What is a resource management plan?
A resource management plan (or simply a resource plan in project management) can be defined as a reference point and guideline for managers. It contains information that allows them to successfully and accurately allocate, manage and monitor the resources they use to achieve their goal.
Why is a resource management plan important for project management?
First of all, a resource management plan helps avoid numerous mistakes, whether in estimates or in the actual schedules.
It allows project managers to see their specialist and their availability as it really is, instead of making a wild guess. That’s why resource management plans result in much more accurate assumptions.
Workload well managed
Resource management plans can also help people in charge to spot overworked or benched employees.
As a result, the sales department can focus on searching for additional projects for those who found themselves with no task to be done, while HR can see which specialists need to be hired to support the ones struggling with too many responsibilities.
Resource management plan focuses on maximizing the output of every working hour for every employee - and for service companies, these hours are the main source of income.
As a result, with a resource plan in place, companies can plan their work better and find some room for additional (and very profitable) projects.
What should you include in your resource management plan?
In the most typical case, the resource management plan should include the information on:
- Resources - required people, machinery, technologies, programs, etc., and their availability,
- Timeframes - projects, their stages, particular tasks,
- Assumptions and constraints - availability, commitments, schedule, maximum costs and minimum margin, scope of projects, things to avoid, must-haves, work pace, any other project or company-specific factors.
- Roles and responsibilities - managers, responsible people, leaders, access levels, etc.
5 steps to create a succesful resource management plan
In its core, a resource management plan is very simple. In general, it consists of:
- Planning the project.
- Exchange the information on the resources.
- Time tracking and monitoring.
- Updating the resource plan.
But how does that short outline translate to the actual work?
How to create a resource management plan? Step by step guide with examples
The consecutive steps of a resource management plan require much more thought and, above all, work, than their short names indicate. Let’s see what they really stand for.
Planning the project
Planning the project is definitely the most complex part of a resource management plan.
At this stage, you need to:
- define the scope of work,
- determine the resources needed for the project,
- estimate the time needed to complete each task or each stage of the project,
- create a draft schedule of the entire project.
As a result, you will create a general outline of a project and see its approximate schedule.
When should you start planning your project?
Planning phase should start even before the project becomes certain; it should begin while the operations are still being drafted out.
It’s all about making sure that the right people are available to do the job. When you sign a deal, you claim that you have what it takes to complete the project on a given schedule.
If it turns out that, in fact, that statement wasn’t true, both you and your company are in big trouble.
If you draft a resource plan before the paperwork is finished, you can confirm that your specialist really can be a part of the project at the time it’s going to be carried out.
In other words, you minimize the risk of delays and increase the likelihood of the project being successful.
Exchanging the information
Even the most independent project teams cannot work without their managers, executives and the rest of corporate machinery.
That is why exchanging information on the available resources is vital for the project’s success.
How to exchange information without wasting time?
That is the main question that represents all the struggles of a resource management plan at this stage.
Generally speaking, there are three ways to exchange information:
- in lengthy meetings,
- in e-mails,
- in up-to-date tools serving as a single source of truth.
The key to success is to combine these three methods to create a bigger picture of all the operations.
In other words, meetings should be based on actual and verified data coming from a single source of truth for all stakeholders, and e-mails should only serve as a supplement to those meetings.
Information exchange: key objectives
Any information exchange should not be just a friendly conversation. Its main objectives include:
- find any conflicts and problems,
- prevent overbooking or low profitability forecasts,
- taking a closer look at absences,
- making final decisions on resource planning.
Only with these objectives completed you can be sure that you have the data to make the best possible decisions and you can move on further in the resource management plan.
Time tracking and monitoring
While time tracking may seem like a burden for many employees (yes, we know they have forgotten to log in their hours once again…), for managers their reports are of great value - not only because they can use the data to create an invoice at the end of the month.
What is the main objective of time tracking?
In general, time tracking should be used for:
- monitoring the work of teams and employees to find any irregularities (i.e. overtime, benches, etc.),
- monitoring the overall project progress,
- checking whether the project schedule is realistic,
- creating financial estimations for the project, including its profitability,
- spotting any arising issues and solving them.
How to do all of these things with just time tracking?
