Every software house is like a complex mechanism in which smooth processes depend on the interplay of individual elements – work planning, decision-making and resource management. The key to the most efficient operation of your business is...
Resource management is important for every company because it increases efficiency, employee satisfaction and saves time and money. In this article, we will introduce the topic of resource management and how to implement it in your organisation.
What is resource management?
To quote the Association for Project Managers:
Resource management is acquiring, allocating and managing the resources, such as individuals and their skills, finances, technology, materials, machinery and natural resources required for a project. Resource management ensures that internal and external resources are used effectively on time and within budget. Resources may be obtained internally from the host organisation or procured from external sources.
Their proper management is of colossal importance to the efficiency of any business.
9 benefits of good resource management
Chaos is the worst enemy of work optimisation. It can occur when you have too many tasks and too few employees, but also when you have too many employees with nothing to do. When projects are poorly planned or the team lacks the necessary skills. Or when you have too many needs and information to process that is not well structured and managed. The bigger your company is, the more processes and projects you run, the easier it is to get lost in the maze of responsibilities, deadlines and skills of your employees. And it is precisely the prevention of chaos that is one of the main tasks of resource management.
It will allow you to:
- Monitor the status of projects
- Allocate tasks and check that they are completed
- Meet deadlines
- Allocate the right number of people to a project...
- ...and make sure they have the right skills
- Book meetings so that they do not clash with each other
- Manage holidays
That’s a lot of pluses, but how do you do it?
First of all, you need a system where you can see what resources you have available and where they are needed. Which system you use depends on the nature of your business: it could be your personal notebook, a whiteboard in the conference room, an Excel file or a dedicated work management tool. Any way is good as long as it works and as long as the information is up to date.
More transparent process
It is hard to keep the work flowing when the people involved do not know at what stage the project is, who is responsible for particular tasks or how the schedule looks. There are many departments and entities involved in the work of a software house: developers, project managers, marketing department, clients. In this case, transparency of processes becomes essential.
Transparency also makes it possible to react quickly to potential problems and delays, because it helps to notice immediately if a bottleneck arises in someplace. To keep processes transparent, tools such as project schedules, milestones and timesheets will come in handy. It can also be helpful to show the project in graphical form, e.g. a diagram, table or timeline.
Better utilization process
Your team’s capacity is your primary resource – without it, nothing could move forward. Resource management allows you to manage your employees’ time and work in such a way that it is most effective. How to do it? Balance is key: it’s important that your team doesn’t become overwhelmed with tasks, as this reduces motivation, commitment and job satisfaction. Employee exploitation has nothing to do with productivity.
On the other hand, having few responsibilities or working below one’s competencies is also bad, as employees may feel bored and discouraged. Find a middle ground by using the available data: check timesheet reports to see if the team is working too much overtime or, conversely, too little. One-to-one meetings are also a good opportunity to find out directly from employees whether they are comfortable with the way they work.
Even the most useful process becomes a hindrance if you use it redundantly or in the wrong context. Team communication is important. Status meetings are important. Work planning is important. Customer feedback is important... BUT, if employees have to spend two hours every day talking to each other about current work, another two hours in team planning and status meetings, and then another hour listening to customer feedback, suddenly there is far less time left for work than there should be. The above example may seem absurd, but believe me, there are plenty of companies that spend long hours every day talking about their current tasks because no process is automated or clear.
Good resource management is therefore the key to a smooth workflow. Ensure that status meetings are frequent (for example, every morning) but short (15-20 minutes). Keep work planning regular, but not too frequent (you can divide the work into weekly sprints). Let two dedicated people listen to customer feedback, not the whole team. It’s also good to allow employees to focus on one engaging task for a long time without interruption. Allow employees to use ‘do not disturb mode on Skype or Slack when they need to. Proper resource management will ensure that employees know what to expect, what the daily office routine is like and what their responsibilities are. Attitude is a powerful psychological force for a smoother and more efficient workflow, and resource management makes it possible.
