A quick guide to effective resource management
Good management of resources is essential to successful project management. Here’s our guide to getting it right.
Effective resource management is critical to the success of any business project – but what exactly is it? Simply speaking, resource management is the process of planning, scheduling, allocating and monitoring your resources in order to achieve maximum efficiency.
In this context, the term ‘resources’ covers anything that is needed to complete a project or task – so it could refer to items as varied as project team members, office space, and specific equipment or software.
Why is it important?
The reason that resource management is so important is that, done well, it enables you to plan out how to get the most out of the limited resources available to you, which in turn helps you to manage the project as efficiently as possible. In the business world, waste equals reduced profits, so finding a way to do more with less can be a big advantage.
It’s easy to see why resource management is so important to businesses, but how can you make sure you do it right?
Create a plan
As with any other element of project management, successful resource management should begin with a detailed plan, which will form the foundation for your management process. Get together with other key players on the project and make a detailed list of all the resources you will need in order to complete the project on time and on budget.
To ensure your project runs smoothly, it’s important to continually monitor workloads and measure progress. Use project management tools to report on resource allocation and assess individuals’ progress against assigned tasks. This will allow you to see where your resources are stretched and where they may be underused, enabling you to adjust task allocation accordingly and ensure that the workload is distributed equally across the team.
Create a contingency
As the popular saying goes, ‘fail to prepare and you prepare to fail’, so take the time to create a contingency plan. No matter the size of your team, resource shortages can and do happen, but having a detailed contingency plan that outlines how you will respond to potential shortages or unexpected events will help you to stay calm, and find a way forward that minimises the risk to your project outcome.
Treat your team right
It should go without saying, but ensuring that your team feels happy, valued and motivated is an essential element of resource management – after all they are the ones responsible for the success (or not) of a project. Good communication and keeping your team informed is vital to good morale – and a decent incentive scheme can be a really effective way of keeping your team motivated and encouraging them to push for results.
Automate key processes
Resource management can be a complex business, so make sure you make full use of the tools available to you. Technology has done a lot for resource management in recent years, and there is some great resource management software out there that will allow you to automate key processes, saving time and money, and, ultimately, freeing you up so that you can concentrate on steering your project to success.