Staying within budget, delivering on time, and having a well-staffed team—does that sound like your wish list for your next project? Then hiring a resource manager for your organization may be the transformative position you need for your organization.
Resources are intrinsic to any project. However, they are limited, expensive, and fragile—and they need to be allocated appropriately. Effective resource management makes the difference between organizations that are successful and profitable versus those drained of cash and assets.
In this article, we’ll explain what a resource manager is and how to integrate the role into your overall project management system.
What Is A Resource Manager?
Oftentimes in a project, resources can be challenging to manage, whether it be personnel, tools, materials, or other demands needed to complete the job. Resource managers are essential in any organization by helping track and monitor these valuable aspects of a project through resource planning.
They help analyze the overall capabilities when planning a project and can identify potential issues that may arise from resource allocation. They also play an important role in team communication and identifying potential solutions should any roadblocks arise.
By having a designated resource manager, it ensures effective utilization of resources throughout the entire lifecycle of the project so no shortages are experienced.
What Do Resource Managers Do?
Managing a successful project requires more than just setting timelines and delegating tasks. A resource manager works alongside the project manager to ensure that resources such as the materials, staff, and budget allocated for the project are well accounted for. When in the project planning stage, resource managers are there to help forecast available resources.
Resource managers work with project managers for proper resource allocation. This means implementing the right resources for different projects. They may use templates from past projects or spreadsheets to help find and assign necessary resources.
They develop schedules to prioritize needs and track resources coming in and outgoing. Resource managers may hire new employees and obtain other company resources as needed to plan for a project.
Resource management plays an important role in monitoring how resources are used, examining trends in resource availability and resource utilization, analyzing data to assess cost efficiency, and making adjustments when needed.
They also conduct capacity planning and review planned activities to make sure they can be accomplished with the available resources and help the project team look for alternate solutions if necessary.
Keeping an eye on capacity also allows resource managers to help team members avoid burnout, optimize their time efficiently, and prevent any resource conflicts that arise when two projects need the same resource.
Bottom line, resource managers allocate company resources to various projects to ensure they have what they need to succeed.
3 Key Skills Resource Managers Need To Have
Resource managers are an integral part of any business, playing a key role in the successful completion of projects. That’s why it’s important to hire resource managers who possess a unique blend of soft skills and technical skills.
Three key skills in resource manager jobs are:
A resource manager is tasked with keeping track of financial resources, staff, and company assets. Organization is key to keeping track of where resources are and when they can be allocated.
A good resource manager will be able to coordinate workflow and conduct prioritization while being mindful of project budgets—something that could have a huge impact on the success or failure of projects.
2. Technical Knowledge
Resource managers need first-hand experience and the knowledge that comes with that. Knowledge of project management and human resource management is essential for a successful resource manager.
This can come through real-world previous experience or education like a bachelor’s degree in human resources or business administration.
Resource managers may be dealing with multiple project managers day to day to ensure their resources are in place. They also can act as an intermediary between stakeholders, business leaders, and project managers. Communicating effectively is an essential resource manager skill to master.
By relying on these abilities and expertise, resource managers can play a vital role in ensuring that projects run smoothly and efficiently.
What Qualifications Do Resource Managers Need?
Becoming a successful resource manager requires knowledge of the tools and strategies that help to keep programs on track. Project managers who take this role will learn how to accurately estimate project timelines, create plans for optimum utilization of resources, and stay organized throughout the duration of the project.
Having certain certifications is a great way to stand out as a resource manager. The Resource Management Institute offers a professional certification as a Resource Management Certified Professional (RMCP). This program offers certification for those who are proficient in resource management theory and application.
Resource managers will need strong experience with resource planning, resource allocation, and forecasting. It's their job to determine what is needed, how much of it will be used, and how to manage it best.
Familiarity with systems such as Scrum and Kanban can arm resource managers with the skills needed to use these frameworks successfully. It's also important for them to have experience in understanding ROI (return on investment) and develop strategies for increasing efficiencies across teams. By mastering these concepts and continually refining their skill set, aspiring resource managers are sure to find success in this rewarding role.
Ultimately, reviewing the job description will give you the best idea of what project resources you would be managing—however, these qualifications are universal to the resource manager position.
3 Differences Between Project Managers & Resource Managers
Project managers and resource managers may have overlapping roles, but they are still two distinct types of positions with different focuses.
While project managers are responsible for maintaining timelines and ensuring deliverables meet the project requirements, resource managers prioritize smaller details such as managing costs and resources.
Such responsibilities include allocating resources based on availability, negotiating contracts, analyzing cost trends to ensure budget goals are met, and even recruiting new sources for required materials.
Project managers have a wide role in order to organize a project. They are often a middleman between business leaders, stakeholders, and their team members. They organize time, budgets, and assign specific tasks.
Resource managers communicate with project managers to find out what they need and manage those needs. They organize personnel within the company and purchase resources needed for projects.
Project managers must have great organization and communication skills. Resource managers usually have a background in human resource management or organizational development. RM’s must know an organization's manpower, staffing needs, and resources well to effectively utilize everything available to them.
Effective Resource Management
Resource managers are an important part of an overall project management team. They ensure that the workload is balanced and that project activities are completed in a timely fashion.
Resource managers differ from project managers in that they are not decision-makers and do not create deadlines or manage communications between departments.
To become a good resource manager, it’s important to have strong communication skills, excellent organizational abilities, and the ability to be aware of changes within the company. With practice, patience, and attention to detail, anyone can learn how to be an efficient resource manager.
Resource management software can be a great tool for resource managers. We’ve ranked the best options on the market and noted their pricing to help you find the right option.
It’s also important for your resource management tools to integrate with project management software or time tracking software to ensure the resource manager, project manager, and project team have access to and are working off the same set of information.
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