Proper resource management is crucial to your projects—if team members are overallocated, underutilized, or assigned deliverables that don’t play to their strengths, you’re setting them up for failure.
On top of that, employees can be afraid to take time off (like PTO or sick days) because they don't want to fall behind, leading to burnout and a decline in mental health, productivity, and overall performance.
Optimizing your resource management practices (including accounting for time off!) can help project managers see better results across the board.
Today, I'll discuss resource management, why it's important, and what benefits you can hope to see when you develop more effective resource allocation methods.
- What Is Resource Management?
- 4 Reasons Resource Management Is Important
- Benefits of Effective Resource Management
What Is Resource Management?
Resources are a crucial part of any project, and the basic idea behind resource management is simple; it's the practice of planning and scheduling the people (human resources), technology, money, and other resources for a project, department, or program.
Effective resource planning and scheduling can help you make the most of resource capacity and what's available to you while ensuring that everyone (and every department) has what they need to complete their tasks successfully on their current projects.
Not only does this help in the short-term, it also paints a clearer picture when you’re forecasting needs for future projects.
Some types of resource management activities you might perform include: resource loading, resource smoothing, resource leveling, capacity planning, and calculating utilization.
4 Reasons Resource Management Is Important
There are many reasons proper resource utilization and management are crucial. Although not a comprehensive list, I've detailed four big reasons that explain the importance of resource management below.
- Increases transparency: This benefits everyone from upper management and your core teams to stakeholders and customers. By increasing transparency, you can build greater trust between you and your project team, with stakeholders, and amongst the project team members while ensuring everyone knows what's expected of them.
- Minimizes idle time: Idle time significantly reduces profitability and overall productivity. While no team member can be productive 100% of the time, each person should be productive more than they're idle. Using the right resources and scheduling procedures can make sure everyone has enough deliverables to work on.
- Lets you understand resource availability and needs: Resource forecasting helps you understand what's available to your team in real-time while helping you plan for the future. When you can predict available resources moving forward, you have a better understanding of what needs to be secured, so you can budget appropriately.
- You receive a true picture of each team member's skill sets: Understanding your team member's skill sets serves a dual purpose. First and foremost, it allows you to place employees where they'll be most valuable, productive, and fulfilled. Secondly, it lets you see where skill gaps exist within your team so you can hire new employees or find the right contractors to fill them.
Since effective resource management is so important, you and your company can expect numerous benefits from better allocation methods.
Benefits Of Effective Resource Management
The benefits of effective resource management are wide-ranging. Each employee, and your company as a whole, will be positively affected by creating a better resource management plan.
1. Streamlines Workflows
This may not be the first benefit of effective resource management you notice, but it will be the most obvious as you perfect your resource management process.
Creating plans that help you in your quest for effectively allocating resources also helps to streamline workflows. When your team members have the information and tools they need to complete projects or tasks successfully, your project runs smoother.
Consider using robust project management or resource management software to optimize your workflows. These programs are excellent for scheduling and tracking team member time, project financials, and deliverable deadlines through the project life cycle.
2. Empowers More Confident Decision-Making
When you understand the available project resources (and the ones you're capable of securing), you can feel more confident in your decisions. Facts, statistics, and metrics take the guesswork out of important decisions.
For example, let's say you're trying to plan two projects you know will be launched soon. These projects will be undertaken at about the same time, so they'll be using your company's resources simultaneously.
With good resource management, you'll know what employees, funds, and tools are available for that time frame.
You'll also know how to assign available employees to the right project based on their skill sets. Because of this, you'll reduce errors and bottlenecks within both projects, ensuring deadlines are met and your team members aren't stressed.
3. Reduces Overhead Costs
Using the right resource management techniques can help reduce overhead project costs by maximizing your current resources and preventing overspending.
Remember, workers' overtime hours cost more than regular ones, and purchasing supplies or tools at the last second can sometimes be more expensive. Avoiding these two situations can reduce overhead costs.
4. Increases Profits
By reducing overhead costs and helping your project run more efficiently overall, you'll likely see an increase in profits.
If your company previously suffered from poor resource management, the profit increase can even be drastic. If your resource scheduling was okay before but needed a little work, the profit increase you see may be more gradual.
5. Creates a Happier, More Fulfilled Team
You want your team members to be happy in their roles. Stressed-out, overworked team members are more prone to burnout, which can lead to mental health issues that cause them to quit or perform poorly.
Effective resource management is an excellent step toward a happier team. Here's how:
- You can fully staff new projects, so team members aren't overworked.
- You can provide the tools team members need to make their jobs easier.
- You can supply training and negate the risk of confusion moving forward.
6. Staff Projects and Programs Better
By better understanding project and program resource requirements and how well you meet them, you can keep them better staffed. Better-staffed projects and programs create less stressed employees and ensure deadlines are met or exceeded.
Understanding the unique skills of employees (as well as what they find challenging) is a crucial part of managing resources. Placing the right employees with the right skills makes the most of your available time.
7. Meets Deadlines More Efficiently
Having the right skill sets, tools, and supplies means deadlines are met more efficiently. For this reason, effective resource management is one of the most important parts of project planning. In addition, meeting or exceeding deadlines means happier upper management, clients, and other stakeholders.
Ensuring project delivery when relevant stakeholders expect it (or before) can be the difference between a successful project and a failed one. Now is the time to get started if you haven't already developed a resource management strategy that works best for your company.
Learn More About Effective Resource Management Today
Learning to utilize your company's resources more effectively can provide numerous benefits, including reducing overhead costs, increasing profits, and creating a happier, more fulfilled project team.
If you still have questions about effective resource management or want to find out how robust resource management tools can help your company achieve results, subscribe to The Digital Project Manager newsletter today.