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The global business climate is transforming at an unprecedented pace, with many large organizations still struggling to pivot quickly enough to manage shrinking resources.

If you're a project or resource manager in a large organization, it can feel like steering the Titanic. You’re always looking for better ways to effectively and efficiently manage, track, and rapidly redeploy your most valuable resources, but it just feels like a monumental task. 

The good news is that you've come to the right place! In this article, I will share common challenges like silos, approvals, procurement, conflicting priorities, objectives, how to measure success using OKRs, and ways to manage resources in a large organization expertly. 

What Is Resource Management?

In project, program, and portfolio management, resource management is the process of planning resource capacity, scheduling, allocating, monitoring, measuring, and adjusting how human resources, budgets, and technology are utilized. The aim is to maximize the benefits that your organization deems meaningful. 

Large organizations can be particularly challenging. You may be managing a plethora of resources in highly complex, multifaceted projects, with increasing industry regulations and a changing workforce, not to mention budget restraints. 

3 Most Important Types Of Resources to Manage

In large organizations, you should be focusing on managing at least these three common resources. 

  1. Human resources are your biggest assets, your employees, contractors, and leadership. Without people to complete projects, there simply are no deliverables and no projects.
  2. Financial resources or project, program, and portfolio budgets are also essential to pay salaries and wages and acquire much needed resource management tools.
  3. Technology as part of your organization’s tech stack is necessary to plan, monitor, allocate, adjust, and communicate project resources and to ensure complete organization-wide resource visibility.

Why Is Effective Resource Management Essential?

In short, effective resource allocation and management enables you to have real-time visibility into your resources and shift resources on demand for greater control over project outcomes.

Resource management should be strategic, align with organizational goals, and ensure resource leveling to reduce the overallocation. 

Ineffective resource management can be akin to driving somewhere new without a map and hoping to get there on time without sufficient resource planning, allocating, and scheduling the right skills. With the right resource management best practices in place, your organization can reap many benefits, including these.

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The Benefits of Maximizing Resources

Efficient and effective resource management provides you with full visibility so that you can deliver projects as promised. It ensures you can quickly shift over and uncover underutilization resources to help your organization:

  • Increase resource utilization and overall efficiency
  • Increase productivity and focus on higher-value project tasks
  • Improve employee health and wellness
  • Reduce employee fatigue and turnover
  • Improve confidence
  • Reduce costs 
  • Improve project success
  • Improve resource decision-making
  • Increase ROI for your organization and clients

Before jumping steadfast into new resource management optimization initiatives and best practices, ensure you have a solid understanding of the current state and the things that may impact your resourcing.

9 Factors Impacting Optimal Resource Management

  • Silos can create conflict between departments and even individuals. It creates inefficiencies in prioritization, sharing of information, goals, tools, priorities and processes.
  • Conflicting priorities make it difficult to allocate and balance resources, causes employee stress, confusion, burnout, low employee morale, decreases employee confidence, and project buy-in.
  • Approval inefficiencies can not only slow-down your projects but also impact other processes such as procurement which can jeopardize projects all together.
  • Procurement issues can increase costs and schedules due to supply and demand.
  • Objectives & Key Results (OKRs) are vital to aligning expectations and ensuring everything is moving forward and in the right direction. Without them it can be impossible to know if resources are properly optimized.
  • Remote workers and specifically labor shortages have one of the biggest impacts on managing resources effectively. Your people are your biggest asset and resource. Without the right people working on the right projects, everything can stall completely.
  • Skills and capabilities gaps are often overlooked. Often team member capabilities aren’t looked at closely to ensure they are suited for their project roles. If the appropriate skills and capabilities are not available, it can create noticeable gaps in your organization.
  • Resource availability can sometimes be a matter of timing and impact schedules and costs minimally, but other times it can throw costs over budget and impact schedules enormously.
  • Project methodologies should align not only your projects, but also your organization’s culture, processes, and short and long-term vision.  

The Current State Of Resource Management In Large Organizations

Resource management has been a key struggle in companies, particularly larger organizations. Adding to this is the complexity of an expanding millennial-dominated, tech-savvy workforce with a shift in employee work preferences, leading to talent shortages in many roles. 

Large organizations are particularly prone to losing millennials who seek smaller companies that offer work-life balance, health and wellness programs, and remote work options to meet their changing priorities.

One Prosymmetry study found an ongoing trend toward centralizing project-related resource management roles. This trend has accelerated the demand for increased focus on skills management and resource managers who have become tech-savvy in response to demand from project and business leaders. 

5 Best Practices For Resource Management In A Large Organization

Today, most large enterprise projects have a global impact that can involve multiple factors, including cultural barriers, time zone differences, varied labor laws, regulatory differences, and much more. 

This is how I think of resource management, especially in large organizations: “Plan to manage your resources effectively before your resources manage to effectively run out.” 

