5 Reasons Why Resource Management Is Important
Why is resource management important? There's 5 main reasons.
- it provides you with an overview of everyone and everything involved in your project;
- It enables utilization planning;
- It makes the planning and management process more transparent;
- It helps you see problems before they start;
- It gives you control over your project.
If you aren't a fan of brevity, don't worry.
This article will go over everything there is to know about this concept. Explaining the importance of resource management. As well as providing you with some of its key benefits.
But first things first. Let’s start with a simple definition of resource management.
Resource Management Definition
Resource management is the process of planning, scheduling, and allocating organizational and project resources in the best possible way. Its ultimate aim is to maximize your resources’ efficiency. Which in turn will help fulfil project, task, or organizational goals.When doing project management, it's wise to ensure that there's enough capacity and means to bring your projects to life. Resource management can ensure that you'll not only have the right resources to achieve your objectives, but you'll have the right resources that can take your projects to the next level. With as few of hiccups as possible.
Read on: What tools do PMs trust to ensure efficiency? Take a look at our top 5 resource planning tools and benefits.
What are Resources?
Resources can be anything from people to machinery to facilities. They are whatever you need to complete your project or task. For a construction company, a resource can include a special piece of equipment or tools. A software company would need computers and developers. And an event manager might need caterers and a venue. Because resources exist in every field, so does the need for resource management.
Common types of resources:1. Labor
3. Materials and supplies
Different Types of Resource Management
There are actually a number of different types of project resource management. There’s scheduling, planning, and management itself. The biggest difference between the three is the depth of planning.
1. Scheduling - This ensures that you have the right capacity for projects and that no one is double booked in the process
2. Planning - This looks not only at current projects, but future projects, with more emphasis on getting the right resource for the right job.
3. Management - Allocating resources and monitoring utilization, engaging in resource leveling and smoothing, long-term planning, and strategic management of your entire project portfolio.
What's the Goal of Managing Resources?
While, maximizing efficiency is the official credo of resource management, maybe you have a different goal in mind. Perhaps you’re seeking an overview of your resource allocation. Or say you want more transparency in the planning process. Maybe you’re looking to forecast resource availability 5 months down the line. Or you simply need a better way to track your project’s progress.
Managing resources can help you with all these goals.
Perhaps you already know how managing resources can help your projects, teams, and organization. If you're looking for some more tips and techniques instead, check out some of the top 3 resource management strategies.
How Can You Benefit From Managing Your Resources?
Below are 5 ways in which you benefit once you implement a resource management strategy. It can help with:
- Maximizing resource efficiency: Resource Utilization
- Getting a bird's eye view of your project: An overview
- Preventing miscommunication mishaps: Transparency
- Predicting the future: Foreseeing and avoiding problems
- Taking Control
1.Maximizing Resource Efficiency: Resource Utilization
Resource utilization is all about making the most out of the resources available to you. It is the percentage of the resource’s working time (Busy time) within a certain time period (Available time). The easiest way to understand the concept is through a formula:
Resource utilization = Busy time / Available timeResource utilization is an important metric in understanding whether or not your resources are working at maximum efficiency.
Why does it matter?
Utilization tracking and planning is the number one thing to consider if you are planning your team and its resources. It’s especially important if your resources have concurrent tasks or if they work on multiple projects simultaneously. It provides you with insight on resource availability and allows you to find the best match between tasks and your resources.
Both over and underbooking your team can lead to negative outcomes. For example, studies found that on days when people experience more challenges, they also tend to feel more positive and engaged in their work. This means your team should feel challenged in order to be more productive. On the flip side, it has been found that over utilizing a resource and an extreme workload can lead to burnout. However, research indicates that when managers carry out management practices that promote job control (i.e. resource management), it reduces the risk of burnout.
Utilization can also be extended to planning other (nonhuman) resources. You can track the downtime or efficiency of a piece of heavy machinery, for example. This can help with long-term planning, and allow you to nip a problem in the bud. If you know that you will be using a specific machine extensively, you can make arrangements for repairs or replacements ahead of time.
How Can You Benefit?
Better utilization means a happier and healthier team, helping to reduce being overburdened and stressed.
Resources are used to their maximum potential, keeping projects on time and on budget.
It helps project managers keep an eye on the project, reducing oversights and double-bookings.
Changes and hiccups can be caught more quickly, preventing problems from getting worse.
