So what is a Resource Manager? Is it simply someone who oversees and allocates resources? While these are major functions of the RM role, it’s important to understand how a RM approaches allocation and exactly what data factors into their decision-making.
Going beyond generic allocation
A RM’s job is to evaluate the upcoming projects and company initiatives, then decide which people are the best fit to help the company reach those lofty goals. To do this, a RM has to know their team members’ various skills, the experience they’ve gained at previous jobs, their desired trajectory for their careers, and their capacity.
Putting the right person on a project involves deep insight into the resource pool. RMs need to know which team members have the right experience and understand what they’re working on right now in order to find the optimal way to sequence allocations and work. On top of that, the RM has to factor in current work as well as projects in the pipeline. Only then can they most effectively pair individuals with work based on their skills and bandwidth.
How is a resource manager different than a project manager?
While the roles are related, the functions of a resource manager and a project manager are fundamentally different. A project manager is an in-the-weeds position responsible for keeping track of the time, tasks, and, in some cases, the budget related to one specific project.
A RM, on the other hand, keeps their eyes on the big picture. They oversee every employee in the company, including their unique skills and their capacity, and closely monitor project inter-dependencies that could affect timelines or lead to over-allocation.
Their holistic view of the project pipeline means they can identify potential future bottlenecks. Therefore, RMs are also responsible for alerting the team when outside contractors or new staff members need to be brought in.
The power of the resource manager
RMs do more than just match generic resources to projects. They play a major role in optimizing workflow by matching resources to work based on their individual strengths, skills, experience, and availability.
But RMs can be responsible for a vast number of resources, especially at larger enterprises. It’s simply not feasible to ask them to personally keep track of all this data themselves. An Excel file just isn’t going to cut it if you want to maximize the potential of the RM.
That’s why it’s critical to invest in the tools that help RMs manage all this information. If you give an RM the necessary insight into skills, capacity, project demands, and pipeline work, you enable them to find the most efficient and effective allocations. Which, in turns, leads to maximum portfolio success!