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Dec 28, 2022 • 2 min read

Project Management: What is resource management?

Project Management: ¿qué es la gestión de recursos?

When planning their projects, companies sometimes forget to include all the resources needed to carry them out. Team members may have been assigned specific tasks and software solutions may already be in place, but if assets such as money and time are not considered, the progress of the project could be delayed. In this sense, resource management can make the difference between the completion and failure of a project.




Basic Resource Management: What is a resource?

Depending on what kind of professional you ask, the answer you get will be different: for researchers, funding is an indispensable resource for a project to get started. Computer programmers would insist that it’s choosing the right project management software that makes all the difference.


A resource is something that is needed to accomplish a project.  In principle, it is generally assumed that resources are finite and therefore scarce. Hence, the need to manage them arises.




Resource characteristics

Each sector classifies resources based on how it uses them, but we can say that there are four factors that allow us to classify resources in a general way:



  • Recurring: Can be used over and over again, without running out. Take human resources, for example.
  • Non-recurring: they cannot be reused and can be used up, for example, time or money.


Place of availability

  • Immovable/Fixed: Cannot be moved from one place to another, such as computer servers or crop fields
  • Movable: They can be transported wherever they are needed, such as people or money.



  • Elastic: Its supply (number or quantity) can be increased or decreased; for example, people or money.
  • Plastic resources: their supply cannot be extended, e.g. time.

There is some controversy about this approach to resource classification. Regardless of which side you choose, it’s good to know that the approach exists.


Shared & Dedicated

  • Dedicated: Dedicated to the project for its entire duration, such as computer systems.
  • Shares: Available for use in the project for several hours, but are also used in other projects.


The practice of resource management is based on a solid knowledge of the nature of resources. That is, the characteristics we have just defined.




What is resource management?

Resource management is the acquisition, assignment, and management of people and their skills, finances, technology, materials, machinery, and other resources, that are required for a project. A resource manager ensures that internal and external resources are used effectively, on time, and according to the allocated budget.


In most companies, this responsibility is held jointly by several departments that make up a project management team. In other cases, a resource manager is appointed to fulfill this role on a full-time basis.




Resource management tools and software

It’s a fact that technology has become inseparable from project management. Therefore, we must assume that tools and software play a crucial role. Platforms such as Microsoft Project, Asana,  and Jira offer a wide variety of features that make resource management more efficient. These tools allow not only the tracking of time and progress of tasks, but also the detailed analysis of costs and benefits, which is essential for any successful project.



In addition to basic functionalities, many of these tools are evolving to include more advanced capabilities, such as the use of artificial intelligence and data analytics. These features enable more informed and proactive decision-making, helping project managers optimize resource utilization, forecast risks, and ultimately ensure projects are completed successfully and on budget.




Challenges faced by the project manager who manages resources

Good resource management isn’t just about completing a project. The goal is to help implement it in the most efficient way, on time, and without wasting resources. In this sense, the project manager must take special care of:


Setting unrealistic deadlines

The biggest problem in this regard is that, in real life, it is not the project managers who design the deadlines, but they are imposed from the outside. For this reason, adaptability is key in this professional profile.


Scarcity of resources

Without good resource management capabilities, a team will most likely end up overexploiting its resources, both human and technological. Overworking staff lowers morale and leads to mistakes and even accidents. Overused machines can cost millions in repairs or replacements.


These are the two basic challenges faced by resource management professionals. The list may seem short, but the truth is that the nature of different types of resources complicates their management exponentially.




Strategies for Managing Resource Scarcity

Scarcity is one of the biggest challenges in resource management. This problem can affect, depending on each project, a wide variety of resources. From time and staff to funding and materials. A common way to address shortages is through outsourcing certain tasks or services. This allows the project team to focus on the most critical activities, while more peripheral tasks can be handled by external specialists.



Another effective strategy for managing resource scarcity is reallocating and sharing resources between different projects or departments. This allows for more efficient utilization and avoids wasting valuable resources. In addition, some organizations maintain a “contingency reserve” of resources that can be deployed in critical situations. This reserve may include additional staff, time, or funds that can be used when unforeseen events arise.