2.Getting a Bird’s-Eye View of Your Project: An Overview
Contemporary project management is tricky. Offices in different locations. A number of ongoing projects. Hundreds of different resources with different tasks. Without resource management, it’s a catastrophe waiting to happen.
Effective resource management strategies will give you an overview of everyone and everything. And an overview gives you control over what's going on.To do so, it might be wise to take a cue from the ancient Romans. Their concept of dīvide et imperā, (which is usually translated to “divide and conquer”) can help give you an overview.
First, divide the plan into different views. Then, manage the resources within each view. Finally, take a peek into the general resource plan to see if everything's adding up (we covered planning using views in detail in another blog post).
Congrats! You are now essentially the modern-day Julius Caesar of resource organization.
Why is it important?
In project management, you should aim to have a better overview of everything. This will help you see exactly where your project’s at, what still needs to be done, and by when. An overview will help you manage your team better and give you more efficiency.
Real-Life Example: When Allison Stroebele from Pure Technologies was looking for a resource management tool, she said,
“We needed a better way to schedule a project so that we could see who would be involved and what equipment would be in use. Especially when teams were coming from three different offices nationwide and equipment was being shipped from anywhere in the country.”
Implementing a tool that provided them an overview of all those variables Allison and the management team at Pure Technologies saw efficiency increases almost immediately.
“We’re more efficient in our jobs. We can track at least 80 pieces of equipment now as well, which wasn’t practical previously. As soon as we started using Ganttic, our tool support people said, ‘This is awesome, we can track every single piece of equipment. We can keep track of where everything is in real-time.’ So it gives everybody better visibility on where equipment and technicians are and what they’re doing.”
Read the full case study of how Pure Technologies is using Ganttic for resource management.
Whether you decide to follow the ancients’ method, or get modern software to do the heavy lifting, an overview will give you a bird’s-eye view of your projects. This will allow you to have better visibility, which can ultimately increase efficiency.
How Can You Benefit?
An overview allows you to track team and project progress, giving everyone better visibility and keeping you all up-to-date.
You can see how efficient your team and resources are, allowing you to make better predictions for future projects.
An overview gives you more control, and helps you to conquer all required tasks.
Having an overview can increase your efficiency, especially when dealing with dozens of resources spread-out across the country or world.
3.Preventing Miscommunication Mishaps: Transparency
With resource management, every (human) resource is able to view their tasks. Every project manager can see how resources are allocated. This means planning is transparent both ways.
And transparency is to planning like the weekend is to the workweek. Without it, it’s just Monday-Friday. And we all know what can happen when it’s all work and no play. Just ask Jack Torrance.
Why do you need it to be transparent?
There are both practical and theoretical reasons why you’d want your project management process to be transparent.
Misunderstandings are often unavoidable. Especially if you are working in an organization where several project managers are scheduling resources without a central tool with multi-user access and live updates. Resources will get overbooked. Task statuses will be changed over and over again.
Resource reallocation will result in endless email threads and vital information going missing. Stakeholder communication is a mess since you can never be sure that the spreadsheet you are sending over is the one with all of the correct and up-to-date information. It’s no wonder that miscommunication is said to be the #1 reason why projects fail.
Resource management and a central resource management tool will provide you with better transparency that help avoid misunderstandings like that.
Real-Life Example: Robert Smoleski (Service Delivery Manager at Damovo Global Services) said "We use Ganttic to schedule resources for a number of projects (customer site visits). It's super easy to define the projects and add resources. The tool allows you to quickly get things going. Keeping [track of] the resource schedule information and [the] ability to share it with customers brought the management of this area to the next level. [The result was] A lot less email/communication noise."
The other reason why you should aim for transparency is the engaged workforce that comes with it. Namely, transparent organizational communication has been found to drive employee engagement. Not only that, but a link has been found between organizational transparency, credibility, and organizational accountability.
When managers encourage more participative information sharing, employees feel more engaged with their work and their employer. Employee engagement is also higher when employees have adequate control over information acquisition and distribution.
This means that transparency will create a workforce that actually cares about the work they do and the organization they work in. Likewise it will allow stakeholders to trust you since they can see what’s going on.
To achieve that kind of transparency, you need a tool that allows controlled access to every team member. Since it can get quite expensive if the tool is priced per user, you should aim to find one that is priced per resource. That way you'll only pay for the resources in use. More transparency and less money, makes for a better business!
