Managing resources is something we all do, all day, every day. Being observant of our finances and our timekeeping are just two resources we juggle on a daily basis.
Many of us will do this within our careers too, without necessarily being aware that this is what we’re doing. But being in charge of budgets, equipment and people are all roles many senior management careers encapsulate. They may not realise it’s a separate role. But it is.
What’s the difference between a project and resource manager?
How many colleagues do you have who call themselves ‘resource managers’? Project managers maybe, but resources? We bet it’s not many. Resource managers are key to overseeing a project – lining up all the key ‘resources’, such as people, building and equipment, so the jobs can be completed on time. A project manager will focus on getting the job done, whilst the resource manager will look at the workload and distribution during that process.
Are you actually a resource manager? Ask yourself these questions.
You already hold the title of ‘office manager’ or ‘senior consultant’, but could you also be a resource manager? There are three simple questions to ask yourself in identifying what role you have within a company or business.
- Do you manage a team of people?
- Do you have to book rooms, or ensure the availability of certain equipment?
- Is it your role to ensure that the right resource is available at the right time for any project at the right price?
If you answered yes, to all three questions then you are a ‘resource’ manager whether you hold that title or not.
Businesses Need Resource Managers
Resource managers are key to the successful completion of any project within a company. In fact, it could be argued that they truly secure the future employment within companies as they plan out work across weeks, months and years. Without the assignment of a person, or a number of people, to oversee the job with ‘resources’ at the heart of their role, businesses can struggle to have the right amount of resources at hand at the right time. Too few and the projects cannot be delivered within budget, too many and the company will have to shed staff or support a bench.
Acknowledging that resource management is necessary is one of the key challenges businesses face. Companies can wait far too long to implement a strategy, when there are too many resources already in play. This can lead to underused and underperforming staff or equipment, miscommunications, overbooking, and overlooking resources.
Common Challenges For Resource Managers
There are many common challenges for resource managers. It’s only with a clear understanding of a company’s bigger picture that they can successfully completed.
- Understanding the limitations of resources. Can equipment A be in location B, when employee C isn’t available to man it?
- Seeing into the future. Having clarity on the long-term goal is key to a successful outcome and project completion.
- Full optimisation of resources. No-one wants an employee or a piece of equipment standing idle when work needs doing elsewhere. Using all resources to their optimum level is the most efficient way to run a business.
- Looking at staffing strengths and weaknesses, acknowledging them, and taking them into account over the course of planning a project. Putting the wrong person into the wrong job will ultimately cause completion issues.
- Trying to meet unrealistic deadlines is a resource managers biggest challenge. With clear visibility across all aspects of a project can allow for the setting of realistic deadlines.
How to be a successful resource manager
The four main skills are:
- Communication and interpersonal skills are key to successful resource management and it is even more prevalent when dealing with larger projects. Being able to get along with a number of different people and personalities will prove beneficial to the completion of any project.
- Change and risk management are essential to scheduling as a resource manager. Both require foresight; who is going to be affected and exactly how are they going to be affected. Engagement with your team will allow for a clear perspective on how to best proceed.
- Problem solving skills and flexibility. It goes without saying that a resource manager will need to be innovative and flexible in their thinking. Changes in staffing levels, projects running behind schedule and a broken piece of equipment all require versatility and adaptability.
- Monitoring and controlling resources is at the heart of successful management. Hitting budgets and timeframes can only be done with a keen grasp on where the resources are and how they are utilised.
Resource management tools can enable the process
Resource management tools allow you and other managers to schedule the resources at the same time. The live updates keep everyone posted about any changes in the schedule. If a piece of equipment is already booked for another project, you’ll know it without having to wait for the updated spreadsheets.
If your consultant is free, you’ll see it. You can book them with another client, without having to remember when the last project was finishing. You don’t have to go through your mailbox to find the right documentation. You’ll have an overview of everything that’s going on.
Even if you’re not a designated resource manager, there are a number of benefits to using a management tool:
- Finding the right resource, such as employee or room, is easily done with a tool which allows for drop-and-drag scheduling and real-time updates. If all relevant employees can see these ongoing changes, the correct person can be placed in the correct job. The right room booked for that meeting.
- Resources can be in the right place, at the right time with an overview of simple facts. For example, knowing when key people are on holiday and how this fits around availability of equipment they may be using is a must for the smooth running of any project.
- Making sure that a resource is in the right place is an obvious benefit to any business that wants to meet a deadline. For the employee knowing where they need to be and when, saves both time and money. It can also have a huge impact on their work-life balance if the resource manager is aware of staffing constraints that means they can’t work far from home. Good interpersonal skills are key here for a successful implementation.
Resource Management Tools For Future Success
Resource planning software such as Ganttic can truly throw light on short-term and long-term goals, allowing for collaboration, deadline clarification and the full utilisation of a company’s resources. With businesses thriving in global markets it’s becoming more apparent that overseeing these projects need skilled professionals. They need to be able to juggle a large number of resources, bringing clarity to what could become a logistical nightmare. Resource planning tools can be one way to help them shed light on the way forward.
Ganttic is high-level, online resource planning software, which can be used for managing a project portfolio, while also planning resources with maximum efficiency. With Ganttic, you can create clear and comprehensive visual plans that give you an instant overview of all your resources and projects.
Ganttic is highly flexible, designed to be used in whichever way that fits your organisation’s needs. Whether you are looking to build a very simple resource scheduling system, a complex resource management system, or something in between, Ganttic can help you to get things done efficiently and on time.