Project management (in the modern sense) has now been established for around 65 years, but it’s not difficult to argue that the concept of project management has been around since the beginning of history. As you would expect, it has gone through many changes in that time; however, it’s remained prominent due to the substantial, explicit values that many in the industry can relate to.
Effective resource management, by contrast, is a much younger and emerging methodology in the project management world. It does however, hold many similar values to those in project management, which has led to it becoming a reputable practice very quickly. Of course, the role itself can only do so much. For effective resource management to truly excel, an experienced manager must be at the helm. Exploring the world of resource management through the mouths of industry experts, this post will give you a deeper understanding of what it takes to be an effective resource management.
Whether you’re searching for advice on how to improve, or you work in a Project Management Office (PMO) and wish to enhance your skillset; the following should act as a guide to becoming the best Resource Manager you can be.
To become an effective manager of anything requires complete knowledge of the subject matter. There are numerous external factors to consider, but effective Resource Management, at its core, is all about getting the most out of people. Before the emergence of analytics tools, Resource Managers would make judgements on the availability of their employees based on their intuition. It’s safe to say that no matter how good your intuition is; this leaves at least some part down to chance.
More modern RM tools avoid this with the use of ‘heat maps’ – allowing a clear and distinct overview of the distribution of your resources. Using a combination of color-coding and a sliding scale, heat maps make it easy to see whether a worker is under or over allocated. Passing between a pale green for under-allocation and a deep red for over-allocation, they act as a clear indicator of the capacity your employees are working at.
Becoming an effective Resource Manager heavily relies on your ability to get the most out of all your employees. Once you understand an individual’s work ethic and their strengths, make sure you adhere to them. Achieving an ‘all-green screen’ will be a difficult and worthwhile challenge.
Part of being able to manage your resources effectively comes from precise time management, as both rely on the other. Having all your workers performing at 100% of their capacity becomes irrelevant if, as a result, deadlines get missed.
The writings of Peter Drucker have greatly contributed to the philosophical and practical foundations of the modern business. He was someone who knew better than most that time is precious, and that goes double when managing projects.
“Time is the scarcest resource, and unless it is managed nothing else can be managed.”
~ Peter Drucker, 2002
This fact is most abundantly clear when time (and in turn, money) have been spent on a variable that turns out to be unnecessary. For example, the expenses involved in hiring 5 new workers only to discover that your team is now working at 60% capacity. There is, thankfully, a cure for this: Models are a powerful method of analyzing all your available options, allowing you to test scenarios and ideas without the risk of implementing them beforehand.
Modelling provides reassurance in the decisions you make, and an added level of clarity that standard Resource Management tools simply can’t offer. Tempus Resource, supports innovative ‘What-If?’ analysis, giving you the power of hindsight before it’s too late to fix. See our previous post on “The power of modelling” to learn more about the benefits of ‘What-If’ analysis and what it can offer you and your company.
“The “P” in PM is as much about ‘people’ management as it is about ‘project’ management”
~ Cornelius Fitchner, 2014
Many Project Managers will be familiar with Cornelius Fitchner: host of the most popular project management podcast on iTunes and an accomplished PM. Over the past few years, Resource and Project Management has seen a significant shift in its focus. A clear indicator of his subject knowledge, Cornelius was one of the first to champion this change: The planning of projects should be more aligned to the people who are a part of the project rather than the project itself.
This is a more recent notion that the project management world is realizing, and its tendencies are just as apparent in the effective resource management world. We addressed this recently through a guest post “Project Management is Actually About People” – written by our Vice President Greg Bailey – that documents the very same sentiment. In it, Greg mentions a “crucial disconnect between the way projects are planned and the real world behavior of resources… …the way we plan our projects is failing.” Project Managers should be conscious of their dependence on structured PPM software, as this often overshadows the people who turn those plans into action.
The vast majority of current PPM tools solely account for tasks and deadlines, ignoring the real-world needs of the individuals who actually get the project done. An effective resource manager will understand the growing need for tools that allow Project Managers a more granular view of how people are being managed.
In short, a combination of the above will no doubt provide you with a solid foundation for becoming a stellar Resource (and Project, for that matter!) Manager. Like all aspects of the business landscape, the functionalities and methods of effective Resource Management have evolved over the years. However, due to their importance to the role, the core principals have remained the same.
Resource Managers shouldn’t feel anxious or reluctant to move with the times, as in the current business climate this is expected to happen more and more. The best Resource Managers show resilience, strong convictions and an understanding of the key components to effective Resource Management.