Despite a widespread acceptance of projects that end up behind deadlines and over budget, there is a surprising lack of motivation to change how projects are organized or to take preventative measures. A study in the Harvard Business Review, found that the average cost overrun was 27%, which is a business-changing margin of difference. Similar research shows that projects with budgets over $1 million are 50% more likely to fail than those with budgets of $350,000 or lower.
The takeaway is that poor resource management is costing organizations huge sums and the bigger the budget, the worse the resource management. What comes as a surprise then is that only 59% of tech services firms have a dedicated resource management function. It’s an inefficient status quo that needs to change, with the potential benefits to an organization’s bottom line potentially being the difference between major success and ignominious failure.
If you’re looking to improve your own resource management, here are the top five best practices to consider:
Have as much visibility as possible
Understanding what is happening with your resources and where they are being used can shift on an hourly basis. Ensuring effective resource management means having consistent clarity about what’s actually going on with your project. This requires both a simplified system of task recognition and assignment, as well as a real-time updating process that always keeps you in the loop.
Ditch the spreadsheets and use dedicated software
Unfortunately, the use of spreadsheets, such as Excel or Numbers, is still all too common in business. While they have their function, they are simply not designed to manage resources, whereas dedicated project management software provides a light-weight and easy-to-use tool that is custom built to enable effective resource management.
Focus on your most in-demand resources
Some resources will always be more valuable than others, which is especially the case the larger the organization or project is. When scheduling your resource usage, it is good to use these core resources as “cornerstones” around which to build your project and task flow. This can reduce planning time and provide a clearer picture of how the project will proceed.
Plan your usage, but remain flexible
Having a plan or work breakdown structure is essential for understanding the future course and interdependencies of a project. This may have to change as different situations arise, but it gives a clear idea of how each milestone and deliverable is going to be met.
Avoid spreading resources too thin
Multitasking might seem like an excellent way to ensure that your most valuable resources are having input across a broad spectrum of tasks. This is an unfortunate cognitive fallacy however, research consistently shows that, despite what we might think, focusing on a single task at a time is far more effective both in terms of time spent and quality of result, over trying to manage multiple tasks. Keep your resources focused on what they deliver best.
Using dedicated project management software, such as Clarizen, makes resource management quicker, easier and safer. Considering the value that effective resource management can have, adopting a tool to enhance it should be a very simple decision. Talk to us today about organizing a free trial and taking your resource management to the next level.