The information gathered in the time tracking process itself provides us with numerous valuable insights. However, these insights are not necessarily available at hand.
That’s why it’s worth having a resource planning tool that can combine tracked hours with financials, project management, and skill management.
Let’s take a look at how it can be done using Primetric’s example.
Primetric’s time tracking feature can gather the information from all the employees and create advanced reports that help project managers get a bigger picture of the work. Importantly, they also include finances, so these two layers of the project are not separated.
Additionally, these data can further be converted into other useful statistics, too.
For example, Primetric can use the information from time tracking to show managers what is the planned and actual capacity, monitor project progress, and more.
Changes in the project are often inevitable - but they are as much of an opportunity as they are an obstacle. Everything depends on the accuracy of the project management forecasting you base your decisions on.
How to create an accurate forecast without a crystal ball?
To create an accurate forecast, you need to take a closer look at:
- time tracking reports,
- advanced reports, i.e. profitability, capacity, etc.,
- project’s finances,
- inconsistencies in the plan, i.e. overtime, benches, unexpected absences, etc.,
- any other information on the condition of the project.
In other words, you need to have a general overview of the project. Only its bigger picture can show you what’s really going on in the project.
Of course, you cannot do that manually - we recommend using advanced tools for the purpose. For example, in Primetric, you can monitor the project in project progress tools, as well as other reports focused on particular layers of operations.
Updating the resource plan
If you paid attention to the previous steps of the resource management plan, at this point you should have everything you need to see the elements of the resource plan that need to be adjusted.
In this step, you should use the data from the project monitoring and compare them with the schedule.
Then, whenever you see any inconsistencies, adjust the plan or edit it accordingly - of course, having in mind the resources you already have.
Resource management plan: template
We realize that resource management plans can seem quite complicated. Fortunately, we want it to be easy for you even outside of our tool.
To create a resource management plan on your own, download our free resources management plan template and fill in the details of your project. Then, you will have all the information your project needs to succeed!
Benefits of a resource management plan
- Avoiding hurdles and unexpected problems - use the resource management plan to monitor the project and predict risks you wish to avoid before they impact your project.
- Preventing overtime and benches - with a resource management plan, you can see which employees have some time to spend on new projects and use their availability to the fullest, increasing profits.
- Creating a feeling of transparency in both managers and employees - with the right access level, both parties can see what’s going on and what’s to come, and they can act accordingly.
- Measuring the performance - resource management plan sets a path for the entire project. When consecutive tasks are completed, their statistics can be compared to the schedule, helping evaluate the project’s performance.
- Improving management processes - resource management plan, whether it was followed to the letter or not, is a perfect source of information for managers who want to learn from their mistakes and improve what they do.
Which tools should be used for resource management plans?
Of course, resource management plans cannot be created without the right tools at hand. But what are they?
Resource planning in Jira
As you may already know, Jira has some resource planning tools you can use to create a basic resource management plan. However, Jira only offers a limited range of tools for the purpose.
Presently, project managers can use Jira to create projects, tasks, and assign people that have to complete them. However, they are very limited and they are only enough for small projects with no additional parameters included (i.e., finances, reports, skill management, etc.).
Comprehensive resource management plan in Primetric
In contrast to Jira, Primetric is capable of supporting a comprehensive resource management plan thanks to features such as:
- flexible and editable drag and drop Gantt charts and calendars for both team members and projects, with information on leaves, absences and public holidays,
- automated financial forecasting based on the resource plan,
- smart allocations (system suggests best team members to get job done),
- intuitive allocation search bar in your projects,
- billable and non-billable allocations,
- automatically calculated capacity for all the users,,
- advanced and customizable reports on key indicators, including benches, overtimes and overbooking,
- skill database with information on experience, skills, and certifications of employees,
- a comprehensive overlook of all the projects and people involved in them,
- alerts and notifications for key issues, incl. overbooking,
- constant support from Primetric’s advisors,
- verified data and low probability of mistakes and bad decisions based on false data.
Do you want to know more about resource management?
We’ve got plenty of content you could use to expand your knowledge. Check out:
- Jira resource planning guide,
- an article on how to manage capacity,
- 8 most common pains that can be avoided with resource management,
- a guide to picking a 5-star resource management tool.