Dec 28, 2022 • 2 min read
Project Management: what is resource management?
When planning their projects, companies sometimes forget to include all the necessary resources to carry them out. Specific tasks may have been assigned to team members and software solutions may already be implemented, 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 the type of professional you ask, you will get a different answer: for researchers, funding is an essential resource for a project to begin. Computer programmers would insist that the choice of the right project management software is what makes the difference.
A resource is something that is needed to carry out a project. In principle, it is generally assumed that resources are finite and therefore scarce. That is why the need to manage them arises.
Characteristics of resources
Each sector classifies resources according to how it uses them, but we can affirm that there are four factors that allow us to classify resources in general:
- Recurring: they can be used again and again without being depleted. For example, human resources.
- Non-recurring: they cannot be reused and can be depleted, for example, time or money.
Place of availability
- Immovable/Fixed: they cannot be moved from one place to another, such as computer servers or fields.
- Movable: they can be transported where they are needed, such as people or money.
- Elastic: its supply (number or amount) can be increased or decreased; for example, people or money.
- Plastic resources: its supply cannot be extended; for example, time.
There is some controversy about this approach to classifying resources. Regardless of the side you choose, it is worth knowing that the approach exists.
Shared and Dedicated
- Dedicated: dedicated to the project throughout its duration, such as computer systems.
- Shared resources: available for use on the project for several hours, but also used on 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 consists of acquiring, assigning and managing people and their skills, finances, technology, materials, machinery and other resources required for a project. A resource manager ensures that resources are used effectively and efficiently, with the aim of completing the project on time, within budget and to the required quality standards.
In most companies, this responsibility is jointly held by several departments that form a project management team. In other cases, a full-time resource manager is appointed to fulfill this function.
Challenges faced by the project manager managing resources
Good resource management is not just about completing a project. The goal is to help implement it as efficiently as possible, on time and without wasting resources. In this sense, the project manager must be especially careful with:
Setting unrealistic deadlines
The biggest problem in this respect is that, in real life, it is not the project managers who design the deadlines, but rather they are imposed from outside. Therefore, adaptability is key in this professional profile.
Scarcity of resources
Without good resource management skills, it is most likely that a team will end up overusing its resources, both human and technological. Overwork of staff lowers morale and causes errors 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 the different types of resources exponentially complicates their management.
Benefits of resource management
Organizations that manage their resources tend to be more efficient at:
- Avoiding unexpected events affecting resources. By understanding the nature and use of each resource, project managers will not be surprised by the interrelationships between resources and the overall progress of the project.
- Predicting resource exhaustion, both human and non-human. That’s why it’s a good idea to have professional resource managers when validating ideas.
- Providing a safety net. If a project failed due to a shortage of resources, having a properly documented resource management plan can help establish that project managers were not negligent and did everything possible to address the problems encountered.
- Building a culture of transparency. Transparency leads to efficiency. When project managers know the workload of others involved in the project, they can work better together so that workload and responsibilities are distributed equitably among different human resources.
- Monitoring efficiency. With a well-designed resource management plan, it is easier to plan for the total optimization of resources so that no asset goes unused or underutilized. It is also much easier to calculate the ROI.
Resource management techniques
1. Resource allocation: After careful consideration of the competencies and strengths of each member of your team, assign the appropriate resources to each task.
2. Resource leveling: When there are too many resources assigned to a task, it can lead to a waste of resources. Resource leveling helps to balance the workload among the team members.
3. Resource smoothing: When there are insufficient resources to complete a task, resource smoothing helps to spread the work over a longer period of time.
4. Resource optimization: This technique involves maximizing the use of resources by ensuring that they are used in the most effective way possible.
5. Resource management software: There are various software tools that can help project managers manage resources more efficiently. These include project management software, resource scheduling software, and time tracking software.
In conclusion, resource management is a crucial aspect of project management that requires careful planning and execution. By effectively managing resources, organizations can increase efficiency, reduce costs, and improve the overall success of their projects.
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 ensure the future of your company.
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