Do you know that according to recent data, an average employee spends a little under 40% of his or her day on the actual job? So, what happens to the rest of the day? It gets eaten up by redundant tasks, meetings, emails, and unnecessary activities. This highlights the importance of proper planning and forecasting of your projects and resources. It also means that it is very crucial to use the company's resources in the best possible way. What do we mean by resources here? It includes financial resources, people or human skills, equipment, material utilization, and much more. Proper planning and effective resource management can help organizations succeed and be ahead of their competitors. There are a few principles that guarantee effective resource planning and management. But before moving to that, let's understand what is meant by resource management.
The main goal of project management is to collaborate various resources, processes, and technology to deliver the intended outcome. Thus, resources play a very significant role in the success of any project. So, what is meant by resource management? It is how you are managing or using your available resources. Therefore, resource management means maximizing the productivity of your resources towards the desired goal by managing them in an efficient manner.
To master effective resource management, the first step is to get a clear understanding of the end objective and the available capacity. You also need to get an insight into the competencies of the resource pool, their working style, and your future pipeline. Effective resource management involves planning, scheduling, and allocating your resources in such a way that maximizes efficiency. For this, project managers need visibility into key performance metrics and all details about the available resources. This is why a well-planned and effective resource management strategy is vital for your projects to succeed.
One of the most important factors which are invariably overlooked is that resources are usually people. Think about it – Can all the data and graphs increase your team's utilization and productivity? The truth is that it's your team members who are responsible for any project's success. And that is the most important thing one should remember regarding effective resource management. It's important to have open communication, be a good leader and inspire, and motivate your team. You may have implemented the best resource management software but picking the most suitable people for your projects is the key. Next, creating a collaborative and transparent environment is equally important.
Project managers who involve their team members in decision-making and achieve common organizational goals together are more successful. Make sure you align all your resources to the right projects and set proper expectations. Your team should have clarity about the task and what is expected from them. They should also understand the importance of tasks assigned and their priority. It's also a good idea to have open discussions within the team and involve them in the risk identification of projects. You should give them the freedom to estimate the effort needed to complete a task and accordingly make their schedules while considering the priorities. This enhances their commitment to the projects and schedules.
Another principle for effective resource management is to track the time and effort needed to complete certain repeatable projects. When you are monitoring project duration and hours put in, you will be startled at how the time requirements were being under budget. This is an important step to achieving a balance between effective resource planning and project management. However, if you have a clear insight into how long a task should take, then it's easy to allocate and schedule resources to various projects.
If effective resource planning is your goal, then you should try to allocate suitable resources for the right tasks or projects. Don't just pick any resource for any task. First, match the resource skill set, and capability, and also consider his or her interest in the given task. Then, go ahead and assign. But to do this, you need to know your resources well. Make an effort to find out which task will motivate a person and bring out his or her best potential. Assign that project or task only to that resource then and you will see how their productivity and performance go up.
For any project manager, it is important to strike a balance between project and resource management. He should know what motivates his team but also plan and manage his projects flawlessly. How do you do that? Firstly, it’s important to have a larger view of all the projects and resources in the organization. Resource management software comes in handy here. Such a tool will help you in enterprise resource scheduling and effective resource management. With such a tool, you will have a list of all the projects and people in the organization. Then, you can identify if there are any probable loopholes or red flags that might crop up. This also enables you to take some productivity measures that may be important to run your business.
You might be running your projects smoothly, but what happens when some sudden requests come up? Or if any last-minute opportunities arise, or your best resource goes on unplanned leave? Ad hoc requests are also very common, and they can derail your project schedule and team’s work. You might have not planned for such contingencies and hence all your estimates in your project and resource plan and your utilization numbers can go for a toss. Hence, it’s important to have a realistic view of what your team can accomplish. Bake in some time for any such exigencies or unplanned pitfalls, so that your project and resource plan is not impacted in a big way.
A project manager needs to strike a proper balance between the resources and projects. You should be aware of what your team members are working on and how you can encourage them to do their best. So, ensure to review every project and the progress each resource is making. Identify any snags you foresee and introduce actions to resolve them. Additionally, keep tracking all key metrics to spot any areas that may require more attention.
While doing enterprise resource scheduling, it's important to prioritize various tasks or opportunities, special requests, organizational goals, and final deliverables. To ensure effective resource planning, you need to think about how you will take care of any ad hoc requests and if they are important or urgent to address. You must have heard people say that a certain task will take just a few minutes, but that doesn't happen. At times, ad hoc requests end up hampering your entire schedule. Therefore, for effective resource management and especially while scheduling, you should be aware of how much effort a particular request or task will take. By determining your priorities in a systematic manner, you can allocate resources and streamline your business operations easily and in a better way.
Resources always perform the best when they feel passionate about the work they do. If your team members are working on projects that don't match their interests or competencies, then the outcome won't be of good quality. It's vital for a project manager to know his or her teammates and find out what they enjoy doing and where their interest lies. This enables you in finding the best match when you need a resource for a project or task and optimal resource allocation will be a possibility. Also, if your team member has done well on some task, never let it pass unrewarded. It's good to let people know that their efforts are important to the project.
In today's times, using manual processes doesn't work. If you aim to improve your team's productivity, then you need to use the latest technologies and automate your processes and manual tasks. For example, if you use the right resource management software, it will take care of the status reporting, dashboards, timesheets, resource planning, etc. Removing mundane tasks will free up people's time and reduce errors. When your team members have more free time, you can reallocate them to other crucial projects that are on priority. Also, using resource management software helps you pull out the needed information and create comprehensive reports and visual dashboards.
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