While resource management can sometimes feel time-consuming or intimidating to undertake, this stage of the project management process should not be taken lightly. The accuracy of your resource management not only dictates the timeline of the project but also the project’s profitability.
Why is Resource Management Important?
Resource management is about more than assigning resources to a project. Resource management plays an important role in setting project expectations, improving project flow, and increasing project profitability and success.
1. Improved Project Success
Most project managers know that in order to deliver a successful project, one needs a successful plan in place. A resource plan acts as a blueprint or roadmap for project success, helping to detail which resources are needed at what time, as well as which deliverables will be expected at what times. Think of it as having a map and compass to cross a desert vs. trying to cross blindly. The traveler with a map will have a much higher likelihood of reaching his or her destination safely and effectively.
2. Predictable Project Timeline
One of the main reasons project managers rely on a resource management plan is to set realistic expectations with the client or stakeholder about the project timeline. A resource management plan includes a detailed timeline of resource use and project progression including detailing when specific project deliverables can be expected. Resource management takes the guesswork out of the project timeline, helping set expectations with stakeholders as well as providing a baseline for the project manager to measure project progress.
3. More Accurate Estimates
It can sometimes be difficult to estimate a project, especially if the project is new or different from previous projects. This is one of the reasons resource management is important. With a good resource management process, it is easier to create more accurate estimates. This is because the project manager can more accurately break down which resources will be needed to complete a project as well as the associated costs, empowering the salesperson or manager to more accurately calculate project costs and profit margins. It also provides a record of historical data from previous resource plans and projects to better inform budgets for new projects.
4. Improved Profitability
Because of the improved insight into actual project costs, organizations can use resource management to improve their overall profitability. One of the biggest challenges in profitability, especially in professional services companies, is attributing costs to actual projects. Resource management simplifies this process—especially when the company uses a sophisticated resource management tool—helping to better predict and track resource use. This, in turn, informs more educated project estimates and profit margins.
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5. Better Employee Satisfaction
An employee who is overworked, constantly behind schedule, or taking part in too many simultaneous projects is going to feel overwhelmed and dissatisfied with their job. This is why resource management is an important asset to the company. Resource management quantifies the work an employee has on his or her plate and helps project managers make more strategic decisions about who to include on new projects and when to do so. This helps to prevent work overload, which can improve employee morale and satisfaction.
6. Effective Use of Resources
While not overloading employees is one side of the project management coin, the other is ensuring that the company is making the most of the resources they have. This is especially true in companies that have limited resources. Resource management is important for seeing what percentage of a resource’s time is currently being used and who is available, ensuring more balanced workloads and more effective use of resources.
7. Better Informed Hiring Decisions
There is a recurring state in the growth cycle where workload exceeds available resources. However, this state can be difficult to pinpoint without an effective resource management system. With effective resource management, however, project managers can not only track when they are running short on resources, but can also see which projects are in the pipeline and which resource needs are pending. This can help provide better insight into whether the current resource pool is sufficient to manage current and pending project needs or whether a new or temporary hire needs to be made.
8. Improved Project Flow
Resource management is important for filling in the gaps between where you are now and where you want to go. It helps create a roadmap for the project, helping the project to move between departments—if needed—more smoothly and efficiently. By setting expectations and improving communication and visibility, project managers find that projects flow much more smoothly.
9. Predictable Patterns for Success
Once a project has been successfully completed, a resource management plan allows a project manager to more easily replicate that success. Some project management software, such as Mavenlink, allows you to transform a successful project into a resource management template that can be adapted for use with future projects.
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