When it comes to resource management systems, project managers have several tools available. From simple homegrown systems using spreadsheets and calendars to robust resource management software platforms, the options are endless.
However, not all resource management tools are created equally. The right resource management tool not only elevates the organization of your team, but can also improve business processes for a better, more efficient company.
4 Qualities of an Effective Resource Management System
When comparing resource management systems, it’s important to look at it not as a “scheduling mechanism,” but as a way to improve business processes. With the right resource management tool project managers can streamline production, maximize resources, and increase project profitability.
Below are 4 important qualities of an effective resource management system.
Your resource management system should be comprehensive, helping to track every resource needed to complete a task—and when. In addition, a resource management system should help you make more informed resource management decisions. This means:
- Not only choosing the right resources, but also being able to see their current bandwidth (including soft allocations for tentative projects) for realistic projections.
- Not only scheduling hour allocation, but also blocking tasks out in a visual calendar for more accurate delivery dates.
- Not only seeing resource needs, but also the associated costs for more accurate job costing and estimating.
- Not only estimating projects, but also performing profitability comparisons for multiple project resource scenarios to maximize profitability
- Not only facilitating pre-project planning, but also up-to-the-minute progress, bottlenecks, or areas for adjustment (and allowing informed drag-and-drop adjustments), and post-project reporting for improved business intelligence.
2. Integration With Existing Systems
By integrating your resource management tool with your billing system, CRM, and communication tool—such as Slack—you’re helping to consolidate project information while streamlining the communication of project information.
With CRM integration, for instance, project coordinators can better anticipate projects in the pipeline. Sales or client experience teams can also have improved visibility into project progress to improve communication with existing clients.
Billing integration helps to eliminate double entry, minimizing error and ensuring nothing falls through the cracks. It also simplifies the process of fulfilling and billing for change orders.
3. Robust Reporting Tools
One of the crucial steps of resource management is the “post-mortem,” reviewing a completed project to compare budgeted resource needs to actual resources used. Without this step, you may be overestimating or under-budgeting and may not even be aware. This step of the process helps you make any necessary adjustments to project estimates and resource management based on actual data.
For instance, you may anticipate that a four-person team will collectively take 175 hours of labor to complete a project. Not only have you based your job quote on that estimate, but you’ve probably also scheduled another job to take place after the first is complete. If, in reality, the project takes 205 hours to complete, you’ve not only lost profit margin on the project, but will also likely see the next projects on the calendar get pushed.
Without reporting tracking estimates compared to actual outcomes, it can be hard to see where the bottlenecks are and when the project started to go off-schedule or budget. When your resource management system includes important report generation tools, you gain the ability to manage projects much more predictably and effectively.
4. Project Resource Templates
If your business performs similar projects over and over again, it can be a waste of time to start your resource management plan from scratch every time. An effective resource management system will allow you to create templates for similar projects to simplify the resource building process.
Your resource management software should not only be able to replicate successful resource plans, but should also be able to create “outline” templates that detail what type of resources need to be used and allow you to drag and drop available resources in to fill those needs.
Outcomes of an Effective Resource Management System
An effective resource management system not only helps create a better, more predictable timeline and budget for your projects, but it also helps improve the performance of your business.
- Higher profitability by more effectively costing projects and developing accurate resource plans for projects.
- Better customer relationships by improving the predictability of deliverables and by improving communication.
- Increased employee engagement by improving task allocation to prevent overloading—or under utilizing—resources.
- Improved Business Intelligence to inform pricing, workflow, hiring decisions, and more.
Would you like to see an effective resource management program in action? Start your free trial of Mavenlink project and resource management software today.