How Do You Benefit?
More transparency helps prevent avoidable miscommunication mishaps between team members, managers, and clients, keeping everyone up-to-date and on the same page.
Project transparency is beneficial to everyone involved, increasing employee engagement and stakeholder trust.
Transparency can reduce email noise, eliminating confusion and freeing up your inbox’s storage.
A central resource management tool can give an entire organization transparency, allowing controlled access to every team member.
4. Predicting the Future: Foreseeing and Avoiding Problems
Crystal balls. Tarot cards. Tea leaves. Resource management?
Though it may seem like the odd one out, managing resources can really help you predict the future. And unlike the others, it can be a lot more reliable.
Planning your resources gives you the ideal opportunity to understand the actual timeline of a project. The phases, the tasks that need to get done, and the resources that are required to make miracles happen. Planning lets you account for all of this, before they even occur.
Why is it important?
Resource planning gives you an idea of where your resources are located and what they are doing. Booked machines, client meetings, incoming shipments, everything is planned and accounted for. Allowing project managers to quickly and easily check the availability and utilization of a resource. This is helpful if a plan changes quickly and alternative arrangements need to be made.
Plans can also show the bottlenecks of the projects: upcoming holidays, overlapping vacation days, scheduled repairs, mandatory safety trainings. Long-term planning can help you prepare for the future and make adjustments in advance. By fixing the problems when they are still “invisible,” you can prevent them from getting worse.
Taking the time to plan and organize your resources now means “future you” will be better prepared and more able to focus on everyday tasks. You can thank yourself now for all the free time you will have.
How Do You Benefit?
Resource planning lets you understand the actual project timeline, helping with long-term planning and making more accurate forecasts.
Planning gives you a better idea of what your resources are doing and where they are located, making it easier to sort out unexpected problems.
Bottlenecks can be ironed-out before they occur, and changes can be made well in advance, allowing you to focus on the current tasks on hand. This means a more efficient use of your time and less stress.
5. Taking Control: Right Decisions
As a project manager, you not only need to see what’s going on with your various projects, but you also need to have control about what's going on. Being able to track your resources’ progress is essential. But without the correct tools to help you, you can’t actually take control and manage what needs to get done.
Nowadays there are a plethora of tools that recognizes the importance of resource organization and planning. You can start with a simple hand-drawn Gantt Chart, or a spreadsheet in Excel. Or you can move onto software that’s more adapted to your needs. For some more ideas take a look at our recommendations for the best alternatives to Excel.
Why is it important?
Planning out and managing your resources gives you a clear understanding of who is doing what, where, and how long before they finish. You can see who has more downtime and who can be reallocated to help out on other tasks. Are there enough people, machinery, and other resources to finish a task? Or do you need to hire someone else? Having all this info gives you a feeling that you have a control over a project.
Resource management is a continuous activity. But when you plan it out, you are better able to have a bigger picture of the entire process and even further. You can measure the performance of your resources, which makes for more accurate forecasting. This in turn can help you choose the best direction for your company. And instead of running into problems, you can see what lucrative opportunities lay beyond the horizon.
Having control means you’re the captain of your ship. The projects and tasks are for you to manage, not the other way around. Use the resource management tools - they can let you sleep at evenings.
How Do You Benefit?
Resource planning tells you where your resources are and what they are doing, giving you not only an overview, but control of the whole process. This ensures that nothing is forgotten and issues can be solved ahead of time.
Control allows you to measure resource performance, and helps you make the best choices for your company. In turn, this can help grow and expand your business.
Being in control lets you stay calm in times of emergencies.
- There are resource management tools made specifically for this purpose, which can take the pressure off of the project manager and help you succeed. Find the best one for your needs!
Start Managing Your Resources, Now!
If there is just one thing you take with you from this article, it is the fact that resource management is essential to your organization. Not only is it beneficial for your team, company, and projects, but it can cost you a lot if not done properly.
Luckily, these days there are many tools available to make your life easier. Starting with a simple Gantt Chart, to Microsoft Excel, to even actual resource management software. Whatever it is, start with something. Meet your goals and take control of your projects by finding the best tool for you.
Take this opportunity to be the best project manager you can be. Make planning transparent and get a grasp on your resources and projects. “Future you” will thank you.