Resource management refers to pre-planning, scheduling, and allocating human resources, funds, physical assets and space, technology platforms, and software to a project or program. In other words, it is the practice of allocating resources to projects to achieve certain organizational goals. Well-practiced resource management makes sure the availability of the right resources at the right time in the right amount.
Needless to reiterate, resources are essential to perform the tasks to achieve the objectives of projects and reach the organizational goals. Resources include money, manpower, materials, physical space, assets, software tools, and time. The purpose of resource management is to combine various resources in the right proportions and weightage to meet the project requirements. This has to be looked at from an understanding that these resources are scarce and may be in demand for other tasks or projects in the business where the benefits are on par and more.
This is what Gartner has to say about balancing available resources against demand, “Leaders must enable careful initiative prioritization, prevent resource overload, and promote flexible completion timing to maximize value delivery.” Having clear visibility into the demand and capacity of the resources will help you to effectively allocate shared and limited resources. For resource management to be effective and efficient, the projects, tasks, schedules, budgets, capacities, and planning must align with corporate vision and strategy. Most businesses have the goal of maximizing the value of their shareholders by prioritizing resources based on the value the projects return to the organization.
Resource management can be adopted at different levels, across the enterprise, portfolios, departments, or teams. In business projects, you need a complete understanding of and transparency into the objectives of your projects and the capacity of available resources. A well-established resource management practice enables organizations to utilize resources effectively to maximize performance.
The type of resources and their proportion will vary based on the specific nature of the project you are working on. For example, if you are managing a project to develop a software solution, it involves allocating manpower resources of the right skillsets, budgeting money for buying or subscribing to development platforms and tools, and ensuring the availability of physical space for staff to work if working from the office or remote working tools if working away from the office, and implementing tools to track the project and team working.
Management of resources is all about achieving more with fewer resources. One of the objectives of resource management is bringing about optimization in resource utilization, by minimizing waste. It will help you plan what resources in what numbers are required and how to allocate them to gain maximum benefits. Projects, particularly in businesses, have to compete for resources and the project that can return the maximum corporate benefits will win priority over others. While resource management is typically performed by project managers, some organizations that have multiple projects in progress at any point in time will have an exclusive resource manager to manage the allocation of resources.
We have understood that having a resource management plan is critical to optimizing people, materials, and budget efficiency. Let’s discuss what involves in its implementation across the projects in your organization.
Unless resources like employees whose skillset requirements are specific for any particular project, resources, in general, are in a common pool from where they are drawn and allocated based on the project plan and budget. Resource allocation is crucial at the planning stage where it becomes complex at times when there is high demand for certain resources like particular employees with niche skills, or scarce funds.
Resource forecasting during the planning stages of a project helps the team forecast the scope of the project, probable constraints, unforeseen costs, and potential risks. This is done with the understanding of the project objectives, lifecycle objectives, project timelines, and available resources within the organization. This is important for better control over the cost and time of the project.
Resource leveling is a resource optimization technique that aims to complete a project with the available resources without overutilizing them. The purpose of resource leveling is to distribute work between resources fairly and to make the project timelines realistic and achievable. In other words, resource leveling tries to get you the idea of when the project can be accomplished without adding more resources.
Taking an example of human resources, If you have in your team a functional consultant with coding experience, you can use the resource when a small but urgent coding requirement comes up, without hiring a temporary employee. In the absence of such resources on board, you can resort to the Talent as a Service platform to hire the right employee for the right period. If you don’t want to bother about doing resource management, Task as a Service platform will help take the headache away from you.