Following these best practices can prepare your organization to meet its challenges.

1. Develop a project portfolio resourcing strategy

It should align with organizational goals, vision, and culture and should spell out at least these things:

  • The resource management process
  • The procurement process
  • Approval processes, thresholds, and timing
  • How each area of your business will share resources
  • Project methodologies to be utilized
  • How teams should work together to achieve project goals
  • The technologies involved
  • How success should be measured (OKRs)

2. Develop and implement the best human resource management operating model

In today's volatile, complex, and continually shifting business environment managing your resources to achieve desired project outcomes requires new human resource operating models, according to findings by McKinsey. Human resource management starts with hiring, training, and retaining the right capabilities to address labor shortages and fill skills gaps. 

3. Centralize your talent pool

Centralization ensures visibility across your entire organization to ensure no silos or conflicting priorities make teams operate independently or impede communication. It helps remove roadblocks to productivity and increases the chance of your teams achieving the desired deliverables. 

4. Determine the right methodologies 

It's important to remember that only some methodologies work in some large organizations or projects. Before selecting methodologies, become well-versed in many of them and how they might work together the best in your organization. 

It’s not a one-size-fits-all. You might be surprised to know that almost 40% of companies have implemented a hybrid approach to project management methodologies and practices.

5. Implement the best resource management system

Expecting employees to multitask and overcommit hours doesn't serve your organization well in the long haul. Identify, select, and implement the best resource management system that aligns with your organization's policies and goals. The right tools allow you and all teams to work smarter, reduce employee fatigue, and better manage short and long-term resources. 

To help with this, check out this list of the 10 best resource management software and tools for 2023 to boost efficiency and ensure a sustainable workload for your team.

FAQs About Resource Management in Large Orgs

How Do You Manage Resources Across Multiple Projects?

In most large organizations, it can become problematic when multiple teams are vying for limited resources.

For instance if there is one expert on quality assurance for your entire organization it may take much more planning to ensure that person is not overallocated and to help them avoid suffering burnout. Planning plays a vital role in larger organizations with complex business lines, numerous teams, and many potentially limited skill sets.

Resource planning and management and leveraging the right technology to communicate with other areas of your organization are essential to prioritize projects. It’s vital for you to have the visibility to connect the right skill sets, capabilities, and available resources to the right projects at the right time.

Having a resource management system that gives a bird’s eye view of all of your resources at any given time is key to being able to prioritize and communicate accordingly.

Establishing standardized best practices increases visibility into resources and can also help organizations navigate intricacies that smaller businesses may not encounter when trying to reach their full potential.

Ongoing company wide communication between team leaders, project team members, and key stakeholders is also paramount to planning, prioritizing, allocating, and shifting resources. All it takes is one key person to be on a different page for resources to be misallocated.

How Do You Make Sure That Each Resource is Utilized to its Fullest Potential?

Ensuring each resource is utilized fully means being able to create a solid resource management plan and standardized templates that are designed to meet your organization’s specific needs instead of subscribing to multitasking to keep up. Multitasking can actually derail your schedule by pushing your teams too hard, causing them to suffer burnout.

A well-thought-out project management plan and proper capacity planning will increase the chance of maximizing your resources to better manage by identifying how, where, and when opportunities exist to achieve desired project goals, even when bottlenecks exist.

How Do You Remove Bottlenecks?

Even with your best efforts and the right practices in place, bottlenecks are bound to happen sometimes. Accurate, real-time data from a robust resource management tool will be necessary to isolate and analyze bottlenecks. Identifying and removing bottlenecks involves these steps:

  • Visualizing each step in a process step
  • Mapping individual tasks
  • Measuring cycle times

Addressing bottlenecks and optimizing resource management also requires following these five best practices and requires diligence to revisit how well resources are being utilized before making adjustments as circumstances change.

Greater Agility Requires Solid Footing 

While resource management can pose challenges for larger organizations, having a good resource management plan and following the best practices I shared can set your organization on solid footing for greater agility to achieve proper resource optimization across multiple projects, programs, and portfolios. 

Remember, these best practices for managing your organization's resources are not a one time exercise. Make sure to regularly revisit your resource management plan to see how your projects are progressing across the organization and make changes where and when needed. 

Find out which hybrid methodologies might work in your large organization in our guide to hybrid project methodologies

If you found valuable tidbits in my article, I’d be thrilled to hear you chat about it on social media or in the comments below. 

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Moira Alexander
By Moira Alexander

Moira Alexander is a recognized thought leader and the founder of PMWorld 360 Magazine and Lead-Her-Ship Group, a digital content marketing agency where she helps companies create, market, and lead with engaging digital content. With over 25 years of business, information technology, and project management experience, she's been named one of the top global female thought leaders and influencers on project management, SaaS, and the future of work.