Benefits of Resource Management


Organizations that manage their resources tend to be more efficient at:

  • Avoid unforeseen events that affect resources. By understanding the nature and use of each resource, project managers won’t be surprised by the interrelationships between resources and overall project progress.


  • Predict the depletion of resources, both human and non-human. That’s why it’s a good idea to have professional resource managers when validating ideas.


  • Provide a safety net. If a project failed due to a shortage of resources, having a properly documented resource management plan can help establish that the project managers were not negligent and did their best to address the issues encountered.


  • Build a culture of transparency. Transparency translates into efficiency. When project managers know the workloads of others involved in the project, they can better work together so that burdens and responsibilities are distributed equally among different human resources.


  • Efficiency tracking. With a well-designed resource management plan, it’s easier to plan for total resource optimization so that no asset is left unused or underutilized. It’s also much easier to calculate ROI.




Future Trends in Resource Management

Resource management is an ever-evolving field, influenced by technological advancements and changes in business practices. A growing trend is the increasing use of artificial intelligence and data analytics to optimize resource allocation. These technologies allow for greater accuracy in planning and can even foresee future problems before they become crises.



Another emerging trend is the growing importance placed on sustainability in project management. This involves a more conscious approach to how resources are used and the impact they have on the environment. For example, sustainable building practices seek to minimize material waste and use renewable resources whenever possible, which is not only beneficial to the planet, but can also result in long-term savings.




Resource Management Techniques

1. Resource allocation: After careful consideration of the competencies and strengths of each of your team members, the manager assigns them their tasks.


2. Resource utilization: This is about monitoring the use of resources so that none of them are under- or over-used.


3. Resource leveling: Knowing the level of resource utilization, allocations can be adjusted to get the most productivity out of each one.


4. Resource forecasting: A resource manager will be able to predict how much work their team can do during a given period of time.




Recommendations and best practices


Efficient resource management is a fundamental pillar for the success of any project. However, achieving that level of efficiency requires more than simply assigning tasks; it requires a holistic approach that incorporates what are already known in the industry as best practices. These practices not only serve as a framework for project managers, but also offer a roadmap that can be adapted and applied in different contexts and types of projects. These are the most rated:


  • Detailed planning: Before starting any project, it is essential to identify and catalog all the necessary resources. This lays a solid foundation for the efficient allocation and management of them. Of course, it is vital to distinguish between necessary resources and available resources. And you have to buy those that you don’t have.


  • Prioritization: Identifying which resources are critical and which are secondary allows for more effective allocation and minimizes the risk of shortages at crucial stages of the project.


  • Open communication: Maintaining clear lines of communication between all team members and stakeholders is critical to avoid misunderstandings and for effective coordination.


  • Use of management tools: The use of specialized software not only helps in the allocation of resources, but also in their tracking. Depending on the type of software being used, adjustments can even be made in real time.


  • Contingency reserves: Maintaining a “buffer” of resources for emergencies can become a very high-value resource to address unexpected problems without affecting the flow of the project.


  • Regular reviews: Establishing checkpoints throughout the project to review resource usage can help identify areas for improvement. This practice also helps to refocus the later phases of the project to keep it in line with the initial objectives.


  • Team training: A well-trained team is more efficient, which in the long run can result in a more effective use of resources. In addition, continuous training allows the team to adapt to new technologies and methodologies, which improves versatility and responsiveness to unexpected challenges.


  • Comprehensive documentation: Keeping detailed records of resource usage can provide valuable insights for future projects and for reviewing current project performance.


  • Flexibility and adaptability: Being prepared to adapt resource allocation to unexpected changes in the project or external environment is crucial. This flexibility allows the project to continue to move forward effectively, even when obstacles such as scope changes, delays, or market fluctuations arise.


  • Focus on ROI: When allocating and managing resources, return on investment should always be taken into account. This ensures that resources are used in a way that maximizes value to the organization.




Do you need to know if you have the right resources to develop your project? At Ideafoster we help you validate your ideas before putting them into practice. Contact us and we will help you make informed decisions that will secure the future of your company.

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