Consider this scenario: You need to move a heavy, large couch from one room to another. You need two strong people to complete the job, so you enlist another strong person to help you with the task. If you didn’t plan this ahead of time, then you wouldn’t be able to move the couch.
Resource management has a similar impact on organizations. It evaluates what needs to be done for a project, assigns people to tasks, and manages the resources available. Without proactive and careful planning, organizations can run into frequent disruptions which can lead to missing deadlines and unhappy stakeholders.
Resource management is the process of ensuring you have all the materials, headcount, and other things you require to complete a project or business objective. Resources can include finances, employees, physical materials, computing power, data storage, and more.
Evaluating your resources and ensuring they are efficiently used helps your organization maximize its ROI and minimize expenses.
Successful resource management can help you accelerate response times to customer requests, improve your team’s flexibility to change, and streamline operations. It helps you ensure projects are delivered on time and on budget.
Evaluating employees’ capacity and skill sets enables you to project realistic timelines and anticipate potential disruptions. It also helps teams and stakeholders stay on the same page by lending transparency and visibility into the team’s workload.
Preventing employee burnout is also crucial to ensuring their productivity and job satisfaction. Resource management enables you to match employees with tasks that maximize their skills and predict availability for new tasks and projects.
To summarize, resource management enables organizations to:
A resource manager typically manages resources across an organization. While some organizations may have a specific person for this job, other roles can also have resource management as part of their job responsibilities. For example, an office administrator may be responsible for ensuring office supplies are available or restocked.
Project and product managers may also find themselves in similar positions as resource managers. These roles have to balance tasks, timelines, employee capacity, and other elements to ensure projects are completed. The key difference is that project managers tend to be responsible for individual projects while resource managers are in charge of resources for the entire company.
There are three main resource management techniques:
As the name suggests, allocation assigns resources to tasks. But there are many elements to consider to make the right decisions. A resource manager will need to evaluate employee availability, skills, timelines, personality, and activities when assigning people to a project.
Resource leveling is about balancing demand and supply. It’s a technique to maximize the resources you currently have before you consider hiring more employees.
Evaluating your current resources enables you to upskill employees, adjust timelines, and fill any gaps with other employee resources as needed.
Resource management helps you identify your current capacity, evaluate future projects, and make adjustments to ensure goals are met. It also helps prevent issues like bottlenecks, overallocation, and employee shortages.
While resource allocation and resource leveling both involve assigning people to tasks, they are used at different times.
The goal is to achieve 100 percent utilization while minimizing costs. It’s a bit of an unrealistic goal, but the intention is to maximize your resources without increasing your expenses.
While resource management technology is crucial for success, communication is also a key area. Transparency is needed to ensure employees and other resources aren’t overwhelmed, and communication between team members is necessary to ensure productivity.
Flexibility is another important element that often gets overlooked. Plans may need to change at the last minute, and resource management is essential to pivoting without compromising workflows. An accurate overview of your resources makes it easier to stay agile.
A resource management plan will his designed to help you identify your resources, what is needed for a project, and predict any potential problems.
Here are five steps to creating a resource plan:
Once you have created a resource management plan, remember to check in on the progress and remain flexible. For example, an employee may be out on vacation, and you may need to adjust your project timeline accordingly. Staying involved with employees and having clear communication is crucial to managing resources and projects.
Let’s review common issues that arise around resource management and how to overcome them:
Managers need a high-level overview of a team’s workload. Without it, they risk assigning too much work to employees causing burnout and missed deadlines. Having a work management tool can help managers visualize an employee’s capacity.
A manager may assume an employee has a skillset to complete a task, but in reality, they don’t. Not having an awareness of an employee’s skills and abilities can lead to assigning tasks they aren’t equipped to handle effectively.
Managers can counteract this by understanding their employees’ knowledge and what tasks they are good at completing.
Predicting what work is coming up in the pipeline can be a difficult task. It’s especially true when you need to assign tasks to employees without overwhelming them. Creating open lines of communication with other teams and departments can help you forecast what tasks are going to be needed from your team soon.
In large organizations, you may not be aware of all of your resources and capabilities. It can lead to not utilizing your resources to its full potential. Having transparency and visibility into an organization’s resources is crucial to preventing this scenario.
Let’s take a look at a real-life example of how better resource management led to improved product delivery.
A telecommunications company had difficulty planning capacity for its large team with 30–40 projects running concurrently. It lacked visibility into the team’s workload and project priorities and needed a better way besides spreadsheets for capacity planning.
The organization decided to adopt a resource management tool to assess resource constraints, which helped improve communication with stakeholders about what was happening with projects. With better tools for capacity planning, the team had better work distribution and more time to focus on other aspects of their jobs.
Without a firm grasp of resource management, organizations risk increasing their expenses, failing to deliver products, and decreasing customer satisfaction. Organizations need to understand what resources are available to them, what they need to accomplish tasks and projects, and how to utilize their resources efficiently.
Resource management allows organizations to understand their capacity and find ways to maximize their ROI on their resources. It also helps to build a better work culture which can ensure employee productivity and satisfaction.
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