Resource management is a very important factor in deciding whether a project is ultimately successful or not. For project managers, knowing resource management best practices and how to best utilize the resources at their disposal can have a major impact on their career in general as nearly every project outcome will be judged on its performance in terms of resources.
So, what are the resources a PM has at their disposal? At a basic level the resources can be either physical such as equipment, technology, available space or cash or more intangible factors, such as time or an employee’s skills. While the delegation of physical resources can be done quite logically, e.g. it takes X number of dollars and Y machine in 10 sq. foot of space to create the product Z, calculating intangible resources, on the other hand, are where a PM’s skill really gets tested.
To make sure your team is performing to its maximum potential it’s always good to make sure you are following resource management best practices.
Understand the resources you have at your disposal
Estimating resources is a matter of both logic and experience. The former because there are certain unavoidable truths, e.g. how big an office is, how many MacBook Pros you can afford etc. but it is only through experience that you will truly understand how good a team member is at certain tasks or their effect on the team overall. When taking stock of your resources, include the intangible as well as the tangible as much as possible.
Estimate, track and report time
One of the most important resources that you have a finite amount of is time. Tracking time is not about getting on staff member’s backs about how long something is taking, but about understanding where this resource is being used.
Know how to prioritize work
As not all resources are equal, it is vital to know when and where they should be utilized and which tasks they should be used on. For example, if your best programmer is also the best at creating slide-shows, you may have to decide on a dilemma, get them to work on a piece of software that you will present to a client or get someone else to do the software while they create the client presentation. The answer should be relatively simple in this example, but over a project’s course having an innate understanding of where to best utilize resources can be the difference between success and failure.
It is a two-way street however, as, with growing skills shortages and the likely exodus of hundreds of thousands of EU citizens employed by UK business and public service, the country is likely to face huge labor shortages in the near future which threaten to derail its current high economic performance.
Plan workflows that save time
Creating workflows that lead in to each other with precise timing means that all of your available resources can be working at their maximum capacity for longer. It takes a while to be able to estimate task completion times with high levels of accuracy but the better you become, the better your resource management will be.
Keep resources focused
Multi-tasking might seem like a great way to spread effective resources and ensuring an even amount of attention across every task. The fact is, however, that switching from one task or type of work to another wastes time as the resource, whether it be human or machine, needs to recalibrate to perform something new.
For a clearer view on where your resources are being used and the results they are achieving, try Clarizen’s super-fast, cloud-based project management software.