Resource management – that overlooked power which can make or break your projects. While using all your individual resources to maximum effect can seem like an impossible task, it’s well within every project manager’s grasp. The trick to good resource management is to keep things simple – following a few key principles and investing in solid, uncomplicated tools.
What is resource management?
Resource management is the ongoing evaluation and distribution of resources required to meet project needs and objectives.
Your ‘resources’ represent everything you need to achieve those goals – so people, software, tools, time and money are all resources. Most of us don’t have the luxury of unlimited resources, so we need to plan efficiently to make sure we manage and employ them effectively. We need to make a precise ongoing effort with our schedules, budgets, logistics and dependencies.
Resource management can really make the difference between a smooth or chaotic project delivery. You need constant oversight over how you’re spending your resources in relation to your available capacity. If you get it wrong and allocate too much resource, you’ll end up with wastage – but allocate too little and you might never meet your goals.
The principles of good resource management
Resource allocation: This is the practice of allocating and scheduling resources in the most efficient and cost-effective way. It’s about getting the most of out the resources on hand while still keeping your schedule and budget on-track. To do it, you have to look at the availability of all team members and decide who’s best equipped to tackle a task. And to accurately assess that, you need to know everyone's capacity at all times; you simply can’t allocate with confidence without full transparency!
Resource levelling: Microsoft defines resource levelling as “the act of taking a project with people assigned to a bunch of tasks, and making it so that they don't have to work overtime.” It’s often the next step after allocation, used when resources are limited. Levelling is all about moving resources around and working them to the best of your ability, so you can finish the job as quickly and efficiently as possible. So when one worker is maxed out, you can quickly find someone with spare capacity and the right experience to share the load.
Resource forecasting: As the name suggests, this is about predicting future resource requirements and it’s essential for precise allocation and planning. In the business world, guessing isn’t enough; you need to have an accurate idea of what’s around the corner and how your resources will be utilized. If you’re planning a project, you can’t establish limitations, unanticipated costs or possible risks without resource forecasting – and you can’t ensure a profitable project return without it.
Simple resource management tools
You don’t need to invest in clunky, heavy-weight project management tools just to get a grasp of how you spend your project resources. There are a ton of powerful, user-friendly apps out that which can help keep the whole job simple and painless. Three of the best include:
As a resource management tool, Float has all the key features required for effortless planning: it’s all about quick and painless assignment, speedy editing, instant updates and vacation planning. Float also has effective reporting features that can be modified for maximum insight into different divisions, projects and resources.
You can’t organize your resources effectively without full visibility over how you actually spend them. Automatic time tracking app Timely tracks it all for you in the background. See exactly how your team spends its time, with a real-time overview of all the tasks and time that goes into each project. Your team dashboard lets you instantly see who has capacity and who’s at their maximum. It’s especially useful for identifying resource drains and learning from your past performance to improve estimates.
This is one of the old favorites when it comes to resource management. It allows you to easily filter, allocate resource, assess availability and report. It also avoids any resource conflict allocation by highlighting the availability for each resource, as well as any waiting lists.