3 Reasons Why Is Resource Management Important
Why is resource management important is a question that is often asked. It seems like one of the mysteries of project planning. Actually, it's quite simple. Resource management is important because it enables utilization planning, it provides you an overview of everyone and everything and it makes planning and management transparent.
Before we get to explaining why those three things are so important, let define resource management. Resource management is the process of planning or booking the resources of an organization in a way that would maximize the efficiency of the use of these resources.
There are different types of resource management. There’s scheduling, planning, and management itself. What differentiates the three is the depth of planning. We go over each type there in another article.
Resources can be anything from people to machinery. Which means that resource management can be the process of making a schedule for your team as well as booking a piece of technology that’s on a construction site. Thus resource management examples can be provided by event managers as well as project managers at an engineering company and everything in between.
Maximizing the efficiency is the official credo that resource planners are working under. However, there are also the managers that are going through the process to get an overview of resource allocation. There are also the managers that are tracking project progress. There are also the managers that are scheduling resources to achieve transparency in the planning process. There are also those that are in it to forecast resource availability. And, of course, there are also those that are doing all of those things to get the most out of the resource management tool they are using.
Why would anybody be interested in any of those things? What makes resource management an essential part of the job of any project manager? What about the utilization, overview, and transparency?
1. The Utilization
Resource utilization is the percentage of the resource capacity that is covered with tasks in a time period. Utilization planning is the process of making sure that each resource is optimally utilized in each time period.
Utilization planning is the part of resource management that makes it possible to maximize the resource efficiency.
Why does it matter?
Utilization planning in the number one thing to consider if you are planning your team or human resources in general. It’s especially important if your resources have concurrent tasks or if they work on multiple projects simultaneously. It provides you insight on resource availability and allows you to match tasks with resources that have the right skills and the lowest utilization.
Both over and underbooking your team can lead to negative outcomes. For example, it has been found that on days where people experience more challenges, they also experienced more positive affect and more engagement in their work on the same day. Which means your team should feel challenged to feel more engaged and happy. It has also been found that over utilizing a resource and the stress that accompanies extreme workload can lead to burnout.
On the other hand, the research indicates that when managers carry out management practices that promote job control (ie resource management), it reduces the burnout risk.
If we are being a bit more pragmatic, utilization can also be extended to planning other resources. If a piece of machinery should have some downtime, you can also track its utilization. In the long run, you can track the utilization percentage to get an overview of resource usage.
2. The Overview
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 the control.
Since having an overview of everything and everyone can be a bit of a task, you should dīvide et imperā. Divide the plan into different views. Manage resources in each view. Peek into the general resource plan to see if everything's adding up (we covered planning using views in detail in another blog post).
Why is it important?
In project management, you should aim to have a better overview of everything that’s going on to manage what you see and to make it more efficient.
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.
Better resource management and thus better visibility will increase efficiency.
3. The Transparency
Through resource management, every (human) resource is able to view what’s been planned for them. Every project manager can see how resources are allocated. Which means planning is transparent both ways. And transparency is to planning what flour is to bread. Without it, it’s just baking soda and salt. And who likes that?
Why do you need it to be transparent?
There are both practical and more theoretical reasons why you’d want your resource management process to be transparent.
Misunderstandings are unavoidable if you are working in an organization where several project managers are scheduling resources but there is no 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 vital information.
Resource management and a central resource management tool will provide you transparency that’s going to help to avoid misunderstandings like that.
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 the resource schedule information and ability to share it with customer brought the management of this area to next level. A lot less email/communication noise."
The other reason why you should aim for transparency is an engaged workforce that comes with it. Namely, transparent organizational communication has been found to drive employee engagement. Not only that, but there has also been found a link 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 to have an adequate control over information acquisition and distribution.
Meaning that the transparency will create a workforce that actually cares about the work they do and the organization they work in. It will allow stakeholders to have trust in you since they can see what’s going on.