At its core, resource management isn’t about managing tasks—it’s about managing people and their capacities. It illuminates the feasibility of your plans, answering the fundamental question: Can we truly accomplish what we’ve set out to do with our current resources? It allows you to see whether your resources are over- or under-utilized. And, when faced with more tasks than your team can handle, resource management quantifies the need for additional hands on deck. Whether you’re a newcomer to resource management or you’re revisiting your established procedures, this post will guide you through how to implement a resource management process.
Initiating the change
Resource management transcends traditional Gantt charts and milestones. To truly embrace the practice, project managers (PMs) and people managers must shift their focus to the people driving projects forward.
The very first step toward implementing resource management is for PMs and people managers to complete two primary tasks:
- Skill Assessment: Determining the specific skills or roles required to accomplish current and planned work.
- Time Estimation: Gauging how much time or Full-Time Equivalents (FTE) the work will demand.
It’s vital to conduct this assessment early on, be it during annual planning sessions or the initial stages of project ideation. After all, you can’t determine whether or not you have the resources to complete the work until you know what the work will actually require.
Capacity vs. demand analysis
Once you have your estimates, it’s time to juxtapose them against your team’s capacity. A few pivotal questions guide this phase:
- When can each project realistically begin given the current availability of team members?
- Does the team have enough members with the necessary skills to execute the projected work?
- If there’s a skill or availability gap, is hiring new members a viable solution? Alternatively, is upskilling the current team a better route?
This type of resource analysis ensures that projects are initiated on real data, not on mere assumptions.
Dynamic resource management
Resource management isn’t a one-and-done affair. Even after resources are allocated, managers must remain vigilant. If Murphy’s Law tells us anything, it’s that projects will almost always face unforeseen changes or obstacles. Team members might need sudden leave or organizational priorities could shift. Work evolves.
That’s why adaptability is crucial. Having a contingency or mitigation plan in place ensures that these eventualities don’t throw a wrench in the gears of your project. By anticipating potential challenges and creating strategies to address them in real time, you solidify the foundation of your resource management process.
Resource management is much more than a project management trend — it represents an advanced stage of organizational maturity within the Project Management Office (PMO). It brings clarity to project feasibilities, shines a light on team capacities, and paves the way for informed decision-making. In the constantly evolving domain of project management, where uncertainty is a given, having a comprehensive resource management process in place isn’t just advantageous — it’s indispensable.