Resource management helps managers and teams complete projects with the tools, people, and budget that they have to work with. These best practices help organizations focus their efforts, manage risks, improve the likelihood of success, and prevent resources from going to waste.
Understanding resource management empowers you to reach your project goals.
Definition of resource management
Project resources must be planned, charted, scheduled, and allocated according to efficiency best practices. This process is known as resource management. Since you need resources to help you accomplish your project goals, managing your resources appropriately should be a significant priority for your team. Resource management helps you preserve your resources and use them at the right time and in the right situations.
Advantages of resource management and its importance
There are many advantages to proactive resource management. The right strategy makes collaboration across teams easier, streamlines your organization’s operations, and adds transparency. Working together with others is more effective and straightforward, too.
Without adequate resource management, your team may run out of resources too quickly or use resources in an uncoordinated and inefficient fashion.
Consider these examples of resource management benefits:
Avoid roadblocks in work
Knowing your resources from the beginning can often help you identify problems before they happen and plan potential solutions. You can see gaps and work to secure new resources, if needed.
With the right resource management strategies in place, you can reduce the likelihood of burning through your resources too quickly or relying too heavily on them. Consider your team, for example—by using proper resource management and carefully planning team member schedules, you can ensure that individuals aren ’t overwhelmed or overworked.
In order to become more efficient, you have to be able to measure and manage your resource activities and allocation. This creates opportunities for you to measure your project’s efficiency and effectiveness against similar projects, past performance, and against your expectations.
You can share your resource planning information with other teams in your organization, creating transparency and helping them plan their projects alongside your own. This way, if you have shared resources, you can all make sure your projects have what they need to be successful. Let’s say your project and another in-house project both need input from the same subject matter expert (SME). With resource management, you can coordinate your work with the SME and the other team, so you both can work with the SME efficiently.
Thanks to resource management techniques, project management and their teams can monitor and adjust resource usage throughout the project.
What are some resource management techniques?
When project managers assign resources to be used in projects it’s called resource allocation. This process ensures that resources are used efficiently and on the highest priority tasks. Using detailed reports to track available resources, managers can prevent projects from going over budget or having delays.
Resource leveling looks for resources that aren’t currently being used to their full potential, so the organization can find ways to leverage them more effectively. For example, leveling may involve identifying team subscriptions that are infrequently used. You can change the subscriptions, start using the existing resources, or reallocate these resources to other teams.
The productivity of time spent on a project matters for the team’s overall success, so tracking and managing that time is essential. Resource utilization could be characterized as the time spent by the team or by individuals working on a particular project. This time can be tracked, measured, and monitored in different ways using a variety of tools and techniques.
Resource forecasting predicts how your project will use resources in the future and what resource availability will be like at that time. At different milestones within your project, your team may have different resource needs and access.
Resource and capacity planning
By using resource and capacity planning, you can determine how much work your resources will allow you to accomplish. You can also plan out the work you have alongside the resources you can put towards that work to realistically manage schedule and expectations.
Resource management skills for managers
Every manager can benefit from the right combination of resource management skills. Although these skills may come naturally to some managers, others may need to practice and actively seek out resource management knowledge through education and continued learning opportunities.
These resource management skills are valuable for today’s resource and project managers:
- Collaboration across departments: Managers must be willing to work closely with others both internally and externally to the organization. If communication with other teams is limited, resource sharing becomes more challenging and inefficient.
- Flexibility and adaptability: Managers should be prepared for constant change, new information, potential roadblocks, and unanticipated disruptions. The more flexible you can be, the more quickly you’ll adapt if the unexpected occurs and changes your project.
- Open to feedback and new ideas: An open-minded approach helps you to incorporate new concepts into your work and accept feedback from your team, customers, and other stakeholders.
- Leveraging resource and market data: Considering real-time information allows you to modify your approach to fit the realities of your work environment. A good manager knows how to use market and industry research to shape their decision making.
- Use of best practices: Every project is unique, but previous projects and experience can lend insights to your current work. Wherever relevant, you can collect resource best practices that could eventually be useful for your organization.
Resource management tools
Whether you’re a project manager or a resource manager, having the right tools can help you track your metrics and manage resources effectively. Different tools are helpful for different purposes—the type of resource you manage may dictate the software you use. Some all-in-one resource management systems may be right for your industry and your project’s specific needs. Some potential tools include:
- Project management software: If you’re a project manager, keeping goals, resource allocations, project details, assignments, and other information within reach helps your team stay on task. Project management software can help you track assignments, provide progress reports, and see how your team is progressing.
- Resource scheduling: Generally, resource use is impacted by time and scheduling, meaning that the ability to schedule resources using software can simplify your work. Scheduling software can help managers make assignments and assess schedule risk.
- Human resource management systems: Human resource management systems are designed to safely and securely store and share human resources data.
How you manage and use your information impacts your project’s success or failure. As you manage your resource information, consider how you can ensure access to the right data at the right time.
Improve resource management at your organization
By strengthening your resource management skills and following best practices, you and your team can leverage your organization’s resources to meet your goals. Benchmarking your resource use, finding the right resource management software, and taking advantage of resource management’s benefits can empower your team to accomplish more and increase overall productivity.
Agile planning can help you better adapt to changes in project and resource management.Learn more
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