A scrum retrospective is a crucial meeting in your team's calendar. It's a chance to analyze the previous sprint and "create a plan for improvements to be enacted during the next sprint" (source: the Scrum Guide). If...
Whether you’re a project manager or a company leader, your priority is to make sure that your team delivers their projects successfully: on time and within budget. On the other hand, however, you also want your team members to be satisfied and happy at work. Achieving both objectives may seem complicated, but ignoring one of them would have disastrous results for your business.
For many teams, the resource management process turned out to be a successful strategy to hit both targets. Why is resource management important? It is a strategy to achieve tangible business benefits while keeping your team happy at the same time. With effective resource management, everybody wins. Let’s take a closer look at the main benefits of resource management concerning the organizations and the resources as well.
What are the benefits of resource management?
Before we jump into listing benefits, let’s just recap what resource management allows you to do, because that’s the foundation of all of the benefits described below.
First off, using a resource management tool (whether it’s a dedicated app or just a resource calendar), you know exactly who is available to work on your project and for how long. As a result, you can allocate resources to different assignments with business objectives in mind. But resource management doesn’t stop with resource allocation—you also have to monitor your team as they work on the project and make decisions accordingly, e.g., switching teams or changing the workload of particular people. In short, resource management gives you in-depth visibility into your team’s capacity, workload, and performance.
What will you gain when you start managing resources strategically?
Efficiency and effectiveness of delivering projects
Resource management can positively affect the delivery of projects. This is why it’s such an essential aspect of project management. When you implement strategic resource planning and allocation, you make sure that the right people work on the right projects.
By “right people” we don’t necessarily mean “people who are available to work during a given period.” Many resource- and even project management tools allow you to enter more information about your workforce, for example, their skills. It will enable you to allocate resources better—you can pick team members that will excel at a given project due to their expertise.
The efficiency and effectiveness of delivering projects are also increased because you can spot potential challenges (scheduling conflicts, shortage of resources, too much overtime) in advance, and adjust the schedule of your project before these issues escalate. Such a heads-up can save your project from failing. When asked about the primary causes of their past projects’ failures in 2017, 23% of Project Management Institute’s respondents named “inadequate resource forecasting” and “resource dependency.”
Transparency and improved communication
Project managers know what project transparency is essential to maintain trust within their teams. Resource management greatly supports healthy relations between employees and their managers but also between different project managers. The reason for that is that when you have an overview of resource availability and planned workload, you’re not likely to make wrong calls about it. As a result, you won’t, say, double-book certain employees.
You also don’t need to waste time on email back-and-forths that are instead handled within your resource management app. For example, if you plan to add a particular human resource to your project team, but the project itself is not 100% greenlit, you don’t have to get in touch with other PMs and “call dibs” on some employees. Your tool should allow you to add a tentative booking to that person: other managers will see that this person will probably be joining your team.
Let’s run another scenario: this time, it’s about an employee who wants to go on a short vacation. They send an email to their project manager or another supervisor, and the email chain begins. When you have a leave management system in place, employees will be able to handle vacation requests with a few clicks. Plus, the vacation itself will be recorded in the system, so there won’t be any awkward “are you working today?” conversations happening on that day. This actually leads us to the next point—team happiness.
Imagine that today is your day off. You have some plans lined up, or maybe you’re just getting ready to lounge all day. Either way, I think it would be quite annoying to get emails or Slack messages from your coworkers as if you were at work that day. It would feel that they don’t really notice your schedule. The same goes for times when you’re swamped with work, yet you keep getting assigned to more and more tasks. Or when you’re a part-time employee who notoriously gets invited to meetings happening outside of their working hours.
These situations could be avoided when you utilize a resource calendar and follow the best practices of resource management. It’s imperative to make your human resources feel that they are noticed, and their schedule is respected. When you have easy access to said schedule, it’s much easier to be mindful of their time. This, in turn, can increase the happiness of your employees.
Your team members will also appreciate an optimal workload, which allows them to be productive at work and still keep a work-life balance. When, as a manager, you know how much everyone has on their plates, you can spot over- or underutilized people right away.
Strategic planning and better decision-making
When you have visibility into your company’s resources, their schedule, and availability, you can make better decisions about fundamental aspects of your business. For example, you’ll know for a fact whether your team has a capacity for a new project. Even if you can’t spot something immediately in the resource calendar, you can use data to make an informed call. Analyze your team’s timesheets from some previous projects to see patterns in their performance or check your company’s current resource utilization—resource management gives you valuable tools to help you make difficult decisions.
You are also able to plan future recruitments better: here’s how to use team utilization reports and historical data for human resources forecasting.
You already know that resource management will improve your team’s communication and, as a result, save you some money. What’s also important is that using a dedicated software will help you cut some unnecessary administrative costs (filling out paper timesheets or tracking absences manually). If you’re interested in learning how to save money with resource management tools, you should definitely check out Apptension’s case study. They’ve managed to save almost $10k per month once they implemented Teamdeck at the organization.
What is effective resource management?
The benefits outlined above come with the asterisk: they’re only visible when your resource management process is effective. You might be wondering: how do I make sure that my efforts are successful? The short recipe for that is: follow the best practices and regularly monitor your results. Here’s how.
Here on Teamdeck’s blog, we regularly publish resource management and project management guides for both novices and pros. If you want to learn more about effective resource management, you might want to start with this comprehensive guide for project managers.
These blog posts will also help you become better at resource management:
- Effective project resource management
- Team workload management
- Resource planning in project management
- Resource allocation – a complete guide for project managers
- Common resource management challenges and how to overcome them
Measure your resource management efforts
Monitoring your results is the best way to identify improvement areas and see what’s working well in terms of managing your project resources.
What can you measure?
- the effectiveness of your resource scheduling processes (compare estimated hours with the tracked ones)
- the utilization of your human resources (to spot both the overworked employees and the underutilized ones)
- the amount of overtime and its distribution
- the burndown of your project’s budget
- costs and time logged by different project teams and roles within these projects.
Granted, tracking these metrics is impossible if you don’t collect data about your team’s availability, bookings, tracked time, or vacations. Some project management tools have features dedicated to managing resources, but you can also utilize dedicated resource management software to analyze your processes.
Teamdeck is a resource management tool that allows you to schedule resources across multiple projects. Employees themselves can plan their vacation schedules, log availability, and track the time they spent working on different assignments. Teamdeck’s reporting features allow you to build auto-updating analytical dashboards that you can later share with your managers or clients. You can sign up and try out the app for free here.
If you’re looking for project report templates and ideas, you should check out these posts:
- How to evaluate team performance? + Team performance management report
- How to measure resource utilization?
- Calculate Sales KPIs
- Design a robust project report + track your project’s budget
- Create a powerful timesheet report
- Build an efficient absence tracking process
Ready to introduce resource management at your organization?
We hope that this blog post convinced you that resource management could bring substantial benefits to your business. At the same time, we understand that implementing a new company-wide process can be a challenging task. If that’s the case for you, you can book a consultation with our team members. We will help you figure out your company’s resource management needs, show you how to manage resources efficiently with a dedicated tool, and set up a plan for introducing this strategy at your organization. Schedule your consultation here.