select a Project Leader

“When creating small groups for a project, take someone who has a lot of experience with past similar projects. Take them aside and ask them how many people they think they’ll need to complete the project in a timely manner. If you’re tight on resources, explain that to them and find out the essentials needed to complete the project on time.” ~ Andrew Saladino, Kitchen Cabinet Kings

3. Look for Team Members With Strong Problem-Solving Skills

“One characteristic that is highly valued in our company is the capacity our team members have to solve different problems in less time. When the time comes to make teams, we allocate the ones who are ready to handle any difficulty as project leaders.” ~ Alfredo Atanacio, Uassist.ME

4. Make Sure Staff Are Reliable and Time-Conscious

“When resources are tight, you’d need your best people forward. Staff who have the skills, experience and excellent work history to show for it are more coachable, time-conscious, and have the wealth of knowledge that’s critical for weeding out strategies that don’t work. If you can’t afford to do trial and error, then you need people who don’t have to.” ~ Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors

5. Watch for Scheduling Issues

“Consider the other projects that are going on at the same time. If the latest project needs a certain team member but they are wrapped up in something else, this can present issues. Plan the project for a time when that team member is able to give their full attention.” ~ Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

6. Create a Budget Beforehand

“If you want to see how many employees you can have on one project, create a budget. This will show you how much money and resources you’re working with so you can have the right amount of people working on it, while knowing that they’ll get the job done effectively. If you don’t have the budget to do a good job, it’s best to move on to something else.” ~ Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

7. Seek Employees’ Input

“Before deciding on a group for a project, ask your employees for their input. For instance, maybe you’ve already chosen a project leader so you can ask them which team members would work well on the team, how much time they think the project will take, and so on. Getting a second opinion will give you a better idea for how to build a project team that works.” ~ John Turner, SeedProd LLC

8. Gauge Their Expertise and Responsibilities

“You need to properly gauge your team members’ individual levels of expertise and how much responsibility they have when calculating how many people to put on a project. This is how you’ll determine what each person can handle and what level suits their expertise so you aren’t wasting resources, money or time.” ~ Jared Atchison, WPForms

9. Balance the Urgency of Each Project

“It is very important to know the strengths and weaknesses of your team to properly allocate them to certain tasks. Efficiency is number one when it comes to running a profitable company. In order to attain maximum efficiency, you need to balance the urgency of each project that you are working on based on due date, potential profit, and current schedule.” ~ David Chen, Sharebert

10. Ask About the Need for Ancillary Help

“You shouldn’t just guess. Make sure the people with the top skills needed to complete the project are assigned to it and add in extra ancillary help if necessary. Consult with your top folks to see how many “extras” are needed. If the answer is “none,” go with it. They’re not going to tell you that more are needed if they aren’t, and they’re not going to say that extra help isn’t needed if it is.” ~ Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

11. Empower Mid-Level Managers to Make Assessments

“Delegate and empower the mid-level managers to make these decisions and organize support, then manage your managers through timelines and metrics critical to project success. Upper-level managers are further removed from the day-to-day operations and their “estimate” is likely to be less accurate than a mid-level manager who understands what goes where and how. Trust your team and your structure.” ~ Matthew Capala, Alphametic

12. Establish Accurate Time Estimates

“Accurate time estimation allows you to know how long tasks will take and the number of people you will need to complete the work. Project managers should identify all tasks that need to be completed, as well as time that will be spent on meetings, communications, tests and reports. Without doing this first, time will get wasted and projects won’t get completed on time or within budget.” ~ Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

13. Have Teams Self-Report

“Have your teams estimate their own resourcing needs. And build in a system where they report back to themselves and the broader team on their progress. By doing this you create more buy-in from your staff. Because they tell you how long or costly something will be. In turn, this makes them more accountable. And excited to celebrate the win of hitting the goals they set for themselves.” ~ Tony Scherba, Yeti

14. Remember: More People Doesn’t Always Mean Faster

“When staffing a project, always remember that having more people assigned to it does not always mean it will go faster. When our clients ask to have more developers put on their software project, we often use the analogy of painters painting a room. If you have a small room, shoving 10 painters in there instead of two won’t make it go any faster; rather, it’ll likely slow it down.” ~ Keith Shields, Designli


The Young Entrepreneur Council The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.