More control over the project
It is hard to manage a project well when you are constantly surprised by unexpected situations. Of course, flexibility is very important. Business is dynamic and you need to be able to adapt to sudden twists and turns. However, work is very different when these situations occur and when they happen all the time. It is therefore in your interest to gain control and predictability in those aspects where this is possible. This way, unexpected problems will not disrupt the functioning of the entire software house. It will also be much easier for you to find an appropriate solution.
Resource management is one of the foundations of your business because you can predict quite accurately what you have at your disposal. How many employees do you have at your disposal, how many projects they work on, how much time they have, how big the budget is, what technologies your organization uses, what technologies your organization uses. This knowledge and skilful resource management give you much more control throughout the project, even when things don’t go your way.
Resource management gives you more control when you have to:
- Negotiate with the client – you can more easily assess whether you can extend the scope, whether you need to renegotiate the deadline, whether you have enough time and budget to make significant changes.
- Meet deadlines – by knowing your resources and managing them well you can avoid delays.
- Plan the project – you can make accurate and realistic assumptions about what functionalities you can implement and what the work schedule should be.
- Firefighting – emergencies will be less threatening to the functioning of your organisation if you know well what resources you have at your disposal and your employees do what is necessary for moments of crisis.
Effective use of time and money
Lack of time and money are some of the most common blockages in the functioning of a company. What’s more, both of these factors fuel each other, creating a vicious circle. Lack of time means you cannot make money. Lack of money means you can’t hire more people and you lack time for new projects.
Did you know that only 43% of companies declare that they usually or always stay within budget when implementing projects? This statistic clearly shows the scale of the problem. The task of resource management is to manage your company’s capacity in such a way that work runs smoothly. It is equally important to create a financial airbag so that you do not disrupt the functioning of your company in times of crisis.
Working in a poorly managed company is frustrating. The feeling that employees’ time is wasted, that the organisation does not invest in their development, the employer cares only about its own profit, the work is overwhelming, there are too many tasks and the company is in chaos are all factors that contribute to many people starting to ask themselves: Whether the place where I work is the best option for me? If the answer is ‘no’, it will be the first step for them to hand in their notice. We no longer live in an era of the corporate ruthless pursuit of profit. Employees have the right to expect the company to take care of their work-life balance and satisfaction. Without good resource management, this is not possible.
In my experience employees get very anxious when they don’t know which project they will be working on next; sometimes if they don’t have a clear schedule they start thinking they did something wrong! This makes resource management a crucial process in a software house as not only it’s going to reflect how well organised it is but also reduce a lot of stress of your workers.Patryk Ziemkowski, Head of Development at Apptension
Greater chance of success thanks to resource management
All of the above factors contribute to what is primarily at stake, i.e. a greater chance of success. There is not much to say: companies that manage their resources better have a better market performance because they use their time, capacity and money more efficiently, have happier and thus more committed and productive employees, work more on time, make fewer mistakes and are able to carry out more projects than organisations in which chaos reigns. Resource management is important not only because it’s fun to brag about it in your presentation. More importantly – it gives your software house a real competitive advantage.
You’ve already taken the first step. You’ve read this tutorial article and now you know a little bit more about resource management and you’ve started...
- Research – this is where you should start any change in your company. Research the issue, find out what it is, what benefits it can bring you and what the costs of implementing it will be. The Internet is bursting at the seams with information about resource management. You can find it in articles by companies that specialize in optimizing work, on youtube, on forums, in business books, articles in the trade press. Blogs from other companies in the same industry will also be very valuable, as they can share insights similar to what you are experiencing in your own company.
- Inhouse diagnosis – once you have a basic understanding of the issue it will be easier to identify what the problems are in your business and what areas of resource management need to be improved.
- Tools – Resource management involves processing a lot of information. Tools that will report on timesheets, holidays, tasks, schedules, meetings and project status. A great example is Teamdeck, which can be integrated with other tools and customised to suit your individual needs.
- Training – continually improving the competencies of your employees is important. Especially if those competencies help the entire organisation perform better. Valuable training for your project managers is undoubtedly a worthwhile investment.