If you’re running a small company, you probably haven’t experienced all the issues that crop up at scale (yet!).
And if you’re running a larger operation, you probably all know all the problems I’m going to mention in this article.
Keep on reading to see how the right solution can help you solve these common PM pain points and which features to consider when researching management software for your company.
What is resource management?
Resource management is the process of planning, scheduling, and allocating resources in the most efficient way possible.
You can probably tell that resource management isn’t a one-off job that happens just at the beginning of the project. It’s something you engage in right from the start up until the very end of the project.
Ultimately, the goal of resource management is to fulfill all of the objectives at the level of individual tasks, projects, and your entire business. The idea is to reach them with the greatest possible resource efficiency along the way.
Why invest your time in resource management?
- It provides you with an overview of everyone and everything involved in your project – this type of knowledge is critical when you’re booking new projects, negotiating with clients, or planning the next quarters. Without it, you’re running the risk of schedule conflict and scrambling at the last minute to hire new talent (and we all know how time-consuming that is).
- It enables creating a resource utilization plan – another great advantage of resource management is that it allows you to control the amount of work your people have on their plates. Underutilizing and overutilizing your resources both have dire consequences. In the former, your developers get bored and might start looking for another job. In the latter, they’re overwhelmed with work and have no energy left to be innovative. By having a clear idea about employee utilization rate, you can avoid these problems and enjoy your high retention rate at your company.
- It makes the planning and management process more transparent – this advantage is particularly important for companies that have a team of project managers. You don’t want to end up in a situation where a project is almost booked, and your core resource is suddenly assigned to another task. Lack of transparent resource allocation and scheduling leads to miscommunication between project managers and overall frustration within the entire team.
- It helps you see problems before they start – a good resource planning solution will give you plenty of insights to anticipate problems before they snowball into massive issues. For example, if you notice that senior backend developers are constantly overutilized in your project, you will know who to recruit next and offload them.
- It gives you control over the project – you know who is assigned to the project, how long it will take them to complete project milestones, and their next steps.
Different types of resource management
Resource or project scheduling is about making sure that you have the right capacity available for projects. It means that no employee is double-booked, or your PM forgets that your DevOps engineer is on vacation this week.
A good project scheduling software helps you avoid problems like double bookings and properly manage talents and figure out the expectations of your people to increase your retention rate.
Resource planning doesn’t only consider the current projects but the future. It’s about getting the right resources for the right project at the right time.
Thanks to a resource planning solution, you can plan projects and assign people to them months in advance. Having this type of knowledge is invaluable when negotiating deals with new customers.
This area is all about allocating resources and monitoring their utilization rate. You also engage in practices like resource leveling and resource smoothing here. Long-term planning and strategic management of your product portfolio also fall into this area of resource management.
8 common resource management pain points (and how to solve them)
1. Lack of accountability
One of the most common problems IT services companies run into is holding project managers accountable for the people they assign a project to.
Are they tracking their utilization rate? Do managers know the available capacity of every team member? Are they accountable for managing their talent?
You can easily solve this problem by implementing a system that provides transparent information about every employee. That way, you can organize your PM department and develop a culture that promotes ownership among project managers.
2. No talent development or management capabilities
Many IT companies simply have no management capabilities when it comes to helping people grow in their jobs.
Do you have a system in place that allows employees to communicate what they’re interested in? Do you know which skills they want to grow?
Resource allocation tools help to foster employee development as well. You can add information to an employee profile and add the entire history of an employee’s experience and development. This information will come in handy whenever you assign them to a new project and is bound.
The profile may also include their skills and development goals. That way, you can track how they’re doing and increase your retention rate by ensuring that they get assigned to the project that aligns really well with their interests and career objectives.
3. Lack of alignment between employees and your business strategy
Can you tell with 100% certainty that your workforce is aligned with your overall business strategy? If not, prepare for trouble.
This is also where resource allocation tools can help a lot. By knowing which talents your business needs to grow, your HR department can create a recommendation system for your employees. This will also add a layer of transparency to your hiring process.
4. Lack of consistency in execution
It’s likely that you already have some core processes in place, like workforce planning. But how good are you at executing these processes? How do you measure your success?
A good project management solution gives you a source of historical data you can dig into to check how your plans compare to reality. You can also get all the insights coming from projects in the past and check how many hours that given task or milestone took to deliver.
A resource management tool shows you how different hard and soft skills are being used at your company. For example, you might discover that 50% of resources are used all the time because of their key competencies. These people are more likely to get overwhelmed. You can step in and prevent them from burning out.
5. No analytics tools in place
Resource management is just like any other project. You track your HR and finance objectives, so why not track resource management as well?
In reality, you need to keep an eye on all the metrics that matter, like utilization rate, available capacity, and others.
It’s smart to measure the effectiveness of your talent management programs or how much work people have vs. their skills. These are all important metrics that will tell you whether things are going in the right direction and you’re investing in skills that bring you the greatest ROI.
6. No bird’s eye view of your project portfolio
This type of software also gives you a high-level overview of everything happening in your project portfolio. The good thing is that it allows you to plan over the long term.
And this type of planning is key for IT companies looking to gain more control over their fate.
7. Miscommunication problems
Implementing resource management software will never have to deal with problems like double booking or communication issues between PMs about tentative projects. Your company will be able to support more dynamic scenarios.
8. Lack of forecasting capabilities
With one resource management solution, you can keep all your data in one place. This brings you a wealth of insights and helps to forecast the future.
You will know which team member will be working on which project and for how long. Having all of this information formalized and in one place will help you accurately estimate your available capacity within the next month and quickly get new people on board when new projects knock on your door.
Book a demo with me to see how such a solution works in real life. I’ll show you how to become a resource management guru for your company.