Broadly speaking, resource management refers to efficient and effective deployment of resources onto organizational work. Such allocation depends on requirement, resource availability, location and skill sets among other specifications. The work in question includes both project-driven tasks as well as non-project ones.
In the larger scheme of things, resources are one of the biggest assets of an organization. In addition to real-time optimization, keeping them satisfied and challenged is of paramount importance to build a workforce that you can count on. Under or over utilization, stagnation, ad-hoc hiring and firing are some of the reasons why a lot of teams fail to reach their true potential. Therefore, dedicated resource management makes comprehensive, well-rounded resource utilization a part of your operations. Overall visibility, optimal utilization, finding the right resources for the task at hand and forecasting upcoming demand – together form the four pillars of such successful resource management
Let us now understand these four pillars in depth:
1. Enterprise-Wide Visibility
Visibility refers to having organization-wide access to resource details and timelines. This is the starting point of efficient management. It makes room for seamless business collaboration and communication among teams. In addition, as a manager, you can access resource availability, skillsets and timeline statuses in a matter of minutes. As a result, your decisions are guided by facts rather than immediate availability.
The ability to incorporate real-time changes into the schedule, keep all stakeholders informed and churn out reports as and when required, are other advantages of such visibility.
2. Optimal Resource Utilization
A healthy team is optimally utilized. This means, contrary to popular misconception, overwork does not really contribute toward productivity. On the other hand, underutilized employees can get demotivated while adding onto your overhead costs. Optimal utilization therefore refers to honoring time and skill commitment of resources.
Besides placing them on a schedule that is feasible, giving them opportunities to hone their skill sets and explore their true potential is also important. Visibility not only lets you access availability statuses but also lets you immediately find cases of under/over-utilization. You can automate this with weekly utilization reports to alter allocation as projects progress.
3. Allocating The Best Resource For The Task At Hand
Resource allocation cannot be based on the timeline status alone, especially when the tasks are project-centric. It needs to have a skill and experience checklist tied to it so that project on-boarding, milestones and outcomes are all benefited. The traditional resource request process that involves poring over spreadsheets and unstructured communication between managers does not guarantee a perfect resource fit. Visibility, detailed resource information and a mechanism to filter employees based on their skills and experience lets you place the
right people on the right projects. Besides, you can optimize internal shifts, make the most of billable hours and encourage your employees to explore new opportunities when you can easily avail resource details.
4. Forecasting Future Resource Requirements
As teams get leaner and project expectations get demanding, planning for your pipeline prospects becomes more important than ever. Demand forecasting lets you on-board the right talent well in time and lets you notify hiring managers of the need to hire new resources. When the billable hours are in question, it lets you jump directly onto the project, without having to wait for resources. It also acts as a steady long-term resource management strategy that ensures you have well-rounded teams.
Capacity planning, resultant of demand generation and forecasting, lets you design a workforce that exactly meets your demands. This lets you diversify your resources in terms of full-timers, part- timers and contractors. In addition, you will no longer have to fire resources as projects end and can instead place them onto upcoming ones, thereby eliminating the costs of last- minute hiring and firing. In addition to tying in updates of your sales funnel into your project management cycle, it helps to automate forecasting with weekly reports and plan your capacity accordingly.
Resource management is often a functional unit within project management or confused with human resource management. However, when given dedicated attention and the right resource management tools, the results it yields can exponentially change the way your business operates.
Image from http://study.com/academy/subj/business/human-resources/human-resource-management.html