Type resource management into Google and a top frequently asked question is why is resource management important? If you’re struggling to answer that yourself then take a look at our mini-guide as to why it is the keystone of effective project management.
Resource management is key for any scaling and enterprise business because:
It creates the Big Picture of the who, what, when, where and why of a project
It highlights the Capacity of the organization as a whole
It aligns Skill with the work to be undertaken
It provides a basis to allow for Remote/Agile Working methods
It identifies likely Crunches ahead of time
It allows you to Save Your Star Player for your star project
It means the organization Holds the Power to win
Still unsure? Keeping reading.
WHAT IS RESOURCE MANAGEMENT?
Resource management is the planning and allocation of resources in a way that maximises the potential of the businesses capacity. People often conflate it to simply scheduling work so internal resource meets demand; whilst true, this is a minor aspect of effective resource management in the wider scheme of what it can actually achieve.
In reality if you want to provide the best experience for your customers you’ll need to understand why resource management is so important.
1. The Big Picture
Good resource management needs to be proactive, not reactive. You need to be assigning based on science and data not just filling in units of billable time. Done well, it can provide the whole picture of internal capacity on a grand scale at any given time, forecast and actual.
With the big picture you can then be agile - provided with the ability rather than the ambition to be reactive to unexpected issues, which should be few and far between given the planning behind it.
Note capacity, NOT utilization. This differentiation is important and the key to an essential change-up in thinking about resourcing. Capacity isn’t just how much time you are spending on a project, it is the complete picture of skill, availability, geography, necessity and even people’s passion areas, that come together as the bucket of potential to execute on the workload. Execute well or poorly, as the case maybe, and a resource manager can proactively align, or re-align, resource to the pipeline of work.
Often overlooked is skill and this will be more important than ever in the new remote reality - how do you track where your talent lies in the business and rather than:
“Is there time available to complete that task?”
...it should be...
“Is there skill to complete that task?”
Resource management needs to service this area not just so clients know they are receiving the skill most aligned to their project, but so staff feel valued on a personal level and are assigned in-line with their vocation. Mapping this effectively will also aid remote resource management as skill becomes less anecdotal and more formalized in a system or database.
4. Remote/Agile Working
The above leads nicely into this. In the new remote reality that exists, both during and exiting the pandemic, projects and delivery will have gone through a significant shift. The most obvious is requiring the ability to deliver remotely and the ability to adapt to changing demand.
Agile methodologies aren’t new but their power is increasing and a healthy resource management process that goes beyond utilization as described above is ideal for adapting to new and changing circumstances. Our customers have noted that projects in their pipeline have been cancelled, brought forward, reduced in size, grown, pushed back, paused and a menagerie of other circumstances, and having to be agile during this time with the ability to shift resource quickly to meet these new demands is essential. Hence why resource management is so important.
5. Capacity Crunches
Capacity over utilization is one thing but crunches are often what stall or delay a project. Resource management can aid in mitigating crunches as:
You have an overview, so you know where changes can be made to minimize impact.
You know where your pockets of capacity are so you can find them quickly.
You’ve forecast your likely capacity against the likely pipeline of work so you’ve minimized the likelihood of a crunch in the first place.
By managing resource effectively, burn-out levels are less likely, leaving time for ad hoc demands should they arise.
6. Save your Star Player for your Star Project
We will cover this in depth in a blog coming soon, but for now it's important to know this should be kept front of mind. Your clients want to know that their work is being done by the most suitable person in the organization, not just who has the time to do it. With effective resource management, you can plan all upcoming work, know your pipeline and assign people appropriately so when that key project commences, your key player is ready and available.
7. Hold the Power
This sounds like an 80s ballad, but with good resource management you can beat the competition as you can show your clients exactly who is working on their project and when with realistic timelines and projections that you can share much sooner than others which can help to win the project in the first place.
So the benefits are multiple and the outcomes positive. With effective resource management you can:
Reduce burn-out and align people to project better - happy customers and happy employees.
People are being managed effectively so you're deploying their potential in the best possible way and minimizing wastage.
You’ve forecast demand and therefore forecast any pitfalls, like gaps in skill or availability, that you can plug ahead of time.
You can tackle unexpected problems with agility and fix them faster.