Resource management helps managers get the most out of their projects’ people, tools, and equipment. That’s crucial because without resources, there’s no one and nothing to tackle the heaps of tasks that come standard with every new project. And why else is resource management so important? Well, with a resource plan you get the benefit of:
- Seeing where your resources are and what they are doing.
- Eliminating the danger of overbooking resources when task scheduling.
- The ability to spot problems early on with time to sort them out.
- Using less resources more efficiently.
- Making project planning more transparent and helps avoid miscommunications.
- Getting a more complete picture of how projects are progressing.
Clearly, the entire process and its benefits of resource management is difficult to condense down to bullet points. And to that end, this article will go over everything you need to know about managing organizational resources. We’ll explain the importance of resource management. And demonstrate just how crucial this process is to the health of your organization and project portfolio. That way your company can start reaping the benefits immediately.
What is Resource Management?
Let’s start with a simple definition of resource management.
As an aspect of project management, resource management is the process of planning, scheduling, and allocating organizational and project resources in the best possible way. From the beginning stages of your projects right up to the very end. Its ultimate aim is fulfill project, task, or organizational goals. While ensuring the utmost efficiency of resources along the way.
With all project management, managers need to know if there’s enough capacity and the proper means to bring projects to life. Resource management can guarantee that you’ll not only have the right resources to achieve your objectives, but you have the right resources that will take your projects to the next level. All while minimizing potential scheduling conflicts, project bottlenecks, and the ill effects of resource over- and under-utilization.
Why are Resources Important?
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.
- An event manager might need caterers and a venue.
- For a lab, you have rooms for experiments, specialized tools, materials.
Resources of Project Management:
Because resources exist in every field, so does the need for resource management. Without project resources, there’s no way to deliver that website to your client. Or complete the work promised upon your bid. Resources make the projects go round! Here’s the main types of resources you’ll see in project management.
- Materials and supplies
Types of Resource Management
For managers to get resource management done right, they must first understand the process. And as project and program needs differ, so can the ways to manage resources. Here are the main types of resource management.
- Resource Booking and Scheduling – A way to block out resources’ time periods. This ensures that you have capacity for work activities and that no one is double booked in the process.
- Project Resource Planning – This looks not only at current projects, but future projects, with a bigger emphasis on getting the right resource for the right job.
- Portfolio Resource Management – Allocating resources and monitoring utilization, engaging in resource leveling and smoothing, long-term planning, and the strategic high-level management of your entire project portfolio.
Read on: Perhaps you already know how managing resources can help your projects, teams, and organization. If you’re looking for some software to help with your resource management, take a tour of Ganttic.
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. Here’s a few common ways resource management helps organizations meet their goals.
- See how project resources are engaged. And pinpoint strategies to improve utilization.
- Gain transparency in the planning process.
- Forecast resource availability for future projects.
- Strategize which projects are most feasible to take on.
- A way to create a resource capacity plan
- Track project progress.
- Choose the right projects for your portfolio.
- Spot gaps in capacity and decide if your company needs to outsource or hire freelancers.
Why is Resource Management Important?
Below are 5 ways in which your company will tangibly start to notice the importance of resource management. Since it can help with:
- Maximize resource efficiency
- Get a bird’s eye view of your project
- Prevent miscommunication mishaps
- Predict the future
- Take Control
1. Maximize Resource Efficiency
In order to get the most out of your resources, it’s essential to track their utilization. This helps your see how much time your people and tools are engaged in any given task. And will help make the most out of the resources available to you.
Resource utilization is the percentage of the resource’s working time (Busy time) within a certain time period (Available time). This can be achieved through this formula:
Resource utilization = Busy time / Available time
This 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. This provides you with insight on resource availability and allows you to find the best match between tasks and your resources.
Prevents boredom and burnout
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 employee overloading. However, research indicates that when managers carry out management practices that promote job control (such as resource management), it reduces the risk of burnout.
Read on: Check out a few other ways to maximize not only your resource usage, but how to best integrate resource utilization into your planning process.
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. Plus, with modern resource management software, there’s plenty of ways that you can track time. Just choose the option that suits you best!
How Can You Benefit?
- Better utilization means a happier and healthier team, helping to reduce burnout and stress.
- 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. Bird’s-Eye View of Your Projects and Portfolio
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, (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.
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. It turns out, an overview will help you manage your team better and give you more efficiency.
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.
Real World Case Study
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
How Do 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.
- Overviews give you more control. Which helps you to conquer all required tasks.
- Looking at your resources from a different angle can increase your efficiency, especially when dealing with dozens of resources spread-out across the country or world.
3. Prevent Miscommunication Mishaps
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. You’ve seen “The Shining,” right?
Why is it important?
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 with simultaneous projects and managers. And while workarounds for this are abundant, they don’t always get the job done.
It’s easy to create a Gantt chart from your Google calendar. Or make a project management sheet in Excel. But without dedicated resource planning software, you opening yourself to a host of other problems.
Resources will get overbooked. Task statuses will be changed over and over again. And no one will be sure what the “right” version of the project plan is. This can mess things up with your team, bosses, and stakeholders.
It’s no wonder that miscommunication is the #1 reason why projects fail. Yet, resource management with an ERP or a “lite” version like Ganttic will provide you with better transparency. Helping to avoid such misunderstandings.
The other reason why you should aim for transparency is the engaged workforce that comes with it. With links between organizational transparency, credibility, and organizational accountability. There’s plenty of proof transparent communication drives employee engagement.
So, when managers encourage more participative information sharing, employees feel more engaged with their work. So with greater transparency, you’re essentially creating a better workforce.
However, to achieve that kind of transparency, you need a tool that allows controlled access to every team member. Unfortunately it can get quite expensive if the tool is priced per user. Which is why 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!